*This post is only good for NZ citizens/those who can acquire a kiwi passport! Sorry Aussies!*
If you are planning a Europe trip/any trip I hope you are aware/have researched the visa requirements for where you are going! It’s the departing countries responsibility to ensure you have the right visa for where you are going, so if you haven’t done your homework you may not be able to depart the country… Also your passport needs to have more than 6months left on it, including the time spent overseas (eg. If you have 9months left you can only be away for a maximum of 3 months). Basically it expires 6months before the expiry date as no one will let you go anywhere with less than that, so be sure to double-check that. (Pics from google images!)
Right! Now onto the fun stuff, Europe and the Schengen Agreement. The Schengen zone comprises 26 countries within the EU and include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Spain and Sweden. NZ/Australians are granted a visa on arrival which allows you to spend 90 days in the UK and 90days in all of the above countries combined within a 180 day period.
For example, you can spend 3 months (90 days) in Spain but then you have to leave the EU (including all 26 countries) for 3 months (90 days) before you can re-enter. So that kinda sucks if you want to spend more than 3 months exploring Europe, which if you’ve flown all the way from the otherside of the world I’m sure you do! But if 3months is what you’ve got then you’re all good, not to worry although apparently you need a return ticket when you arrive (we were never questioned though and only had a 1 way ticket).
Sooooo how to stay longer than that?! This is only applicable to all those who have a NZ passport or can get their hands on one–quite possibly the best passport ever?! I spent soooo long researching ways round the 3months and found this website European Visa.
According to this, NZ signed bilateral waiver agreements with many of the Schengen countries before the Schengen agreement came about! The bilateral agreement states you can spend 3 months in each of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
This is taken from the website:
‘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 Schengen Convention provides for a Schengen State the possibility to “extend” a visa-free stay beyond 3 months in its territory for the nationals of the third country concerned in accordance with such an existing bilateral agreement. Thus, for example New Zealanders could stay in such Member States for the period provided by the bilateral visa waiver agreement in force between the two countries (generally three months), on top of the general 90 days stay in the Schengen area. However, it is to be noted that the Schengen Convention only provides the POSSIBILITY for the Member States to apply their “old” bilateral agreements for such extension, but this is not an obligation. Therefore, in case you intend to circulate longer than 90 days (in any 180-day period) in the Schengen area, it is recommended to contact the consulates of the Member States to be visited for further information regarding the applicability of such agreements. For more information about bilateral visa waiver agreements, please see: Safe Travel NZ
If, however, you move to other countries in the Schengen area apart from the above mentioned list, the restriction of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period in the Schengen area as a whole will surely apply. If you have already spent 90 days in one or more of the above countries and then enter a Schengen country with whom New Zealand has not signed a bilateral visa waiver agreement, you may be challenged by local police or other authorities. It is possible that you might be accused of being an overstayer when you leave the Schengen area.’
We didn’t have any issues leaving or coming back into Europe from Morocco after spending 4 months pottering about earlier, my advice if you’re planning to spend longer is to hold onto some receipts from whatever country you’re in whether they be email receipts or hard copy ones and just be ready to show evidence of wherever you have been and your plans. Also if you can show you have enough money to sustain yourself as they would be a little more sketchy if you are on your last dollars and wish to spend 3months somewhere..You don’t have to cross border control anywhere within the EU Schengen area- it will just be when it comes time to leave or return where you may encounter overstaying issues 🙂 Obviously do the research for yourself to verify any of the stuff I’ve said! Working visas are a whole new ball game and I can’t shed any light on them but all the information is out there if you go searching 🙂 Happy (extended) travels!