Schengen tourist visa - legal to work for home companies?

Great info, lots to chew on. Thanks @anigupta!

The fact that you can’t tell them you’re working just shows that it isn’t legal. The plan outlined will work, I’ve been doing it for years. But that still doesn’t make it legal, and that was the question. OP, unless you get a work visa, no matter who you are working for or where you are getting paid, doing any kind of work while on a tourist visa is illegal and could potentially lead to problems. Now realistically, it isn’t an issue because most countries don’t care as long as you’re not taking a local job. The UK is the only place that hassles me.

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Curious to know. What kind of hassles have you faced in the UK?

getting into the UK if you are in any way a non typical traveler is a nightmare. i’ve been stopped and questioned a couple times now. to the point where it’s really my least favorite place to visit now. i only come here now if I have a house sit. otherwise just better to avoid it. it’s too expensive anyway.

How many times have you traveled to the UK in a year? if you travel once a year do they still give you trouble entering the country???

@wanderingdev What kind of response do you usually have to quell the brits? I imagine they look at a bank statement and think “hmm, there’s income…” which is a tough bush to beat around. Totally understood if that’s something you’re not comfortable discussing.

@wanderingdev I actually posted something in the onward ticket thread earlier today, but I too am getting questioned more and more by UK immigration. I had an actual onward ticket (to Thailand), but that wasn’t good enough. They did state that I must have a onward ticket to my country of residence and also asked for me to prove where I lived (which I didn’t state in the other thread – thankfully I had my old Hong Kong ID card which passed their sniff test!). Argh!

@lefnire I’ve never shown a bank statement. They just ask me how much money I have available and I tell them I have a few thousand liquid and about $15k in available credit. So that’s not been an issue.

@Oskar I’ve been in the UK twice in the last 12 months.

@international_man This last time, even with an onward ticket out of the UK and a ticket booked back to the US within 6 months they still questioned me for about 45 minutes.

It was seriously hard not to pretty much say ‘Dude, i can live anywhere in the world. If I’m going to overstay my visa it’s not going to be somewhere so freaking expensive with such shitty weather. And if I was planning on breaking the law, I would just tell you I was staying for a long weekend to explore London so you’d let me through, and then overstay. I wouldn’t be honest about how long I’m here.’ But I controlled myself. lol


oh, and the best part of this last entry was that the guy wanted to know the names and exact dates of everywhere I’d been for the last 6 months. When I told him I could list countries but not dates he was all “When I go on holiday I know exactly where I’ve been and exactly what dates I went.” My response was “I’ve been to 12 countries in the last 6 months and multiple cities in each country and I just don’t have the memory for that.” That kinda shut him up. :slight_smile:

yeah i thought USA was bad when trying to enter the country. But the UK is in a whole new level :slight_smile:

FWIW, had similar experience crossing into Canada. The first time went like this:
“Do you have any money?”, “You mean like in my pocket?”, “No, do you have savings?”. “Well, yes… I have income from my own business, have cash, have credit cards and investments”. That ended the conversation and they had me move on.

Now I skip the “You mean in my pocket?” snarky rhetorical question…

When travelling to Brazil in 2008, from the US, Americans need an expensive Visa, $120 US at that time, each. They required a bank statement for the visa application, since we wanted a long duration (90 days), showing a “certain” amount of money, to be “enough” to sustain us for the duration of the trip without employment. We were able to show, and the Boston consulate accepted, a heavily redacted bank statement for our 3 month long trip, as well as a letter from the landlord for the apartment we rented, as being paid for the first month of three. Never had this problem anywhere else. Haven’t been to the UK yet, but with my EU passport, there most likely won’t be a problem unless they drop out of the EU. :slight_smile:

UK is the worst. Immigration treats you like a criminal and just grill you.

yep. i just had 10 days free between house sits and I’d have liked to have hopped a flight somewhere warmer and cheaper, but I was worried that they wouldn’t let me back in so I was stuck here.

If you are worried about the border guards, simply don’t talk to them. There are many EU countries where US, Canadian and Australians can enter using the EU citizens automated machines. Finland is an example.

Also, for those worried about the UK border, simply register here and you can use the EU citizens machines (completely avoiding the human border guards).

As for the legality of working in the EU under a tourist visa, this depends on the country you are in. Some allow tourists to work with very few restrictions (even local jobs) while others do not even allow regular business trips without documentation. The risk of getting caught is pretty much nil though so I wouldn’t worry about it.

They have a “self employed” residency visa in Spain as well as a non-lucrative visa. On the latter, you would need to show income of €2500 a month or savings of at least €25000 I believe.

Once you have a legal visa from one schengen country you can travel to the others legally.

If you’re hop hop hopping, you could try to hop “out” of schengen for 3 months out of any 6 that you’re there for. Plenty of non-schengen neighbors to visit as well. This would be a tourist visa.

FWIW, I disagree with wanderingdev. If I legitimately travel to anywhere in the world for a week, a month, or up to 90 days, I can keep my job back in the states and work remotely. There’s no way to monitor that and the “no work” aspect of tourist visas is clearly about not being able to work in the country you’re visiting, for a company there.

UK is not in the Schengen (even though they’re not in the EU).

Thanks, I was wondering if it’d be so difficult going to the UK if you are from another Commonwealth country.

I’m in school and have an opportunity to do a 2-month (unpaid) internship in Spain. Do I need to get a work (or study) VISA or should I just go as a tourist and leave the Schengen zone before the 90-day cutoff? I would like to travel in Europe past the 90-day limit, but could go to Asia and come back 3 months later. Any advice on what kind of VISA I need, especially since my itinerary for other European countries is not set right now?

depends on whether you want to be legal or not. you don’t have to go all the way to asia, you just need to leave schengen.