The Schengen 90/180-day rule puzzle explained

The Schengen 90180-day rule puzzle explained

As many British nationals know, the rules for staying visa-free in Spain changed radically in January this year. Since the British are no longer EU citizens and, as a result, are classed as third-party nationals, the Schengen 90/180-day rule applies when they visit Spain. However, the regulations are not easy to understand so we’ve put together some FAQs to help make sense of the puzzle. 

What is Schengen?

Schengen is the name given to the group of EEA countries including Spain that allows border-free travel within it. Almost all EU countries form part of Schengen except for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania. Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania are currently in the process of joining the Schengen Area and the EEA states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are also members. 

Citizens who are EU nationals can travel within the area visa-free and with no restrictions on the amount of time they spend in each country. Non-EEA nationals can travel to Schengen without a visa, but they cannot stay for longer than 90 days in 180. 

Read our Schengen Visa FAQs. 

What is the Schengen 90/180 rule?

Under the terms of Schengen, non-EEA nationals cannot spend more than a total of 90 days within a total period of 180 days without a visa. Furthermore, once you’ve used up your quota of 90 days, you cannot return to Schengen until 90 more days have passed.

For example, if you enter Spain on January 1st and spend 90 days in the country until June 30th, you cannot return to Spain until at least the end of September. 

What does it affect?

The Schengen 90/180-day rule applies to anyone who is not an EEA citizen. As of January 1st 2021, this includes British nationals. 

Why does it affect British nationals now?

Before the UK left the EU, British nationals could visit other EU countries as much as they pleased and stay for as long as they liked. However, once the UK officially left the EU on December 31st 2020, British nationals became third-party nationals in Spain and the entire Schengen Area. This means they have to comply with the same requirements as North Americans, Australians, and Japanese. 

Find out about other short-term visa options in Spain. 

How do I count my 90 days?

For better accuracy, there is no better advice that CostaLuz lawyers can offer to those looking to calculate their Schengen periods than to use any of the tools below.

Do I have to stay for 90 consecutive days?

No, you are free to use your 90/180-day limit anyway you wish. For example, you could arrive in Spain on January 1st and stay for 90 days in a row (until March 31st). Or you could take several short breaks in Spain between January 1st and June 29th (180 days), spending a different amount of time on each. 

What happens when I’ve used up my 90 days?

You must leave Spain (or anywhere in Schengen) immediately because there are stiff penalties for out-staying the 90-day limit. Once you leave, you cannot return to Spain (or Schengen) without a visa until a further 90 days have gone by. For example, if you have spent 90 days in total in Spain and leave on June 29th, you cannot go back without a visa until at least September 28th. 

How will the Spanish authorities know how long I’ve been in Spain?

Your passport is stamped on entry and exit and a computer program keeps track of how long you spend in Spain each time. 

Can I undertake paid work or study while I’m in Spain?

If you enter Spain under the 90/180-day rule, you cannot carry out any paid employment or studies. If you wish to do either of these, you must apply for the appropriate visa before you arrive. 

What is I want to stay for longer in Spain?

If you wish to be in Spain for longer than 90 days every 180, you must apply for a visa before you enter the country. There’s a variety of visa options for both short and long-term stays. Read about long-term Spanish visas.

Can I apply for a visa to stay longer once I’m in Spain?

No, if you’re a third-party national and want to stay in Spain for more than 90 days, you must apply for the correct visa before you enter the country. 

Does the Schengen 90/180-day rule affect property ownership?

No, nothing has changed for British nationals as regards property purchase and ownership in Spain. You can still buy and own property with the same rights and obligations as Spaniards. 

Read our free guide to buying property in Spain

How can I find out more?

The professional team at Costaluz Lawyers includes visa and immigration experts who will be only too pleased to share their knowledge on the best visa options for you. Get in touch for a free consultation and to find out how they can help you.

