SHORT STAYS IN THE SCHENGEN AREA (less than 3 months):
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.
Generally, foreign citizens must apply for a Schengen short-stay visa, which enables them to travel freely throughout the Schengen Area for a maximum period of 3 months in a 6 months period (with multiple entries and exits). However, New Zealand is one of a list of third-countries (outside the European Union, the European Economic Area and the Schengen Zone) who do NOT require a visa to visit the Schengen States, for less than 90 days within a six month period.
In principle, New Zealanders benefit from this arrangement, 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. This period begins when entering the territory of any of the Schengen States. 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 this arrangement, New Zealand concluded bilateral visa waiver agreements with many of the individual countries in the Schengen area before the Schengen Agreement came into force.
These visa waiver agreements permit New Zealanders to stay for up to 3 months in the Member State with an existing bilateral agreement without that time counting towards time spent in other Schengen Member States.
Thus, for example, New Zealand nationals can move visa-free among these Member States with these bilateral agreements for periods of up to 3 months in each country.
The countries with which New Zealand has bilateral visa waiver agreements are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
These agreements 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.
NZ nationals can, therefore, move visa-free among the above countries for periods of up to 3 months in each country. For more information about bilateral visa waiver agreements, please see: www.safetravel.govt.nz
If, however, you move to other countries in the Schengen area apart from that list, the restriction of no more than 3 months out of a 6-month period in the Schengen area as a whole applies. If you have already spent 3 months in one or more of the above countries then enter a Schengen area country that 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, or when you enter another country outside the Schengen area.
Consequently, New Zealand nationals are advised to ensure that their passport are stamped on entry and exit at the external borders of the Schengen area. Officers at ports of entry may wave travellers through without stamping passports, but it is important to have evidence of the date of first entry into the Schengen area for any subsequent dealings with local police or other authorities. It is also advisable to retain some informal evidence of time spent in particular Schengen countries (e.g. , accommodation receipts, ATM slips).
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. The Schengen countries with consular offices in New Zealand are:
France : 34-42 Manners Street , 12th floor of Sovereign House, Wellington, open Monday-Friday 9.15am-1.15pm
Germany : 90-92 Hobson St, Thorndon, 6011 Wellington, open Monday-Friday 8am-11.30am
Greece : Petherick Towers, Level 11, 38-42 Waring Taylor Street, Wellington, open Monday-Friday 11.00am - 1.00pm
Italy : 34-38 Grant Road, Thorndon, Wellington , open Monday-Friday 9am-1pm and Wednesday 3-4.45pm
Netherlands : PSIS House - 10th Floor, Corner Featherston and Ballance Streets, CBD, Wellington, open Monday-Thursday 10am-12.30pm
Poland : City Chamber, level 9, 142 Featherston St, CBD, Wellington, open Tuesday-Friday 10am-2pm
Spain :firstname.lastname@example.org, Level 11, BNZ Trust House Bldg, 50 Manners Street, Wellington, open Monday-Friday 9am-5.30pm
Switzerland : Level 12, Maritime Tower, 10 Customhouse Quay, CBD, Wellington , open Monday-Friday 8.30am-12pm
For more information, helpful tips and a map of Europe, see Travelling in Europe