How To Stay In Europe Longer Than Three Months

You want to know how to stay longer in Europe than three months with a Schengen visa? Or, want to apply for a long-term visa and travel Europe unlimited? Here you will find how we managed to get a long-term visa in France and how to get a residence permit.

Applying for visa’s is such a pain. Every time we traveled to Europe during the last few years we had to get a Schengen Visa. The amount on paperwork and fees was extensive! And, what are a little quarter of a year when you want to see large parts of Europe?! We needed to find out, how to stay in Europe longer than three months!

How To Stay In Europe Longer Than Three Months With A Multiple Entry Schengen Visa

The EU and a few additional countries made up the Schengen Zone Visa System. Non EU citizen can spend a total of 90 days within half a year in the Schengen Zone Countries with the exception of England, Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia.

Map Of The Schengen Area

There is no way you can extend your Schengen visa. After you stayed a maximum of three months in the Schengen Area you HAVE TO leave.

But, no worries! We figured out how to stay in Europe longer than three months! Check out which country or countries outside of the Schengen area admit you easiest with your nationality as by visa and what duration you are allowed to stay as a tourist.

We decided in 2015 to apply for an additional visa to visit Great Britain, because the UK visa is for half a year and the country is big enough to enjoy for that amount of time. Also Ireland is just a short ferry trip away. For South Africans like George, no visa is required for the first three months.

Of course you can do the same with a total of three months visit of Croatia, enjoying the countries stunning Adriatic coastline, a trip to Bulgaria or an extended stay in Romania. After three months you can return with your multiple entry Schengen visa and continue your European journey within the Schengen area for another three months, before you have to leave again.

How To Stay In Europe Longer Than Three Months With A Long Term Visa

I have to admit that the solution to stay in Europe with a Schengen visa for more than three months is not very flexible and quite exhausting. You have to check your schedule meticulously so not to overstay your Schengen visa. Possibly you need to apply for additional visas for countries outside of the Schengen area. We got tired of doing the whole visa application marathon over and over again and searched for an other solution of a long term visa for Europe.

Which Countries In Europe Allow Tourists To Stay Longer Than Three Months?

Although in the same visa treaty zone, visa requirements vary from country to country. Only a few countries offer long-term visas and these are the countries you have to go for. Because of my ties to France with a holiday home we decided to try France for a long-term visa. At the time that we were looking for a stay in Europe longer than three months, also Sweden and Italy offered long-term visas for tourists. Spain and Portugal were an option for retirees.

Visa requirements change occasionally.

To find out how to stay in Europe longer than three months, you will need to check the actual visa information of the respective countries. It is more likely that requirements will become stricter in the future.

How To Stay In Europe Longer Than Three Months: Get A Long-Term Visa For France

Get ready for a lot of paperwork for the French visa application! Normally it’s required to apply from the relevant French embassy or consulate in your country of residence. It is not possible to come to France without a long-term visa and then to apply within the country for a residence permit. The French authorities will require such persons to return to their country of residence to apply for the appropriate visa.

Exceptions are made though, for example if you are accompanying a relative who is an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen. In this case the visa is free-of-charge and you can apply directly for a provisional residence permit (carte de séjour) at the local préfecture in France within two months of your arrival.

An extensive guide in English what long-term visas are available in France and to what requirements you find on EXPATICA.

Requirements For A Long Stay Visa For France

The French embassy or consulate in your country of residence needs following documents and papers:

  • Passport signed and valid 3 months after the last day of stay + 3
    photocopies (The consulate will not keep the passport, only the
  • 4 Application Form Long Stay Visa
  • 5 identity photographs (3.5 cm wide / 4.5 cm high)
  • Financial guarantee* such as:
    – formal letter of reference from your bank showing
    account numbers and balances or recent bank, savings or
    brokerage account statements (3 copies)
    – if you wish to retire in France, proof of sufficient income:
    pension, dividends, savings, band and brokerage account
    statements (3 copies)
  • Proof of medical insurance with coverage valid in France (3 copies)
  • Police clearance: document obtained from the Police Department of
    the place of residence with no criminal record (3 copies)
  • Letter certifying that you will not have any paid activity in France
  • Visa fee

More documents may be required due to your individual situation and changes.