97 thoughts on “The Schengen 90/180-day rule puzzle explained”

  1. We are going skiing in Italy on 5 March -19 March and then going to our house in Menorca for various times until we have done 89 days I total leaving on July 31 st. Can we return on September 4 th to stay until Oct6 or 9 th ? We would then not return until the following year. I do not understand when the next 180 days begins!
    Pam Thorpe

  2. Could you please help, I read from the EU document on the 90/180 day stay rules, that you cannot rely on the online calculators, as these would not be recognised in law, one would have to rely on the border guards. I have a host of technical qualifications, and am a post graduate in management studies and took a law option. And I am finding it impossible to plan my holidays with any certainty, why is it, as far as I am aware border guards are normally on minimum wage, “no disrespect implied”. What do they have to make it so easy for them to make their decision.
    My wife and I have had a holiday home in Spain for the last 16 years and have always spent less than the 180 days in Spain so remaining “Non Resident” this rule will drive us away to sunnier winter climates.. I note that if our military have to come to Spain’s aid there is no restriction on length of stay.
    Also my wife and I have just paid Banco Sabadell a fee for proving we are “Non Resident”, (fee for certificate fee to bank) and yet on our bank statement it shows us paying renta tax (only paid by non residents, also now the insult of having our passports stamped to come in and out of Spain, which only applies to only non residents, more proof we are non resident.

  3. My husband is a lorry driver, living in Northern Ireland working in Holland 2 days a week every week, because he is working does that count to how many days he can spend in Europe on the 90 day rule.


      Dear Karen,

      Those 2 days a week, every week, are work periods and must be covered by any type of work visa in Holland, as such they do not count as the 90/180 period.



      1. Russell Higginson

        Hello Maria,
        I have lived in Spain for about twenty five year’s my wife is Spanish and have a 17 year old daughter. I’m British citizen working abroad can you advise on the 90 day rule without having to apply for Spanish residency.
        Even a way to contact you office directly to discuss further.


          Unfortunately, if you would like to stay longer than 90/180 days, the only way to do it is applying for a long-stay visa (residence permit). An option that does not require you to stay in Spain for 6 months in order to renew the residence permit is the Golden visa, which allows you to come to Spain any time you wish. This option does not grant you “residence” if you do not wish to be a resident in Spain. Also, as you do not have to stay in Spain for at least 6 months, you do not have to become a tax resident, which is another great advantage of this visa. Here ( you have all the requirements.

          If this is an option for you, we will be pleased to advise you and help you with the application.

  4. Jane Bainbridge

    What happens if I only spend 74 days out of 180 days in Spain – does my 90 days start again after 180? This is doing my head in – if I put this sensation into the calculator it starts counting backwards?!

  5. hii have a Holladay home the Germany ,on the last but one time i traveled thought the euro tunnel and on my return my passport was not stamped , i retuned last week and on my way home i asked the French border control what where i could get my passport stamped as i had only been out of the uk for 5 days but a month has now gone by , the French border control guy said dont worry we do it to mess with the British system this does not help . so i when stopped at the British passport control he was not interested .where do i go


      Dear John,

      I would advise that you contact the Police Department/ Foreign office there in the Uk and explain your situation to them

  6. Could you please correct if any of the following rules are not correct.
    Rule 1 In a 180 day period only stay 90 days or less
    Rule 2 when you have taken 90 days in Schengen or less and 180 period is reach leave .
    Rule 3 When you have used your 90 day stay allowance stay out of Schengen 90 days
    Rule 4 First day back after after 90 days staying out of Schengen new 90 day allowance new 180 day period starts (? is this correct)
    Rule 5 If you do not use your 90 day allowance in your allotted time of 180 days you loose those days.
    I do not know if I am correct on the above items, but my own view is that counting back is confusing, which most recommend to use.
    When I plane my holidays I always count first day back of my 90 days away, then 180 days forward and make sure I leave Schengen in that time.

    1. Hi my husband lives in Spain and is a Spanish resident having residencia, I travel every month 10-14 days. I thought my 90 days would be 28 June for the 180, then I can start 29 June with a fresh start and carry on doing what I do, but reading your thread I need to then be out of Spain for a full 90 days this doesn’t add up.
      Can I apply for residency as my English husband is a resident and owns two businesses we have a home together in Spain.

  7. Donna Gardner-Hickman

    My husband has an Irish passport I have a British passport, can I stay with him outside the 90/180 day rule as his wife in spain?

    1. Dear Donna,

      Yes, of course, you can stay longer than the 90/180 as a spouse of a European resident. You both need to register as European residents and NON-EU family members of European residents.

      We can help you with that if needed.

