If you have traveled to (nearly) any European country, you have probably entered the Schengen Area (pictured above), a group of countries that have abolished all border controls at their shared borders and, as far as freedom of movement is concerned, work kind of like one large country. However, unless you’re a citizen of a Schengen country or in a Schengen country in which you hold a residence permit, your stay in Schengen is limited in a somewhat unique way: You can stay in the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period. More comprehensive information can be found here regarding the specific visa agreements Schengen holds with all non-Schengen countries and whether you can enter Schengen visa-free.
In short, this 180-day period is a rolling window, looking 180 days backwards from any given date and counting the days spent inside the Schengen Area in that window. The days in which you enter and exit Schengen (travel days) are also counted as days spent in Schengen. If you are a frequent Schengen visitor (backpacker, digital nomad, lover to a Schengen resident, travel addicted retiree, international man of mystery, etc.), this can pose a rather complicated scheduling problem to ensure you don’t overstay your legal welcome. Our calendar of uneven months does not make this any easier, and complications abound the moment you’re trying to schedule numerous short trips instead of monolithic nearly 90-day ones.
There are already nice Schengen calculators online, but I felt they all suffered some shortcomings that made them difficult and/or clunky to use for actual planning (but perfectly fine for checking the legality of an existing plan with fixed dates). I wanted a tool that could help me brainstorm potential plans, giving me feedback on the implications of each stay on any future, yet unplanned, trips into Schengen.
While this feels like the perfect task for a program, I wanted to make something more accessible. After all, a majority of the people wanting to perform these calculations probably don’t have Python installed on their computers nor are comfortable with running scripts in a terminal. And these are not very user-friendly ways of inputting data anyways. You know what is widely familiar, visual, interactive, and can store data? Spreadsheets!
So that’s exactly what I’ve made. Below I have linked to my Schengen Schedule Calculator spreadsheet and included a screenshot (hover to enlarge) of its input and results area, with disucssion of its usage following.
As an obligitory disclaimer, you are solely responsible for ensuring you obey all laws pertaining to visiting and staying in the Schengen Area. While a lot of attention and troubleshooting went into this spreadsheet, its results are not guaranteed. This site’s owner disclaims all responsibly for anything that may or may not happen to you. Before going through with any travel plan, make sure to double-check the travel dates!
The spreadsheet is quite simple to operate. The cells in which information should be inputted are filled in a light blue color and have a bold black border around them. Principally, these are just the dates of tentative stays in Schengen. On the right side of the results area is a section specifying when the next possible entry date is for a stay of some specific desired length, and the first of these columns has a value that can be changed to whatever length of stay you want.
The results columns to the right of the input dates are self explanitory, specifying how long the stay is (including the travel dates), how many “spare Schengen days” one has as of the start and end dates, a “Yes/No” on whether the planned stay is illegal (with very bright formatting when you’ve inputted an illegal plan), a “Yes/No” on whether you’re “locked out” of Schengen after the stay (meaning you must wait some minimum number of days before being able to re-enter), and the next date on which you can legally re-enter Schengen and for how long at most.
Everything below this main input/results box (everything below row 16) is solely for the calculations being performed and should not be tampered with (and is quite complicated). If giving this spreadsheet to a friend or loved one that may be prone to inputting values outside of the designated cells and breaking the spreadsheet, I would recommend using Excel’s protection features to lock down all but the blue input cells of the spreadsheet before distributing it to others. In fact, here is a separate version of the spreadsheet where I have gone ahead and locked down all but the intended input cells:
I hope this spreadsheet can be a useful tool for anyone trying to plan out and schedule days in the Schengen Area, for themselves, a loved one, friends, or family!
As a technical side note, the spreadsheet as currently written is only capable of handling dates for all stays within a 907-day window starting on the date specified in cell B22. By default, this is set to the first day of the month of the date inputted into cell C6 (the start date of Stay 1), or 1 June 2023 if left blank.