If you’ve traveled to Europe before, you may know about the “90-day-rule”:
Citizens of the “lucky” (mostly rich) tribes like the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Chile, Brazil and the other “green” countries in the map below are allowed “visa-free” entry to the Schengan Area for 90 days out of each 180 days.
The Schengan Area includes 22 of 27 European Union countries (France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Poland and others). It does not include Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania. Nor does it include the UK or Ireland.
If you come from any “gray” country in the map above (notice how most of these countries are poor) you will have to apply for a visa before you try to enter the Schengan Area. To get a visa, you will either need to be tied to a job that “sponsors” you and sends you to Europe for work, or if you just want to visit the place, you will need to prove that you have a lot of money, a job, possibly a house, possibly medical papers, and a ton of other documents. The number of documents depends on which country you come from. Generally, the poorer your country is, the more restrictions are imposed on you and the more of a disadvantage you have. Once you have all the paperwork done and you’ve paid a ton of money for the “official documents” and visa application, you might still be denied the visa (and you won’t get your money back). If you get the visa, and you try to enter Europe with your approved visa, you can still be denied if the “official guard” at the border doesn’t like you for whatever reason.
Side Note: I find it ironic that the European Union claims to be committed to protecting and promoting human rights worldwide while simultaneously discrimitating against people from the “gray” (poor) countries.
Anyway… Back to the “lucky” green ones.
As I said, the “90-day-rule” means that you can be in the Schengan Area for 90 days out of each 180 days. You can go in and out of the Schengan Area as many times as you want, as long as the total accumulative time you’ve spent in the zone doesn’t exceed that 90-day limit. How do they count that? It’s easy: count back the last 180 days of your life and see how many days you’ve been in the zone. The EU even made a special “visa calculator” to “help” people with this confusing rule.
But what if you want to stay longer?!
Well, it’s difficult.
I’ve researched this A LOT and couldn’t find any easy way to stay longer. This article outlines your options quite well and may give you some useful tips.
In short, these are your options:
1. Prove that you have a lot of money (tens of thousands of Euros, depending on which country you apply to stay in).
2. Prove that you have a steady income from which you get a lot of money each month (to stay in Spain, this means having an income of 2,500 euros a month- which is waay waay more than you need to live a comfortable life in Spain).
3. Find a job that sponsors you- this means that you have to be a full time slave to whoever “sponsors” you. If you lose your “contract”, you will lose your visa. Sound like slavery or what? Also, it’s not easy to get a sponsor unless you specialize in some job that locals can’t do.
4. Enroll in a college or university and get a “student visa”- for this you also need a lot of money.
5. Get a “working holiday” visa- this is the only good option if you’re eligible. Unfortunately, few “nationalities” are eligible to get such a visa and there are other restrictions (such as age). With my US passport, I was not able to apply for any working holiday visa in Europe (although you can get one for Ireland if you’re enrolled in or have just finished school or college).
6. Long-term-stay visas- a few EU countries offer visas that allow you to stay for 12 months or so, but this, again, is very complicated, involves a ton of documents, a ton of money, interviews with “officials” and a cavity search. Ok I’m just kidding about the cavity search, but it may as well be that :D
7. Marriage (I’ll get into this below).
In short, if you’re a poor nomadic-type human, you don’t have a job or a ton of money, and you’re not willing to be someone’s slave, you will not find an easy way to stay in Europe for more than three months. Don’t forget that any of these visas can be denied, and if you don’t have proof of enough money, they probably will be denied.
What’s that about promoting “human rights” again, EU? I guess poor human beings don’t deserve to be treated the same way that rich human beings do, do they?
Anyway… So here’s how I did it:
I came to Spain in spring of 2019, met some really awesome people, and one particularly amazing human that I wanted to stay and live with. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to stay longer than 90 days because of this rule. So, I left for the summer. I found a 15 euro flight to the UK and spent three months there and in Turkey. I wrote about this experience in detail here.
After those three months were up, I came back to Spain. I was legally allowed to be there for another 90 days before I had to leave again. Tio (that amazing human) and I didn’t want to be split apart again after the “90 day period”, so we decided to cave into the system and “get married”.
Another side note: I think marriage is dumb. It is a nothing thing. A signature on a piece of paper means nothing. Neither does a party.
If you love somebody, then why do you need to prove that to yourselves or to anybody else? You should just be together, that’s all.
Unfortunately, in this world, the same “authorities” that promote “worldwide human rights” won’t let you “just be together” if you don’t have matching documents.
The only way they will let you be together is if you perform this stupid ritual they call “marriage”.
You might think that this is easy, but in fact, it’s not.
The Marriage “Procedure”
Getting married involves a ton of documents, time and money. The exact documents you need vary from country to country, so I will only write about my experience in Spain and Romania (although as far as I can tell, other EU countries ask for similar documents).
Some details you should know:
– I have two passports: USA and Russian.
– Tio has a Romanian passport and Spanish residency (so he is a Romanian citizen living in Spain).
We first tried to do this in Spain.
These are the required documents for a marriage in Spain:
- Valid “ID” cards (passports) + “official” Spanish translations.
