Tag Archives: Schengen

Subverting Schengen

Louvre at night, Paris

Thanks for spending springtime in Paris. Now get the hell out!

As our U.S. travels near completion our attention is increasingly drawn overseas. One of the things we’re not looking forward to about international travel is the need to jump through hoops to comply with various world visa restrictions. It’s an entirely absurd complication. We understand that sovereign nations don’t want hordes of foreigners flooding across their borders and stealing their women, um, jobs or – worse yet – living large off generous social safety net programs. What we can’t understand is why people like us who foreswear the right to work locally or receive any foreign benefits aren’t welcomed with open arms. All we want to do is visit your country, eat in your restaurants, patronize your shops, and sleep with your women in your hotels. Said another way, all we want to do is to import money into your nation’s economy. Keeping us out, or limiting our stay, makes absolutely no sense. We should say at the outset that we understand “Fortress America” to be one of the world’s worst offenders in this regard, although as U.S. citizens it hasn’t impacted us directly.

That will all change when we head off to Europe. There we’ll be allowed to stay a total of just 90 days. And unlike many places where you can reset the clock on your visa by simply stepping over a border, a large number of European governments require you to leave for another full 90 days before you are eligible to return. We could certainly make that work if each European country gave you three months to explore its riches, but they don’t. Because of something known as the Schengen Agreement that 90 day limit applies collectively to 27 European nations. If you spend your 90 days whiling away the winter on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, you can forget about spending springtime in Paris, or Germany, or Denmark, or just about anywhere that most folks associate with Europe.

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