      Kind regards,

    According to the 90/180 days rule, if you stay 90 days out of 180 days, then you have to wait 90 days before you enter Europe again
    MY question: if you stay LESS than 90 days, i.e. 75 days, do you still have to WAIT 90 days before you return to Europe?
    My travel plans are as follows:
    24 Feb – 2 May: 45 days in Europe
    Approx. 18 July – 2 August: brings me to around 65 days
    Do I then have to WAIT until 2nd of November to return to Europe, even if I haven’t used up my 90 days?

  9. Is the 180 days a “rolling 180” period? Or is it a static period from the first day of entry? If I use the 90 days in several different visits, the last period of 90 days completing on day 179, the 180 restarts after the first 180 expire.

  10. Hi
    Re posting this 30 mins later as it has been deleted

    Why am i restricted to the 90 day rule when EU citizens can come to the uk and not be stamped ?.
    This is a one way street. I have lived in spain for 16 years as a none resident as i work in the uk but commute.
    My wife and kids are residents and can travel backwards and forwards no problem.
    I have spanish friends who work here in uk and same for them.
    But if i go home now i have to count my days !.


        Hi Stephen,

        Unfortunately, since the UK is no longer part of the EU, British nationals are classed as third-country nationals and, consequently, the Schengen 90/180-day rule applies when visiting Spain.

        But, as your spouse and children are Spanish residents, you could apply for residency if you are interested in spending more time in Spain. We could help you with that.

        1. Hi
          I am planning on going to Amsterdam from London on01/09/2023 for a day. Then I am planning to go to Iceland with family in June/July 2023. I am so confused about this rule. Can I go back in June/July? I didn’t even know about this rule. Either I have to cancel my one day trip to Amsterdam if I want to go with with my family in June/July. Please reply me soon, it’s urgent

        2. Walter Valentino

          Hi miss Castro: I’m an American married to a Philippina that like to travel so much that I haven’t returned to the US in more than six years and the only reason we are back in the Philippines is because we were told we had to return to apply for a visa to Europe. We’ve lived in many places in Asia, from Taiwan to Thailand, Macau and Hong Kong to Vietnam and Singapore; we were in Dubai when we desided to come, so we could apply to go to Spain and Europe in general. I’ve been there but my wife would love to go!
          I’m retired so I have the time and desire to go many places.
          You, the expert, can tell me please, how she can get approved.


            Hi Walter,

            She would need to apply for a Schengen visa from her country of legal residence. We will be very pleased to help you.

            Thank you.

  11. Stuart Simmons

    We have holiday home on the Costa del Sol & for the past 18 years had been spending 6 months in Spain.
    As things have become more complicated with the 90/180 rule for Uk residents, my wife now has a Irish Passport & therefore is now a member of the EU.
    Unfortunately she has now been told she must abide by a Health Protocol & must apply for a Visa if she wishes to stay for 3 months, any longer my wife would have to become a Spanish Resident & I would have to apply as a non EU Family member to becone a Resident also. We do not wish to become Spanish Residents, but would like to spends 6month each year in Spain. Could you please clarify? THANKS


      Hi Stuart,

      As your spouse is an EU citizen, she just needs to register as an EU citizen in Spain. Once registered, you could register as his non-EU family member in Spain. This registration allows you to reside and work in Spain. We could help if needed.

      That is your only option if you would like to stay in Spain for 6 months. Regarding tax implications, if you do not spend 183 days, you will not be a Spanish tax resident.

  12. Hi, I am traveling to Crete in a few weeks anad staying for 90 days, I will then come home to the UK and travel out to Croatia, as Croatia is not in the Schengen area, am I able to do this and not face a penalty? Thanks

  13. Hi, I was born in Italy and lived in USA for 33 years . Recent I became a USA citizens so I have Italian and American citizenship. I traveled to Italy in the last few months for 79 days stay. Is the 90 days rule apply to me or not I don’t understand , my all family is there and I was planning to go back nest month. Some people said I can stay over the 90 days with no restrictions .can you please help me. Thank you


      Yes, Anna. As a European national, you can stay in Schengen land for longer than 90 days in 180. You need to register as a resident once the first 90 days pass.