*Proof of Financial Resources

Proof of financial resources or support can take the form of bank statements, letters from banks confirming arrangements for regular transfers of funds, letters from family or friends guaranteeing regular support or a “certificat d’hébergement” from a French family or friends with whom you will be staying in France. (Letters and documents should be notarized).

How to apply for a provisional residence (carte de séjour) permit in France

George is South African passport holder and entered France with a Schengen visa. As mentioned above, he was able to apply directly for a provisional residence permit (carte de séjour)  at the local prefecture because  I’m a Swiss citizen. Most of you won’t have that option and have to start the visa process in your home country, unless you get married or PACSed with an Europeen citizen.
You need the following basic documents (others may be required in individual cases):
  • Valid passport with long-stay visa (with photocopy of passport title page and French visa page)
  • A Birth Certificate or equivalent. George couldn’t get a birth certificate from South Africa in time. We provided proof that we had applied for it more than half a year earlier
  • Three black & white passport-type photographs (3.5cm x 4.5cm)
  • Proof of financial resources (applicable in all cases)
  • Medical Insurance/Medical certificate issued by a doctor approved by the French Consulate; full translation of a medical insurance made by a sworn translator (in some cases)
  • Proof of place of residence (utility bill or confirmation of the mayor, where you live)
  • For those who are married, a marriage certificate or if married in France “livret de famille”.
  • proof of French bank account (in some cases)
  • Two self-addressed and stamped envelopes.

If the authorities want more documents they’ll return all your transmitted papers to you and you will have to add the required information to the pile to return it by mail. It sounds awfully complicated but it’s how the authorities keep all the documents together.

It’s important that you add always a sufficiently stamped, big envelope to proceed.

The Préfecture in Mâcron which belongs to the department where we live, was pretty well organized with friendly employees and average waiting times. But then, we are used to the worst organized governmental offices in Africa and are easy to please.

Travelling Europe unlimited

Now you know, how to stay in Europe longer than three months. It is possible but it needs quite a bit of preparations. With a Schengen Visa or any long-term visa for an European country and Switzerland you are able to travel the whole of Europe unlimited! Most of the countries don’t have border controls anymore and you are allowed to stay as long as your visa for the other European country lasts. The visa is worthwhile the effort. And with every time you practice to apply for visas, you’ll get faster!

Read what beautiful places in Europe you will be able to visit. The anticipation will decrease the annoyance of the visa application process!

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Finally a sabbatical – A TIME-OUT! – and you can afford it

You have enough of your nine-to-five-Job, every day the same. You need a break – a TIME-OUT! – to recharge your batteries and to sort out yourself. You dream of traveling, exploring the world, without a time-limit of a couple of weeks. But you don’t know, if you can afford it.

YOU CAN DO IT! Read this article to learn how.

How are we able to travel the world for five years continuously? We must be very rich!

That’s what we hear from many people who long for a time out of their daily routine and want to explore the world like we do. But it’s not that we swim in money and can spend indefinite luxury vacations. We found a way to live and travel with very little money. That’s the whole trick basically.

How we can live and travel with very little money

In this newsletter I focus on how we skip the costs for accommodation. After a year traveling in Southern Africa, South America and the United States in 2013 and 2014 we were tired of living on campgrounds and laying in cheap beds of hostels.

In the United States we met friends who asked us to care for their dog during their holidays. Soon after my uncle asked us to care for dog and country home in the Netherlands, as he planned to travel to Iran. A great excuse to stay some time in one of our favorite countries of Europe.

Well, this is great! How can we get more house sits like this?

I set up a website but that didn’t do the trick. Who is going to find our website when looking for a house sitter anyway? And jeez! it’s a lot of work to write articles of a certain quality every week to get some readers all over the world. That wasn’t going to work!

I started to read blogs of world travelers

Most of the authors of these blogs were backpackers – young women and men – in between or after studying and before starting a career. Staying in bunk beds with bedbug-ridden mattresses in dorms with another seven buddies – no problem at that age!

