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

Note: New Zealand passport holders 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.

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

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

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

New Zealand’s bilateral agreements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

The long answer

Here’s the exact email each embassy sent me.


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

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

-Austrian Consulate


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

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

-Belgian Embassy


“Dear Brendan,

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


-Danish Consulate General


“Good Afternoon,

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

For more information :

-French Embassy


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

-Finnish Consulate


“Dear Brendan,

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

-German Embassy


“Hi Brendan,

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

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

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

Have a good trip to Iceland.”

-Icelandic Consulate


“Dear Brendan

We inform you that Italy now adheres to the latest Schengen Visa System which came into effect in 2014 which allows New Zealanders a total Schengen tourist stay of 90 days within a 180 day period for Italy. These newer Schengen visa regulations mean that for Italy the bilateral waiver visa agreement has been overridden.

Therefore if one intends to use the bilateral visa waiver agreements – that New Zealand has with some Schengen countries – before traveling through Europe we suggest that one contacts the various representatives of the countries that one intends to stay in for the 90 days stay to see if they still adhere to it.

Therefore if one wishes to go to Italy and then visit other Schengen countries for stays of 90 days, we suggest that one enters Italy first and stay there for the first 90 days of entry and then move on to the other countries that still adhere to the bilateral visa waiver agreement.”

-Italian Embassy


“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.”

-Dutch Embassy


“Dear Brendan

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

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

-Portugese Consulate


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

-Spanish Embassy


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

-Swedish Consulate General


“Dear Brendan,

Thank you very much for your enquiry.

Please find required information on our website:


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

(a) do not intend to work;

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

(c) have a return ticket.

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

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

-Swiss Embassy

What about the other Schengen countries?

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

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

And also Italy, 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!


Questions? Leave them in the comments below 🙂

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46 thoughts on “Can New Zealanders Stay In The Schengen Area For More Than 90 Days?

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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,

    1. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Best regards,

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

  5. 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?

    1. 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.

  6. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  7. 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?

    1. 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.

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

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

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

    Thank you for your time!


  10. 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

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

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

  12. 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.

    1. 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.

  13. 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?

    1. 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.

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

    1. 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.

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

  16. 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.

    1. 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.

  17. 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.

      1. 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.

  18. 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?

  19. When you say you can move freely within the Schengen zone without border checks, does that include when you fly??

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