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  • Writer's pictureMark Tedesco

Our Italian Adventure: The Schengen Area and Calculating Our Stays

PART 44: It might be interesting to share how we pulled off living in Italy for part of the year. I will post some steps we took.

We live in Puglia in the Summer and then back again in the winter.

Our situation is that we live in Italy for about half the year due to our obligations in California. But what are the regulations for those living in Italy part time?

When living in Italy as a resident or part time as a non resident, it is essential to know the guidelines of the Schengen Area. Before starting our stay, we researched the guidelines and we always use a calculator (see below) to confirm that we are within the Schengen regulations.

Step 1: What is the Schengen Area? This is a zone, currently consisting of 27 European countries, which allow for unrestricted movement of people. The countries in this zone follow common rules for controlling external borders.

Step 2: What are the countries that are members of the Schengen zone? The 27 Schengen countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Step 3: Rules concerning visitors to the Schengen Area. For travelers transiting through or intending to stay in the Schengen area for a short period, the EU has established common visa rules.

Step 4: Visa free visitors. For visa-free visitors, the duration of stay in the Schengen countries is up to 90 days over 180 days in retrospect.

Step 5: Consequences of staying in the Schengen Zone without a visa: Overstaying Schengen visa limitations (90 days out of 180) can result in a number of consequences: unpleasant interviews, fines, deportation and entry ban.

Step 6: Who does this affect? If one has not established residency in Italy but is living here for part of the year, following the guidelines of the Schengen Zone for non residents is essential. Otherwise one becomes a nonlegal resident with all its consequences.

Step 7: How to calculate one’s stay: This is often called the 90/90 rule (90 days in followed by 90 out) but it is a little more nuanced than that. Since we want to always be sure that we are in compliance, we found this calculator to be the most useful:

Step 8: Some come to reside in Italy and establish full time residency. The advantages of this include being able to live in the country full time, being able to purchase a car and sharing in the rights and obligations of EU residency. But for some, like us, because of obligations, we can only live in this wonderful place for part of the year. Thus it becomes important to keep up to date on any changes to guidelines regarding the Schengen Zone.

Insights: Living in Italy in compliance with Schengen guidelines is one of our top priorities since dwelling in two countries can get complicated without an understanding and implementation of how all the moving parts fit together.

My book is now out: "Stories from Puglia: Two Californians in Southern Italy." Amazon US:

More next time.

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