• Home
  • Sign up for newsletter
  • Find a personal travel manager
  • Travel Guides
    How can you legally stay in Europe for more than 90 days?

    How can you legally stay in Europe for more than 90 days?

    Share Share Comments comments

    This information was published on 08/05/2024 and should be used as a guide only. You should check visa requirements with your personal travel manager at the time of your booking.

    From exploring iconic historic sites like the Colosseum in Rome and the Acropolis in Athens to immersing yourself in the rich array of languages, cuisines and traditions, there are endless reasons why Europe is a dream destination for many Australians. With so much to see and do, and so many countries in Europe to explore, how can you possibly hope to tick off all the items on your bucket list in a limited amount of time?

    If you plan to visit Europe for an extended period of time, we have a few tips so you can legally enjoy a long term, visa-free stay:

    What is the Schengen Area?

    The name Schengen comes from the town in southeastern Luxembourg where France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands signed the original Schengen Agreement in 1985.

    The Schengen Area is effectively works by creating a single border around its 27 member nations (plus two partial-members nations). You can move between member countries as freely as you want, plus you can enter, and leave from, different member countries — your entry and exit points don’t have to be the same.

    In most cases, you won’t even need to show your passport when you cross a border between member countries. Your passport simply gets stamped upon your arrival to, and departure, from the Schengen Zone.

    Do Australians need a visa for Europe and how long can I stay in Europe with an Australian passport?

    If you are travelling on an Australian passport, you can visit and move freely within the 27 countries in Europe which make up the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. If you want to stay for longer than 90 days without applying for a visa, it can be done – so read on!

    You won’t need to apply for a visa or residence permit to visit any of the Schengen member countries if your travel is for one or more of the following reasons: business purposes, visiting friends and family, tourism and holidays, cultural and sports events, transit, official visit, medical reasons, short-term study, or research.

    Non-Schengen Zone nations have their own individual rules around entry and length of stay and may require you to obtain tourist visas prior to arrival. Your personal travel manager can advise you on this, or you can contact the individual consulates or embassies for details.

    Which European countries are in the Schengen Area?

    hallstatt austria schengen

    Almost all EU countries (with the exception of Ireland and Cyprus) are part of the Schengen Area, as well as three non-EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

    Bulgaria and Romania are currently partial Schengen members which means there are still some border controls in place. Any time you spend in these countries will count towards your 90-day, visa-free stay in the Schengen Area of Europe.

    Non-Schengen countries: Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cyprus, Georgia, Ireland, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, Türkiye (previously known as Turkey), Ukraine and United Kingdom.

    What happens when I’ve used up my 90 days in the Schengen Area countries?

    You will need to leave the Schengen Area until you’ve accumulated more days. However, if you want to remain in Europe for a longer period of time, you can travel to a non-Schengen European nation, many of which allow visa-free travel for Australians for up to 90 days. You will, of course, need to check their entry and visa requirements and restrictions to ensure that you are compliant.

    If you have spent 90 consecutive days travelling within the Schengen Area, you must wait a further 90 days before you can return for a new, visa-free, 90-day stay.

    How does the rule regarding 90 days in 180 days work?

    The 180-day period is not fixed to the calendar year – it’s actually a rolling window of time. To calculate your stay, you would count back 180 days from the date you plan to enter the Schengen Area, and then count the total number of days you’ve spent in the Schengen area during that period.

    To make it easier to keep track of how much time you have spent in the Schengen Area and when you can re-enter without a visa, we recommend using this free and easy-to-use calculator.

    What else do I need to know about travelling to/around the Schengen Area?

    • You must have an Australian passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date you intend to leave the Schengen Area. If you’re not travelling on an Australian passport, we recommend checking the entry requirements for each of your intended destinations.
    • Ensure that your passport is clearly stamped when you first enter the Schengen Area.
    • From mid-2025, many European countries will require you to apply for entry through the new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) before you can enter. This will allow visitors from 60 countries (including Australia) to apply for an online ETIAS, (essentially a visa waiver (essentially a visa waiver like the United States’ ESTA and Canada’s eTA), for entry to any of the Schengen member countries (plus Cyprus). It will be valid for 90 days within a 180-day period. A small fee will apply, except for applicants aged under 18 or over 70, who are exempt the fee. Applications for ETIAS have not yet opened but you can check here for the latest updates.
    • Although the Schengen agreement provides for border control-free travel between member countries, you should carry your passport with you at all times.

    I’m still a little confused – where can I go for advice?

    Your personal travel manager is a great source of advice, ideas and inspiration to help plan your visit to Europe. And if something unexpected happens while you’re away – whether it’s a missed or cancelled flight, lost or stolen passport, a medical situation, an emergency or just a change in plans – they are available 24/7 with the expertise and connections to support you and help get you back on track.


    Filter by category: ALL
    Filter by date:
    Choose a sub-category: