Long stay visa & schengen 90/180 day rule

The 90/180 rule information is confusing. We have used various calculators to plan across the year, but have had different results! We have now applied for a long term visa with TLS to afford more travel spontaneity in coming months. We are second home owners (of 20+ years) and pre-Brexit enjoyed 6 months (spread through the seasons) in France. The visa application process is currently slow with even more confusing information and trying to contact them by telephone is proving difficult. Can anyone can explain the 90/180 rule in simpler terms or recommend a good calculator? And, any experience regarding visa applications e.g. how long the process takes generally and is it true that you must apply months before your anticipated travel date? This is especially confusing if one has days remaining (out of the 90/180). I would be very grateful for any thoughts/advice. Many thanks.

It is simple in principle.

On any given day, look back over the previous 180 days, if you have spent more than 90 days in the Schengen zone you have overstayed and must leave.

There is a calculator here:

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It does take a bit to get your head around! The important thing to remember is that it is a rolling 90/180. So say (simplistically) you like to spend 30 days here, 30 days UK you could do this forever as in the 180 day period you’ve spent 90 in each place, you need to be careful though as travel days count. Try a few calculators as some are clearer than others. A 90 / 90 split is also easy to work with. Otherwise if you say like to spend 4 months here over summer that isn’t possible and if you spend a full 90 you need to wait 90 before you can come back.

So, we were in France from 6th. May until 29 May; returning on 28 July till around end September (previous to that we were in France from 12 Sept to 8 October 2021). When could we come back to EU again? We were hoping to have as week in Budapest in December and then come to France in April and May 2023…and then again from July to September. Is that feasible?

You’d really have to jump on a calculator and tap all your dates in, they will tell you how many days you have left and if it all fits.

Yes, but they give different answers !!

Oh, confusing! Have you tried the official EU one? Sorry I’m on the way out so can’t find the link now.

Thank you to those that have responded to my initial query. It is extremely confusing as the calculators spawn different results.

Yes, but that I find to be totally incomprehensible!!

This calculator is pretty straightforward and seems to give consistent and sensible results: