Can New Zealanders Stay In The Schengen Area For More Than 90 Days?

published by Bren

Last updated: May 17, 2020

This article is a part of my travel tips series for New Zealand travellers. If you’re not from NZ, this post won’t apply to you. You can see the rest of the Kiwi traveller guides by clicking here.

If you’ve travelled to Europe, you will be familiar with the 90/180 days Schengen visa rule. Citizens of Annex 2 countries, of which New Zealand is one, can enter and stay in the Schengen Area for 90 days within a 180 day period without a visa. Your 180 day count begins from the first day you enter a Schengen Area country, and you can leave and enter as many times as you wish, as long as your total days in the region do not exceed 90 for that 180 day period. Pretty simple. Currently, the Schengen Area includes the following 26 countries:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein

There are no border controls between these countries, and you can move freely between them without a passport.

New Zealand’s bilateral agreements

Important: The information below is exclusively for New Zealand passport holders, who have slightly different Schengen rules to other countries. If you are not a New Zealand passport holder, this post will not apply to you. You can read about the standard Schengen rules here.

For New Zealanders the rules are a bit different. Before the Schengen agreement was inked, New Zealand had signed bilateral visa waivers with many European Schengen countries (as far back as the 1950’s). The visa waivers mean that the 90/180 day rule applies to each country individually, rather than the Schengen Area as a whole. This means you can stay in Spain for 90 days, then France for 90 days, then Germany for 90 days and so on.

(Trust me, this is a big deal. Some backpackers are willing to give a left nut and a pinky for a second 90 days).

The countries with this bilateral visa waiver agreement are as follows:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

The New Zealand government confirms the European Commission still honours these visa waivers and that they override the Schengen agreement.

You can read more here and here. Both sources are official government websites.

Update April 2018: It seems that the validity of these waivers is becoming more uncertain. When I wrote this article in 2016, the websites I linked above described the waivers in great detail. Now they just make a brief mention of them. As of right now this is what it says: 

“New Zealand has bilateral visa waiver agreements with many of the individual countries in the Schengen area. Some of these visa waiver agreements allow New Zealanders to spend a limited time in the relevant country, without reference to time spent in other Schengen area countries. Entry, and the length of stay under these visa waiver agreements, is subject to the decision of the local immigration authorities.” 

This does not mean the waivers have been revoked. They are still in place. It just means the NZ government is encouraging you to confirm the waivers with the relevant European embassies instead, which makes sense. Continue reading below on how to do that.

But does it work?

All our government websites caution that immigration officers may be unaware of these agreements. The advice was to contact the relevant embassies and get confirmation that the agreements are still recognised in the countries you plan to visit.

Since I wasn’t quite sure where my Eurotrip would end up, and also for the sake of this blog post, and also because I have no life, I just contacted all of them.

Using the embassy listings provided on Go Abroad, I sent an email to all of them. Here’s what I said:


My name is Brendan Lee, I’m a New Zealander travelling in Europe at the moment. I got your details from the Embassy listing on

I’ve been told we have a bilateral agreement with [country], that allows me to spend 3 months in [country] visa-free, regardless of any time spent in other Schengen countries. I was advised to email you to confirm whether this bilateral agreement is still valid?

From Safe Travel:

“However, New Zealand has bilateral visa waiver agreements with many of the individual countries in the Schengen area [country included]. These visa waiver agreements allow New Zealanders to spend up to three months in the relevant country, without reference to time spent in other Schengen area countries.  The European Commission has confirmed that these agreements continue to be valid.  These agreements thus effectively override the Schengen area restriction (which would otherwise be imposed on New Zealand passport holders) of no more than 3 months out of a 6-month period in the Schengen area as a whole.”

Thank you so much!!

Here’s what they said:

The short answer

YES means they still honour the waivers. NO means they don’t. A question mark means I couldn’t find embassy details, or they didn’t reply after several tries.

Austria Yes (kinda)
Belgium Kinda but not really
Denmark Yes
Finland Yes
France Yes
Germany Yes
Greece ?
Iceland Yes
Italy Yes
Luxembourg ?
The Netherlands Yes
Norway Yes (kinda)
Portugal No
Spain Yes
Sweden Yes
Switzerland Yes

The long answer

Here’s the exact email each embassy sent me.


“The bilateral agreement between Austria and New Zealand is currently still in force.
It allows you to stay in Austria for an additional 90 days, if you can prove that you have left the Schengen Area after the first 90 days, and have not had any stopovers in other Schengen countries during the second 90 days. Further please note that it is not a guarantee that the bilateral agreement will be honored by all other Schengen Member States and that you might still be fined for overstay when you leave the Schengen Area.

Therefore, you are well advised to have proof of your stay (Hotel receipts, tickets etc) in each state of the Schengen area readily available.”
For more information you may also want to visit the following websites:

-Austrian Consulate


“Referring to your email below I can inform you that a New Zealand passport holder does not need a visa for a stay of up to 90 days in any 180 days period in the Schengen area.

In addition the Embassy can inform you that, according to the SPF Foreign Affairs of Belgium, the actual bilateral agreement formally confirmed through an exchange of Notes on 1 November 1951 between the two countries, entitles New Zealand citizens to stay for two more months without a visa in Belgium after 90 days spent in any other Schengen country. When entering Belgium you will need to be able to prove you have not stayed in the Schengen area for more than 90 days. At the end of the 2 month period you will need to leave from Belgium and cannot visit another Schengen country.”

-Belgian Embassy


“Dear Brendan,

Yes, this is correct and still valid. For more information, please see link below:

-Danish Consulate General


“Good Afternoon,

Yes the bilateral agreement between France and New Zealand is still in place.

For more information :

-French Embassy


“Yes, you can stay in Finland for 3 months [regardless of time spent in other Schengen countries].”

-Finnish Consulate


“Dear Brendan,

New Zealand citizens can travel visa-free to Germany for visits of up to 90 days per half-year. Times spent in other Schengen member states do not count towards these 90 days. However, as there are no I internal border controls, it is up to you to prove to immigration on departure that you have not spent more than 90 days in any one country.”

-German Embassy


“Hi Brendan,

Yes I can confirm this is correct. NZ has an old bi-lateral agreement with Iceland and a few other European countries, that the Schengen Area agreement does NOT override. This was an unintended oversight when the Schengen agreement was signed but it stands.

So you can on a NZ passport spend up to 3 months in Iceland regardless of your other European travel.

In the unlikely event you will have any issues about this in Iceland, you can contact the Icelandic Foreign Affairs as they know all about this and you could also show this email as a proof.

Have a good trip to Iceland.”

-Icelandic Consulate


While Italy originally told me the waivers are no longer valid, a reader has since emailed me an updated reply that says the waivers are still in fact recognised:

“We confirm that the bilateral agreement between NZ and Italy is in place. This means that you are allowed to a 90 day tourist stay in Italy even if you have already spent 90 days in another country in the Schengen Area.”

-Italian Consulate

This is also confirmed on the website of the Italian embassy:

The exchange of Notes signed on 25 January 1961 between Italy and New Zealand, entitles New Zealand citizens to stay in Italy without a visa for 90 more days irrespectively from other periods spent in other Schengen Countries.


“Once the 90 days for the Netherlands have been used up you cannot return for 180 days.

If you wish to stay longer pleased contact the IND ( from within the Netherlands to request an extended tourist/visitors visa.

In principle, New Zealanders benefit from the short-stay visa waiver, as long as they (a) do not intend to work; (b) hold a passport valid for at least 3 months after date of return; and (c) have a return ticket. Border officials in EU countries may ask for other supporting documents such as an invitation letter, proof of lodging, return or round-trip ticket. For the precise requirements contact the local consular services of the EU country in question.

Therefore, New Zealand passport holders can freely travel in this period to countries in the Schengen Area: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Spain and Sweden.

On top of the overall Schengen visa waiver, New Zealand concluded bilateral visa waiver agreements with many of the individual countries in the Schengen area before the Schengen Agreement came into force. The countries with which New Zealand has bilateral visa waiver agreements are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Persons of New Zealand nationality are, according to the Bilateral Visa Waiver Agreement, entitled to stay in the Netherlands for 90 days and consecutively go to one of the other countries (length of stay depending on the agreement of New Zealand with that country!). Or the other way around, first visit one of those countries and then the Netherlands afterwards.

As stated before there is no border control between these countries, but there will be when you leave the Schengen area. You might be questioned about the length of your stay if it is more than 90 days. You are strongly advised to gather evidence (e.g. airline tickets, hotel bills, receipts, etc.) that show the duration of your stay in each different Schengen/EU country. That way you have the best option to prove that your stay in the entire Schengen area was legal.”

-Dutch Embassy


“Dear Brendan

New Zealand citizens travelling on New Zealand passports are exempt from the visa requirement for entering Norway. They can stay in the Schengen area for up to 90 days during a period of 180 days. Their stay can be for 90 consecutive days, or divided into several stays. The six-month period starts on the day of first entry into the Schengen area. A new six-month period starts immediately after the expiry of the previous one, thereby allowing another stay in the Schengen area of up to 90 days. However, although a stay will stretch from one six-month period to the next, they may never stay inside the Schengen area for more than 90 days each time. It is their own responsibility to make sure that they are not in breach of this requirement.

Further information regarding visa waiver countries as well as other visa matters can be found at the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration’s website:

For stays longer than 90 days, a residence permit is required. There is no way to extend the 90 days visa free period. Please note that overstaying the 90 days visa free period may lead to expulsion and a future entry ban to the Schengen area.

However, please be advised that there is currently a separate bilateral agreement between Norway and New Zealand allowing stays for up to 90 days visa free in Norway in addition to any days spent in a non-Nordic Schengen country. As a consequence, New Zealand citizens will not be refused entry to Norway due to time spent in e.g. Spain. Whether or not non-Nordic Schengen countries will disregard time spent in the Nordic countries before entering the non-Nordic country must be confirmed with the appropriate immigration authorities.

For more information regarding the bilateral agreement between Norway and New Zealand, please contact the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration.”

-Norwegian Consulate General


“Visa matters are handled by our Consulate General in Sydney. The Consul General has advised that, contrary to the information contained in some official websites, the Portuguese authorities are of the opinion that the Schengen Agreement superseded the earlier bi-lateral agreements.

Tourists are permitted to stay in Portugal, without a visa, for a period not exceeding 90 days, in the aggregate for all Schengen countries. If you require further information, please contact the Consulate General in Sydney.”

-Portugese Consulate


“Yes, as a NZ citizen you may stay in Spain without visa for up to 3 months regardless of the time you have spent in any other Schengen area countries.”

-Spanish Embassy


“To my knowledge and as far as I am aware – nothing has changed concerning the bilateral agreement.”

-Swedish Consulate General


“Dear Brendan,

Thank you very much for your enquiry.

Please find required information on our website:

New Zealand citizens do NOT require a visa to visit Switzerland for a period of up to 90 days within a 180-days period. New Zealand citizens benefit from this short-stay visa waiver, as long as they:

(a) do not intend to work;

(b) hold a passport valid for at least 3 months after date of departure;

(c) have a return ticket.

Border officials in EU countries may ask for other supporting documents such as for example an invitation letter, proof of lodging, return or round-trip ticket.

Moreover a bilateral visa waiver agreement signed between Switzerland and New Zealand allows holders of New Zealand passports to stay in Switzerland up to 90 days irrespectively from other periods spent in other Schengen countries. In this case, New Zealand nationals are advised to carry evidence of the period spent in Switzerland (e.g. passport stamps, accommodation receipts, ATM slips).”

-Swiss Embassy

What about the other Schengen countries?

Remember we do not have bilateral agreements with every Schengen country. That means the 90/180 day rule for the Schengen region as a whole still applies to the following countries:

  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Malta
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

And also Portugal, and possibly Luxembourg and Greece as we discussed above.

Therefore, my advice for anyone visiting Europe would be to visit the above countries first, use up your 90 days, and then continue your travels into the countries with the New Zealand visa waivers. Again it is up to you to prove you have complied with all the visa restrictions, so keep your bus and train tickets and accommodation receipts. You won’t have passport stamps as there are no border controls within the Eurozone.

It is also worth noting that Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City are countries in Europe that are not a part of the Schengen zone and therefore will have their own visa/immigration rules. You can check those here.

This means you can go to one of these non-Schengen countries for 90 days, reset your 180-day counter, and then re-enter the Schengen zone for a new 180 day clock. This is the “90 days in/90 days out” planning strategy that many long-term travellers use to stay in Europe for extended periods. Of course you only need to do this if you want to visit the Schengen countries that don’t have a bilateral visa waiver with us.

Did it work for me?

Here’s how it all went down:

When it came time to leave Europe, the first task was choosing a country to leave from. I’d been in the Schengen Area for 184 days.

I’d been told Spain and France simply do not care if you have overstayed, probably because their workday is only 20 minutes long so they don’t have time to bother with silly travellers like us. We’re all too broke to pay the stupid fine anyway.

That wasn’t good for me because, as you know, I like to live dangerously. Like, right on the edge. I don’t even watch the safety video or turn off my phone during take off. So I made it a point to leave from the strictest country. I wanted to make sure I got checked, questioned, and see for myself whether our “special rules” checked out. For the sake of a blog post I was willing to miss my flight and risk that nasty overstayer stamp that would banish me from Europe for life. Life! (Actually I think it’s two years but whatever).

So who is the strictest? Word on the street is: Germany and Switzerland. They apparently check everyone, every time. No surprises there.

So I arrange to fly out from Zurich airport. Ideally the customs officer would know the deal and just stamp me through. But I had all the papers from all the websites printed out, ready to bust out on the table like Ally McBeal if things got crazy.

Finally I get to customs. Moment of truth. I take a look at the lineup. There is an art to this, you know. It goes like this:

Young, fun looking guys don’t give a toss when it comes to this stuff. Usually if you overstay 3 or 4 days somewhere they just stamp you through because they only care about going home to play Xbox later. And they hate paperwork. So if I’ve overstayed somewhere, I always try to choose a counter with a young smiley dude in his twenties. Young women are the next easiest. Try and look for the happy ones, hopefully they’re crazy in love with some hunk and not even thinking straight and won’t want to be mean in case it messes with their happiness. However, there’s a flipside. If you choose one that’s moody you’re gonna get it in the ass. There’s a 300% chance she’s gonna bust your balls mega hard and go high and mighty on you. So make sure she looks cheery. Next is the older guys. These guys are hit and miss. Sometimes they’re like your cool uncle and might just smirk at your cheeky overstay and give you a wink before stamping you through. Other times you might get that old school guy that just has to do everything by the book and will ping you. And then older ladies are usually the toughest. If you overstayed and you choose the counter with the older lady, she’s gonna bust you. But usually she’s going to be really nice about it, like a loving grandmother disciplining a toddler. Unless of course someone pissed her off that morning. Then you’re in for a long afternoon.

So I check out the lineup, and remember, I’m trying to get pinged here. But there’s no grumpy looking girls. No meticulous looking grandmothers either. So I go for the grumpiest looking old guy.

I rock up and he hasn’t even looked at my passport for two seconds before he asks, “And how long have you been in Europe, sir?”

Switzerland lives up to the rep. It’s on.

“About six months,” I tell him.

I pull my shoulders back and smile. In these situations you gotta have confident body language and stuff, you know.

“Mmm about six months,” he nods, flicking through my passport.

“Says you came in on June 6, through…Algeciras?”

“Oh yeah I entered in May but I went to Morocco for a couple of weeks and then I came back.”

He nods again slowly, flicks through a couple more pages, and then starts talking to the young mid-twenties guy in the booth next to him. He’s waving my passport at him, and he’s talking Swiss German so I don’t understand anything, but I hear him say New Zealand a couple of times, tapping the front of my passport. He’s talking like a Dad so I figure he’s explaining the intricacies of the special visa rules we have. Of course this young guy looks like he couldn’t give two shits about it.

Then he inks his stamp, still blabbing away, stamps my passport and says, “Have a safe flight!”

Didn’t even take two minutes. I get a little rush of satisfaction. I’m through!

Planning to stay in the Schengen Area for over 90 days?

So it worked out for me, let’s make sure it works out for you too. In the space of six months, I’ve noticed information change on various of the websites above multiple times. As of writing (November 2016) the information in this post is current, but if you’re planning to (legally) overstay your 90 days, I would do exactly as I did: Email the embassies of the countries you want to visit, print them, have them ready at customs, and maybe the printouts of the policies on their immigration websites too. As you saw in my little story some customs officers know their shit, but I’m sure many others don’t. If in some strange scenario the embassy has okayed you and customs won’t accept it, at least you can show you did everything you could to comply and you may just get a warning instead of a ban and a hefty fine. This is annoying since New Zealanders should be able to enjoy this arrangement without all the hassle, but this is what our government recommends.

Also note, the countries you visit isn’t actually too important. It’s the country you leave from that matters. You move freely without border checks in the Schengen Area, so it’s only when you fly out of the area that you’re going to be checked. If you’re really anxious about it, try and leave from a country that has expressly stated on their immigration website that the waiver is valid (Switzerland, Denmark, France).

Hope this helps, have a safe trip and enjoy Europe!


Update April 2018:

As you can see from the comments this post has become quite popular and is now #1 on Google for this topic. While this is great, it might also mean that all the embassies now have hundreds of Kiwis emailing them each day asking to confirm waivers. As you can imagine this is eventually going to piss off the staff and that could even result in some waivers being pulled altogether.

Let’s work together and try and make this more efficient. Here is my suggestion:

I am suggesting you only email for waiver confirmations from the country you actually intend to leave from. That is where you will be checked and questioned, so you really only need confirmation from that particular authority. I also encourage you to please come back here and share any confirmations you get from embassies and your experiences with the waivers at customs. Teamwork makes dreamwork. Thanks!

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  1. Hey Bren, great information and very useful, cheers!

    Just to add a little bit, I contacted Hungary as it was mentioned on this website by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Affairs here:

    and they came back and said we can also stay the separate 90 days there too, with the condition of leaving the Schengen zone as mentioned on that page. Here’s the full reply for anyone who’s interested:

    “Referring to your e-mail we confirm that due to the bilateral agreement between New Zealand and Hungary, a New Zealand citizen can spend up to 90 days out of a 180 day period, even if he/she has already spent up to 90 days in any other Shengen countries. Please note that in this case you must leave the Schengen Zone from Hungary, and it is prohibited to go to other Schengen countries during the stay in Hungary.”

    I also got a negative reply from the Consulate General of Austria in New Zealand, so it’s clear a few people who should know their stuff don’t:
    “The information is incorrect and you may not spend another 90 days in Austria.
    A NZ citizen may spend 90 days in the Euro zone – that’s it! ”

    His information with regard to the Schengen zone is definitely wrong, though I’m still waiting on separate personal confirmation about Austria itself from this source

    Cheers and all the best,

      1. Hey Bren, thanks for posting this very helpful reference.

        I have also been emailing the Austrians. I think the Austrian consulate in NZ does not know what he is talking about, although this does highlight the difficulties we can face trying to use these Bilateral Visa Waivers!

        I emailed the Austrian Embassy in Canberra, wanting to know whether we had to leave Austria prior to re-entry to be eligible for a visa waiver. It turns out it may not be necessary, this was their response:

        “what is meant by exiting the Schengen area prior to entering Austria under the bilateral agreement is that you “leave” the Schengen area before your entry to Austria. Your Schengen stay ends and you enter Austria under the bilateral agreement, so the stays are clearly separated.
        For example if you are in Italy before travelling to Austria, your Schengen stay ends once you have left Italy. Then you enter Austria – under the bilateral agreement. There is no need to travel to a non-Schengen country like the UK to then fly into Austria.

        There is usually no border control on the internal borders between other Schengen countries and Austria, therefore it is hard to prove when you have left the Schengen Area and entered Austria. If required by the authorities you will have to provide proof when and where you entered Austria.

        As mentioned in the below email, please note that some other Schengen countries do not honour bilateral agreements between other Schengen countries and third countries, therefore another entry to a Schengen country (even for flight transit) might be considered an overstay.

        Best regards,

        Consular Office
        Austrian Embassy Canberra
        12 Talbot Street, Forrest A.C.T. 2603, Australia
        (Post: P.O. Box 3375, Manuka A.C.T. 2603, Australia)
        Office: +61-2-6295-1533 | Fax: +61-2-6239-6751 | [email protected]

  2. Hey since the wording on the safe travel site has changed to – ” New Zealand has bilateral visa waiver agreements with many of the individual countries in the Schengen area. Some of these visa waiver agreements allow New Zealanders to spend a limited time in the relevant country, without reference to time spent in other Schengen area countries. Entry, and the length of stay under these visa waiver agreements, is subject to the decision of the local immigration authorities. ” would you still recommend quoting that to the embassies in email or does that give room for them to say no easily?

  3. Hi Bren:) Thank you for all this information it’s been very useful!

    I’m going to be in Europe for 4 months in total and flying into and out for Germany. My dates stack up so I’m not overstaying according to the bilateral agreements but I’m concerned about entering Germany as my return flight is more than 3 months past my entry date – as long as I have my letter from the German embassy and hostel bookings proving where I will be do you think there would be any issues upon entry?

  4. Hey fellow kiwi, I’m planning my own 6 month jaunt at the moment and I was wondering if you could help? When entering a Schengen country that doesn’t honour the bilateral agreement, for example Italy, do they count the time spent in other Schengen countries that do honour the bilateral agreement as part of the overall time? Not sure if that makes sense, it’s just technically I enter the Schengen zone on 30th April in Germany but I wouldn’t be getting to Italy until late August. Even though most of the time spent during those 4 months is either in countries we have a bilateral agreement with or non Schengen countries. Any ideas?

