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:
- Czech Republic
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:
- The Netherlands
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 Goabroad.com.
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.
|Belgium||Kinda but not really|
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:
“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.”
Yes, this is correct and still valid. For more information, please see link below:
-Danish Consulate General
Yes the bilateral agreement between France and New Zealand is still in place.
For more information :
“Yes, you can stay in Finland for 3 months [regardless of time spent in other Schengen countries].”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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 (www.ind.nl) 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.”
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: http://www.udi.no/Norwegian-Directorate-of-Immigration/Central-topics/Visa/.
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.”
“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.”
“To my knowledge and as far as I am aware – nothing has changed concerning the bilateral agreement.”
-Swedish Consulate General
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).”
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
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!
Hi Bren, Thanks for sharing this fabulous blog post; the information you have uncovered for us Kiwis is so helpful. WorldWideAdventurers are most grateful to you, as our world travels take us that way in 2018.
Hi Bren, thanks for clarifying the Schengen agreement for NZers. It has been a ‘murky’ area for me… but great to see the options put so clearly. Awesome post.
Hi Bren, there’s a ton of detailed info here and I appreciate all the time and research that went into collating it. I’m dusting off my wings again for a new adventure in April and this post is so helpful.
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 https://www.bmeia.gv.at/en/
Cheers and all the best,
Hey Sam thanks for sharing that. The Austria reply is an odd one, they gave me oddish rules as well, so a third email might get a different reply again. I’d say it would be safer to leave the zone from neighbouring Switzerland as I did.
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.
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
http://www.austria.org.au | [email protected]“
So glad I found this, my first 90 days is nearly up and planning my next move. This is perfect cause I have been struggling to get some responses.
Nice. Have fun!
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?
Good question. I’m not really sure. You could quote that and then say that a friend (i.e. me) already confirmed it but you are just double checking to be safe. But either way I think you should still get confirmation.
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?
I think with a NZ passport you’ll be okay, each time I’ve entered Europe it’s been through Spain or France and they just stamp and don’t even look twice. In Germany you might need to explain yourself a little (but probably not) however I’d be very surprised if you weren’t allowed in.
Cheers! That makes me feel a lot more relaxed 🙂
I’ve flown into Paris and they didn’t even bother to stamp my passport. The English officials weren’t too sure what to do with me when I tried to board the Eurostar to the UK, and the same when arriving in Zurich by plane, but on the whole they just shook their heads “at the lazy French immigration” and let me through.
Yes I hear stories like that a lot – mostly about France and Spain. Great countries those 😀
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?
Yes it will matter. If they don’t recognise the agreements they consider all Schengen time as to whether you’re an overstayer. I suggest going to all the “non-friendly” countries first, or at least making sure your final flight out of the Schengen zone is from a friendly country. i.e. don’t leave from Italy, leave from Switzerland or Germany or France.
beem advised not to by german consulate.Better to do non bilateral countries in east then finish up in france ,germany etc.Chances are immigration in these no bilaterals wont know.
I kept all my shopping receipts ,they have time and place if they feel botherd to check.
Ended up just showing formal letter from German embacy.No issues.
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
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!
You’re welcome! Have a mean as trip 😉
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!
Top effort Bren. We are planning two years of sailing in the Med and the Schengen rule was looking like a nightmare with trying to calculate wintering over options. Well it is still a nightmare…UNLESS YOU’RE A KIWI!!! I need to repost your info to the main yachting forums as they do not currently cover the issue as it applies to us! Thanks
Hey Tony, of course you’re welcome to share this wherever. Your trip sounds awesome, have fun!
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
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.
Thanks Bren, awesome info. Our challenge is we are 6 months in France Spain Portugal Spain in that order. By the time we arrive in Portugal we will have been in schengen countries for more than 90 days. We also haven’t booked a ticket out of Spain. I can’t help feeling it will all work out on the day.
I would guess you’re going to be fine. Spain is pretty relaxed about it. Plus if you do your math you might not even be breaking any rules.
Hi Bren thanks for the info.
My wife and I are on a trip with no real return plans. How does entering Europe without return airfares work. Will we encounter any problem do you think?
I’ve done it through both Turkey and Spain and didn’t have a problem. Can’t speak for every country though. If you’ve got cash in the bank and a NZ passport it shouldn’t be a problem.
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?
Schengen and EU overlap but there are countries that fall into only one. As long as you are outside the Schengen zone you won’t be considered overstaying – you will get a separate tourist visa for the non Schengen countries.
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,
Oesterreichisches Konsulat Auckland
Austrian Consulate Auckland
T: +64 9 476 0994
M: +64 21 858 818
E: [email protected]
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.
Hey Jake, my guess is that if you’re on the Working Holiday visa you’re no longer a tourist and so these rules don’t apply to you. I.e. if you had a 2 year visa you can just roam freely through the EU for those 2 years – a lot of bloggers get the artist visa in Germany to travel the EU for longer. Best to check with the country issuing your visa though.
I’m having trouble getting the website to work that gives me the contact details for the embassies. I’m trying to get the Norwegian, Spainsh & French. I’m not sure if this is just me being technologically challenged.. If you could give me a list by any chance that would be awesome. Thanks so much for all your help in providing this article.
Hi Aja, they should all be listed here: https://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-in/new-zealand
Site is working for me!
Thanks a lot for this info, Bren.
In addition, it seems Finland doesn’t charge NZ citizens for Residence Permit applications: http://www.migri.fi/our_services/processing_fees
Good news assuming near 700 NZD fee for a such application!
That’s awesome. We’re super privileged in this area it seems.
and it seems same applies for Iceland.
Here is INZ operation manual mentioning bilateral fee waivers with New Zealand. It’s for foreign citizens applying for visas to NZ, but if those agreements are bilateral, then can be interpreted as something what applies for NZers applying for visas/permits to those countries.
Aaand it seems I forgot the link:
Is it possible to spend the first 90 days in Spain and Sweden and apply for Finnish working holiday visa from Finnish embassy in Stockholm?
I’d suggest emailing the Finnish embassy.
Reuben, apparently you can apply only from outside of Finland:
When you say you can move freely within the Schengen zone without border checks, does that include when you fly??
Hello! Thanks for all this so great. If you were to overstay in Germany by accident, and then travel to Denmark via road. Could you fly to Croatia from Denmark and not have to worry about the German overstay since you are now in a new country that respects the visa waiver?
Most likely yes, unless you got a customs officer on a really bad day and he decided to ask you every single detail about your trip. Even then I don’t know if they would have any jurisdiction to do anything since your overstay was not in Denmark.
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) http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32006R0562&from=EN.
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.
Hey Sam, thanks a lot for sharing that. It does sound complicated. If you experience any trouble please come back here and let us know! 🙂
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.
Just wondering what Greek Embassy you emailed for get a response. We are planning on visiting Greece and hopefully using the bilaterial waiver agreement but would feel more secure if we had an official email stating it exists.
I got that email and also couldn’t decipher it, but I managed to get some clarification.
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?
Yes, that is also my understanding, if in doubt about anything please do check with the Border Guards at all times.
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.
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.
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 🙂
There is no border check – if you’re going by bus the driver will just drive straight through and if you’re on the train it’s the same. The best way to validate it is to keep a copy of your bus/train ticket. They shouldn’t be so strict about it, as long you make an effort to keep some kind of record.
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.
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.
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?
Yes do come back and update us! I’m sure it will be helpful. I guess you can be lucky it was only 100. Some people have been charged in the thousands.
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.
Hi Rick, can I contact you about this? I’m going through it at the moment!
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?
Hey Adam, I think you’ll need to leave for at least 90 days. The waivers allow you 90/180 days if you’ve used up your Schengen allotment, but either way you can’t spend over 90 days in one country without leaving. You could check with the embassy though.
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?
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!: http://www.brenontheroad.com/donate
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.
Oh wow, that’s pretty cool. Spain rules! 🙂
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 ????
Technically yes this is how it should work, although it could be an ordeal explaining that to a customs officer. Technically you can stay indefinitely, if you keep switching countries every 90 days.
Thanks very much Bren ????
Looks like I might have to move to Germany (close to the Austrian border) to be able to do what I want. Damn Austria having slightly different rules. Not easy, when my gf is from Vienna and has another year of studies.
Ok. Update. Made it through Swiss customs but it was not fun. Taken to the control room. Made to show all evidence of travel them left waiting for ages. But am through!! Five months!
Damn. I left through Zurich and it was completely painless. Customs guy stamped me through in less than a minute. Just goes to show it really is luck of the draw. However at least they let you through! I’m not so concerned with them cross checking all my travel, as long as they know the laws!
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.
Good to know. The Swiss seem to be on top of their laws (which is no surprise). Seems to be a good bet leaving from there if you’re using the waivers.
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?
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.
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.
Nice bro, let us know if it all goes smooth!
Was totally successful!
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…)
Hey Jake, obviously nothing is for certain but I think you should be okay. Germany is strict as is Switzerland but that can work in your favour as they actually know the rules a lot of the time. As long as your dates check out, you shouldn’t have any (major) trouble.
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.
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.
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!
They don’t count towards your Schengen time if you’re in waiver countries, but Slovenia doesn’t recognise the waivers. So as far as Slovenia is concerned you’ve been in Schengen +90 days and you’re an overstayer. If you try leave from a waiver country I’d guess you’d be okay, but keep your fingers crossed 😉
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.
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.
This is an extremely helpful article and helped me get my A into G by emailing embassies, so thank you.
I was just wondering if you have heard from anyone whether it was difficult leaving the schemes area from Luxemborg?
None that I know of sorry! It’s not the most popular country to visit really 🙂
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.
Hah! I find land border officials are way more lax, especially because security is much less of an issue there. At airports everybody is on edge.
Love your posts…am travelling around Europe at the moment.
Ibwould live to read all the feedback as they are extremely helpful but I can’t read the comments as they are not fitting on my phone screen…any help as to make it fit??? And no it won’t change if I use my fingers to slide it smaller!
That is strange…You might need to try using a computer. Or try a different browser…I’m really not sure sorry! What phone are you using?
I’m using a samsung j5. I also got my friend to try it on his and the comments didn’t fit on his either and he has a good phone. I tried another browser but still no luck. Would really love to read them all as they’re very relevant to me at the moment. Even writi g this comment it goes off the screen. Love the blog it’s so incredibly helpful.
Actually yes I just tested it and I see what you mean now. I will get it fixed – thanks for telling me!
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.
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.
You’re not actually supposed to be in Poland right now, because you’ve already exceeded your 90 days. So it could be a problem. Once you’ve exceeded 90 days you need to stay in waiver countries. As far as Poland is concerned you’re an overstayer. Your best bet is to catch a bus to Germany and fly from there.
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.
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!
Wow, that is lucky then. Thanks for all the great info by the way mate. I don’t think I would have been so well prepared without it!
Been are you having any luck adjusting the settings on you website so the comments fit and show clearly? The blog fits perfectly it’s just the comments.
I have no idea how to do it, I have my developer working on it. Until then I’d suggest maybe trying to get access to a computer to view them…so sorry!!
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.
Yes they are looking at it. It’s not something I can fix from the front-end otherwise I would have done it myself already. It’s something with the coding which I’m not well versed in. For now it needs to be viewed on a laptop, sorry!