  14. I come to Tenerife and stay for 3 to 4 weeks at a time and the go home for six to 8 weeks then come back will the days I go home be added back on to give me more days I have tried to get a visa I have all the correct documents and privet medical cover but it is a nightmare at the Spanish consult I was told that I would have to pay tax in Spain as well as the uk on my earnings can you help

  15. Hi. I am an Indian National. I have a valid residence permit issued in France (valid up to 15th Oct 2022 as a student). I applied for a 6month visa for Germany to do a semester here in Germany which expires on 31/07/2022. Can I stay in Germany for a bit longer on my French residence permit?

  16. Hi,
    Surly you statement below is incorrect? As far as I can find out you are not allowed more than 90 days in 180 days but the days start “dropping off” as the days/weeks go by. Being not allowed to return for 90 days is wrong.
    Regards Robert
    “Under the terms of Schengen, non-EEA nationals cannot spend more than a total of 90 days within a total period of 180 days without a visa. Furthermore, once you’ve used up your quota of 90 days, you cannot return to Schengen until 90 more days have passed.
    For example, if you enter Spain on January 1st and spend 90 days in the country until June 30th, you cannot return to Spain until at least the end of September.”


      Thank you for your comment. Regarding your question, the duration may not exceed 90 days in any 180-day period, which means taking into account the 180-day period preceding each day of stay.

  17. Hi, I’ve read so much about this 90 day rule yet I am still confused because my exact question hasn’t been addressed or at least not that I’ve recognized. My question is this: If I live in a Schengen country for 90 days (within the 180 day period) can I then go live in another EU country that’s NOT YET a Schengen country? I’m thinking Croatia or Montenegro specifically.

    In addition, if I can, it is my understanding that I would only be allowed to live in Croatia or Montenegro for 90 days (maybe within 180 days as well). In which case could I then immediately move back to live in a Schengen country?


      Regarding your question, it is not possible to stay 90 days in the Schengen area, leave to another country outside the Schengen area, stay there for 1 day, and re-enter the Schengen area, for example. But, in your case, if you have spent 3 full months in the Schengen area, you will have to wait 3 more months after leaving before you can re-enter: you will have completed 90 days within a period of 6 months.

      Therefore, you will be able to do what you have planned.

      In here, you have a Schengen Visa Calculator, if necessary.

  18. Barbara Vollmuller

    Good evening Maria, we have a place in The Netherlands. I am Dutch and have a Dutch passport, my husband is British. We were under the impression that the 90 days are from January-June, and then again July-August. Last Sunday we realised that we misunderstood (as so many people, it is so confusing) and counted the days my husband has been here, totalling 100 days..! I quickly booked a flight back. At Schiphol airport the Customs did not say anything and stamped his passport, back in the UK it was the electronic system. Now we wonder if he gets fined through the post? Can we risk him travelling back to Holland or does he have to wait 90 days. Or… will he be caught when arriving back on the Continent? We always travel by car Dover-Calais.
    If I have to pay for your service then please cancel this, I will find out some other way.
    Many thanks for your reply.


      If he has exceeded the 90/180 days limit, he will have to wait to enter the Schengen area again.

      In this case, if he has spent 3 full months in the Schengen area, he will have to wait 3 more months after leaving before he can re-enter: he will have completed 90 days within a period of 6 months.

      If he does not comply, he will be in an irregular situation in the Schengen area and will risk being deported and not being allowed to re-enter.

      More information about this rule is here:

      In here, you have a Schengen Visa Calculator as well.

  19. Hi Maria,

    My husband and I are planning to spend 80days in Croatia from Oct 2022 through Dec 2022. Currently Croatia is non schengen. We have holiday booked from Jan through March 2023 in Portugal in schengen before returning to work. If Croatia gets accepted into schengen on Jan 2023 will we be denied entry in Portugal due to 90/180 day rule now that Croatia has entered the zone? Oe will any time in croatia in 2022 still count as non schengen in 2023? Can’t find any resources online for this. Thanks


      Dear Emily,

      This is Sara Velasco from Costaluz Lawyers. It is a pleasure talking to you.

      We would recommend you to consult the Consulate of Croatia, they will be able to answer your questions.

      Kind regards.