- Original birth certificates + “official” Spanish translations. I had my birth certificate mailed from Russia, Tio had his in Spain.
- A document to prove where you live. Tio had this document, I did not. The only “proof of address” I had was my driver’s license, which has the address of the last share-house I lived in for a few months on Hawaii (three years ago :)). The Spanish officials said that that wasn’t good enough. This was problem #1.
- A document to prove that you are not married. We both needed to get this document from our embassies. The Romanian embassy said that it would take 3 months for this document to be issued and “delivered” to Spain. 3 months was a convenient time period, since that’s how long I was allowed to stay in Spain. So by the time Tio would get this document, I would have to leave the Schengan Zone. Neither the US nor Russian governments have an official document that says that “you are not married” so the only thing the US and Russian embassies could provide me with is a $50 piece of paper that claims that “I swear” that I am not married. Does that make you laugh? Cry? Or what? :D The Spanish government asked me to get this expensive piece of paper from both embassies.
- Another document to prove that you are ABLE to get married. We stopped trying to figure out what this document means because we realized that we wouldn’t be able to get the first ones on time anyway (or maybe ever). At this point we decided to give up trying to get married in Spain, and went to Romania instead, where Tio had family and people were easy to bribe.
- But I should probably mention that after you have all of this paperwork (and official translations and “legalizations” (que?)) you also need to go through an interview where they ask you questions about each other. This may have also been a problem because neither Tio or I speak Spanish super duper well, and if we needed to hire a translator it would have cost a ton more money.
Anyway! Round two: Romania!
We flew to Romania about 9 days before my “90-days” ran out. Luckily, Romania is not a part of the Schengan agreement and I was able to enter Romania visa-free for three months with my US passport. There, we started all over again:
These are the required documents for a marriage in Romania:
- Valid “ID” cards (passports) + “official” Romanian translation.
- Original birth certificates + “official” Romanian translation.
- A piece of paper to prove that the foreigner is not married. This was the same paper Spain asked for, but in Romania, they asked to get it only from one embassy (not from both the US and Russian embassies). I went to the US embassy in Bucharest. The “officials” at the embassy told me that the US does not issue such a “document” but they can provide me with an “official letter” that may or may not be accepted by the local Romanian government. To get this sacred letter, I had to stand in front of a “US official”, put up my right hand and state that “I, Alexandra Rashidovna Davletshina, of 59 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, Hawaii, swear that I am at least 18 years old, I am not married, and I am eligible to marry Tio.”
Are you laughing now or what?!?! haaaaahaha. It would have been more funny if it didn’t cost $50! And if we didn’t have to drive 8 hours to get this stupid paper!
- Two declarations from the foreigner stating that she is not married, she’s at least 18 years old and is “eligible” for marriage. We were able to get these from a “notary office” in the nearest city. I needed an “official translator” to accompany me for this “official declaration”.
- A medical paper. We had to get an HIV test (I’m not even kidding!). Tio’s father picked up both of our results and brought them home, then we went to the hospital to show these results to the family doctor. When we walked into the doctor’s office, the doctor was listening to loud music and smoking a cigarette! Right in the same room where she treated patients. She looked at me from across the room and said, “she looks great! She’s healthy!” And signed that medical paper for us.
All of this paperwork + “official translations” took a few weeks. Once we had everything that the zombies in the “marriage office” (or whatever it’s called) asked for, we brought them all of the paperwork.
They didn’t like the paper from the US embassy, but eventually accepted it when they noticed a second piece of “officially stamped” paper that said something like “the US does not issue a “proof of no-marriage” document, so this “declaration” is the only thing we can provide for you”. Luckily that was good enough for these zombies.
But then… the zombies noticed that there was another problem! The translation of my Russian birth certificate was slightly different from the translation of my US passport!
In Russian, my name looks like this: Александра Рашидовна Давлетшина
The “official translator” translated it into:
First name: Alexandra
Father’s name: Rashid
Last name: Davletshina
In English, my name looks like this: Alexandra Rashidovna Davletshina
The “official translator” translated it into:
First name: Alexandra Rashidovna
Last name: Davletshina
Big fucking deal!
Yeah they made a big fucking deal out of this. Had to call a bunch of people, get super dramatic, and then they said that they cannot approve our marriage unless the translations matched.
We went back to the “official translator” and bribed him to translate the “official document” as the zombies wanted it. Then we bribed the zombies in the marriage office and “set a date” for the final ritual.
We had to pay another “official translator” to come to the final ritual, but luckily, in Romania this was quite cheap (about 20 euros). All of these documents, translations and “notarized” bullshit was much much cheaper in Romania than in Spain. Plus, I don’t think you would be able to bribe an “official translator” or any other official in Spain (well at least not with perfume and cookies :D ).
The ritual itself was very dumb. The mayor came dressed up in a Romanian flag :D Tio and I had to dress up too (for reasons I won’t get into in this blog. If you want to read all of the details you can read Tio’s blog here.)
We stood in front of the Mayor and the translator as they played the “marriage song”, then he read some Romanian words, asked us “yes or no” and then told us to sign a piece of paper!
And that was it! Wheeww! A lot of fucking work for a stupid piece of paper, you might say!!!
