[Article updated on Monday, June 6 to reflect response from the EU spokesperson on the matter]
Reader Question: Can you confirm whether or not a stay in one of the French overseas territories such as Martinique, Guadeloupe or others count towards your 90 in 180 days limit in the EU as a British citizen?
I think it does not, but would welcome confirmation of that especially as I have found that in the case of the Canary Island owned by Spain, any days spent there apparently do count towards the 90 in 180 day limit.
An EU spokesperson has told The Connexion that: "Martinique and Guadeloupe are not part of the Schengen area, as they are France’s territories located overseas. This means that the 90-day rule is not applied to them."
However, French law would appear to state that stays in the French overseas territories of Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Mayotte, Reunion Island, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Bathélemy and Saint Martin do count towards your 90-day limit in the Schengen zone.
A 2011 law relating to visa requirements for travel to the above territories states that people from a list of countries (see Annexe II) including the UK are allowed to visit without a visa for “stays of a duration not exceeding 90 days in any 180-day period”.
However, it also states that this 90-day limit concerns “the totality of the territories outlined” within another law.
The places included in this document are: “metropolitan France, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Mayotte, Reunion Island, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin.
This means that any visits to a French overseas country would also be counted towards your 90 days. So if you spent 58 days in Paris and then a further 34 days in Fort-de-France on Martinique, you would have exceeded your visa-free allowance.
The rules may differ for French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, Clipperton Island and the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.
The UK government website states that British citizens may stay in overseas French territories for up to three months without needing a visa.