This post is about how my Shengen visa works, how rules applied in non-Shengen countries, and about “THE LONGEST FLIGHT EVER” 🙂 – “Sofia – ViennaLvivVienna – Munich – Lviv“. I collected my experience here, so that for the future to know and remember how sh*t can be happening 🙂

Due to the fact that Bulgaria allows people with Shengen visas be in Bulgaria no more 90 days, I traveled to Sofia with my tourist visa “C”. I expected, that Bulgaria, being ONLY EU member, applies Shengen visa rules, at least major rule regarding day limits. But as turned out – rules are weird and are not applied as you would expect, or I need more info.

airmap_with_arrows

Sofia

Oct-04 / Oct-18

It was only 2 weeks, in Sofia, and then I returned back to Ukraine. But then I returned to Sofia, and MY BIGGEST MISTAKE, I started calculation of 90 days, from new date Oct-23.

Sofia

Oct-23 / Jan-19

I was in Bulgaria since Oct-23, and ~Jan-23 it should have been 90 days limit (once again – my biggest mistake). So when I was in Sofia I was calm and knew that everything would be fine.

But, during a few discussions with people, I’ve got information, that my 90 days started calculating since my first entry to EU/Shengen zone (Slovakia, Jul-04-2014). This was first DESTRUCTION 🙂 and trigger to worry.

So surprisingly and accidentally for me I realised I had already over-used 90-days limit. And in Jan-19-2015 it looked like 93 days.

What I forgot, is next 180-days phase. Jan-04-2015 finished my first period of 180 days, and started new 180-days period and is currently until Jul-04-2015 (in fact it’s also finish of my visa validity).

But, AFAIK (NOT YET CONFIRMED INFO), when you start 90 from 180 days by first travel over border (“entry date” term), you should have return back from EU/Shengen when 90 days is reached. And last date when you cross the border will be “exit date” term.

Besides, many sources told me that I have to go in this 90-day, to be not banned for the over-use.

Sofia.

Day Jan-19-2015.

So, it looks like before Jan-19, I had:

  • I was ready to be banned for over-used EU/Shengen 90-days limit.
  • and if the 2nd 180-days phase started I might have banned due to over-use being in 1st phase with no changing phases.

I haven’t seen 2nd item documented anywhere in Shengen rules documents. Also there is no information, if your phases changed on calendar level, does this clear all previous phase 90-days limitation.

Anyway, being in Sofia airport, and I was ready to be banned by Bulgarian/EU law/rules. Border police person was checking my passport for ~ 2minutes. Something discussed with her friend/co-worker, and finally stamped my passport, and I went to the gate for my flight to Vienna. Whew … 🙂

BTW, I did not expected to have 2 bags, so considering that 1 ticket has only one bag shipping payment, I had to pay 90$ for my second bag to travel with me 🙂 Empty bag costs ~35 EUR (~41$).

Vienna.

Day Jul-19-2015.

Being a bit scared and surprised, I expect to not pass Germany or Austrian border, and when I arrived to Vienna, I went to gate for Lviv flight (#OS381 number). Surprisingly for me I met my former co-worker. We started discussion, etc, and somehow we mentioned situation, when people stuck in airport – how they behave, where they can sleep, what if they have USA visa only, and no permit to go out from airport to Shengen/EU country. BTW, she was flying from USA, and was tired and wanted normal sleep 🙂 and just sweet home.

Then, our flight was moved to another gate, not so far, but we started wondering 🙂

Anyway, we boarded to flight, and we were flying to Lviv, and expected to be there ~ 15:15.

In fact I was preparing to rapid movement through all these steps: UA border control, being banned :), declared my alcohol drinks, taking luggage, taxi driving to office and taking train ticket, and drive to train station to be in time for my 15:57 train to Ivano-Frankivsk. And besides, next day I planned to go from IF to Lviv back 🙂 Crazy traveler 🙂

But 🙂 again, so many but-ts 🙂

Almost in Lviv, or maybe it was near by Lviv airport, air plane was not able to land, and we returned back to Vienna :(. Reason: bad weather.