Just imagine what an alien might think, if it looked down on our stupid society. “What are you humans doing this for? Why all these documents? What are documents anyway?”
Our answer would be: “We need this document so we can live together”
Alien:“You can’t live together without signing a piece of paper?”
Us: “No, we can’t. Other humans wont let us live together anywhere on prison Earth unless we sign this stupid piece of paper.”
What a fucked up society.
So finally! We thought it was over!
It wasn’t over
On the official EU website, we read that once you are married, all you have to do is “register” as a family member. Since Tio is a resident of Spain, we can register in Spain. According to the EU website, you can easily register at a police station or immigration office by showing them your passports, residency card, marriage certificate and form “EX-19”. We were eager to get back to Spain, so we bought the earliest cheap flights we could find (for one week after the final ritual).
I didn’t know if the same 90-out-of-180-days rule applied to me if I was now married to an EU citizen, but I figured that it wouldn’t be a problem as long as I applied for a family member card before my 90 days was up.
According to that “90-day-rule” I had 9 “legal” days left in the Schengan Area. We thought it would be easy to submit that paperwork in nine days.
We were wrong!
We went to the police station in the town we live in, they sent us to the national police station in Girona (1 hour away). The national police station sent us to the immigration office on the other side of Girona. We went there but they didn’t let us in. They told us to make an appointment on their website. We tried to make an appointment and it was impossible! Every time we filled one or two pages of the online form, it said, “sorry, no more appointments available”. We went back to the immigration office and said that we couldn’t make an appointment. They just said, “you have to try more. Try between 7:30 and 9am”.
We tried over and over and over again. We spent hours each day doing this! We couldn’t make this fucking appointment! It is a crazy abuse to make this kind of “appointment system” – to just make people fill out a form over and over and over again until they get lucky or what? If there are no appointments available now, we should be able to schedule one for next month, or 3 months from now, or a year from now- whenever there is a fucking appointment available! This is abuse!
So my 9 days ran out and I didn’t know if I was now overstaying my visa or if it was legal to stay with my European “husband”. We searched all over the internet and only found confusing and unclear information that scared the shit out of me. The EU website only confused us more. We called a Spanish friend who studied law- he looked over the same “official websites” and couldn’t figure out what the laws actually were. He called another Spanish friend who was involved in law and that friend also couldn’t figure it out.
Now I was terrified that I was overstaying my visa and that I could be denied residency in Spain because of this!
So we booked flights back to Romania!
We packed our bags that night and tried to convince ourselves that Romania is ‘not that bad’. We also decided to give it one last try at the immigration office the next day.
The next day, we stuffed our bags in the car and were ready to go to the Barcelona Airport, making one last stop at the immigration office in Girona on the way.
Tio’s sister came with us and helped us communicate, since she knows Spanish much better than we do. We went from one office to another, begged some security guards to let us speak to somebody, then we were passed from one immigration police officer, to another one, until we could finally speak to some head officer. That head officer took my passport and left the room for several minutes. I got a little worried.
Eventually he came out and said that if you two are married, then you can stay here forever! It’s no problem!
Wheeewww! That was a huge relief! I thought he was going to kick me out of the country! :D
So- in case this isn’t clear- because it is SO UNCLEAR on the official websites- if you are married, you are legally allowed to stay with your partner in Spain. However, it’s possible that different EU countries have different laws, so make sure you check with your local immigration office (beg them to let you speak to somebody!), if you ever run into this dilemma.
So we didn’t catch that flight to Romania after all. As of now, I still haven’t been able to make this freaken appointment but at least we’re happy, living by the beach :).
Oh and one more thing, if you “congratulate” us for this marriage, just think for a moment what you’re actually “congratulating” us about:
You’re congratulating the fact that we live in such a fucked up society where tribes that promote “human rights” actively discriminate against people born in poor countries, and against poor people worldwide.
You’re congratulating the fact that this system makes me feel like a criminal just for being a human being with the wrong piece of paper on a piece of land that one tribe claims as their own.
You’re congratulating the fact that two humans can’t live together unless they have matching documents. They can’t live together anywhere on Earth, that is (except in the Arctic Circle). See the interactive map that Tio made to demonstrate this fact.
You’re congratulating the fact that most of the human population is so lost in this world of fantasies and documents that they believe that a piece of paper and a party somehow creates “unity” between the two humans. These humans can’t just be together, trust and love each other without rings, papers and parties.
You’re congratulating us for the abuse we had to go through due to discrimination. I didn’t have the right papers, so I had to leave, and I couldn’t be with the person I wanted to be with unless I got the right papers. If you don’t see that as discrimination and abuse then I’m sorry but you’re a zombie. We wasted over a month of our lives, about 1000 euros, and a shit load of energy over these bullshit papers. Thanks for the “congratulations”.
You’re congratulating us for the fact that people are obsessed with documents- and we got screwed by this over and over and over again. And are still getting screwed. Thanks.
I’m sorry but I don’t believe in Jesus, Allah, Buddha or Marriage. I see marriage as nothing more than another religion. So if you congratulate us for the “marriage”, you may as well pray for us too! ;)