Australians seeking to enter countries that are parties to the Schengen Convention are advised that only the country you plan to visit can provide up-to-date and accurate information about its specific visa requirements. Travellers should contact the nearest High Commission, Embassy or Consulate of the countries they plan to visit well in advance of travel.
Generally, Australian tourists planning to spend less than a total of 90 days within a 180 day period in the 'Schengen area' do not require visas for countries which are parties to the Schengen Convention.
The following countries are parties to the Schengen Convention: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
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.
A number of changes were approved in June 2013 to entry arrangements under the Schengen Convention. From 19 July 2013 you may be refused entry to the Schengen area if you have less than three months validity remaining on your passport from your intended date of departure from the Schengen area. See the revised Regulations for further information.
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.
Travellers who exceed the 90 days within 180 days period of legal stay in the Schengen area risk being fined or even banned from entering the whole Schengen area for a period of time.
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 Border Protection website.