  5. Hi Bren, We are about to depart for a 6 month trip and I have written to the Embassy of Spain and the Embassy of France to ask if the bilateral agreement will still be valid. I have replies from both embassies. A very short response from the Embassy of Spain “Yes, Spain honours the agreement”.
    The Embassy of France wrote a longer reply
    ” Bonjour,
    I confirm that the Bilateral Waiver agreement between France and New Zealand is still valid today. This agreement allows New-Zealand passport holders to stay visa free in France for 90 days each 6 months period even if they stayed previously in another Schengen state. To be able to prove when you leave France that you didn’t overstay, I strongly advise you to keep all your travel tickets and hotel invoices from the Schengen entry date (stamp from the immigration officer in your passport).
    However, if you want to enter France while you have already spent 90 days or more in the Schengen area, it will be at the end and as any traveller, the immigration officer who will accept or refuse entry subject to his investigations.
    I have printed these emails to carry with us and based on these responses we will enter the Schengen zone in France and depart the Schengen Zone from Spain.
    Thanks Bren for gathering all of this information to assist fellow kiwi travellers. Much appreciated!

  6. Hello Bren!
    This is amazing! You have really spent the time collecting the information and putting this together.

    I have one question as I seem to get different responses. I attend to work in the UK and I have applied for a 2 year working visa. However I will be travelling the Schengen countries for the first 3-4 months before collecting my visa in the UK. Therefore I do not have a return ticket. Do I need a return ticket to be able to entry the Schengen countries?

    Thank you for your time!


  7. Hi Bren, great site – thanks for helping me navigate such a complex area.
    Your advice please – our family (me, wife and 17yo son) arrive in to France on 5th April and depart from Germany 25th July – 112 days in total, but all good as all the countries we are visiting have bilateral agreements with New Zealand EXCEPT for Hungary which we need to be in from 21-23 July (day 108 to day 110) – my son is competing in a sporting event, so dates can not be moved. We then fly home from Germany on the 25th July. My wife and I are driving in and out of Hungary, and my son is flying in from the Netherlands and we are meeting him there. Will getting in and out of Hungary (by road or air) be an issue given we have been in the Schengen region over 90 days at that stage? I’m not worried about overstaying, as departing from Germany will be fine (NZ has a bilateral agreement with them), but I don’t want my son to have visa issues at the airport when we are not with him. Your thoughts. Thanks

    1. Hey Richard, I would be very surprised if he has any trouble at all, considering he is not entering nor leaving Schengen via Hungary. Your problem is most likely to come from Germany, as they are real sticklers for this kind of stuff and will definitely be checking your dates. Most likely they will see you are from New Zealand, go in the back and check it out and make a phone call, and then wave you through. Although I would still email the embassy and get a confirmation email just in case. Also, Hungary does have a bilateral agreement but it’s kind of funny – you can enter Hungary after 90 days is up but then you must leave the Schengen area from Hungary i.e. it’s supposed to be your last stop. So it’s unlikely you will have any trouble entering Hungary, but you could possibly have trouble exiting (although unlikely). Obviously I have no idea what will actually happen on the day, but that would be my opinion on it! Safest way is to get written confirmations via email, as I did.

  8. Hi Bren,
    I am a NZ passport holder. If I spend more than 90 days in the Schengen under the visa waver agreement, can I then enter a EU country such as Romania or Slovenia without being accused of overstaying. That is: are the Schengen and the EU considered separate entities as far as the 90/ 180 rule is concerned or do I have to leave directly to a non EU country?
    Does anyone know the answer to this?
    Cheers, Peter

  9. News about Austria and the bilateral agreement! Thank you Bren for all your information about Schengen zones, your blog is a great help.
    I asked the Austrian consulate in Auckland whether the bilateral agreement with NZ is still in place, this was her reply (27 April 2017):
    Dear Peter. The bilateral agreement between Austria and New Zealand is curently still in force. Further please note that it is not a guarantee that the bilateral agreement will be honored by all other Schengen Member States and that you might still be fined for overstay when you leave the Schengen Area. Therefore, you are well advised to have proof of your stay (Hotel receipts, tickets etc) in each state of the Schengen area readily available. For more information you may also want to visit the following websites:
    Mit freundlichen Gruessen – With best regards,
    Ingrid Goeschl
    Oesterreichisches Konsulat Auckland
    Austrian Consulate Auckland
    T: +64 9 476 0994
    M: +64 21 858 818
    E: [email protected]

  10. Hi Bren, I see someone has asked about travelling to a Schengen country that doesn’t honour the bilateral agreement, and whether they count the time spent in other Schengen countries that do honour the bilateral agreement. Just wondering if this would be the same for someone on a Working Holiday Visa? E.g. if I was on a Working Holiday Visa in The Netherlands, and then went to Italy, would they recognise the Working Holiday Visa if I had been in The Netherlands for, say, 6 months or more as the visa is a 1 year visa? Or does it not matter if I don’t leave frmo Italy and am jsut travelling there but staying in the Schengen region? Your advice on this and would be so helpful.

  11. Thanks for a really useful post we are travelling in Europe at the moment and it has been super helpful. I contacted the Greek Embassy a coouple of days ago and althought its somewhat complicated they also honour the bi lateral agreement though somewhat complicated. Here is the response I got:
    There is, indeed, a bilateral visa waiver agreement between New Zealand and Greece.

    However, be aware that the Border Guards upon entering the Schengen Area will stamp your passport and upon exit you may be challenged by local police or other authorities if they deem you as an overstayer and it is possible that you might be accused of being one when you leave the Schengen Area, unless you prove otherwise. For your information see the Schengen Borders Code (articles 10-11)
    if you desire to make use of the provisions of the bilateral agreement please mention that to the Border Guards (your passport will not be stamped upon entering Greece since you will be in an intra-Schengen flight but you will be checked when entering the Schengen Area later. So you should specifically ask the Border Guards upon entering Greece that you would like to make use of the provisions of the Bilateral Agreement between Greece and New Zealand and you shouldn’t enter Greece and then travel to another Schengen Member State during the same period since it will be really complicated to start /stop /restart the Schengen Calculation of the Days for short stay visits.

    “Exceptionally, at the request of a third-country national, insertion of an entry or exit stamp may be dispensed with if insertion might cause serious difficulties for that person. In that case, entry or exit shall be recorded on a separate sheet indicating the name and passport number. That sheet shall be given to the third-country national”.
    Since it is upon the Border Guards to implement these rules and it is upon their own discretion to decide if you are an overstayer or not.
    (Article 7 of the Border Guards Code*
    Border checks on persons
    1. Cross-border movement at external borders shall be subject to checks by border guards. )

    In few words once entering the Schengen Area you are under the jurisdiction of Border Guards and if you want to stay in Greece for three months (making use of the provisions of the bilateral agreement) after you have stayed for 90 or less days in another Schengen Member State you must ask the Greek Border Guards upon entering Greece (because otherwise your passport will not be stamped since you are entering Greece from another Member State (no internal controls)) and then you will be considered an overstayer upon exiting and a fine will be imposed on you by them.
    At any rate please inform the Border Guards regarding your intentions and be aware that you cannot make use of both Agreements (Schengen & Bilateral) at the same time in Greece.
    If you want to enter the Schengen Area from Greece and then continue to other Schengen Member States similar issues are risen with the stamping of your NZ passport and proving to all Border Guards which Agreement you are making use of.

      1. I have just heard back from the Greek embassy with the same reply. Are they simply saying that yes new zealanders can go there for 3 months but try to have proof our entry and leaving dates and yes we can go to a schengen bilateral country afterwards…or am I missing something here???
        Bren are you having any luck adjusting your website settings so we can see comments on a phone screen…your blog fits perfectly it’s just the comments don’t.

          1. I got that email and also couldn’t decipher it, but I managed to get some clarification.

            My email:
            Just to clarify my understanding:

            1. If I plan to enter Greece through a Schengen member state and leave it more than 90 days after I first entered the Schengen area I should clarify this with the border guards UPON ENTRY, and will then be able to stay in Greece for 90 days irrespective of time spent in other Schengen states and leave without issue.
            2. If I plan to enter Greece from a non-Schengen state then I will be able to stay in Greece for 90 days irrespective of time spent in the Schengen area in the preceding 90 days.
            3. If I stay in Greece until more than 90 days have elapsed since my entry to the Schengen area, and less than 90 days have elapsed since last exiting the Schengen Area, I should not that I will not be able to re-enter a Schengen member state under the Schengen area 90/180 day visa.

            I hope that makes sense.. Is it all correct?


            The reply:
            Hi Sean

            Yes, that is also my understanding, if in doubt about anything please do check with the Border Guards at all times.

            Safe Travels.


            George Neonakis
            Honorary Consul
            Hon. Consulate of Greece Wellington

            Interesting point to note – I was waived through easy as on arrival in Greece, but the Turkish airline staff in Istanbul (flew with Pegasus) wouldn’t let me on the plane until the Greek authorities had confirmed the existence of the waiver – even with those emails! It was a nervy 15 minutes or so.

          2. I have flown into Greece after spending more than 90 days in other Schengen countries with no problem. Have also flown out of Greece to non-Schengen after more than 90 days in Schengen. The Greek Border guards don’t give a sh*t. They often don’t even bother stamping the correct date in your passport.

  12. Hey Bren,
    Thanks for a great post!
    I’ve been in the Schengen countries for 83 days now and have 7 days remaining on the initial 90/180 day visa free travel for Kiwis. Thing is, I’m heading up to Hamburg soon and then planning to stay another week or 2 in Denmark before flying out of Copenhagen to the UK. This would mean that I’d be overstaying by a week or 2 on top of my 90day visa. However, according to your post and the Bilateral agreements that I’ve also found online, seems that it won’t be a problem as I can stay another 90 days in Denmark (and other Nordic countries).
    My questions is this: I’m going up to Copenhagen via bus or train from Hamburg. Do you know how they would validate my date of entry into Denmark? What do I need to do to tell the Immigration officer when I fly out of Copenhagen to ensure I don’t have any issues when departing the Schengen regions…
    Thoughts please 🙂

  13. Hi,

    We are in Europe now, travelling on the Visa Waiver Agreements. We thought all was legit until we went over the border between Hungary & Croatia.

    I notice that you didn’t have Hungary in your list, but they do have an Agreements, with slightly different rules to the rest. You have to leave the Schengen Area after your time in Hungary.

    I contact all relevant embassies before leaving NZ as you did, including Hungary and received written confirmation the Agreements still exist (except Italy and Portugal as you found).

    On crossing the border with all documents in hand, the Hungarian officials knew nothing of the Agreements and were not interested in my documents or written confirmations.

    €100 fine for my wife and I.

    Feel pretty pissed now, trying to contact the embassies again to arrange a refund.

    If anyone is trying to attempt this, I’d suggest not leaving Schengen Area from Hungary.

    1. That’s crazy, the fine for overstaying is much more than that and includes a ban on future entry. So it’s possible these guys were just hustling you for some change, especially because it’s a land border and those are often less policed. Airports are much safer and always will have officials around you can escalate to. Hopefully you got a receipt and the names of the officials? Otherwise it might be hard to prove anything.

      1. Hi Bren,

        Thanks for your reply. We paid our fine with MasterCard, so it’s unlikely the border officials pocketed anything themselves. I think they were just uninformed.

        Yes, we kept the receipt (signed by us and them) and have forwarded this on to the Hungarian Embassy in Wellington. The Embassy have written back apologising for the border officials ignorance. They said the money may be hard to get back, but I’ve followed up again with pictures of the receipts so hopefully they’ll get to work.

        I’ll let you know how we go?