During flight, we have “second drinks phase”, we discussed our next steps. It’s a pity, I would say 🙂 but personally, I treat this as very good experience.

Vienna.

Jul-19-2015, evening – returned back from Lviv.

When we arrived to Vienna, air company has already booked hotel near by airport for some people. And they booked tickets for the next day to Munich, and from Munich to Lviv. My co-worker had only USA visa, and she couldn’t go out from airport, and after night in airport she had flight to Istanbul and then to Lviv finally.

Before going to hotel, I passed THE quickest border control. Despite I was a bit scared I was still ready to be banned 🙂 

But police person spent maybe 10 sec for me: Looked into passport, looked to me, stamped, gave passport back. Whew .. 🙂

Back to lucky me – I went to hotel, and enjoyed free service 🙂 In fact this was my first **** hotel, and first time I realized hotels can have dinner included in hotel room price. And they have breakfast too. Next day I woke up early, and checked out in 05:30, and went to airport.

Vienna – Munich.

Day Jul-20-2015.

When I entered Vienna airport I expected they will check me again: magnet/security system and passport. But fortunately, it wasn’t so. I went to my gate, my luggage was previously in airport over the night, and waiting for morning flight. And in fact technically I could take any forbidden things to plane – which was surprize for me. Anyway, as far as I understand, this is EU/Shengen countries, and no need to check between them. Or, somehow I was lucky, because I entered airport from “Arrival” door 🙂

Where I landed in Munich, I finally passed security and passport control. Person who checked my passport, had attentively reading, paging, checking my passport. Something checked with his co-worker, but finally with no questions I passed this step too. But still I was ready to be banned. 🙂

Flight from Munich to Lviv was ok. Small craft again, but fine.

Lviv.

Day Jul-20-2015.

With some delay, but I passed UA border police. Girls were fine 🙂 I was not banned.

Then I waited very long for my luggage. I saw many wet bags, many damaged bags, but finally my 2 bags arrived.

I took my list of written alcohol drinks I have with me, and went to red corridor. BTW, previous time I went to green corridor, and I had to pay to over-use drinks limit. So this time I decided to be prepared and honest 🙂 Imagine how I was surprise, when security person instead of asking me about drinks, asked about coins I have in bag. I said “А що з ними? (What’s wrong with coins?)”. He told me “Нічого? Давай показуй. (Nothing, show it.)”. We went into separate dedicated room for such security checks, and I shoed hime old-Jugoslavia-coins (cos: 5 UER). He said ok. Then he asked about drinks. I told him – “I have 1.1L 40%”, he said OK. I was shocked.

When I was just going out from Lviv airport my second bag has broken – I just normally used telescopic hand, and it’s crashed. That bag is with guarantee for Sofia/Bulgaria only, and now I will either fix it, or forget about quality at all in this f*cking world 🙂

Btw, my co-workers luggage was missed. I can just imagine how angry she was. I would only remind myself about one sentence about quality and world. 🙂

Lviv.

Day Jul-20-2015. cont.

I took taxi and went to corporate apartment, then went to Lviv5 office, back to work.

Btw, here is kinda short, simplified scheme of my travels and this is after all – I was not banned, and looks like I’m in 2nd 180-days phase with cleared 90-days history:

Shengen_Calc_2

And reminder about EU, non-EU and other:

Shengen_Zone

“2015 year data”

Outcomes

  • Proven fact: When you travel to USA, better to have Shengen visa too.
  • Better to plan travels with distance between at least 2-3 days. So that losing money probability might be small.
  • Even very good systems, are failing sometimes. 
  • Even very good and technologic systems are nothing against weather and nature in general. 
  • I still don’t get how the Shengen visa rules work.
  • Jul-04-2015 in fact is finish date of my visa validity. And I’m in 2nd 180-days phase. But still not quite sure 🙂
  • I plan to get more information to understand how the system works.
  • And once again I persuaded myself, to be well informed and confident in what you are doing is very important, in any areas, in any cases, in any situations.

Resources:

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