Visa

Visiting Europe

There are 39 countries whose nationals do not need a visa to visit the EU for three months or less. These include Australia and New Zealand. The list of countries whose nationals require visas to travel to the United Kingdom or Ireland differs slightly from other EU countries. Apply for a visa from the consulate or embassy of the country you are visiting.

If your visa is from a country fully applying the Schengen rules, it automatically allows you to travel to the other Schengen countries as well. Moreover, if you have a valid residence permit from one of those Schengen countries, it is equivalent to a visa. You may need a national visa to visit non-Schengen countries.

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.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a visa for the EU?

Australian and New Zealand passport holders planning a visit to any of the 27 Member States of the EU do not require a visa if their stay is no longer than 90 days in a six month period within the EU.

SHORT STAYS IN THE SCHENGEN AREA (less than 3 months):

Open consultation - Improving procedures for obtaining short-stay ‘Schengen’ visas: survey 

Have you obtained a short-stay ‘Schengen’ visa over the past three years?  The European Commission is reviewing the procedures for issuing these visas and would like to hear your views on your experience. The idea is to modernise the policy and your input via this public consultation will help us to make the right changes.

Australian tourists planning to spend less than a total of 90 days (within a six month period) in the 'Schengen area' do not require visas for countries which are parties to the Schengen Convention. More information on Schengen Visas pdf - 28 KB [28 KB] .

The following countries are parties to the Schengen Convention: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain.

It is important to get your passport stamped when entering the Schengen area. The absence of an entry stamp from the initial Schengen port of entry could result in a fine or create difficulties during subsequent encounters with local police or other authorities throughout the Schengen area.

Some countries require you to register with local authorities within three working days of your arrival.

Australians who are likely to exceed the cumulative 90 day limit, or who are visiting the Schengen area for other than tourist or business purposes, should contact the High Commission, Embassy or Consulate of the country or countries concerned to obtain an appropriate visa. Visa rules relating to work and business visits are governed by the individual countries.

Australians should be aware that the United Kingdom, Ireland, Albania, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine are not part of the Schengen area. Australians should consult the nearest High Commission, Embassy or Consulate of these countries for visa information.

Australia has reciprocal arrangements with a number of countries in the Schengen area which may allow young people to have an extended holiday, supplemented by short-term employment. Further information on working holiday program visa arrangements is available from the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) website .

It is highly recommended that you consult the Schengen country consular office of your main destination, in order to confirm this information and/or make your visa application.

More information can be found here:
http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/TravelBulletins/Europe_Schengen


PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS

VISA and PASSPORT enquiries should be directed to the relevant Member State Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as conditions vary from country to country.

Passports

All passports are issued by the country of origin - for instance, if you think you may be eligible for a British passport, you will need to contact either the British High Commission or one of its Consulates.

Many people ask about an EU passport - however, this term is a misnomer. Passports are issued by the Member States themselves but there is a common format for their passports. European Union (EU) member state passports have standardised layouts and designs, although the photo page can be at the front or in the back of the booklet and small differences in design indicate which Member State is the issuer. Ordinary EU member state passports are burgundy-red, with the words "European Union" written in the national language or languages (e.g. Dutch, French, Finnish, Maltese) on the front, below which is the official name of the country, the national seal, and the word for "passport", in the respective language(s), can be found at the bottom.

Please contact the relevant Member State Embassy/Consulate/High Commission (list at right with contact details from the Department of Foreign Affairs website)

Planning to go on holidays or on business to a European country? Looking for events and adventure or for wellness and relaxation? Interested in local craft and gastronomy or do you simply want to know more about one of 34 European countries? Europe is a never-ending journey and it begins at http://www.visiteurope.com/ the brand new European Tourist Destinations Portal, financed by the European Commission.

For more information, helpful tips and a map of Europe, see Travelling in Europe