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Europe entry requirements: Schengen area

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About Schengen

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:

Entry and Exit 

Visas

You do not need a visa to travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. If you leave the Schengen area and return within the same 180-day period, the previous stay will count towards the 90 day maximum.

If you exceed the 90 days within the 180-day period of legal stay in the Schengen area without a valid visa, you may be fined or banned from entering the Schengen area.

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.

Other formalities

Make sure you get a legible entry stamp in your passport when you enter the Schengen area for the first time. Without a stamp, you could be fined or detained. 

Some countries require you to register with local authorities within three working days of your arrival.

See our destination-specific travel advice for entry and exit details for each country, or check the European commission for information on temporary internal board controls.

The visa requirements described here only apply when travelling on your Australian passport. If you are a dual national and chose to travel on your other passport, you will need to check the visa requirements for that nationality. More information: Dual nationals

Non-Schengen European countries 

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.

Bilateral visa waiver agreements 

Australia has bilateral visa-waiver agreements with several countries in the Schengen area. In most cases, these agreements allow you to spend up to 60 or 90 days in the country for tourism, regardless of stays in other Schengen countries.

Using these visa-waiver agreements in combination with Schengen visa-free arrangements is complex. Each country operates the visa waiver agreements in its own way. Most countries require you to utilise the visa waiver agreement at the end of your Schengen area travel. Contact the Embassy or Consulate of the relevant country for the details on how they operate the visa-waiver agreements.

Bilateral visa waiver agreement countries include:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Sweden

Other European countries with visa waivers

Some European countries outside the Schengen area allow you to enter visa-free for tourism. Travel to these countries does not count towards the 90-day maximum for Schengen area travel. See individual country advisories for details of entry and exit arrangements.

Country                                                  Visa-free travel

Albania                                                    Up to 90 days

Armenia                                                  Up to 180 days per year

Belarus                                                   Five days per visit, with a maximum of 90 days per calendar year

Bosnia and Herzegovina                        Up to three months

Bulgaria                                                  Up to 90 days within a six month period

Croatia                                                    Up to 90 days within a six month period

Cyprus                                                    Up to 90 days within a six month period

Georgia                                                  Up to 90 days

Ireland                                                    Up to 90 days

Kosovo                                                   Up to 90 days

The former Yugoslav Republic of

Macedonia                                             Up to 90 days

Moldova                                                 Up to 90 days within a six month period

Montenegro                                           Up to 90 days within a six month period

Romania                                                Up to 90 days

Serbia                                                    Up to 90 days

United Kingdom                                     Up to six months