Mia – finally managed to fix it. Hope it’s working now 😀
Has anyone recently written to the Czech Republic..just wondering if NZ has a bi lateral waiver with them.
Thanks for any help.
Hi Mia, no we do not have a waiver with the Czech Republic and there are no comments about it yet. By the way all the information in the article is up-to-date, it says clearly there that Czech Republic isn’t included in the waiver countries. Is there something specific you’re looking for in the comments? Let me know.
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.
Thanks, Bren, for this information and all the comments. I plan later in 2018 to enter Italy and leave again from Italy after about two months, spend two weeks in the USA, then fly back this time to France and leave again from France after a further two months. Is this within the regulations as usually interpreted? Thanks. Justin
Yep! You “shouldn’t” have any problems. France recognises the waivers and they’re pretty lax anyway.
Thanks, Bren, and Happy New Year. Justin
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 it..wow 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.
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.
It was definitely the house-sitting that got you “deported”. I’ve been through many customs checkpoints and said I’m travelling around the world with no plans, never been a problem, including in the UK.
Thanks Bren..will be much more prepared next time. The UK is obviously very strict.
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!
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).
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.
I can’t say for sure, but I think you’re allowed another 86. It’s 90 within any 180 day period.
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.
Excellent news. Germans are sticklers for rules so I’m not surprised. Thanks for reporting back!
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.
Great, enjoy your trip and please report back!
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.
To clarify, most of my 90 days was spent in Greece
I’m surprised that France didn’t honour or recognise the bilateral waiver. I only have just heard back in the last few days from the French consulate saying that they recognise our New Zealand bilateral waiver and New Zealanders are welcome to visit and it will be honoured.
Bren when you say to them that you are travelling the world do you also have a ticket that takes you out of that particular country to another one and do you have a return back to New Zealand in the future to show them. Sounds like you have had amazing travels and for the most part of it hassle free.
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.
You should be knighted for writing this article! Well researched and well written!
I agree 🙂 Thank you so much. It’s benefiting my family already as we have hopped about Europe. Very grateful.
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?
Yes technically the rules allow you to stay in Europe indefinitely, as long as you change country every 3 months. You may have a hard time explaining that to customs officials – I would triple check with the embassies just so you have it all in writing. But technically this is legal.
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! 🙂
Yes exiting from Greece might be problematic, but I really don’t know, I have never been. Whatever you choose, best of luck and do come back and report your experience if you can!
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!
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.
The Greek consulate told me that NZ didn’t have a waiver with them.
Hi and well done on this resource.
We’re planning to travel as follows and in this order…
39 days Greece
27 Italy (again)
35 France again then exiting
This is 77 in Schengen with the rest under bilaterals I think!
What’s your view??
Many thanks and very grateful
Just double check with the embassies and you “should” be okay if you leave from France.
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
Yep, I’d say your chances are good.
….should have added I’m travelling on a NZ Passport
Thanks Brendan For your huge articile Great work & most helpful .
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.
As far as I know it’s 90 days in a 180 day period. So what you’re describing should be okay. Best to double check with the embassy though!
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?
Hi Delphi everything I can tell you is already written in the article. I’d email the Greek and Spanish embassies and double check.
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.
Legend. Thanks for the thourough write up.
Is there a link to this short-stay visa waiver bilaterial agreement for kiwis online that we can read and download or print that you know of?
There must be one somewhere?
Thanks again chamo ????
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!
If you can show the emails from the embassy then the immigration officer should only be concerned about how much time you’ve spent in France and not anywhere else. If you have all those documents I think you should be fine.
Awesome article, Bren! Thanks.
I’m currently only a Resident of New Zealand, so I guess none of this apply to me at the moment? We’re planning to visit Greece soon – guess I’ll have to go the Schengen Route …for now. Fingers crossed these lovely agreements remain in force for many years to come!
Yup all that matters is your passport, residency is irrelevant.
P.S. I’m a resident at the moment, as in I have a Residence Visa. Once I’ve lived in NZ for long enough, I’ll be able to become a citizen. Just to clarify.
Hi Bren. Just wanted to say thank you so much for this – this is absolutely fantastic!
Thanks for your reply Bren.
You’re amazing. I hope good things are coming your way from all the work you put into this!
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?
I’ve never been to Hungary but it is very rare for them to do Schengen passport checks within the zone. You’d be extremely unlucky to get caught there.
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.
Interesting – haven’t thought about that one. I’ve never been asked for a onward flight ticket when entering Europe. Maybe someone else can speak on it.
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.
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.
Because the law in Greece is not really clear for NZers, it would be best to go to a non Schengen country for 90 days and then you can return to Greece. Somewhere like Bulgaria, Romania, Poland etc. That’s a beautiful part of Europe in August, so it’s not all bad 🙂
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.
Sounds like quite the adventure. Have fun!
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!
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!
Hi Hannah, I’m not 100% sure if I understand you correctly, but my understanding of the rule is the 180 day period is rolling, so it’s 90 days out of the last 180 at any point in time. If that makes sense.
Bren your a legend. I am 2 and a bit months into 6 months traveling around Europe and have only just found out about this whole schengen thing! After of hours of reading and confusion, I have found your website and it all makes so much more sense. Still not sure what I will do but feel like I understand my situation much better now! Thank you!!!
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
Hey Hamish it totally depends on what your travel plans are.
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
I’d follow that up with the relevant offices. I hope you got his name. Luckily in the UK things are more or less by the book so you should be able to resolve it since you did nothing illegal.
After seven months finally made it out of Europe safely via France (caught the bus from Paris to London)…had a really nice customs officer just asked where I’d been, stamped my passport and away I went ; ) leaving London today from Gatwick …Hoping I will come across a nice customs officer again.
