What happens if I cannot help but overstay my 90 days in France?

We ask whether delays relating to illness or transport disruption will be taken into account by border control authorities for non EU visitors

We look at what happens to people who overstay their 90-day allowance in France for reasons outside of their control
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Reader Questions: What happens if a non EU visitor’s stay in France exceeds 90 days owing to illness, vehicle problems or transport disruptions due to weather or strikes etc?

In general, non-EU citizens such as Britons and Americans without long-stay visas who remain in France – or other Schengen countries – for more than 90 days within any 180-day period are subject, in theory, to a €198 fine and may find it more difficult to enter the country or obtain a visa in the future.

Read more: The EU's 90/180-day rule: How does it work?

This applies even when the overstay only totals one or two days.

However, there are some circumstances under which you will probably not be penalised if you unintentionally overstay your 90-day allowance. These include if you are a child or if you cannot travel without a family member or carer because of an illness or disability, and this person is unable to go with you.

Read more: Can the 90-day stay limit in France be extended for medical reasons?

If you find yourself in an exceptional situation – for example, if you are taken ill or your flight is cancelled – it is also possible to apply to the prefecture local to your accommodation to extend your right to stay.

If the reason for your overstaying is due to an ‘exceptional and unpredictable event’ beyond your control, you can argue that it is a force majeure, which should help you to obtain permission to stay a short while longer.

The prefecture can grant you an autorisation provisoire de séjour, which cannot exceed 180 days.

These are generally issued for students who have recently graduated in France and are looking to remain in the country, people who suddenly fall ill or need to stay to receive treatment and asylum seekers.

However, they could also be granted to people required to delay their departure because of work-related or travel issues.

Dordogne’s prefecture has previously told The Connexion that people applying for this authorisation would be charged a €39 fee in timbres fiscaux for this (obtainable from a tabac).

You would need to show your passport and a copy of it, ID photographs, a copy of a return travel ticket, proof of address and if you were staying for health reasons, for example, proof of health insurance – such as an Ehic or Ghic – and a doctor’s certificate.

An autorisation provisoire de séjour can be renewed in the case of a sick person needing medical treatment.

In order to obtain temporary right to remain for this purpose, you or your dependent must be seriously ill and/or urgently needing treatment which cannot be appropriately provided by your home country.

If you are staying with someone, you should also present a declaration from the host as to their relationship with you and willingness to take financial responsibility for you if required, the prefecture added.

You may consider instructing a lawyer to help you with your application.

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