National visas and Schengen interaction

The EU has confirmed to the Cruising Association (CA) that days spent in an EU country where you have a visa/residence permit granted by that country do not count as days spent in the Schengen zone in calculating either the 90 days or the 180 days in the Schengen 90/180 calculation.

The CA’s Regulations and Technical Services group (RATS) has been in discussion with the EU over the interaction between the Schengen rules allowing UK citizens entry to the Schengen zone for 90 days in any period of 180 days (the 90/180 days rule) and visas/residence permits granted by individual Schengen countries.

For example: UK citizen John spends 90 days cruising in Denmark and then travels to Sweden entering under a Swedish 180 day visitor permit; after 180 days in Sweden he returns to Denmark and then sails to Norway returning to the UK within 90 days of his second entry to Denmark. The EU Commission has confirmed that, because the days spent in Sweden under the residence permit count as days outside Schengen, John’s cruise is permitted under the Schengen rules. A total of 360 days in the Baltic should be more than enough for the keenest cruising sailor!

Currently Sweden and France are the only Schengen countries with cruising grounds that offer 180 day visas/residence permits to UK citizens. Some other Schengen countries offer resident visas but generally these are not appropriate for cruisers due to complications with tax residency, VAT, requirements as to minimum days etc.


CA 180-day Visa Campaign


There are still areas of uncertainty around exit and entry formalities throughout Europe with individual countries applying their own interpretations. RATS continues to monitor the various situations and welcomes reports from CA members and others. These should be sent to


It should be noted that the rules set out above do not apply to an extension of a Schengen visa which can, in certain rare circumstances (which include humanitarian reasons, force majeure and medical reasons), be applied for before the expiration of the Schengen 90 days. The holder of any such extension is only permitted to remain in the country where the extension is granted and, prior to the expiration of such extension, is required to leave the country and travel directly to a destination outside the Schengen zone.

The Schengen zone consists of the following 26 countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

For more on this story, please visit our 180-Day Campaign page.

26 May 2021


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