Love your article. If it’s of any use to you or your readers, I emailed the French and Spanish embassies last week to confirm that the bilateral agreements remain in force. They confirmed that they did.
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?
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.
Cool thanks mate. I also hear that the immigration officials in Spain are pretty relaxed about things so maybe catching a flight to Spain and then departing the Schengen area from there would be a good idea if I end up spending too long somewhere.
Great info. Thanks!
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.
If you left France on June 30 you’ve already done 90 days outside Schengen, so you can re-enter.
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
Hello Bren, thank you for the comments on this site, it is very helpful. I have a question, if I came to Greece for 7 days on the 27th December 2018 and then I went to France for seven days does that start my 180 days? I would then return to NZ after France and would like to fly back to Greece around the end of April for 90 days, is this possible? Thank you
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
If I entered Germany on 3 September what do I need to do to be able to stay another 3 months on a NZ passport ??Please help ! My partners family live in Frankfurt and we are planning to fly back end of Feb 19
You can only spend 90 days total in Germany during that time, so you need to leave Germany to somewhere nearby, France Spain or Switz for example, and spend some time there. Make sure you don’t exceed 90 days in Germany and you should be okay.
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..
I’m actually in the UK right now. I did get questioned a lot at the airport but nothing ridiculous.
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
Hopefully it should work out fine, best of luck!
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.
Italian embassy must have got sick of all our emails!
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.
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?
I really can’t give an answer for that, I’m not sure what their process is. Use your best judgement!
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 https://wellington.diplo.de/nz-en/service/-/2123002.
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.
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.
All those countries are visa waiver countries. So it shouldn’t be a problem. What is concerning you, exactly?
Thanks for your reply. The concern is that I’ll be stopped with no evidence I left Germany within the 90 days.
Given That Switzerland is a visa waiver country flying there would be fine too? Cheers
I left from Switzerland after more than 90 days and they didn’t ask for anything. My feeling is that Germany won’t give you any problems, but if you want to be doubly safe you might just want to fly home from a different country. Take a look through the comments here and see where people have left from successfully after citing the waivers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Bren, your site is the MOST helpful one I have come across re visa waiver issues for Kiwi’s. You have cleared up so many questions I had after trawling through the better known sites. Now I know exactly how to make the most of my gap year! Thank you so much for your time and dedication, most impressive. Regards, Barbara
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.
UK isn’t part of Schengen so it’s unrelated to them. Customs officers shouldn’t be checking it. If they do, just explain. If the Belgian embassy says it’s fine it’s fine. Print the email for when you exit.
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
Really not sure. If the embassy has said it’s okay that’s the closest you’re going to get to a confirmation that it’s okay.
in addition to previous comment about Finland.
Here are official letter in regards to NZ and Finland 1973 bilateral agreement which still in force.
https://www.treaties.mfat.govt.nz/search/details/t/2773/c_1 (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”
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?
As far as I know, it should be fine.
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.
If you got confirmation from the embassy, print it out and travel with it. It’s on the embassy website too, so it’s as close to a slam dunk as you’re going to get. I’d be very comfortable staying in Germany on these grounds.
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:
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.
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…
All the relevant treaties are posted here: https://www.treaties.mfat.govt.nz/ So stop whining about the government. Just type in the relevant country name and it should come up in the search results.
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.
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!
“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 ; )
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.
Thanks for reporting back. Those central western countries like Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland do everything by the book, so I’m less nervous exiting through there.
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.
If the embassy can’t tell you then I certainly can’t tell you. This is good news though!
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 …
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
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.
Great to hear confirmation on that long stay, thank you for sharing Greg.
Anyone have experience travelling to Austria on the Bilateral Waiver Agreement from within Schengen?
I emailed the Austrian embassy to check agreement is still honoured. Response: it is, but one of the conditions: “You must exit the Schengen area before entering Austria under the Bilateral Agreement”. Never heard of this condition and none of the other Bilateral agreement countries I emailed have mentioned it. Anyone had problems with this? I don’t plan to travel out of the Schengen area from Austria.
Bren this is an awesome resource, you deserve a knighthood for your service to kiwis.
Just wondering peoples’ experience with providing evidence of where you’ve been. Eg is it enough to just have plane/train tickets to show you moved from one place to the next? Obviously all the embassies are telling us to bring evidence of everything but I’m interested to hear what peoples’ actual experiences are. When we’re staying with friends and family etc we don’t always have accommodation receipts. And holding onto little receipts from restaurants and ATMs is a pain in the arse too. Thanks guys and see you on the road.
Honestly I doubt customs officers really are going to look that far into it unless they hate you. As long as you have basic accommodation receipts it should be fine. Worst comes to worst you can pull up your bank/credit card statements and show a few transactions.
Thanks Bren, I won’t have accommodation receipts for a fair bit of it as I’ll be staying with friends etc. But I’ll have receipts from flights and trains etc so hopefully that will do the trick!
I am wondering how current everything is in October 2019?
My husband is a kiwi, I am an EU passport holder and we are planing to go caravaning or motorhoming in Europe next year open ended
Sorry didn’t see that some post are quite recent…so I answered my own question.
Love your entire website. Great resource
We have been tracking developments on your website on this issue as we are planning a 6 month trip to Europe in 2021 as a big retirement adventure.
We plan to spend 5 weeks in Spain, spend a month in France, go on to Switzerland in June for 2 weeks and then back to France for approx 2 months ( the rest of our 90 day entitlement for France) , before heading to Italy for approx 3 weeks to take us up to just short of the 180 days. We will seek documentation about the bilateral visa waiver from France and there is a letter to print available on the Italian embassy website in NZ and have that as well as all our proof of bus tickets accommodation.
