This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Can I Stay in the EU Visa-Free After My Residency Expires?

Question from Winter, Can I Stay in the EU Visa-Free After My Residency Expires?

Answer from AI:

When your residency in Spain expires, understanding your rights and obligations regarding staying in or traveling around the European Union (EU) is crucial. The rules can be complex, depending on various factors including your nationality, the type of visa or residency permit you had, and the Schengen Area regulations. As a holder of a Hong Kong passport, there are specific considerations to keep in mind.

Understanding Schengen Area Rules

First, it’s important to clarify that Spain is part of the Schengen Area, a zone where 26 European countries abolished their internal borders, for the free and unrestricted movement of people. Non-EU nationals’ rights to stay and move within the Schengen Area are subject to strict rules.

90 Days Visa-Free Rule

Hong Kong passport holders can benefit from visa-free entry to the Schengen Area for short stays of up to 90 days within any 180-day period. However, this rule has specific nuances:

  1. Counting the 90/180 days: The 90 days visa-free stay is calculated within any 180-day period, looking backward from the day of departure. This means you cannot simply stay for 90 days, leave for a day, and re-enter for another 90 days.
  2. After Residency Expires: Once your residency permit expires, if you wish to stay in the Schengen Area, including Spain, your stay will be subject to the 90/180-day rule. This means that any day you spent in Spain (or any other Schengen country) on your residency permit does not count towards the 90-day visa-free limit.
  3. Travel Within the EU: The 90/180-day rule applies to the entire Schengen Area, not just Spain. Travel to non-Schengen EU countries might have different rules, and you should check the specific requirements of each country.

Key Considerations

  • Documentation: Keep track of your travel history and days spent in the Schengen Area to avoid overstaying. Overstaying can lead to fines, deportation, and a ban from re-entering the Schengen Area.
  • Residency Expiry: Ensure you understand the exact date your residency expires and plan your stay or departure accordingly. If you wish to extend your stay, consult with Spanish immigration authorities well in advance of your residency expiry date.
  • Legal Advice: Immigration rules can be complex and subject to change. For personalized advice, consider consulting with a legal professional specializing in immigration law.

Conclusion

In summary, as a Hong Kong passport holder, once your Spanish residency expires, you may be allowed to stay in the Schengen Area, including Spain, for up to 90 days within any 180-day period without a visa. However, this is contingent on not having exceeded this limit during the period your residency was valid. Planning and keeping accurate records of your entries and exits is crucial to comply with these rules.

For more detailed information, you can visit the European Commission’s page on the Schengen Area. Remember, this information is for general guidance and it’s always best to seek legal advice for your specific situation.

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