UPDATED 2014: Europe is an amazing place. Millions of people travel to Europe each year, whether it be on business, curiosity, adventure, rebellion or leisure; we all make it there at one point in our lives.
However, there are a few rules I have come across as a solo backpacker that just plain piss me off. I have found many threads on the internet showing that many people are also concerned about some of these laws as travelers.
The Shengen Treaty(Please click for more detailed info).
Now, being an American citizen, I am rather lucky because I get a free waiver visa throughout basically any country in Europe. I also have the right to stay legally as a tourist for 90 days (3 months) in any country in Europe. UNLESS, you happen to be some countries named Austria, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Netherlands, Slovakia, Belgium, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, Norway,Slovenia, Czech Republic, France, Iceland, Luxembourg, Poland, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Malta, Potugal and Sweden.
Here is what the Schengen Treaty states:
Youmustapplyfor a "SchengenVisa," ifyouarenotspecificcountries (notincludingEUcitizens, Americans, AustraliansorCanadians).
If you do happen to overstay, here is how to escape:
-Do not travel to a country outside the schengen zone in Europe once you have overstayed (England, Turkey, Balkins, Ireland, etc.). They may catch you there and either fine you or deport you.
Fly/take a boat back to your home country or another destination through a schengen zone country. They won't deport you if you are already leaving, and it is easier to talk your way out of a fine if you are on your way out rather than them catching you already in.
If you have overstayed...
Chill and take a deep breath. If you have overstayed by one day or 8 months, the fine could still be the same depending on the officer. However, it will not go past 1200 euro. There are many people who are living in Schengen zone countries without residence visas. I would research at your own will for those situations. You can search on bootsnall.com. Working illegally, however, is another issue.
For more information on how to get a visa and work in Europe, please visit my 'How To Work In Europe' section. Youcanapplyforlong-termvisasifyouknowyouwillstayextratime. I suggestit, butifyouwannaroughit, itistotallypossibleandhundredshaveandaredoingitrightnow!