  14. This has to be the best, clearest website dealing with this issue. Thank you.
    Thought I’d let you know what has just happened to us. My wife and I are both New Zealanders but I also have a British passport. 4 years ago we were fortunate enough to buy a house in France where we spend 6 months living…yeah nice, I can feel the reader resentment from here. Back then we contacted the French Embassy in Wellington re my wife living in France beyond the 3 month period. Their reply was because she was married to a British citizen she was allowed to stay longer on the basis of being married to an EU citizen. No problems until this year we discovered the rules have CHANGED!!!!
    On flying into England from France we were told by the ‘Ihatetheallblacksandwishallnewzealandersweredeported’ immigration guy at Stanstead airport that my wife has overstayed in France and wouldn’t be allowed back in. We explained the ‘spouse rule’ only to be smugly informed that its all changed and she will need to go back to NZ to get a ‘Free’ visa added to her passport! This revelation was confirmed by the ‘new team’ at the French embassy and suffice to say my wife has had to fly all the way back to Wellington to get that visa. The process takes roughly 3 weeks to get an interview to go through the relevant paperwork and then 4 weeks to process!!!!
    Moral of this story is always check with the relevant embassy in your home country at least 2 months before you leave what the latest rules are. In this changing, regulatory world it’s better to safe than sorry.

  15. Hi Bren,
    A lot of great info here. I am currently in Austria and looking at options to stay longer. At the moment I plan on staying until my 90 days are up (with the 90 day visa free option we have). My plan is to try and get a (study) residence visa for Austria but this will likely take quite awhile, so it looks like I will have to leave Austria while that is being processed. Do you know if I can possibly leave Austria for a short time and then come in again with the bilateral agreement?

      1. Thanks again Bren,
        So my current plan is to leave Austria at the end of next month. Fly to the UK for several weeks and then go to Germany for 3 months. After this I intend to return to Austria. It will have been more than 90 days since I was in Austria so this should be fine as we have a bilateral agreement with Austria.
        P.S Can I donate you a beer somehow?

        1. Hey Adam, if you read the email from the Austrian embassy, it requires you to leave the Schengen area after 90 days in Austria – they interpret the waiver slightly differently. So going to Germany technically won’t work. You’ll need to go to a non-Schengen country – Bulgaria, Romania for example. Since it’s winter up there, maybe try Southeast Asia for 3 months 😉 Normally you could just risk the overstay, but because you’re after a visa I would try and stay legit. P.S. I have a donate page here, thanks!:

  16. Cheers Bren, about to give this a shot tomorrow, leaving via Zurich. If only I’d known this last year… left on day 90, could have spent another few months in Gran Canaria!

    I emailed the Spanish embassy (as there is that link you provided for the Swiss situation and have been in the Canaries most of the time) and got this slightly longer reply:

    As a NZ citizen you may stay in Spain without visa for up to 3 months regardless of the time you have spent in any other Schengen area countries.

    You can even stay more than three months in any 6-month period, provided the continuous period is no longer than three months.

    Lastly, if you do this, and although it may be a difficult thing to do with no border controls, be sure to get your passport stamped on the way out and also upon coming back, so the periods may be properly computed.

  17. Hi Bren, thanks so much for this information ???? My question is this … So if I spend 90 days in Switzerland then fly out from Zurich and into Germany for the next 90 days, does that mean that the 180 day period for Switzerland is over and I can now re-enter Switzerland for a further 90 days …. if this is so then travel in Europe could go on for a long time … Look forward to your comments ????

  18. I recently tested this in both Switzerland and France with no trouble.

    My bus from Chamonix (France) to Geneva (Switzerland) got stopped by immigration and the Swiss officer spent a long time flicking through my passport but didn’t say anything even though I’d been in the Schengen Zone for four months already.

    On leaving France on the Dieppe-Newhaven ferry they didn’t say anything about it after five months in the Schengen Zone.

    Thanks for the very detailed post Bren! Really useful and I refer people to it when trying to explain the whole situation.

  19. Hi Bren, I’ve got a slightly different scenario. I’m a Kiwi with Australian dual nationality and, came to Europe on an Australian passport. (My original plan to stay 6 months was to do 3 in the schengen and 3 in the Balkans).

    However, I then unfortunately only found out about the NZ waivers after coming to Europe on my Australian passport. I’ve since managed to acquire an NZ passport. My plan currently is to swap passports by flying into a non schengen country (in order to exit with the Aus passport and enter Europe on the NZ passport). However, I’m a little wary of how to best handle immigration officers from wherever I fly out of and, random border crossing checks, who may think I’m attempting to double dip the system- which isn’t at all my intention as I am a legitimate NZ passport holder and, thus applicable to the waivers. This is entirely legal however, I don’t think it look good. I would’ve originally come on an NZ passport had I known about the waivers and it’s just very unfortunate I hadn’t read your article prior to leaving.

    What would be your opinion/advice on how to best handle this and, in particular handle border checks?


    1. Assuming you exit on your Australian, then enter your first non-Schengen country on your New Zealand, I think it should be fine. It’s not illegal to travel with two passports. Even if they question you, just say you prefer to travel on your New Zealand, this wouldn’t be an offense they could fine you for. Besides the non-Schengen countries are highly unlikely to care.

      1. Hi Bren! Thanks so much for your quick response.
        I ended up exiting the schengen on the AUS passport as I figured that if the first stamp in my NZ passport was a land crossing that might immediately raise questions I could avoid. I’m currently out of the schengen but am going to fly into Rome and change to my NZ passport there, where I’ll hopefully not have any trouble with a blank passport.

  20. Hi Bren,

    I have been in the Schengen region for around 70 days and then will have spent just over 2 months outside the Schengen region. However, I will be in the Schengen region again for around 30 days before I fly out of Berlin, Germany. So I will have spent more than 90 days in the Schengen region, however with the bilateral visa waiver agreements I should be fine as I spent a few weeks in France and in Spain and other places. The thing is that I kept a receipt or something from almost every day in those countries except they are not always accommodation receipts, they are just random receipts from supermarkets and other things, although I still have my bus receipts I think. Do you think that would be enough evidence to show to the Germans at the airport in case there are any problems, along with the relevant embassy emails?

    Thanks so much!

    (I read some people in the above comments having problems in Switzerland and Hungary which is stressing me out a bit so am hoping it will be fine…)

  21. Hi Bren,
    Thanks so much for your great post and taking the time to reply to us fellow kiwis, im sure youve saved alot of people headaches while travelling :).

    I am currently in Slovenia, my first stop in europe was Germany then travelled to Spain and France (bilateral friendly) for around 2-3 weeks in total before heading to Italy and other non bilateral friendly countries. My current count is around 95 days for the entire Schengen Zone (including bilateral friendly countries i.e. Germany, Spain, France).
    I am wanting to fly to the UK within the next week which will bring my total up to circa 100 days in entire Schengen. As per Bilateral agreemnts i understand i can write off the time spent in Germany, Spain and France against my schengen total which would bring it to down to circa 80 days. Just looking for advice as to whether you think its fine to fly out of Slovenia, or would you advise to get the bus up to Germany or Austria and flying out of there. Havent read anyone flying out of Slovenia so not sure what their stance is on the bilateral waivers. Would prefer a direct flight from Slovenia but not if it comes with a fine :/.

    thanks so much again for your post and reply.

    1. You should definitely NOT fly out of Slovenia because you have already been in the region for +90 days, technically you shouldn’t be in Slovenia right now. Austria might be okay, but I think technically you’re still in breach there as well. Germany is your best bet (well probably Spain or France is your best bet really, but in practical terms I’d try Germany). In Germany they ‘might’ still ping you anyway because you’re not meant to be in Slovenia, but that’s none of their business really. It will only be a problem if you get a real asshole customs officer. I would definitely leave from Germany.

      1. Hi Bren,
        Thanks alot for your advice! i will definately try Germany or maybe France (depending on connections). The way i understand it the time i spent at the start of my trip in Germany, Spain and France do not count towards my Schengen time. If my interpreation is correct i am under the 90 day threshold. I guess it depends on the customs official interpretation. I will let everyone know how i go. Thanks again!

          1. Hey Bren, some feedback for other travellers. I got the bus to Germany and got passport checked at the German border. Came back and handed my passport back didn’t appear to be any issues. Flying out of Munich had a young German officer, was a few questions but let through with limited hassle. Stayed a total of 150 days in europe, Thanks heaps for the advice and great post, has helped alot of us out.

          2. Awesome news. Germany and Switzerland seem to be the countries most on top of the NZ waiver law. Nice to know it all worked out.

  22. I hold an NZ passport. I arrived in Paris in May 2017, walked from France to Switzerland, Austria into Germany, without anybody asking me anything. After more than 4 months in the Schengen zone, I took a bus in September 2017 from Munchen to Zagreb and Belgrade (Serbia). They did not ask any questions at the border. Then I took a train to Sofie in Bulgaria. Absolutely no problem. I had all my embassy emails ready, but nobody asked for them. I would recommend travelling overland though, rather than an airplane.

          1. Thanks Bren. .hopefully you can alter it to fit properly because it would be great to read all the comments clearly.
            Am waiting for replies now from different European consulates so will be able to share their replies if there are any changes.

  23. Hi Bren!
    So I am in Europe and I have a flight booked from Warsaw to London in a few weeks. So in the 180 days leading up to the flight, I will have spent 82 days outside of the Schengen zone, and 98 days inside, however I spent 29 of those days inside in countries with bilateral visa waiver agreements. Do you think it will still be fine to fly out of Poland, as we don’t have a bilateral agreement with them? I have email evidence from the embassies for the relevant countries with bilateral agreements, so do you think that is enough in case I have any problems? I didn’t really think about it when I was booking the flight as when I flew out of and into Germany there were no problems.

    1. Hi, I flew from Warsaw to London a week ago after being in the Schengen zone for nearly 6 months. They definitely picked up on this and initially weren’t that happy about it, but finally after a lot of explaining they were satisfied with the bilateral waiver agreements we have with Spain & Germany in my case, and I got through without the overstayer stamp.

      I’d definitely confirm the agreement with the respective embassies and print out this correspondence to show them, this was key. Also give yourself plenty of time at the airport as it took me an hour to get through this gate.

      You should be fine though.

      1. Phew, they technically could have pinged you, as you’re not supposed to be in Poland after your 90 days as it’s not a waiver country. But since you were obviously well prepared I think they gave you the benefit of the doubt. The Polish customs officers are very unlikely to know anything about the waiver laws, so if you had all your correspondence I can imagine they’d just look at it and let you through. Nice work!

  24. Hi Bren.. I know I’m sounding like a broken record!!! Is your developer still working on your site?? Why is it so difficult to make comments fit. Showed your site to a couple of travellers from NZ I met but their phones were smaller than mine and they had worse trouble reading the comments. Such a great site and great advice and a shame to not be able to read everything.

      1. Thanks for your replies. It was possible work in Prague so was work I g out times I could go there. I’m in North Cypress at the moment and have a opportunity in Greece. Their consulate letter sounds complicated and I got the same one back from them. So can you tell me if I arrived in Finland September 18th just over two months there then came to North Cyprus which is non schengen 6 weeks and then I go into Greece for around 9 weeks until March 18th…can I then go to Italy which doesn’t have a waiver with us but it will be the start of a fresh 6 months.And does Greece actually recognise our waiver. It sounds like they do but am I missing something in that complicated letter. Hope this letter is clear as I can’t see all that I’m typing due to the screen configuration on my phone. Thanks again for your help.