We are just wondering if we will have a problem if we don’t fly home to NZ directly from say Rome but say we have a return ticket on Lufthansa they will take us through a hub like Munich or Frankfurt who will be our exit port from Europe and the Schengen. Even though the 180 days has not been at any stage in Germany could they still get uptight with us, despite the documentation?
Would hate this to spoil the end of our trip and dont want a ban stopping us going back for a few years.
Thanks so much for any advice you can give us.
It would be the final destination where the check usually happens, so in the scenario you described it would most likely be in Germany. Germany is pretty good though, they are sticklers for rules and in this case, the rules are on your side.
FYI – also be aware that from 2021, NZ is one of the 60 countries that will be required to apply for a ETIAS. This is essentially the same as what NZ have just introduced with their eTA and what the US have had for years.
I’ve been reading about the introduction of the ETIAS in 2021. Correct me if I am wrong but does this introduction essentially remove the luxury that New Zealand’s have had in some countries of staying beyond 90 days in the Schengen zone? Or does our bilateral agreement with particular countries, as mentioned in the article, still superseded this?
Am I going Crazy?
I could have bet this article said starting in 2021 last time I looked at it, but now it says end of 2022.
Hi Gary and Troi,
I just read thru the linked website and also wonder if the special arrangements NZ has with many EU countries will end when ETIAS comes into effect at the end of 2022. Note that they say to check back from time to time for updates. That’s probably why Troi was doubting his sanity when he saw the implementation date change overnight.
Copied from the FAQs on that website:
How long can a New Zealander stay in Europe?
NZ passport holders are granted a 90-day stay within a 180 days into the Schengen Area without a visa. For these purposes, the 180-day period begins on the first day that a traveler enters a member country. The 90 days are counted by adding the total number of days a visitor spends within the Schengen Area starting from the first day they entered. This includes an unlimited number of entries into and exits from member nations.
I’ve come back to this article many times over the last few years so I thought I’d share my experience.
I’m now sitting on the other side of immigration control at Düsseldorf airport.
Officer looked through my stamps and asked me when I arrived. I said April X in the Netherlands, to which he seemed surprised and I almost shat myself.
He kept looking through my prior stamps in Europe – which is a lot but all within the overall 90 days rule on this passport. I didn’t say anything and tried to not look nervous.
Then he asked when I flew to Germany, I said I took a train from Paris in August. He said something to the other guy next to him and reached for the stamp.
So it was a bit scary. I have a feeling that he was looking at whatever data they have on the computer screen, to see if what I said matched up.
He certainly changed a bit when I indicated I’d been in Germany less than 90 days. They probably have to assume that travellers have been in the country the whole time until shown otherwise. Entering and exiting the same country after 90 days might be a different story.
So my guess is he was aware of the rule, or Kiwis aren’t a significant risk, or his shift is almost over. It’s always hard to know, just be prepared with evidence and be able to jump to the appropriate documentation on the rule.
I have to come back for my car within the next month so I’ll also share the sequel on reentering.
I didn’t get around to going back for my car until 92 days later in February. I took the Eurostar from London to Paris. As with all my experiences entering France, I had no questions at all and the process was fast.
About 1 week after that I took the ferry back to the UK, and again no questions from French border control on exit.
So my Schengen experience was:
186 days in
92 days out
8 days in
France is supposedly great re entry exit. I’m guessing more of them are aware about the NZ passport now and don’t even bother checking just see the front cover and assume you’re good. Spain too.
My experience: leaving the Schengen Area after 6 months from Austria. I wanted to share my experience for others to know how this works in real life. I travelled in the Schengen area for around 155 days and I was super nervous about leaving from Vienna. When I went through passport control, the woman looked at my passport and was clearly confused. She asked me a lot of questions about where I had been and I showed her the itinerary I had printed off. She called two other officers who spoke to each other in German for a few minutes, then they stamped my passport and waved me through. I did not have to explain the bilateral visa agreements at all. I was relieved. Your border experience totally depends on the immigration officers who are there on the day. Relying on these waivers is a risk and you may have to pay a fine. Be prepared.
In those German influenced countries they’re generally quite good with rules. If your officer thinks you’ve overstayed you could just explain the waivers and she’ll call her superiors and they should see that it checks out. Even if you pay a fine make sure you get the receipt, and you could probably get it refunded later if you follow it up.
For the last three years we have spent 6 months in the schengen zone and six months in NZ. We have departed the Schengen zone each time from a different place, Barcelona, Copenhagen and Berlin.
We have always carried a folder of receipts that link us by bankcard to a location and date as well as printouts of emails that demonstrate our bilateral agreement.
We have been asked each time by officials to tell them when we entered the EU. We have never had to open the folder or explain further.
We will be doing the same again in 2020 but not sure yet where our exit point will be. I follow this page regularly and appreciate the work Bren did originally and the recent updates from other travelers.
Great to know, thanks!
We got confirmations by email from the French and Spanish embassies in mid-2019, plus the printable letter on the Italian embassy website, saying the bilateral agreements are still accepted and in force. Leaving Spain in December 2019 the guy behind the counter looked carefully at the dates of entry, asked if I could speak Spanish (perhaps to ask about our 120 days since arrival in Schengen?), and on getting my “No”, just stamped the passports with a smile and off we went.
By contrast in 2018 we left from Prague, Czech Republic, after 100 days in Schengen. The counter man worked out we had gone over 90 days and called for backup. We were taken aside by a rather officious woman, stood waiting outside some offices for a good 10 minutes before a pleasant (and more senior?) official came out and said that “Yes, we know there is a bilateral agreement with the Czech Republic, but we choose to ignore it and you have overstayed by 10 days. However we are really busy out back with more serious cases, and you are welcome to leave.” And he escorted us past immigration and off we went.
The message from that is don’t leave Schengen from somewhere that does not actively allow use of the bilateral agreement.
A confirmation email from the embassy would really help in that situation.
Wondering if anyone knows how the new 2021 ETIAS will affect waivers and stays in europe/schengen/non-schengen areas please?
Hey Bren……I returned from a month in Portugal via london to NZ in November. I’d travelled Europe extensively for about a year…..but always ensured I popped into and out of Bulgaria a couple of times, and I never once got pulled aside or questioned……I’m a retired pensioner……so I’m guessing perhaps my age is a benefit to me! I’m heading back to Europe via Athens in ten days time…..intending on living and travelling around Europe for good…..eventually taking up the reciprocal pension agreement we have with Greece to be a permanent resident living on Crete.
Hi has anyone had a very recent reply from the Portugal Embassy as to whether New Zealand now has a waiver with them or not. A year and a half ago the answer was a no so just wondering if anyone has heard any different recently.
I had a reply from the Portuguese embassy in Canberra earlier this year confirming that they don't honour the waiver, which is such a bummer. Do you have recent experience exiting via France? I want to take the eurostar to London after 3 months in Spain and 3 months in France, but I can't find it mentioned anywhere on the French Consulate's website and none of the embassies I've contacted confirm it either.
Just a recent 2020 update…Belgium allows for a 2 month visit after spending 3 mths in other schengen countries. France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland all allow NZ citizens up to 3 months regardless of time spent in other schengen countries. I travelled a couple of years ago but am writing to embassies again just to double check.
I’m waiting to hear back about Portugal I know it was a no in the past but I’m hoping maybe they have changed their minds.
I’m just wondering if anyone can help. I’m a New Zealand citizen mid fifties and would like to stay in Europe and work. I teach English but I don’t have a degree which makes it very difficult getting a work placement. I’m thinking maybe of Nanny work but can’t find any help online. If anyone has suggestions or experience in getting work /work visas it would be very much appreciated. I want to stay over for longer to be closer to young grandchildren, but due to our New Zealand dollar exchange it gets very expensive if one cannot work.
I just heard back from the French Embassy who deals with the Portugal/NZ schengen zone rules. And New Zealanders are allowed to enter Portugal and stay for up to 3 months regardless of time spent in other schengen zone countries. Just thought id update if anyone was needing the info
How can the French Embassy comment on the Portugal rules?
I’m wanting to spend 5 months a year in Portugal, and I have Spanish residency. A waiver by Portugal would be awesome for me, otherwise I will be limited to just 3 months. Though how either Spain or Portugal will know with no border control between them I have no idea.
Can you confirm that this is true and valid? What did they say and who did you contact exactly? My email from the Consulate General of Portugal in Sydney said "There is no bilateral agreement between Portugal and New Zealand,"
Hi all. I know it’s an old article but it’s a great read bren!! Fantastic actually. Very imformative.
I’m wondering though, do these rules still apply to nz passport holders since the covid-19 has hit? If so is it possible to obtain my first schengen visa from the UK?
The waivers won’t have changed but travel restrictions are going to depend on each particular country.
The ETIAS information page has been updated to include details about the individual visa waiver bilateral agreements between NZ and several EU countries, specifically stating “This means that citizens of New Zealand can visit these countries for more than the 90-day visa-free permission already in place.”
Hi H, thanks for pointing this out! Would you be able to post the exact page link? Much appreciated. Had a look on the main page and couldn't find this. I think its statement on the official Schengen visa information site is about as authoritative official recognition we can get on the bilateral agreements, which skeptical border officials and airlines can then be referred to. With border checks currently back in place between EU countries, I find myself constantly questioned by border officials who have no idea about this, and who are very unconvinced by what documents I can show them.
I’m in Portugal at the moment and my three months is almost up. Am I reading the website correctly? I can actually stay for a total of six months?
This post has been incredibly helpful to understand bilateral agreements. I read all the warnings and I know this is not meant for anyone not being a NZ citizen, so yes I'm writing under my own risk haha!
I'm a canadian citizen currently in the EU, which I entered through France. After my 90 days I would like to use the Canada-Belgium bilateral agreement to stay 60 days more in Belgium. I have emailed the department of foreign affairs, and they said that yes, it's possible to use the agreement, as long as my ARRIVAL and depart is from Belgium.
And the arrival confuses me. Do you think he refers to the original arrival at the Schengen or the arrival for the beginning of the 60 days? It wouldn't make sense that it's the arrival to the Schengen, right? If that was the case I wouldn't be able to use the agreement since I entered the Schengen through France. He also said it's not necessary to leave the Schengen or even Belgium (if I'm already there) to put in force the agreement. This is why I'm a bit confused.
I know this is meant for NZ citizens but really this is the only place where I have gotten such complete information on this matter. And the foreign affairs guy was incredibly helpful but I guess I annoyed him too much because he stopped answering my questions. He read on the email that I entered the Schengen through France though, so my guess is that he would have told me if it wasn't possible to use the agreement.
So well, I would love to hear about someone using the agreement on Belgium or if anyone might help me interpretating his answer.
I have no idea – you would need to ask a Canadian embassy! Or give them a call if they won’t answer your emails 😉
Thanks for all your hard work pulling this information together.
Fyi – here is a list of bilateral visa waiver agreements in effect for Schengen area countries, as reported to the European Commission:
It's sometimes possible to find the text of these agreements by searching through the online collections of treaties andundefinedor diplomatic notes published on the websites of the foreign ministries of the countries involved, or through the online publishings of the old UN Treaty Series.
