For members


CALCULATOR: How to work out your 90-day allowance in France

If you're visiting France and you're not a citizen of an EU country, your visits may be limited by the '90 day rule' - here's how it works, who is affected and how to calculate your trips so that you don't overstay your allowance.

CALCULATOR: How to work out your 90-day allowance in France
Photo by Eduardo Soteras / AFP


If you have the passport of an EU country – including dual nationality – you are not covered by the 90-day rule and are free to come and go from France as you please.

Non-EU citizens fall into two categories – those covered by the 90-day allowance and those who are not.

Citizens of certain countries, including India, need a visa for any visit to France, even just a long weekend, but other countries allow up to 90 days of travel without the need for a visa.

Brits, Americans, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders are all covered by the 90-day allowance – find the full list here

Blue marks the EU/Schengen zone, green is countries covered by the 90-day rule and citizens of red countries require a visa even for a short trip. Map: European Commission


The 90-day rule states that you can spend 90 days out of every 180 in the EU or Schengen zone without needing to get a visa or residency card.

The allowance is for the whole Schengen zone, so if you’re travelling to multiple European countries your tally is for all the days you have spent within the Bloc.

For example, if you spent 85 days in France and then travelled to Spain for a fortnight, that would take you over your 90-day allowance because both France and Spain are Schengen zone countries. 

The allowance means that in total over the course of a year you can spend 180 days in the EU/Schengen zone without needing a visa – but the crucial point is that your 180 days cannot be all in a single block.

This means that, for example, you can’t spend the summer in France and the winter in the UK, or vice versa.


So – the crucial bit – how do you go about calculating your allowance?

The people most likely to be affected by this are second-home owners and freelance workers or contractors who make multiple short work trips to the EU.

If you travel for work, it’s important to note that your 90-day allowance covers all trips for all reasons – so you need to add in any European holidays as well as work trips to your total. 

It’s when you’re making a series of short trips that things can get complicated, because the 90-day rule is calculated on a rolling calendar, so that at any point of the year you need to be able to count backwards by 180 days, and have only spent 90 of those days in the Schengen zone.

You also need to be aware that any time spent in the Schengen zone counts as one day – so even one-hour stopovers take one day off your allowance. 

The easiest way to keep on top of this is to keep a diary (paper or electronic) with your travel days marked in it, and then use the online Schengen calculator to check that you’re within your allowances.

Short stays and stopovers can add up more quickly than you might think.

The online Schengen calculator can be found HERE – simply input your travel dates and it will tell you how many days you have left. 

What if you have a visa?

People who want to spend more than 90 days at a time in France have two options – get a visa or move here full-time and get a residency card.

Visa – for second-home owners the 6-month visitor visa is a popular option. This allows you to keep your main residence in your home country, but spend plenty of time at your place in France. 

For the dates when your visa is valid, your trips to France do not count towards your 90 day allowance – but trips to any other EU/Schengen zone country still count towards that 90-day allowance. Once your visa runs out, the 90-day clock starts again, unless your get a new visa – more details here.

Residency – if you take up permanent residency in France any time spent in France obviously does not count towards your 90 days. However, it’s worth pointing out that you are still bound by the 90-day rule when travelling to other EU/Schengen zone countries – full details here.


Many readers, especially Brits who were previously in the happy position of not having to worry about calculating 90 days, have asked us whether they really need to go through all this hassle.

The unfortunate answer is yes – passports are checked regularly as you enter and leave the Schengen zone, and upcoming technical changes mean this will only get stricter.

People who spend more than 90 days at a time in the Schegen zone without having a visa are classed as overstayers, and passports are likely to be stamped or flagged.

Overstaying is usually punished by a fine, but having that ‘overstay’ on your passport also means that future travel is likely to be a lot more difficult, and you may also have trouble with any future visa applications.

People who travel for work should note that keeping track of your 90 days is your personal responsibility, not your employers’. It seems that many UK employers are still pretty clueless about post-Brexit changes, so don’t rely on your company’s HR department to calculate your allowance.

At present passport checking and stamping at the border is varied and variable, but changes to EU travel coming in later this year will mean that the process becomes more automated, and overstayers will have nowhere to hide. 

READ ALSO Passport scans and €7 fee: What changes for EU travel in 2022

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For members


Are French pension strikes over?

Periodic strikes have been causing disruption in France since January, while anti-pension reform demos have repeatedly flared into violence in the big cities - but is the battle over pension reform finally over?

Are French pension strikes over?

Tuesday, June 6th saw the 14th one-day mass strike in France on the issue of Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms – which among other things raise the standard pension age from 62 to 64.

But with steeply falling turnout and the end of the political and legal processes to fight the reform, could this also be the final strike day?

Strike announcements

The pattern of the pension battle so far as has been for the inter-syndicale, the federation that represents all eight French unions, to wait until one strike day is over before announcing the next.

The June 6th strike was announced after an unusually long gap – the previous day of action had been May 1st. Since January, the strike days have taken place at roughly two-week intervals, with a break around the spring school holidays.

Among the things that unions consider when calling new strikes is the turnout at previous ones.


As is the usual pattern during prolonged strikes, turnout has fallen as the pension strikes have gone on.

French workers are not paid during strikes, so as time goes on many go back to work when they feel they can no longer take the financial hit of sacrificing a day’s pay.

Even allowing for this pattern however, the turnout in the most recent strike days has been low, with national railways and city public transport services able to run normal or quasi normal services on strike days.

Air traffic controllers have proved the most resilient of the strikers, with walk-outs causing around 20 percent of flights in and out of six French airports to be cancelled on Tuesday.

Tuesday also saw a record low turnout at marches and demos around Paris – Interior Ministry figures estimated the total turnout at 280,000, including 31,000 in Paris. 

This represents the lowest turnout since the protests began, and is well short of the 1.2 million people who took to the streets at the start of the protests. 

Public support

Another important factor is public support. Although the strikes have undoubtedly caused disruption, the public remain broadly supportive, with polling for the French Sunday paper Journal Du Dimanche indicating that 57 percent of French people still support the strikes – although this is down from 80 percent at the start of the strikes.

Political progress

In parallel with the battle on the street is the political battle – and several strikes have been called to coincide with key political actions.

However, opponents have now exhausted virtually all legal and political avenues, and the pension reform bill has been signed into law.

A last-ditch attempt to block the bill in parliament will be tabled by the centrist group Liot on Thursday – it is not expected to succeed.  


These are all the factors that unions need to weigh up when deciding whether to call more strikes.

The tone from union leaders and leftist politicians remains bullish, with hardline CGT union leader Sophie Binet calling for “everyone to take the streets” and slamming the introduction of the pension reform in September as “irresponsible”.

Meanwhile Green MP Sandrine Rousseau says that “defeat is not a foregone conclusion” and hard-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon says that the battle against pension reform “will never stop”.

Balanced against the rhetoric, however, is the knowledge that unions will weaken their own position if they continue to call strikes that cause little or no disruption.

Previous long-running union battles – including the battle against pension reform in 2019 – ended with a splintering of the united front among unions, with the more moderate ending the strikes while the smaller, radical unions kept up the battle, but to little effect. 

Summer holidays

The summer holidays in France traditionally mark a break in mass strike actions, but they are often a time for industrial action from specific unions – especially those involved in the flight and tourist industries.

France still faces problems with inflation and the cost of living, and although Macron may have managed to get his reform passed into law, the mood in France remains testy and hostile. 

READ ALSO Will there be queues at the French border this summer?