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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:

Hi!

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.”

https://www.safetravel.govt.nz/travel-tips-travel-europe

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.

Austria

“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:
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/visa-policy/schengen_visa/index_en.htm

-Austrian Consulate

Belgium

“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

Denmark

“Dear Brendan,

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

https://www.nyidanmark.dk/en-us/coming_to_dk/visa/Visa_free_travel.htm

-Danish Consulate General

France

“Good Afternoon,

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

For more information :
https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/countries-and-regions/europe/france/new-zealand-embassy/living-in-france/travel-within-france-and-europe/

-French Embassy

Finland

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

-Finnish Consulate

Germany

“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




Iceland

“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

Italy

“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

Netherlands

“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

Norway

“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

Portugal

“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

Spain

“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

Sweden

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

-Swedish Consulate General

Switzerland

“Dear Brendan,

Thank you very much for your enquiry.

Please find required information on our website:

https://www.eda.admin.ch/content/dam/countries/countries-content/new-zealand/en/Visa%20waiver%20for%20New%20Zealanders%20for%20long-term%20stays%20in%20Switzerland.pdf

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!

-Bren

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124 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:
    https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/countries-and-regions/europe/france/new-zealand-embassy/living-in-france/travel-within-france-and-europe/

    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,
    Sam

    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).
    http://www.ambafrance-nz.org/IMG/pdf/Border_controls_in_Europe.pdf?3252/e2e160de39bfa53f1c366ecf6da45e02752c731c
    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!

    Mitch

  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:
    http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/visa-policy/schengen_visa/index_en.htm
    https://www.safetravel.govt.nz/travel-tips-travel-europe
    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??

  20. 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?

    1. 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.

  21. 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.

    1. 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! 🙂

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

        1. Hey Mia,

          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.

          Many thanks,
          Jarrod

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

    1. 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.

  23. Hi,

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

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

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

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

    €100 fine for my wife and I.

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

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

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

      1. Hi Bren,

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

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

        I’ll let you know how we go?

        Tom

  24. 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.

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

    1. 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.

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

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

  26. 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.

  27. 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 🙂

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  28. 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!

    1. 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!

  29. 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.

    1. 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.

  30. 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?

    Cheers!

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

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

  31. Hi Bren,

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

    Thanks so much!

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

    1. 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.

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

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

    thanks so much again for your post and reply.

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

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

        1. 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 😉

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

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

  33. Hi Bren,

    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?

    Many thanks,
    Hannah

  34. 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.

  35. 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!

      1. 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.

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

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

    1. 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.

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

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

      You should be fine though.

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

  37. 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.

    1. 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!!

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

    1. 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!

    1. 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.

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

  39. 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

  40. 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.

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

    2. 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.

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

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

    Insight on this from anyone would be appreciated, Thanks!

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

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

        Thanks for your time.

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

    1. 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.

  42. 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.

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

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