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Italy to allow extended Schengen visas for yacht crew

8 June 2022

The Italian parliament has agreed that yacht crew who are not EU residents will be able to apply for a 365-day visa to remain in the Schengen Area, helping to solve an ongoing issue for yacht workers visiting the country.

This follows sustained lobbying from yachting organisations in the country, which were concerned that crew have sometimes been unable to remain long enough in the Schengen Area because of a new interpretation of EU case law.

Yacht members have experienced issues in being 'stamped out' of the Schengen Area when departing from Italian ports after local immigration officials began applying EU Directive 2016/399 and case law from a Dutch court. Some ports have taken the view that stepping onto the yacht does not count as crossing the 'border', stating that the vessel needs to depart for non-Schengen waters to be 'exiting'. They refuse to stamp out crew until the captain advises the port that they are imminently leaving for non-EU waters. Crew were therefore sometimes using up their Schengen allowance unnecessarily.

As an initial solution to mitigate the issue, the Italian parliament has approved an amendment proposed by the yachting organisations. This allows for the issue of a long-term entry visa for work purposes. Instead of being restricted to 90 days in the Schengen Area within a 180-day rolling period, the visa permits crew to remain for a year, subject to acquiring the visa.

A work authorisation will not be required to obtain the visa, according to Genova For Yachting, an industry organisation that helped lobby for this deal. However, details of how the visa will be issued are still being finalised.


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