My bicontinental life has made me a reluctant expert on the rules for resident and non-resident status. There are rules regarding the amount of time that I must spend in my own country, and rules regarding how long I can stay in another country or group of countries, for example, the Schengen area of Europe. The Netherlands is particularly strict about time spent within their borders, and over-staying can result in a fine or even jail, but probably worst of all for a bicontinental couple like us – refusal of entry upon return. My passport can fill-up before it expires, and is scrutinized at every entry and exit. To stay on top of these convoluted regulations, I keep many colourful spreadsheets just a click away. Here is a sampling:
- Kim’s day-count within the Schengen area of Europe
- Kim’s day-count away from Canada
- Arthur’s commitments in the coming 1-3 years
- Arthur’s day-count in Canada
Scads of colour-coded cells must be considered before I book a flight or plan any sort of travel. Will this put me in the Schengen longer than my 90/180 days? Will I still have been in Canada 183 days this year? Can I land in Amsterdam in time to catch a ride with Arthur to Kosice? Or should I save a couple of days, fly into Prague and have him pick me up along the way?
Once in a while, my numbers don’t add up and I have to escape the Schengen for a few days or a few weeks. Sometimes, a necessary escape coincides with one of Arthur’s gigs. Russia and Romania for example, are not part of the Schengen area of Europe, and traipsing off with him to one of these countries can easily solve my math problems, but sometimes, my over-stay has to be remedied by voluntary exile. In this instance, I found it useful to combine my escape with my need to acquire a Russian visa for my coming trips to Moscow.
Experience has taught me that the Russian consulate in The Hague can be quite uncooperative with issuing a Russian visa to this non-status Canadian. Uncooperative may be an understatement, and here, I quote the response from the Russian consulate to my most recent request “Canada zit in lijst niet vriendelijke landen tegen Rusland…” (Canada is on the list of unfriendly countries toward Russia...). This was followed by a definitive no-can-do. Meanwhile, London can get the job done for me in a few days, citing some sort of loop-hole that has the Russians there treating Canadians the same way as they would treat resident Brits. The caveat; I have to show up for fingerprinting. We loaded up Electric Blue, bolted the tent to the roof and motored across the open borders of Belgium and France toward Dunkirk where my passport was duly exit-stamped before we sailed for the white cliffs of Dover. A quick stop-off in London for fingerprinting and document-drop, and we were off toward the Cotswolds for a few days of countryside walking interspersed with PWD’s (pub-working-days), and then further west to discover Wales.
Hover over the pictures (or choose landscape on mobile) for more on my journey to England and Wales.