  20. Hi there,
    UK citizen – I fly into Germany, stay for one night in a hotel, then get on a ship which takes me to a wind farm outside of German territorial waters (>12km) but within their EEZ. I remain there for 14 days, then return to shore, stay a night in a hotel & then fly home.
    Do my days on the ship count towards my allowance of 90?
    Best regards, Alan


      Dear Alan,

      This is Sara Velasco from Costaluz Lawyers. It is a pleasure talking to you.

      The 90/180 days will start counting the day you receive an entry stamp. Also, the days at sea do count.

  21. Hello, I stayed 90 days in the Schengen zone and flew out to Morocco to spend a month there traveling. Now I want to fly back home to the United States (I’m American) and the flight I’m looking at has a 2 hour layover in Paris which is obviously in the Schengen zone. Will this be a problem for me as I will technically go over the 90 day period with this layover. I will not leave the airport but there is a chance I made need to get my luggage and recheck into next flight.

    Thanks, Monte


      Dear Monte,

      This is Sara Velasco from Costaluz Lawyers. It is a pleasure talking to you.

      There should be no problems in your case. However, we would recommend you to contact the border authorities at the specific airport in order to be sure that you will be allowed to stay there and catch the flight to the United States.

  22. Good Evening,
    I have the German citizenship but my daughter is American. Now, she wants to study in Seville the following spring semester. Does she still have to apply for a student visa?


      Hi Lisa,

      As she is an American citizen, she would need to apply for a Student visa from her country of residence.

  23. Do the canary isles come under this 90/180 day ruling. I realise they have not been classed as part of the EU, but they are classified as Spanish


      Hi John,

      Regarding your question, the Canary Islands are part of the Schengen area and therefore the 90/180-day rule applies in this case.

  24. hello, please I want to ask I traveled to France for 90 days and I have had the Schengen for 6 months, I left the Schengen area for approximately 1 month and a half, my question is can I re-travel back to this Schengen area? please i need this answer as soon as possible because i booked my flight and today i knew about the 90/180

  25. Hi Maria,
    I am currently studying on a long stay visa that will expire on February 8. Am I able to re-enter Europe on the 90/180 Schengen Visa after this date? Thanks!


      Hi Claire,

      Regarding your question, periods of stay authorised on the basis of a national long-stay visa or residence permit are not taken into account for the calculation of the duration of the 90/180 days in the territory of the Schengen States (Article 6.2 of the Schengen Code). Therefore, you will be able to re-enter the Schengen area after that date.

  26. Good morning.
    I have an EU passport (Irish) and wish to stay in Spain for more than 180 days . I have now been in Spain for 77 days, and am currently in the process of registering on the local Padron.
    Following this, I will then apply to register as an EU citizen, and apply for my NIE number. Is there anything else I need to do, to have the right to remain legally in Spain beyond 180 days?
    Incidentally, although I believe I have all the correct documentation/evidence needed, I am finding it very difficult to accomplish these tasks, due to the fact that there is differing information and the various agencies do not seem to be very streamlined. Is this something you could help me with?


      Hi Celia,

      Regarding your questions, as an EU citizen, you can exercise the right to freedom of movement, therefore, there are no restrictions for you. However, if you would like to stay longer than 3 months residing in Spain, it is necessary to register as an EU citizen in Spain, which is a very simple process.

      We will be pleased to help you.




      Hi Philip,

      Unfortunately, that is not possible. Tourist visa extensions can only be based on exceptional circumstances (humanitarian and illness reasons).

      If you would like to stay longer, you would need to apply for a long-stay visa at the Spanish Consulate in your country. Here you have all the long-stay visas.

      We will be pleased to help you with the application.

  28. Hi there,
    I am British and in the process of applying for a non lucrative visa for Spain. I have all the paperwork ready. I have an appointment booked at the consulate. My solicitor here in Spain has advised I get a new passport before I go for my interview in Edinburgh. The trouble is the quick passport service is not available. I have been calculating me days all year and I was questioned at Latvia airport as I might have been one day over my 90 days. I wasn’t fined or anything they just spent 5mins looking at my passport. So my question is do I use this passport or wait to get a new one but my paperwork may have run out of time. Help!


      Hi Jackie,

      We would recommend you to apply using that passport, as there are short deadlines and some documents could expire. If you need anything else, we will be pleased to help you.

