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Overstayed by 1 year Switzerland - please help

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lauberge
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Posts: 2


« on: July 24, 2017, 03:34:34 pm »

Hi,

I was hoping to get some advice on what to do about my situation....
I had been studying in Switzerland for the past 3 years and after my permit ended and I got my degree I applied for another permit. The new permit was intended for studying French and is commonly done by students after they finish their degree. My application was canceled by the immigration office in January for not sending in all of the documents in time.

They sent these letters to my old address but they did send them so it's on me for not constantly checking with my old landlady. Well, I have received admission to a Master's program in another schengen country and went to the immigration office to find out what I needed to do (attestation to depart) in order to leave and this is when I discovered that they already think I left last year and had canceled my permit application.

I tried to find out what to do at the immigration office but they said it's an unusual case because most people leave before their permit expires. After your permit expires, you have an additional 3 months within the Schengen which I am still over by close to 8/9 months now.

I would still like to leave and would *ideally* like to be able to come back and study in another Schengen country. I am trying to find out the best course of action and would greatly appreciate any help/advice/etc. about this messy situation that I've gotten myself into. Thanks!
« Last Edit: July 24, 2017, 06:05:14 pm by lauberge » Logged
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« on: July 24, 2017, 03:34:34 pm »

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porsche
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Posts: 197


« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2017, 01:45:10 pm »

You have two options.

If you leave now, you will likely get stopped at the border and prosecuted for overstaying. You may be facing s much as several hudreds of euros fine. In that case, you need to explain and defend your case. Have all your documentation with you, envelpes with stamps to prove your dates, your degree, letters from school, everything. I understand your writeup in a way that the immigration office made a mistake and sent your documents to wrong address. You need to prove at the border that the mistake was with the immigration office. I would even try going to the immigration office and have them give you a confirmation of the mistake, situation in writing (for the border control).

Your another option is to submit a new application and wait in Schengen until your new application goes through this time. You will need to explain the mistake in this case too.
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lauberge
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Posts: 2


« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2017, 05:27:12 pm »

Porsche, thanks so much for your response !

Just to update on what happened, I went to some of the social services here for immigration issues and also contacted some lawyers. I should also clarify that when I moved without telling the immigration office so I was definitely at fault in that regard. Caritas and CSP are experts in immigration law experts and were the most helpful for my situation so I would recommend that others who experience issues while abroad contact them as well.

At Caritas, I met a lawyer who aided me. He first reached out to the chief of the immigration office by phone and explained how I had moved several times, had not updated my address, and was not aware of the requests for additional documents until I went into the office. The Chief asked me for a few documents regarding the permit renewal. At the immigration office, they reviewed and accepted the documents and gave me all the required documents in order to leave the country.

When I left the country, the border guard asked for the expired permit and accepted all the documents (attestation and departure card) that the immigration office gave me and did not delay, fine, or question me. The border guard gave my passport an exit stamp which will allow me to enter the Schengen again in 90 days or apply for another visa.

Based on my experience and advice from several lawyers, it's usually best to try and work with the authorities then try to challenge them. Although my case might not be typical, every lawyer told me that it was in my advantage to do whatever the immigration office asked of me in order to leave the country. I also have to be honest and admit that my nationality also helped. However, if you are from a developing nation or your country does not have a favorable relationship with Switzerland, there are groups that can help you get a permit depending on your circumstances - assuming that you are in a Switzerland and have not violated any laws (besides overstaying). Caritas and CSP are a few of them and offer free services.

But also would NOT recommend overstaying, inadvertently or not. This was an extremely stressful situation and consider myself very lucky that the results were favorable. There was a very high chance that I was going to be fined or banned especially nowadays they are much more stringent with violations. I hope that this information is useful to others who find themselves in trouble in the Schengen.
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porsche
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Posts: 197


« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2017, 11:13:33 am »

Thanks for your post. "it's usually best to try and work with the authorities then try to challenge them." … this is definitely true, and good advise. It is helpful when they see that the case has been at least attempted to be resolved, and when they see some stamps from lawyers or other authorities, they hesitate to challenge the case.

When I left the country, the border guard asked for the expired permit and accepted all the documents (attestation and departure card) that the immigration office
... what exactly do you mean by "attestation" and "departure card"? What was written on those documents?
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