Other bloggers were young women or men doing short trips in their holidays or families managing to travel with a bunch of lively kids like a bag of fleas without going nuts. Both categories weren’t quite in my stage of life. Only later I learned about world travelers which started their new life as world nomads after their careers.

Combining the love for animals and traveling

As I started to google for blogs of world nomads in a later period of life after family, kids and careers or early retired travelers, I learned that they often travel luxury by house sitting around the world.

That’s when I stumbled over a few websites dedicated to connect house owners mostly with animals to care for during their holidays with travelers like us. Most successful as for its most professional website, search, profile setup, helpline with live chat and reference system we found TrustedHousesitters.

How to start out as TrustedHousesitter without references?

We had a problem to get house sits when we put our profile on TrustedHousesitters initially. Why should a homeowner trust us with their precious animals and house if we didn’t have any references?!

There wasn’t a way around it as to do some house sits for friends and family which gave us their first note on our profile of TrustedHousesitters. But that wasn’t enough.

We couldn’t be too choosy about our first house sits

We went to the birthplace of the house sitting-concept, where it seems that everybody is totally comfortable and used to having house sitters in their homes every year over and over again – Great Britain. It was easy enough to find house sits from a few days to several weeks all over the British island, sometimes somewhat challenging with unruly animals or in not so nice suburbs and other times it was a treat.

All in all we spent six months in the United Kingdom having to pay only for five nights in hotels with the pleasant side effect of plenty references as TrustedHousesitters, handy for future house sit – hunts with large numbers of applicants from all over the world.

Now we can choose and pick our house sits

Thanks to the house owners which took the time to write us great references, we get new assignments more easily. We were able to meet up with the expectations and spent a wonderful time making two and four-legged friends in many parts of the world.

After having lived in so many houses, slept in many beds and used all kind of kitchens, we are probably home experts of best living space, most comfortable mattresses and where to find anything in someone else’s kitchen.

Try it for two weeks, a month or longer – live as a local in somebody else’s home

You see, it’s not too hard to start off as a house sitter. Choose the continent, country or region where you’d like to stay for some time and you’ll most probably see some open house sitting announcements.

You can even signup for emails to get new house sits real time into your inbox. If you want to apply for a house sit, do it immediately. The longer you wait the bigger the chance to lose out as many apply in the first days that the new house sit pops up.

Get in touch with us if you want to know more about house sitting, our experiences and the tasks which come with it.

Good luck and have a good time house sitting around the world!


Sign Up TrustedHousesitters

PS. Sign up by click on the image of TrustedHousesitters or this link. you’ll get 20% off of your subscription to TrustedHousesitters and we’ll get two months for free. Great for you and us!


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Hippohelp – Work Abroad In Exchange For Food And Accommodation

Guest Post: To work abroad in exchange for food and accommodation is an excellent way to meet with like minded people and to learn new skills while exploring the world. Read about the new online platform which connects you with your future host and work place.

Hi! My name is Leopold, and I’m the creator of Hippohelp, a platform connecting hosts with travellers willing to work in exchange for food and accommodation. Continue reading “Hippohelp – Work Abroad In Exchange For Food And Accommodation”

Reise Blog | Travel Blog – Awards 2017 nominated us for their Travel Blog Awards 2017. Your vote counts! Thanks for your support.

Deutsch | English hat uns und eine Reihe von weiteren Reisebloggern aus der Schweiz für ihre Reise Blog Awards 2017 nominiert. Deine Stimme zählt! Danke für deine Unterstützung.

Reise Blog Awards 2017
Click on the picture to vote  |  Klicke auf das Bild zum Wählen

English nominated us and other Swiss travel bloggers for their Travel Blog Awards 2017. Your vote counts! Thanks for your support.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Of Traveling

We travel slowly around the world for four years continuously. Does that mean that we are always happy what we are doing? Here you find our list of the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY of traveling.

On the road four years and counting, and not thinking of quitting just yet.

South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi,Tanzania and Kenya to Argentina and Ecuador. To the USA and on to France, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria and Germany.

Since the UK voted themselves out of the European Union they get a sentence (pun intended) all of their own. Continue reading “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Of Traveling”