If you are planning a holiday or extended vacation in Europe you should know about the Schengen Agreement, the Schengen visa and how it affects your long stay in the EU. The Schengen Treaty enacted in the 1980′s allows EU member states to act as one state for the purpose of international travel. This means your point of entry into a treaty member state allows you to travel freely within the borders of all of the member states.
The member states are as follows: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Note that Ireland and the United Kingdom are not part of the agreement.
Citizens of some countries do require an actual Schengen visa to visit the treaty countries but Australians do not. Australians are allowed to visit any of the EU, Schengen treaty countries for up to 90 days in one six month period without a Schengen visa. This means that you could use up all ninety days at once. You would not be able to return to any of the Schengen countries for ninety more days. You could also spread out the ninety days over a six month period with several trips in and out of the EU. The six month clock starts on your first visit to a member country. If you have a job offer or find that you require more than 90 days in the Schengen area you can apply for a student, business or extended stay visa. This must be done through the individual country’s embassy or their consulate representative in Australia.
So for many Australian residents, a Schengen visa really is a great way to get your travel plans sorted before you go whether you sort it out at your local office in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane or even do online.. The fact that one visa covers so many varied countries makes it an efficient method to fulfil immigration requirements with minimal hassle. The schengen visa requirements are not that onerous and the schengen visa application forms are relatively easy to complete.