  29. Hi Maria,

    Thank you for answering all these questions. I think I am confusing myself

    If I enter Spain say January 10th, and leave Spain after 60 days, March 10th. Then my 180 days will expire on June 10th.
    Can I re-enter Spain from June 11th and start my 90/180 again?

  30. I am from Bulgaria and plan to stay more than 90 days in Denmark, which is part of Schengen. I do not want to register again yet ( I used to live here a couple of years ago). Can I lawfully stay more than 90 days without registering, and does the 90/180 apply to me?

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      As an EU citizen, you can exercise the right to freedom of movement, therefore, there are no restrictions for you. The 90/180-day does not apply to you.

  31. Interesting article! But what if you for example are UK passport holder with German residency. You can travel within Schengen as no internal borders no passport stamps. How will this be monitored in relation to 90 day rule. Also if you fly from
    For example the UK to Spain get a stamp then return to Germany where you are resident – again no stamp
    officially you are in Spain not Germany. . The system is a mess it does not accurately record data

  32. I am Canadian and married to a French citizen working and residing in Spain, she has moved here for her work and I am joining her.

    We entered France together Dec 11, we moved to Spain January 2nd, and it is now March 6th so I am 5 days away from March 11th where I will be past my 90 days allowed to be in Spain.

    I am requesting an appointment now for my Tarjeta de residencia de familiar de ciudadano de la Unión (inicial) but I do not know if I will get the appointment this week.

    Do I need to plan to leave the country or will they be lenient and let me stay a few more days until I have the appointment?

    Is there anyone I should contact proactively?

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Hi Brian,

      We would not recommend you to overstay. However, the application can be submitted electronically. We will be pleased to do it on your behalf.

  33. Katie Jefferson

    I’ve had mixed results leaving Andorra. I am a US citizen on an American passport, I went into Andorra for a while at the end of my time in Europe. Leaving the Schengen area through Germany I had no troubles, they were initially confused as to if I had over stayed but we had the documentation that we were in Andorra so we were able to leave without issue. Recently I went back to Europe and upon exit through Switzerland they counted my time from the previous year in Andorra, which then lead to me overstaying by 12 days. They would not look at any of my documentation this time, and told me not to contact a lawyer. I am very confused. If Andorra is non-Schengen, and I can prove I was there, why does that count? Is there anything I can do?

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Andorra is not part of the Schengen area, therefore, it does not count for the calculation of your 90/180 days. However, if you have not been fined, there is nothing to worry about.

      We always recommend using the Schengen Visa Calculator. Here you have it. ( How to use it:

      More information about this rule is here:

  34. Hi Maria
    I am British and my wife is Irish. We both live outside of the EU. My wife wrote to the EU Contact Centre regarding the application of the 90/180 day rule and was advised that I would not be subject to this restriction if I am travelling with my wife. If this is the case then we could stay in Spain for two months, leave for a month and then return for two months. Does Spain recognise this interpretation of the legislation?
    I understand that whilst we are in Spain we can apply for an EU (and EU spouse) residency permit enabling us to stay for more than three months. For how long does this permit remain valid? Would the permit remain valid if we were to leave Spain and then return again a few weeks/months later?
    Many thanks

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      As an EU citizen, she can exercise the right to freedom of movement, therefore, there are no restrictions for that citizen. But the non-EU citizen is under the 90/180 days rule unless you were registered as a non-EU family member of an EU citizen in an EU country (holder of a residence card indicating your quality of a family member of an EU citizen) and also, you must be accompanied by the EU citizen.

      You could register in Spain as a family member of your spouse, however, she will need to establish her domicile in Spain first and register as an EU citizen in Spain. You will be asked for a certificate of census registration at the municipality, that is, you must be registered in the same house in Spain. This residence permit is valid for 5 years. However, you have to remain in Spain for 6 months/year in order not to lose the residency.

      We will be pleased to submit your application electronically on your behalf.

      1. Berni Richardson

        Sorry can I just double check I understand what you have said because my husband is a UK citizen but I am an EU citizen. So I need to have residency in Spain, and husband needs to have applied for his residency in order for him to be able to stay longer than 90 days? Thank you 😁

  35. I have been alternating between England and Spain spending one month at a time in each country totalling 90 days in Spain in the last 180. Can I now visit Croatia?

