The Schengen area is made up of 26 European countries which have common entry and exit requirements. It allows travellers to move freely between member countries without having to go through border controls or have visas for each country.
The following countries comprise the Schengen area:
Only the country you plan to visit can provide up-to-date and accurate information about its specific visa requirements. Entrance and exit procedures can change at short notice. Contact the nearest High Commission, Embassy or Consulate of the countries you plan to visit well in advance of travel.
Generally, if you intend to spend less than a total of 90 days within a 180 day period in the 'Schengen area' for business or tourism purposes, you will not need to get a visa before you travel. This allows you to enter the Schengen area and travel between Schengen countries.
The European Commission has more information, including a calculator to help you track your number of visa-free days.
You will need to apply for a visa before you travel if you are visiting for other than tourism or business purposes. Apply for the visa at the Embassy, High Commission or Consulate of the Schengen country where you intend to stay the longest. If you will be staying an equal length of time in more than one Schengen country apply for your visa at the mission of the first Schengen country you will visit. Visa rules relating to work and business visits are governed by the individual countries.
If you exceed the 90 days within 180 days period of legal stay in the Schengen area without a valid visa, you may be fined or banned from entering the Schengen area.
Get your passport stamped when entering the Schengen area. The absence of an "entry stamp" from the initial Schengen port of entry could result in a fine or create difficulties during subsequent encounters with local police or other authorities throughout the Schengen area.
For dual national Australians, the visa requirements described here only apply when travelling on your Australian passport. If you chose to travel on another passport, you will need to check the visa requirements for that nationality.
Following several terrorist attacks, some countries in the Schengen area have tightened their border controls. You may be required to produce your passport when crossing borders within the Schengen area. Always carry your passport at international railway stations and airports just in case. The tighter border controls have not changed visa arrangements as described above. See our country advisories for details of entry and exit arrangements for each country, or check the European Commission for information on temporary internal border controls.
Some countries require you to register with local authorities within three working days of your arrival.
Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you intend to return to Australia.
Many European countries are not part of the Schengen area. These countries include:
Consult the nearest High Commission, Embassy or Consulate of these countries for visa information.