  25. Hi Bren.. fantastic, the site is working really well..yayyy!!!! My travels aren’t working out so well though. Decided at the last minute to go the UK as i got a great housesitting opportunity.
    When they asked at border control what I was doing I said I was Housesitting. I was locked up for 28 hours questioned etc and returned back to Cyprus as Housesitting is considered illegal work even though I wasn’t getting paid for that was a shock. I have no criminal record, don’t look menacing or dangerous and the 3 security guards who looked after me were totally shocked also….so much for the
    UK being a safe non schengen haven. I didn’t have a clear itinerary and they believed I was there for work. Can someone give me advice.. Want do we say when questioned if we have no definite plans, and we are just there to visit and don’t have close friends or family in a particular country. They said because I didn’t have family there I didn’t appear to have a valid reason for travel. I said i was having an adventure and always meet people along the way … what else do you say…look forward to some tips????…thanks in advance.

    1. Housesitting can be a grey area, as getting stuff for free (accommodation/food) can be considered payment. If they question you, just say you are on a trip around the world and you are backpacking, you will be staying in hostels etc. Which is true for me anyway! This is also common enough nowadays and most people know somebody who has done an extended trip around the world. Also it helps to have the name of a hostel you are going to – even if you’re not booked in, you can just say you’re going to walk-in. That’s pretty normal too. I always suggest having a print-out of a bank statement or at least have a few credit cards on you – so you can show you have enough funds to survive without work.

  26. Hi Bren, great site, appreciated that this has been put together. I have a question for you or anyone else on the thread that may have some insight. I’ve read a lot on here about which countries are best to fly out of once you’ve passed the 90 day mark in the Schegen region, and are then relying on the bilateral visa agreements and the grace of the immigration official you luck on to leave without issue, but I have seen little mentioned about which countries are best when flying back into the Schegen zone with more than 90 days under your belt already. I’m currently in Morocco, and need to fly back in the next couple days, I had already prior been in the Schengen zone for 100 days. Ideally I’d fly into Germany for my ends, but I’m wondering if Spain or France are better options given their general reputation for being relaxed and often not even checking your current count, where as Germany almost certainly would. This to me seems in someways trickier than leaving, as you can essentially be turned away and deported if things go south.

    There is a complication to this as well. Leaving France a few days ago to come to Morocco I was actually questioned about my 100 days stay, I explained to them the bilateral agreements, and even had official documents from the French embassy confirming and detailing the agreements, but even after phone calls were made they came back to me saying I was subject to the same conventional 90 Schegen regulations as everyone else and that was the end of it. It was just bad luck I guess, I left from a small airport with only two very young immigration officials on the job. I was not fined, and they did not put an ugly deported stamp in my passport, but I have no idea if this was logged on any kind of a system. If so, even if flying into a bilateral agreement adhering country, I’m probably going to get grilled more than usual, and I’m now nervous my supporting documents, which are limited to flights between various bilateral agreement countries, could potentialy not be considered enough under the level of suspicion and interrogation a red cross next to my name on the system might bring.

    Insight on this from anyone would be appreciated, Thanks!

    1. In some ways flying into a country like Germany and Switzerland is beneficial, because they are such sticklers for rules and once they see that you’re within the rules with your waivers, they let you go without issue. Like I said I left from Switzerland and he recognised my passport and seemed to know the rules already, since I clearly said I entered in June, and it was November when I left. He waved me right through. Obviously it’s up to you, but I think Germany isn’t a bad bet (as long as you haven’t been there in the last 90 days).

      1. Thanks for the quick response Bren. Yes I’m thinking Germany might be the way to go, we’ll see how this pans out. One thing though, you note its not a bad bet, “as long as you haven’t been there in the last 90 days”. Do you perhaps mean ‘for* the last 90 days’. I was in Berlin for 4 days about a month ago, but as far as I understand that means I’m still entitled 86 days of the full additional 90 days the bilateral agreement provides, or am I missing something here…. do these bilateral agreement 90 days need to be consecutive once I start using

        Thanks for your time.

          1. A long over due update on this. Flew into Germany with the no issues or questioning whatsoever. They took the time to check the passport, but didn’t inquire further.

          2. We flew into Germany June 2nd and were told we couldn’t stay more than 90 days. As you can imagine I was concerned as I knew nothing about this. Have subsequently read everything on this site and will be keeping all docs and getting a reply to my email. We fly out mid November after touring Northern Europe and Scandinavia so will see what eventuates. We will be prepared and will let you know.

    2. In an earlier post someone got a reply back from the Spanish Consulate saying that New Zealanders can actually stay longer then the 90 days if they leave and come back could be worth reading up further. They didn’t however say that in the letter I received from them a few weeks ago. But could be with checking if it helps you on your travels.. let us know if it does.

    1. Very rarely do I have a return ticket, usually if they ask I’ll tell them a vague plan – “I’m catching the train to Sweden in a couple of weeks” – something like that. As long as you don’t come off as super shady it seems to be satisfactory. Their job is to make sure nobody stays in the country and works illegally, if you can satisfy them that this is the case with you, you should be okay in most places.

  27. HI Bren, excellent article/resource! My question is this: do you think it would be possible to just hop back and forth between Germany, Spain and France for a year – like stay in Germany for three months, then Spain for three months, then France for three months, then repeat, etc? You wouldn’t be leaving Schengen, but at least you would be out of each country after 90 days and you would be staying in countries that honor the bilateral agreements. Technically this seems to fall within the rules, does it not?

  28. Thank you, Bren, for helping clarify a very confusing picture re the standard Schengen visa waiver vs bilateral agreement arrangements in the Schengen zone. We have been wintering over in Spain (lovely mild Tarifa) since late October 2017, having exited then re-entered Spain to start the 90-day clock again. Planning to fly to Greece in April and, like you, have not received an answer from the Greek Consulate confirming bilateral waiver arrangements. Oh well, if I understand correctly, flying from Spain into another Schengen country like Greece should not present any problems going in. However, when we cross the border from Greece into Albania, i.e. leaving the Schengen area, we are a tad anxious about Greek border checks, especially without prior written confirmation of the bilateral agreement from their consulate. Also worried that, although we’d wanted to travel through Austria and Slovenia, it sounds like we’ll have to bypass them both and maybe fly directly from Croatia to Germany missing out a large chunk of our plans. Such a shame: we so desperately wanted to see Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary etc. We’re also checking with Croatia consulate as I understand they are making moves to join the Schengen zone but hopefully, that will happen after we’ve been and gone. Presumably, Croatia does not have a bilateral agreement with NZ so Schengen zone 90/180 restrictions will apply once they join. Anyway, thanks again for your invaluable advice. Us Kiwis are lucky to have your expertise and experience and your great eye for detail! 🙂

      1. Hi Bren. As promised, I am providing an update for you and your readers regarding exiting the Schengen Zone from Greece after staying way longer than 90 days in Spain since October 2017 broken into 2 periods of less than 90 days. We were very worried about being accused of overstaying in Europe when we eventually exited the external border of the Schengen Zone which in our case was going to be Greece, We exited Greece and the Schengen Zone about a week ago after a stay there of 5 weeks and a stay in the Schengen Zone of 7 months total. Here’s our story!
        We had checked with the Greek Embassy in Wellington well before we flew from Spain to Greece on April 5th. They told us by email exactly what was in Sam’s comment here dated August 1, 2017: we received exactly that same advice!) that when we enter Greece, we need to get our entry to Greece registered at the border by having our passport stamped on entry. Further, they advised us that we needed to advise officials on arrival in Greece of our intention to enter Greece under the bilateral visa waiver agreement between NZ and Greece as opposed to the entering under the overall Schengen Agreement. Well, what a laugh. The flight from Spain (Barcelona) to Athens Airport is, of course, an internal Schengen Zone flight so there were no officials on the ground to discuss these issues with in the normal channels of entry via Athens Airport. I did manage to seek out an official in his reeking-of-cigarette-smoke office: he seemed more interested in applying aloe vera to his burn than in my plight! As to my request for a stamp in my NZ passport, he said he did not possess a stamp: they do not exist! Furthermore, he seemed blissfully unaware of complex Schengen Zone arrangements for New Zealanders. Faced with this indifference and the words “in good faith despite my efforts” repeating in my brain, and unable to tolerate the heavy stench of cigarette smoke any longer, we entered Greece without doing either of the 2 very things we were advised to do by the Greek Embassy. When D-day (Departure Day from Greece after 5 weeks there) arrived last week, we arrived extra early in case of hours of interrogation. We arrived armed with boarding passes, itineraries, evidence of stays and of all our travels ready to produce in evidence (your apt Ally McBeal analogy comes to mind, Bren! haha). I had many a sleepless night, visions of 1,000 Euro fines, bans from the Schengen Zone for years, missing our flight while being interrogated, etc, the moment of truth arrived. The Border Guard looked at our passports, and after a few seconds said “Enjoy your flight” and waved us through. Wow! What an anti-climax! It made a mockery of the policing of the external border of the Schengen zone and the enforcement of the Schengen rules! Not that I’m complaining: it worked to our advantage. Perhaps they enforce it erratically? I’d hate a fellow Kiwi NOT be prepared with evidence of travel movements and then get interrogated, fined, banned, etc. And so here we are relaxing in beautiful Dubrovnik, Croatia…2 very relieved Kiwis pondering what could have been and the state of confusion and uncertainty surrounding travelling on a NZ passport in Europe!

        1. This is great news, so glad you got out okay. I think when it comes to Greece, they are probably the country that has been hit hardest with the influx of refugees and it has just overwhelmed their immigration personnel. I think the last thing they are worried about are a couple of friendly New Zealanders overstaying a Schengen visa, which is really inconsequential and probably happens all the time anyway. Of course, always best to be prepared as you were. Nice one.

      1. Hi and thank YOU.
        Will now actually exit from Geneva Switzerland but from earlier insertions this should be as good as France.

        Both Italy and Portugal embassies have said no as you already noted on this site. The crunch will come after a few days in Italy the second time when we go past 90 days in Schengen. At that stage would I maintain that of the period 40 of the days in Denmark and France were under bilaterals, having receipts etc to support it?
        Thank you again

  29. Hi Bren. Great article – have enjoyed reading both the initial information and the comments. I have a query. We’re heading over to the UK shortly to purchase a motorhome which we’ll bring back to NZ.
    We plan to travel in the UK and EU for six months (May to November). Our plan is to head to Ireland, then take the Ferry from Ireland to France, and then travel down into Spain and Portugal as Autumn hits, returning through Spain and France to the UK where we will export the motorhome. My question is – are the three months (90 days) in both France and Spain, under the bi-lateral agreements, cumulative? For example, if we spent 20 days in France on our way travelling down to Spain, can we then spend, in theory, a further say 70 days in France on the way back – as long as we can prove that we stayed in France no longer than 90 days in total? Some of the comments/queries above refer to this but I couldn’t find a definitive answer on it. We also want to go to Portugal but from what you have said above, we’ll need to be careful that we enter and exit Portugal within the first 90 days. Thank you.