  36. Hello,
    I am Irish, my civil partner is non EU but has pre settled status in the UK. Can you please advise if when we travel together to Spain to my house does it count towards the 90/180 rule?
    We were advised some time ago that it would not apply to my partners circumstances as we were travelling together.

    Thank you for your response.


      Dear Anthony,

      Your question regarding the 90/180 rule for your non-EU civil partner is a complex one, and it hinges on the interpretation of the EU’s rules for family members of EU citizens.

      The 90/180 rule generally applies to non-EU citizens who are visiting the Schengen Area (which includes Spain), limiting them to stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. However, the rule does not apply to non-EU family members accompanying or joining an EU citizen who is exercising their right of free movement.

      Since you’re an Irish citizen, and Ireland is part of the EU, your partner could potentially be exempt from the 90/180 rule when traveling with you to your home in Spain. However, there could be other factors at play, and the interpretation of these rules can vary.

      Main point to consider is that you can prove the reality of that civil partnership through records in a Registry. If that exists, there is no problem for her to stay with you longer than the 90/ 180 days but you will have to register as resident in Spain before the 90 days expire.

      It’s important to remember that although the European regulations set a deadline of three months, it is advisable that you register as soon as possible once you decide that you will stay in Spain for a period longer than these three months.

      Please feel free to reach out if you have any further questions.

  37. I have italian citizenship with Italian passport but residing in united kingdom as my main home residence.
    Is there a limit for me to travel to any country in Europe or italy?
    How long can I stay in italy? Is there a limit? if I went to italy for holiday for 2 weeks and came back to United Kingdom
    Will I be able return back to italy within the 180 days? What’s the rules for this.


      Hi Jo:

      As an Italian citizen with an Italian passport, you are an EU citizen, and this comes with certain rights when it comes to freedom of movement within the European Union and the broader European Economic Area (EEA). Here are the answers to your questions:

      Traveling within Europe: As an EU citizen, you have the right to travel, live, and work freely in any EU/EEA country. There isn’t a specific “limit” to your stays within these countries, including Italy.

      Staying in Italy: Since you are an Italian citizen, there’s no limit to how long you can stay in Italy. You have the right to reside there indefinitely. If you decide to stay longer and make Italy your permanent residence, you might want to register your residence, obtain an identity card, and take other administrative steps, but these are not necessary for short visits.

      Returning to Italy within 180 days: Yes, you can return to Italy whenever you wish, irrespective of how long you stayed during your previous visit. The “180 days” rule you might be thinking of applies to non-EU citizens traveling in the Schengen Area, where they are typically allowed to stay for 90 days within any 180-day period for tourism or business without a visa. However, this rule doesn’t apply to you as an Italian (and thus EU) citizen.

      Returning to the UK: As an EU citizen living in the UK, if you have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you can leave the UK and return as you wish. If you have “settled status,” you can leave the UK for up to 5 years without losing your status. If you have “pre-settled status,” you need to not be absent from the UK for more than 2 continuous years. However, to maintain your pre-settled status, you generally should not have absences of more than 6 months in any 12-month period, with some exceptions.

  38. I have italian citizenship with Italian passport but residing in united kingdom as my main home residence.
    Is there a limit for me to travel to any country in Europe or italy?
    How long can I stay in italy? Is there a limit? if I went to italy for holiday for 2 weeks and came back to United Kingdom
    Will I be able return back to italy say within a month…. What’s the rules for this.

  39. Darren O’Donnell

    Hi, firstly thanks for the great advice above and for taking the time to respond on here!
    My wife and I are British passport holders, living in the UK, however I also have Irish citizenship and an Irish passport too.
    We are planning a year of travel around Europe, motor homing, but the 90/180 rule is proving difficult to fathom out!
    As an Irish passport holder, can I travel with my UK passport holding wife for say, 30 days in France, 30 days in Spain, 30 days in Italy, then 30 days in Germany . . . So lots of moving about in EU states, but not leaving the EU and returning to the UK after 90 days within the EU?
    I appreciate any advice you can give,
    Best wishes, Darren


      Good morning Darren O’Donnell! This is Claudia Gonzalez from CostaLuz Lawyers. It is a pleasure to speak with you and be able to help you.

      Effectively your wife can only be 90 days circulating in the EU in a period of 180 days. Otherwise, with your Irish passport you can be circulating in the EU without any time limit.