Here I believe is the new definitive page by the European commission regarding bilateral visa agreements. It confirms the agreements, and provides some updates. It appears now that we 'should' request before entering the country if we may use the agreement – this is different than before, where we emailed to get confirmation that the agreement was in place at all. In 2022, when the ETIAS is launched, the process of tracking which countries have been traveled in on the bilateral visa agreements will be recorded – so it appears there may not be need to document yourself where you have traveled.
For anyone with insight, I'd be grateful if you could share on this topic. Where do you clear passport control when exiting Europe, if your international flight first stops briefly in another European Schengen country before continuing on. The first airport, or the last one before actually leaving Europe?
I'm trying to make sure I leave through a country that is familiar with the bilateral agreements to avoid hassle, but its hard to say when there is an hour stop over in another Schengen country, at which one will I actually go through the boarder controls.
Hi! I have a house in Spain and want to reside there 6 months per year. This means I would utilise the bilateral agreement with Spain and stay for 89 days, depart to a non Schengen country for a few days/weeks and return for a further 89 days. The Spanish embassy in NZ said I could do this, but border control in Spain had a different view on this. They said I needed to apply for residency/NLV and I couldn't come and go as I had been doing, or I would risk being black listed. I have an email from the Spanish embassy detailing my ability to leave Spain & the Schengen before my 90 days ( for as long or short as I want), and return again to Spain , which resets my 90 days. I'm worried to do this again as I can't risk being black listed so have been staying outside Schengen for 90 days this time and will return on the 90th day. Has anyone experience of doing this successfully themselves? Can they blacklist me if I have their email telling me I'm within my rights to do this? Thanks, Jamie
According to the waivers, you could go to Spain for 90 days, then to France for 90 days, then back to Spain for 90 days, and do this indefinitely. But that’s only according to the waivers, whether each country respects them or not is a different story. In your case, I’d say it will be easier in the long run to just apply for a visa.
Thanks Bren. I would be travelling out of the Schengen zone, to the UK to lessen any issues, before returning to Spain…. ,although legislation states it can be done, border police can do as they please, so Im not confident in utilising the waiver again anytime soon, but may be once covid is under control I might give it another go. In the meantime I will just stay out of the Schengen for 3 months each time to reduce the risks. May be in the future I will apply for the NLV, but many hoops to jump through, lots of income evidence required, etc. We will see! Thanks again 🙂
This post is amazing! Just had a quick question…… Say you enter the Schengen area and your 180 days starts and you visit the countries where the bilateral agreement with New Zealand is in place, so now you've spent say 10 or so months (legally) in the Schengen area, when does the 180 day period restart? Does it just restart after 6 months even if you are still in the Schengen area. Or do I need to pop over to some where like the UK for 90 days? Or would I need to stay in the UK for 180 days to restart my 180 day period for the Schengen area so that I can visit the countries where there is no bilateral agreement?
If you plan to go to a country with no bilateral agreement, you will need to exit Schengen for 90 days and then return.
Just thought I'd share, I'm planning a trip to Europe at the end of the month and emailed the France, Italy, Spain and Greece embassies in New Zealand.
Within 24 hours, I've had confirmation that the bilateral agreement is indeed still active. Greece sent me the most detailed response, saying it was necessary to let border control workers when entering that I was entering on this visa waiver and ensure they stamp my passport.
Spain went as far as to say 'Once you leave Spain you can return for an additional up to 90 days at any time (you do not need to wait for any period before returning to Spain). 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 of Spain and also upon coming back, so the periods may be properly computed.'
Italy sent to to this link to have a printed document of the agreement: https://ambwellington.esteri.it/ambasciata_wellington/it/informazioni_e_servizi/visti/visti.html
France was also very insistent in keeping records 'To be able to prove when you leave France that you didn’t overstay, we 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).'
Really helpful thanks!
My question relates to the coming ETIAS visa implementation from late 2022
Historically I have used NZ's bilateral agreements to stay in Europe for 5-6 months a year (but never more than 90 days in one EU country). I have never had a border issue leaving (although I have all my documented proof of travel if questioned)
This site has some good information about the new ETIAS visa waiver system
But I am a bit lost regarding this paragraph –
"A bilateral agreement is a deal signed with an individual government. This means that under one agreement, New Zealanders can only travel visa-free to the country the agreement applies to and must remain there for the total length of application of this reciprocal arrangement. Those interested in visiting more than one Schengen Member State visa-free within one trip should apply for an ETIAS visa waiver for Europe."
Will the bilateral agreements currently in place still work like they always have for NZ Passport holders once the ETIAS visa system has been implemented, or will it be more restrictive going forward?
Did you ever find the answer to your question?
Hi Bren, your post has been very informative and found it when googling bi lateral agreements 🙂
If I stayed 90 days in Austria, could I leave to a non Schengen country for a period of 2 weeks and go back to Austria for a month or does the bilateral agreement not apply? Am getting conflicting info when I ask about if they are of 2 different legal basis from Austria like you have. Thanks
This is such a helpful article – thanks Bren!
Hoping you can help with some additional specific questions, I’ve emailed the embassies to ask too, but can’t find the answers online.
I’m planning to go to Europe in April 2022 – and spending April and May in Spain, and June in Sweden – using my 90/180 days. I then want to go back to Spain using the bilateral agreement for July and Aug.
1) should this be possible? Unsure if the bilateral allows 90 days in total in Spain irrespective of other Schengen time spent, or if it is an additional 90 days in Spain (despite having already spent 60 days there)
2) I see once you utilise the 90 day bilateral you can’t travel within Schengen area (fair enough!) but can I travel in and out of Spain from non-Schengen? I have a wedding in Scotland at the end of July, so hoping I can start my bilateral at the start of July, visit Scotland for the wedding then return to Spain and continue utilising the bilateral.
Any help would be great, this info is not online!
In collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs we have got many of the Embassies to update their websites with information about the bilateral agreements in each country, for example Italy allows 90 days PLUS 90 extra days, you just have to leave the Schengen via Italy after your additional 90 days. So in general you do not need to email first – you can check the website of the individual country to see if they honour the agreement.
NOTE: DO NOT TRAVEL FROM MALTA. Myself and a second NZ citizen were issued travel bans after they refused to review the information presented to them by the NZ/EU governments. They gave me a 3 year ban initially but I was able to get it down to ONE year. Even though the other NZ citizen who traveled two weeks prior to me was en-route to the UK, he was denied passage while TRANSITING through Malta. He was returned to Bulgaria where he flew from. But he was able to enter Germany a few weeks later so I am not sure that he was issued a ban per se.
I can confirm also that Greece recognises the bilateral agreement so you can still use it until ETIAS takes effect.
Hi Mark, just wondering if you or anyone else could shed some light on the Italy agreement. I know that the document mentions you must leave Italy for a non-Schengen country after the 90 extra days and you must leave for 90 days before returning to the zone. But what if my original 180 days will roll over and reset after only 14 days of being in Italy on the bilateral agreement. Could I leave Italy for the UK for a couple of days and then head to France a couple days later once my 180 days reset?
Thanks in advance for any insight.
Does anyone have any information on Hungary? Planning to enter Portugal at the start of May this year and leave Croatia (now part of the Schengen Area) on my 89th day.
I am wanting on be in Hungary for around a week from the 90th day, then head into Greece for 2 weeks and then finish in France for one week.
Any info would be much appreciated!
Just found this official EU website listing all the bilaterals between EU member states and third countries (like NZ). Super useful for it to be more official looking to confirm the many agreements listed on this site.
Any updates on the latest bilateral agreement policies?
We have no idea where we're going to end up but want more than just 90 days in Schengen zones!
Nothing has changed as far as I know.
Hi Bren ,
Thanks for all the info.
Can I ask a theoretical question: let's say, I spend 90 days in Prague in Czech Republic in the schengen zone. Then I go to Italy for the additional 90 days.
Can I then go Italy direct to France…. for the additional 90 days that France gives a nz passport holder?
I am originally from Taranaki but have lived in Hurghada, Egypt on the Red Sea for 5 years. Bren – if you ever come this way, you are welcome to stay at my guesthouse, it is just next to the Hurghada Marina & 350 metres from the beach. Anyway Bren….your website has been so helpful! Thank you 🙏😊
Taranaki & Hurghada
Hi John, my understanding is yes, the law allows you to do that. Whether the French border patrol will allow it is a different story, but France seems to be reasonably good at following the guidelines. Double check with the embassy – having an email in writing helps. Regards Brendan. P.S. I edited out your phone number – best not to have that floating around freely on the internet 🙂
I'm a NZ citizen and have just spent 194 days in the Schengen area. I entered the Netherlands via ferry on 1 September 2022 and left via Dunkirk on 14 March 2023.
There was no comment from either the French or UK border control.
I had receipts confirming dates of stas which were predominantly Italy (81 days), Spain (51 days), France 47 days) and the Netherlands 14 days).
I also had confirmation printed off from the embassies confirming the bilateral agreements but still I felt a bit anxious at the border when leaving.
Thank you so much for your research as it was a great help in my planning. I travelled solo in my campervan and had a great time.
Great to hear!!!
When you say you had confirmation from the Embassies, do you mean you emailed them? Or that you had information from their websites?
Whilst the original post is a bit old now, I suspect others will stumble on it like I did, so hopefully the following information will help. I'm not a lawyer so please intepret as you see fit but my view is that NZ Bilaterals still stand, are not superceded by the Schengen agreement and NZ citizens should legally be able to stay longer than 90 days out of 180 in these countries. That of course doesn't mean the border immigration staff (where they exist) will know about these agreements, so having some evidence may be helpful.
1. The majority of old bilaterals NZ has with EU countries are still in force. See: http://www.treaties.mfat.govt.nz/search
2. The Schengen agreement of Jun 1985 did not supercede these bilateral agreements. See: eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:42000A0922(02)
3. The EU has recognised that confusion was created between the Schengen agreement and exiting bilateral agreements as explained in this recommendation document of Sep 2016. See: http://www.statewatch.org/media/documents/news/2016/oct/eu-council-exit-entry-bilaterals-12114.en16.pdf
4. Following this, an amendment was issued which states that a stay may be extended in accordance with the bilateral agreement. See Article 60 in the following dated Nov 2017: webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/eu-exit/20181201110010/https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2017.327.01.0020.01.ENG
5. This agreement required Schengen countries to provide their list of active visa bilaeral agreements which was published in Apr 2019. See: op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/c067e92d-5a8b-11e9-9151-01aa75ed71a1
Hope this helps.
Thanks for the updates! Appreciated.
Hi Bren, wow what a read, very awesome . Got a curly one for you, I'm travelling with my Irish wife and 2 aussie kids, can they come through with me on my nz passport?
You’re all treated as individuals, so if you’re wife has an Irish passport that would most likely be fine, but Aussie passports I think are restricted to 90 days.
Hey guys! Regarding this topic, I am currently a New Zealander who's gonna be staying in Europe and overseas for 5-6 months. I was wondering whether attempting to use these bilateral agreements would be worth it. I have emailed all the respective embassies and all of them have said the bilateral agreements are still valid. However, all the embassies also said that it was up to the airport authorities to decide whether the bilateral agreements were valid or not and that some airport authorities may not know about these rules. To be honest I'm still deciding whether to use these bilateral agreements or if i should just leave before the 90 days expire. Any advice would be appreciated!
Confirmation from the embassy is the key. Most people have no issue if they have this. The bilateral agreements are law after all.