  30. Hi Bren,

    Can you please confirm if you think my travels will be okay? I am arriving in London on 29th May and travelling as per below.
    London: 4 days
    Netherlands: 3 days
    Spain: 21 days
    Croatia: 13 days
    London: 1 day
    Contiki: 18 days-1 -2 days in each( London, Amsterdam , Berlin, Prague, Munich, Austrian Tyrol, Venice, Rome, Florence, Swiss Alps, Paris)
    Belgium: 5 Days
    Italy: 21 days
    Greece: 35 days
    Spain: 7 days (TBC)
    I am planning to leave back to NZ the last week of September or first week of October (around 4 months) Can you please advise if you will think it will be okay to fly out of Greece to NZ or Spain to NZ( Still trying to decide) or from Greece to London to NZ?

    Thank you

  31. Last year we stayed for 7 months in the schengen zone entering at Nice airport and departing from Barcelona Airport. We had our embassy emails ready and a few receipts to show our movements but they were not needed. On exit the immigration officers in Spain checked the NZ passports for entry stamps to the schengen zone and my husband’s passport had been stamped entering but mine wasn’t. I explained that the French officials had only stamped one passport and they let us through, but they were not happy about the lack of stamp.
    This year we will be in the schengen zone again for 6 months using similar entry and exit strategies and we will be insisting on the stamp.
    I often read this thread to read about the schengen waiver experiences of other kiwi travelers. Please keep feeding back and thanks again to Bren for paving the way.

  32. Hi Bren, this post has been so helpful! Perhaps someone can help me be a bit more confident in my travel plans. I will be spending 88 days in the Schengen zone (38 of those are in France) and will leave to come back to NZ from France. My fear is that I am returning to France about a month later for 25 days. I know that time in France doesn’t add up to 90 days but I’m still nervous immigration might question me around this. I have emailed the consulate and they confirmed the bilateral agreement is in place but the decision is up to the immigration officer (that made me nervous) would you advise that I just have a lorn of documentation to prove where I have been and for how long?
    Any help is appreciated!

  33. Hi Bren, I am flying out of Hungary mid August and would have spent 100 days in the Schengen zone by this date. Originally I had a flight back to the UK but have now changed this to France, as then I’ll still be in the Schengen zone and won’t have to go through border control… Is that the case? Or will they still check my NZ passport at the airport if I’m flying within the Schengen zone?

    Thought that it would be easier to leave Europe and back to the UK via a country that honours the bilateral agreement, which France does.

    If my passport is going to be checked when flying out of Hungary, perhaps I would be best to train/bus to France instead?

  34. Hi Bren, another query for you or anyone one else with insight. Convincing uninformed immigration officials aside on the bilateral visa agreements, what about airlines? Most airlines are fine, but Ryain air has a policy that requires an onward flight on or before the expiry of the Shengan 90 days, to allow you on board. I’ve been question before by them on this, but that time I was within the initial 90 days. I fly to Spain on the 90th day of my last stamp showing when I arrived, I wonder if they see this whether they will assume I need an onward flight that same day from Spain out of the Shengan zone… I imagine they are extremely clueless about the bilateral agreements, even more so than some immigration officials, and wont buy the explanation.

  35. Awesome post, I don’t think 90 days in Europe is enough for many travellers. I spent 20 months travelling around Europe, didn’t realise Portugal and Italy no longer honour it…Opps I exited twice, first time flew Portugal to the UK via Madrid stopover where they stamped me out….lol
    Final exit via Hungary/Croatia border on the Train September 2016, but emailed the consulate first to double check, two border officers, one wasn’t familiar with the rule the other was.

  36. Hi Bren,
    Very interesting and informative website. I just wanted to ask whether there is any exception made for NZ passport holders cruising on a yacht, because it isn’t always practical to leave a country within 90 days due to seasonality of weather! We are currently in Turkey and have to leave here by mid June. We plan to sail to Rhodes (Greece) which is only 45 miles from where we are but then could only spend 90 days which would take us to autumn and the weather situation would be deteriorating. It is also not practical probably to sail west during the Med. summer because of the extreme likelihood of adverse and very strong Meltemi winds. We could leave the yacht in Rhodes and then go to another Shengen country where we could stay for 90 days, but as I understand it, we still could not return to Greece until the expiration of a total of 180 days. So, we’d have to spend another 90 days somewhere else.
    It’s not good to leave a yacht unused and unoccupied for 6 months but fortunately my partner has a U.K. passport so she could come back to Rhodes to check on the boat – however I couldn’t – again as I understand it.
    Can you please comment. Many thanks – much appreciated.

      1. Hi Ben
        Thanks for your reply. However, none of the countries you mention are easily accessible by yacht unless we voyage to the Black or Baltic Seas with all the attendant bureaucracy!! Both of them are a long way from Fethiye.
        We’ve decided to take out temporary residency in Turkey and stay here until March 2019 when we will sail – before the Meltemi starts again. Then we should make Sicily via Greece and Malta by September.
        We would then leave for the worst of the European winter for Medellin, Colombia where we have an apartment. The boat can stay in Sicily for a few more months and then we’d go to Tunisia to re-set the clock. Always assuming that we still own the boat which is on the market.
        Thanks again for your suggestion.
        Jim Donald

    1. You need to get stamped out of the EU on your passport if you are on a yacht. The local port authorities should be able to do this for you. You need to search out immigration at the port where you are leaving and write to them and ask. it also depends on the flag of the boat, however. And again, it doesn’t matter if you are on a nz passport as you don’t have the same time restrictions, so long as you can prove where you left from etc. The captain of the yacht should be able to help you with this, but if they can’t, then follow the advice I gave above. However, being so technical and correct has not helped me as I went to the UK after and they thought I was trying to beat the system. Depends on your immigration officer. But just be up front and write to the port immigration from whichever EU country you leave from. Good luck!

  37. This is such a great post and has really come in handy with planning my trip. Do you happen to know how it works if your 180 days resets while you’re in the Schengen area? Eg I’ve been living in the UK and have taken a few trips to the Schengen area totalling 20 days over a few months. I’m planning on now taking an extended trip to Europe. When I head back, it’ll have been about a month shy of 180 days since I first entered the Schengen area. As I have 70 days of my 90 left, I’m fine for that month. Could I then stay another 90 days as my 180 days would have reset? I haven’t come across any info about this online so hoping you or another reader have!


  38. Hey Bren
    Great post, you’ve probably had this asked before, but any help would be great.

    I’m on a German Working Holiday Visa which ends next Wednesday, I’m trying to figure out if I have to leave Shengen or if I can travel to say Denmark and move to the 90 days of their bilateral agreement, or if I do in fact have to go somewhere like Bosnia, Croatia Or UK to reset my visa back to a tourist visa from the WHV?
    I can’t find this in writing anywhere

    Any help would be much appreciated


  39. Hi Bren,

    Might be interested in a slightly related story – a near horror story- some of which I can hardly remember as I hadn’t slept in 40 hours. After staying in the EU for not even 3 months total, dealing with a lot of laxed immigration officers and getting all my T’s crossed and i’s dotted- I was in and out of the schegen zone and had a variety of stamps in my passport-I made the mistake of going to Heathrow airport. I ran into a young guy around 30ish who raked me over for 30 minutes, questioning every detail of my plans. I’ll admit because I didn’t have a return ticket (last minute change of plans to my travels), i became an instant target. But I had the funds, the rough plans, the contacts, straight answers to his questions. But he wasn’t okay with it. He also was not okay with my lifestyle in general- I work in two countries during the year completely legally, but he didn’t like it. He had the audacity to tell me when he wanted me out of the EU by (not entirely sure if he is entitled to that) BUT stamped my passport in the end to let me through. However, he left me with a marker of my arrival card number on my passport and told me I would be in trouble of the rest of my life basically. He still let me through, but also left me very wary of any future plans.
    Conclusion: avoid Uk at all costs during your EU tours

  40. Hi Bren this is fantastic work you’ve done, you’ve really helped a lot of people out here but I have a couple of scenarios I was hoping you might be able to help me with.

    Scenario 1: Stay in Germany for 90 days, then go to France for 90 days. Would it then be possible to go straight back to Germany for another 90 days? Effectively meaning New Zealanders could change between just two countries indefinitely provided they spent exactly 90 days in each?

    Scenario 2: What’s preventing me from entering into Spain and then making my way to Germany where I will stay for 6 months, and then I would leave the Schengen area from there. Obviously this isn’t technically allowed but if the officials at border control are not really asking questions when New Zealanders go to leave the Schengen area then how would they know I’ve actually been in Germany for 6 months?

    I’m guessing the risk of this is that I get an official that does ask questions and if I can’t prove that I’ve been elsewhere then I could be in a bit of trouble. But then I also thought that I could take a short trip to Switzerland and return to Germany sometime within 90 days of me leaving the Schengen area and then I could show a receipt that showed that I entered Germany less than 90 days before leaving. This would at least make it look like I’ve been there for less than 90 days even though I had actually been there for much longer.

    What do you think the chances of me getting asked questions are? And then if I did get asked questions do you think having a receipt/ticket similar to the above scenario would be enough to make it legitimately look like I’ve been in Germany for less than 90 days, thus the officials would let me leave without penalty?

    1. Technically you are allowed to go between the two countries like you describe for 90 days each, and stay indefinitely. Although whether the customs officers will actually accept that is another story. I’d get a confirmation from both embassies. As for the Germany situation, they are pretty strict on rules so they might dig into you, but it totally depends on the customs officer you get. My suggestion in that situation would be to just leave Schengen from elsewhere instead of Germany. Maybe Switzerland.

  41. Hi Bren. I am a New Zealander with an nz passport. I arrived in the uk on 24th April and my return ticket is for an 8th October flight home. I have based myself with a sister living in the uk. I walked for 88 days in France 9th May until 30th June. And Spain 1st July to 6th August. I returned to the uk. I had 2 days left I thought and didn’t know exercise the bilateral agreement re France and Sprain. Flew to Switzerland on 2nd September and returned to the uk on the 8th September: they let me through each time. Now I need to go to Hungary on the 2nd or 3rd October and return to the uk on the 6th September. I am thinking that I should drop into Croatia for a night then Budapest. Croatia is EU but not yet Schengen. Do you think one stop in Croatia will zero my time for Schengen. Are you able to give your thoughts please.

      1. I have looked over my original message and I didn’t make it clear enough and gave you some poor maths. I apologise.

        I walked 89 days in total: arrived the 8th May in France and left 6th August from Spain having walked across the border.

        8th May to 30th June in France Cluny to the Pyrenees; that is 54 days in France. Then Camino Frances from across the Pyrenees to Finisterre in Spain; 1st July to 6th August; makes 35 in Spain. As i flew out of Spain I asked the border police to be sure to stamp my exit from the EU, which they did saying “I had 2 days left anyway”.