      From our experience, if you wish to travel within the EU without time limit, we recommend that your wife register as a Family Member of an EU Citizen, this way she would have no time limit and so would you.

      If you finally decide to do this option, we will be happy to accompany you in the process and send you the necessary documentation.

      If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

  40. Good afternoon,

    I am looking to buy a Spanish property as my main residence.
    I would not work in Spain, but return/ commute to England to work there part time. (4 days on, 12 days off)
    I will be staying in Spain for more than 183 days per year.
    Could you advise which visa I will need to do this?
    As I understand, the NLV will not work as I can’t work anywhere in the world with that visa. Is that correct?

    Thank you
    Kind Regards

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Tony,

      Thank you for your inquiry regarding purchasing a property in Spain and your visa requirements.

      The type of visa you will need largely depends on the nature of your work, whether it’s self-employment or employment by others.

      In any case, the Self employment Visa may be a solution in your case. We can provide you with a more detailed assessment if you contact us directly.

      I hope this information is helpful, and please feel free to reach out for further assistance.

      Kind regards,

      Maria L. de Castro

  41. Hi! Thanks for the information. Nice article.
    But what about someone who used to be a resident, and leaves Europe when the residence expires and wishes to return to Europe as a tourist? Is there the need to wait for at least 90 days after the residence expires to return as a tourist? And is there the need to leave Europe when the residence expires and then return or is it possible to stay until 90 days after the expiration date?

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Augusto:

      A person who has been granted residency or a visa in Spain, for example, with a start date of January 1, 2023, and an end date of December 31, 2023, will automatically start using their Schengen days if they remain in Spain after the end date. Therefore, from January 1, 2024, they have 90 days to stay in Spain without having to return to their home country before using their Schengen days

      Best wishes


  42. Hello and thank you for providing such an informative website.

    I’m so glad I found your website and this question from DARREN O’DONNELLSEPTEMBER 18, 2023, and read the response from MARIA LUISA CASTROSEPTEMBER 19, 2023 = (“From our experience, if you wish to travel within the EU without time limit, we recommend that your wife register as a Family Member of an EU Citizen, this way she would have no time limit and so would you.. If you finally decide to do this option, we will be happy to accompany you in the process and send you the necessary documentation”).

    We have almost a similar situation to Darren’s question.
    My wife and I currently live in the USA. My wife is a Canadian & USA citizen (has both passports) and I have Austria & USA citizenship with an Austrian & USA Passport. I’m the EU citizen but my wife is not.

    We are moving & retiring to Europe end of 2024 and will be traveling all over Europe. We will be in Germany and Austria for 4 months, then Spain, Italy, and Croatia in 2025.
    Since I’m an EU Citizen I would like to know if your team can help my wife to “register as a Family Member of an EU Citizen”.

    I thought your website was just for everything for just “SPAIN”, but it looks like you offer other services and can help my wife with the documents needed.
    Please let me know what the next steps are.

    Thank you very much.
    Warmest Regards
    Michael & Heather from Canada/USA

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Hello Michael and Heather,

      Thank you for reaching out. At this time, we are unable to provide assistance with short-term visa services or direct responses on the blog due to our current workload constraints.

      Best regards,

      Maria Luisa Castro

  43. Hi!
    I am an Irish Citizen and my husband is an American Citizen. Can he spend 90 days in Ireland with me AND then spend 90 days in Spain – (Schengen country) with me? Is it true we can travel together into each EU Shengen country and spend 90 days in each country?

    Thank you

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Lisa:

      As an Irish citizen, you can stay in Ireland indefinitely, and your American husband can stay for up to 90 days without a visa. Since Ireland is not part of the Schengen Area, these 90 days do not count against his Schengen 90/180-day limit. After Ireland, he can spend another 90 days in Spain or any other Schengen country within a 180-day period. However, he cannot spend 90 days in each Schengen country consecutively; the 90-day limit applies to the entire Schengen Area.

      For longer stays, you can both register as residents. In Ireland, your husband can apply for residency through the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) by providing proof of your marriage and residence. In Spain, he can apply for a residence card as a family member of an EU citizen by registering at the local “Extranjería” office within 90 days of arrival and providing proof of marriage, residency, and financial means or health insurance.

      Hope the above helps

      Best wishes


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