Further to our legal update of 2 May 2013, the European Union published Regulation EU 610/2013 (Regulation) on 26 June 2013 with the aim of providing clarity around the maximum times allowed in the Schengen Area.

This modifies Regulation EU 562/2006 (Regulation 2006), which established common rules on standards and procedures for the control of entry of persons at the external borders of the member states of the European Union.

Third country nationals (non-EU citizens) now travelling to the Schengen Area, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania on a short stay visa for tourism, business or family visit purposes can only stay for a duration of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period, which entails considering the 180-day period preceding each day of stay if the following conditions are met:

  • Third country nationals must have a valid travel document
  •  The travel document must be valid for at least three months after the intended date of departure from the Schengen Area
  • The travel document must have been issued within the previous 10 years from the date of entry to the Schengen Area

The previous rules provided entry for up to three months in any 180-day period. Whilst most jurisdictions choose to define three months as 90 days, this was open to interpretation. Further, the 180-day period was to be taken from the date of first entry. This made the counting of the three months very challenging for those who were regular visitors to the Schengen. The new sensible approach means that there is now no room for error in calculation by the traveller.

We anticipate that given the clarity there will be a general tightening of this rule as individuals travel to and throughout the Schengen area.