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Does an Austrian residency permit allow you to ignore the Schengen 90 day rule?

The Local Austria
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Does an Austrian residency permit allow you to ignore the Schengen 90 day rule?
German Police officers check bus passengers and car drivers at the German-Czech border in 2021. Photo: Jens Schlueter/AFP

Under the 90-day rule, non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens can stay in the Schengen Area for a total of 90 days without a visa. But does the rule apply to Austrian residency permit holders?

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What is the 90-day rule?

The Schengen '90-day' rule applies to most non-EU/EEA citizens - including Britons, Americans, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders - and allows them to stay within the Schengen zone for 90 days in every 180-day period.

While this might be enough for second homeowners or people that don’t plan to live and work in the country they're visiting, anyone that wants to stay for longer will need some type of visa or residency permit. The 90-day limit is also intended for visits only, so if you're planning to do paid work during your stay, you may need a visa.

What if I have an Austrian residency permit?

Unfortunately, having a visa or a residency permit will not stop the 90-day rule from applying to you if you take an extended trip to another country within the Schengen zone.

READ ALSO: Visas and residency permits: How to move to Austria and stay long-term

Once you leave Austria for another EU or Schengen zone country, you'll need to start counting the days. 

Exactly how to calculate the 90 days can be confusing, but the short explanation is that, at any time of the year, you need to be able to count back 180 days, and within those 180 days not have spent more than 90 of them in the EU/Schengen area outside of Austria.

­­­­­The 90-day total applies to the whole EU/Schengen zone, so if you are a resident in Austria you can't spend 85 days in Germany and then go straight to Italy for a week by the sea, as that would exceed your 90-day limit.

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What about if I have an EU Passport?

The 90-day Schengen rule does not apply to EU nationals. But, theoretically, EU nationals can only stay in another EU country for up to three months (90 days) without having to register as residents there.

However, due to their EU national status, authorities are unlikely to actively check their duration of stay, and they are less likely to face consequences if they happen to overstay their allowed time.

What happens if I overstay the 90 days outside of Austria?

Frequent travellers within the Schengen zone will know that passport checks are not regularly carried out at land borders, especially when travelling by car or train.

But while the likelihood of being caught for overstaying the 90-day limit while driving from Germany to Austria may be low, passport checks can still occur at Schengen borders, especially during emergency situations, such as in the pandemic, or when one country changes its border control policies.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What happens if you overstay your 90-day limit in Austria?

If you are caught breaching the 90-day rule, you could be in for a hefty fine or even deportation from the country where you violated the rules.

Exceeding the 90-day period can also lead to your passport being marked as an overstayer, which might cause difficulties in future travel, residency, or visa applications.

In the worst-case scenario, you could end up with a re-entry ban to the Schengen area.

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