        I flew to Switzerland on the 2nd September ignorantly thinking that I was visiting a non-Schengen country. The Swiss border police mumbled that I had been in Schengen for “quite a lot of time”, I said that I was leaving in 6 days, which I did on the 8th September; however as I left border police mentioned Schengen again; I didn’t really respond thinking that I had re-zeroed my Schengen allowance according to my belief that NZ had a bilateral agreement for Schengen and Switzerland was not Schengen. Then somebody gave me a link to your blog and the penny dropped. Swirzerland IS in Schengen and I had been lucky not to be questioned more going into and then leaving Switzerland.

        Now I need to go to Budapest in Hungary from 2nd October until the 6th October for an informal business meeting. I could get the people I am meeting to send an email which I can take in hard copy. Also, as I wrote above, I could stop over in Croatia for a night before entering Hungary which is on the non-bilateral-agreement list on your blog, and have my passport stamped there entering and then exiting a non-schengen country i.e. leaving schengen.

        I apologise for the over-describing above. I think I under-informed you earlier or I didn’t understand your response.

        All the best

  42. Great information here and better than anything I have been able to find in months! We are starting a trip in November 2018 when we collect a campervan in the UK and intend spending approx 6 months driving through Europe so not sure on how we can authenticate the country arrival/departure dates apart from ATM/receipts. But thanks to all this info, I am now armed with some email responses from various embassies. Fingers crossed we travel smoothly.
    Thanks Bren and everyone else with their contributions

  43. Hi Brendan, I just wanted to say a big Thank You for keeping this blog up to date, I have been keeping an eye on it every few months for any changes as my partner is a New Zealander. It has helped numerous Kiwis on their travelling adventures, and I’m sure that you didn’t expect to still be answering questions a few years later..
    But here is an interesting situation.. I am British born and also have a NZ passport, having emigrated more than 30yrs ago. This combination has been invaluable for travelling and working in Europe, as I’m sure it has been to many. But as no one really knows what is going to happen with Brexit, and the changes to the borders, come March 2019 I may have to start travelling on my NZ passport in Europe.. How bizarre (messed up) is that..
    My partner refuses to visit the UK these days having heard so many terrible tales of woe at the airports.. Only time will tell, I will keep you informed as to what happens..for us once lucky Pommy dual passport holders..

  44. Hi thanks a lot, I was freaking I would have to leave as I plan on about 5 months all up but I’m now confident enough to hit the non-agreements in first 90 days then germnay, Swiss, Austria etc for next 60 and as long as I leave from one of them should be fine. I was planning on leaving from Austria. I tried to get the french embassy to confirm I could spend extra time in all the bilateral countries and then fly out no problem but they were not comfortable putting that in writing as they said they can’t speak for other countries, I had linked that 2011 french embassy document that clearly said its fine but they didn’t budge. I’m guessing it will be fine, unless Austria shouldn’t be my choice? Was keen to Christmas in Salzburg and then fly home though

  45. We have had confirmation from a direct email to Danish Consulate General – Wellington that the bilateral visa is still valid. Next week we will depart from Copenhagen to London after 6 months in the Schengen Zone.
    I also see that the Italian Embassy in New Zealand has recently changed the information on it’s website to ” The exchange of Notes signed on 25 January 1961 between Italy and New Zealand, entitles New Zealand citizens to stay in Italy without a visa for 90 more days irrespectively from other periods spent in other Schengen Countries.” That is certainly clearer and more favourable than the information they provided in the past.
    Thanks again Bren for maintaining this information and thanks to fellow travellers for sharing their experiences.

      1. My understanding of the Italian situation is that you can stay for 180 continuous days, provided that you leave the Schengen area for 90 days at the end of the 180 day period. The information on the Embassy website states that you 'can' exit Italy to spend time in other Schengen countries (up to 90 days) but this does not seem to be a requirement. https:undefinedundefinedambwellington.esteri.itundefinedambasciata_wellingtonundefinedresourceundefineddocundefined2019undefined05undefinedbilateral_agreement.pdf

        'The Embassy of Italy in New Zealand wishes to advise that:
        New Zealand Passport holders are allowed to travel to Italy and to stay in Italy for up to 180 days without having to apply for a visa, as long as their passport is valid for at least 3 months after the final departure date and as long as they do not engage in any kind of employment in Italy.
        The 180 days visa-free period is made of the standard 90 visa-free days in the Schengen area and an additional 90 visa-free days in Italy granted by the Bilateral agreement signed on 25 January 1961.

        During the 180 visa-free period, NZ passport holders can exit Italy and spend time in other EU Schengen countries for a maximum of 90 days in total.

  46. Hey Bren!

    Awesome site thanks for the info, I keep finding more and more of your articles that are so helpful.
    In regards to this one – I’m currently living visa free in Berlin.. I will need to leave in 33 days in order to be under the 90 day rule – however I plan on staying until Christmas, travelling out of Germany for New Years and then back home to NZ out of Berlin.

    If I were to buy a train ticket or flight out of Germany to show I left (without actually leaving) would this be proof enough that I didn’t overstay? Or would you suggest I buy return tickets and get proof of accomodation too?

  47. Hi Bren,

    Thanks for this post! I’ve just completed a successful trip of just over 90 days. I flew out of Frankfurt so emailed the German embassy in Wellington about the agreement. They just sent me a link to their website, which now seems to mention the agreement specifically: see

    I just thought this might be handy for anyone who isn’t doing anything overly complicated, is flying out of Germany, and does not have an email from the Embassy on the validity of the agreement.

    Thanks again!

  48. Hi Bren, hoping you can help me I’m getting rather stressed at the thought of deportation..
    I’m a kiwi overstaying in Germany – I plan on flying to France, could be 1 month over my visa then, and then another flight to Spain from Germany in order to get home from there. (The other option is flying home from France, would that be too risky?)

    My main question is; Will I get any stamps for these flights to France and to Spain out of Germany?
    Im concerned these flights will be recorded.

    Thank you!

  49. Hi Bren
    Thanks for that great information. I travel on a NZ passport and also like to live dangerously and worked in Greece (albeit for an English Co.) for more than 180 days in 1995. I sailed on my own yacht in 2006, leaving it there for over a year at a cost (maybe a fine?) of 500E. I now spend 160 days a year in Greece – for the last 3 years – without any problem. However, I noticed on exit last year that 2 customs officers checked my passport and made a point of making the exit stamp right beside the entry stamp. I assumed they could not be bothered with the hassle of further interrogation, but it did give me a fright.

  50. Hi Bren – cheers for the post. I am looking to stay in Switzerland for as long as possible and have enquired as to whether I can stay for 90 days. Leave and travel Europe for 90+ days making use of the visa agreement countries and then return to switzerland for another 90 days. I have so far been unable to get a straight answer from the Swiss Consulate and thought someone here may have had a similar experience.

  51. Hi Bren, great information thank you. We are travelling to Europe for 8 months this year. We will have been in Europe for 5 months (in countries we have a waiver with) before we need to get to Croatia. My issue is driving through Slovenia to get to Croatia as we don’t have a waiver with them and will have been in the Schengen area for 5 months.. Can we drive through Slovenia without staying overnight anywhere. I am concerned about trying to get through the Slovenia/Croatia border on the way in and on the way out. Originally we were going to ferry out of Croatia to Italy but I am now unsure if Italy recognise the waiver (even though it says on the Italian Embassy website that they do) so not sure what to do. Also, if Croatia do join the Schengen area before we get there in September, we would again be in trouble as we wont have a waiver with them. Our trip in Croatia has already been booked. Hate the fact that this is so dependent on who you might get at the border. Thanks for your help.

    1. Since the Slovenia/Croatia border is a Schengen entry/exit point, you MIGHT run into some trouble there. I’ve never been to either so I can’t say for sure. EU road borders are usually unmanned though in my experience. If it were me I would probably go from Croatia to Hungary and cross into Slovenia from there, since we have a semi-waiver with them. But try and ask around and see how strict the border you intend on crossing is. Most borders you just drive straight through.

      1. Thanks Bren, getting out of Croatia is not such a problem as we will catch the ferry to Italy armed with the visa waiver information and keeping our fingers crossed. It is getting into Croatia that is causing me a headache but I think we will go into Italy first and catch the ferry across. That will test the waiver agreement with Italy.
        Just to let others know that getting into Croatia from Hungary is not part of the visa waiver – you have to enter and leave Hungary via a non schengen country. So we can’t enter Hungary from Austria.
        This is the reply I have had from the Hungary Embassy although when I read it, it doesnt seem like a waiver at all.
        “If you would like to enter Hungary legally on the basis of the bilateral visa waiver agreement, you can do that if you meet ALL the criteria below:

        you have to leave the Schengen area before entering Hungary (That is: you have to enter Hungary from outside the Schengen area)
        you do not leave Hungary to other Schengen countries during your stay in Hungary
        when you leave Hungary, you must go into a non-Schengen country (That is: at the end of your stay you must not directly go to another Schengen member state FROM Hungary!)

        Please be aware, that the Bilateral Visa Waiver Agreement in force between Hungary and New Zealand does not override the Schengen area restriction of no more than 3 months out of a 6 month period in the Schengen area as a whole. This is the reason why you are required to enter Hungary from a non-Schengen member state and depart into a non-Schengen member state if you want to use the opportunity provided in the NZ-HU Bilateral Visa Waiver Agreement.”

        Maybe this info will be of use to others.

        1. We crossed from Slovenia into Croatia 5 days ago. We had a stressful 40 minutes with a border guard and his boss (every car was having documents checked on departure) where they would not accept that bilateral visa waivers applied to NZers. They just kept repeating the 90/180 rule. In the end, they stamped us out of the Schengen Area without the 500 euro fine they mentioned or any other obvious penalty (in their eyes we’d overstayed by about 2 weeks). So maybe we were starting to convince them…

          Carolyn, if you haven’t travelled already, I think your plan to enter and leave Croatia by ferry from Italy is a good one! We got through, but it felt like it could easily have gone differently. Good luck!

          PS: Thanks Bren, you’re a legend.

  52. Dear Bren. You are the best. You should be knighted in the New Years honours. I discovered this thread a month into our 6 month trip to Europe. I knew of the bilaterals and wrongly assumed that they applied everywhere. Thanks to reading your post we quickly diverted from our original plan of going thru Scandinavia then down thru the Baltic States to Germany then home. A quick hard right turn saw us travel up thru the Baltic’s to Helsinki arriving 90 days after landing in Germany. Then reversing our trip and travelling thru Finland, Sweden, Norway down to Denmark and thru to Germany. No problems anywhere. The Finnish Customs agents were delightful on our arrival back from St Petersburg. ‘One of the best passports in the world” the young one said. Left from Frankfurt 176 days after entering thru Germany and I wasn’t even asked for all the receipts I’d kept! As everyone has said to me “But who would know if you went the other way?” My answer is “I would”. Must be old school. Hence the recommendation for your knighthood!

  53. Hi Bren.
    Awesome post!
    I’m a kiwi in Europe. Entered oct 30th 2018, have made a few trips to non Schengen countries so my 90/180 days will be up 25 Feb.
    I have spent loads of time in Belgium , with shorter trips to Netherlands, and loads of day trips to Germany. I’m wanting to be in Belgium from mid March til end of March and was planning to head to UK after my 90 days is up. But after hearing about the agreement Ive realised an extra month in Belgium is doable. I’ve emailed the Belgium embassy in NZ. They have advised from there understanding it does not matter whether during your 90/180 days if you have spent time in Belgium you can still use the agreement and stay 90 more on top. I’m a bit worried that’s not the case. What’s your thoughts on that. Also if I stay longer than 90 days in Schengen when entering UK are officers there going to give me greif for what looks like I’m overstaying in Schengen? Thanks heaps.

  54. Thank u. Also in regards to bilateral with NZ and Belgium. They have told me yes it is ok to have spent time in Belgium during my original 90 days and to make sure I am in Belgium the day my 90 expire to then start my 60. I’m just confused because many posts state ” you may stay in such n such country 2/3 months after spending 90 days in “other” Schengen states. I’m guessing if they have said it’s ok then it’s ok.

    Have you any feed back about bilateral working or not working? Many thanks

  55. in addition to previous comment about Finland.
    Here are official letter in regards to NZ and Finland 1973 bilateral agreement which still in force. (you can download PDF on the page)
    According to given info, that agreement refers to dealing with Finland as member of Nordic Passport Union.
    “(b) New Zealand citizens, holding valid New Zealand passports who wish to stay in Finland for more than thre~ months after their entry into one of the countries party to the Convention between Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway dated July 12, 1957, regarding the abolition of Passport Control at InterNordic Boundaries, from a country not party to the said Convention, shall apply for a residence pennit in Finland.
    (c) The time limit of three months referred to in the foregoing subparagraph wiII be calculated from the date of a person’s last entry from a non-Nordic country into anyone of the Nordic countries party to the” above-mentioned Convention, provided, however, that a visitor who, during the six months immediately preceding such ~~try, has been staying in anyone of the Nordic countries party to the said Convention will have such period of stay deduc.ted. from the said period of three months”

  56. Hi Bren

    Great article.
    I am spending two weeks in Spain,then two weeks in France,then two weeks in Spain, then a few days in France, then about 50 days in Spain then two weeks in Norway and Denmark then back to Spain for a week. I am flying in and out of Barcelona on a Kiwi passport. All up about 120 days in Schengen, with just under 90 days in Spain. So does it matter that the 90 days in Spain is broken up into segments? As long as the total is under 90 days in the 180 day period right?

  57. Hey Bren,

    Have you seen this article on the German Embassy for NZ Website based in Wellington?:

    Quote from the article: “According to this bilateral agreement the duration of one stay in Germany must not exceed 90 days but the number of entries to Germany is not limited. In order to re-enter Germany for another 90 days, visitors have to depart Germany for any other non-Schengen country and can come back on the same day. Since visitors need to be able to document the period of time they have been spending in Germany, we recommend to enter and to depart via a German airport in order to obtain an official entry and departure stamp in their passport. However your total must not exceed one year.”

    I seeked clarification with the German Embassy in NZ on this as I am currently in Germany on a 90 day tourist visa and would like to stay a further 90 days soon after in Germany. Their reply confirmed that at the end of my 90 days I could fly out of the Schengen area e.g to London and return a few days later quote “Yes, when you re-enter the 90-day-visa-free stay commences again.”
    This however does not align with the 90/180 day rule and I wondered your take on it.
    Have a look at the article if you want and let me know if you think it’s a safe bet.

  58. Fantastic research and advice. My wife and I are in Sweden on sabbatical and got the same advice on the NZ-Nordic region pre-Schengen bilateral agreements. In case anyone else wants to do this in the Nordic countries here are the relevant regulations:
    Article 20
    Under Article 20 (1), a foreign national of a State to which there are no visa requirements may move freely within the Schengen area for a maximum of three months for a period of six months from the first entry, provided that the alien complies with the entry conditions of Article 5.
    Article 20 (2) derogates from visa exemption agreements concluded by the Schengen States prior to the entry into force of the Convention on 1 September 1993. Nationals of countries having such visa-free arrangements with Schengen States are not subject to the restrictions resulting from Article 20. These, but without a visa requirement, may be held for three months in each of the Schengen countries concerned.
    Relationship to Swedish rules.
    Current Swedish regulations mean that a foreigner who is visa-free may stay free in Sweden for three months irrespective of previous stay in another non-Nordic country. The provisions of the Nordic Passport Control Agreement, on the other hand, see the Nordic countries as a unit, and an earlier stay in another Nordic country must be deducted from the three-month period (Chapter 3, Section 2 of the Norwegian Act). The Schengen Convention system is similar to the Nordic one, since the three-month period is counted from entry into the Schengen area.
    So to make this work for us, on day 90 we are going to Scotland for families and friends visit and returning 7 days later to re-start our 90 days.

  59. Many many thanks Bren for your dedicated work in bringing this to everyone to notice…

    I’ve been traveling for many years around the world and Europe is always an unknown quantity when it comes to visas and rights of stay.

    I can not understand why the New Zealand government doesn’t just post the actual treaties actual documents of what they have with the various different European countries to make it easier for everyone else to know the rules and regulations and use it as proof that we do have treaties and bilateral visa rights for New Zealand citizens when visiting European and other countries.

    As New Zealand citizens have the right to know all this and also the government is getting paid to do this.

    So it’s about time someone reached out to the government and told them to get their act together and post proper information and the treaties on the New Zealand government website for travelers.

    As this would save a lot of nerves inconvenience and wrong information disseminated on different websites.

    So if you have time anyone reading this why don’t we put something together and ask the New Zealand government to do this for their citizens? as they can afford to do and are getting paid to do it.

    As many times I’ve called the NZ Consulate in England asking for different information, as that’s like swimming upstream… as they tell you to go to the relevant countries where you want to stay in, that’s just a joke… as this is just passing the buck… to another country…

    New Zealand embassy if you’re reading this get your act together and make sure you publish all the bilateral visa rights with the treaties and relevant information of our rights around the World in a proper way so your people that you work for and represent can read it and understand in a proper way.

    As why should we have to write to every foreign embassy and ask them what our rights are?

    As the New Zealand government which is getting paid for this from our text dollars should be providing their citizens with all the right information making it available in the public domain on their website, so it’s no discussion when we get to borders or get asked questions that we can’t answer.

    As we are living in the 21st Century now, and you have no excuse to keep this information confidential or private as it is our right to know and to see the actual treaties which we have in place publicly on your website easy to find an informative to read.

    This is typical government’s not welling to supply the right info to the people that they are employed by, or take responsibility for what they getting paid to do.

    This may sound a little bit out of frustration, and probably it is… because no one knows really what we are covered for and what we’re not in the way of different visas.

    So wake up New Zealand embassies and start looking after your people in the right way and give them the right information publicly so it’s no doubt or questions around what New Zealand citizens rights are in each individual country regarding visa right or anything else that they need to know…

    Once again Bren thank you so much for all the effort and info you have supplied to all the people and in the way you’re going about it, as it is great of you.

    Truly appreciated and thank you so much…

    Aron James

      1. I don’t really care to bash the New Zealand government, but I think Aron James’s general point it quite reasonable. Why not make these agreements known, transparent and easily accessible, instead of the current mystery surrounding them, and give solid documents so we can utilize them as they are intended to be. I say this from the experience of almost getting fined by a young French migration officer who simply didn’t know the law, and was understandably skeptical of the vague documents I could give him affirming it. You retort back quite rudely to Aron, which you justified with a link that ‘should’ provide access to all the agreements. Did you actually bother to test the link yourself? So far I’ve gone through the three countries I need it for, and nothing.

        1. I clicked on that link and couldn’t figure out how to find the information either, but I did find this….

          I dont agree about getting the NZ Govt to make it easier, I would hate for them to just stop it all together because that was easier for them.

          This is some great info. Love that someone posted the link for 180 days in Italy, printed and saved!

          Thank you!

          1. “I dont agree about getting the NZ Govt to make it easier, I would hate for them to just stop it all together because that was easier for them.”

            No doubt that would be a terrible outcome, and you might be on to something, this would be easier for them. But it shouldn’t be one or the other, obscure documents or none at all, they should just substantiate these agreements and make them accessible. I hope we can assume they would act reasonable, take into account the value for NZ citizens these bilateral agreements have, and what must have been an immense amount of diplomatic time, resources and effort by whom ever organised and put these on paper back the 60s.

            The irony is that the link you provided happens to be the document I presented to the French immigration officer I mentioned in my original post, the one he noted was not clear enough and not substantiated enough by the NZ government, or other official French legislature he could find.

            Thanks for point out there was a post on here about 180 days Italy btw, also printed ; )

  60. Hey thanks so much for this blog, it’s been hugely helpful planning my current trip around Europe.
    I had an interesting experience today which i thought was worth sharing here. I’ve been in Europe just over 3 months and got passport checked going into the Netherlands from Germany. I explained the bilateral agreement to the Dutch officer, he didn’t know about it and had to go away and check. Fortunately he came back and confirmed it was all OK, but I was a bit nervous as I didn’t have embassy confirmation etc cause i didn’t expect a border check as it’s schengen to schengen. Thought it was worth knowing that you might get checked, but can confirm the Netherlands recognises our agreement, so you shouldn’t have a problem.

  61. Hi Bren, I’ve just been talking with the Italian embassy here in Wellington, apparently you can stay for up to 180 days visa free in Italy now;
    NEW ZEALAND PASSPORT HOLDERS DO NOT REQUIRE A VISA FOR SHORT STAYS IN ITALY UP TO 180 DAYS, including the standard 90 days visa-free in the Schengen area and additional 90 days in Italy on the base of the Bilateral agreement signed on 25 January 1961 (irrespectively from other periods spent in other Schengen countries).

    The only think I’m not sure about, and not sure if you know this – how many bilateral agreement visa’s would one be entitled to? And how long would one have to leave Italy for (after the 180 days) before returning to receive another 90 day visa under the bilateral agreement? The embassy couldn’t provide any guidance on this.

    1. According to the Embassy website 'Please also note that after the 180 visa-free period, NZ passport holders are required to exit the Schengen area for at least 90 days.'

      I arrived in Italy at the end of February 2020 and stayed (mostly in lockdown) for six months (180 days). Then I spent three months in Croatia (August-October) before returning to Italy in November 2020 for another six months. I'll leave Schengen again in late May 2021 (probably back to Croatia or UK if enough vaccinations have happened). Then back to Italy for another six months …

      1. Hi Maude,

        Thanks so much for sharing your experience! I'm currently in Spain and need to leave by April to avoid overstaying. Italy is looking like an excellent option given that I can stay for 6 months. When you arrive/exit Italy, do you have that notice from the embassy printed out? Also, when you went to Croatia from Italy, did you fly or take a ferry to avoid exiting the Schengen area from Slovenia?

        Thanks again, Hannah

  62. Following the advice in your blog I have just completed about 340 days in Europe over 365 days.
    There were a few exits and entrances from the Schengen region over that year and I was pulled aside 3 or 4 times and questioned. Mostly officials were just after an excuse to send me on my way. Generally I could show an entrance from a non-Schengen region country within the last 90 days and rather than examining the previous entry, which must be on computer showing I had recently had another lengthy stay, they showed me the door. Not sure how much was luck, and how much was good management but I had all my receipts, and a spreadsheet accumulating the number of nights I’d spent in countries with bi-lateral agreements with New Zealand.