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Schengen Area: Which 28 countries are included in the visa-free zone? (2024)

Passport and Schengen Visa message over a Map of the of the 27 countries that compose the Schengen Zone

If you’re making plans to head over to Europe in 2023, in addition to sorting out your itinerary, travel money and travel insurance, you might also be wondering if you need to organise multiple visas for the countries you’re visiting. 

Well, in some cases, you might not need to get a visa at all. 

There is a group of 28 European countries that actually allow for visa-free travel between borders, in what is known as the Schengen Area. 

What this means is that you won’t have to go through border checks or get fifteen separate visas for each country you enter during your trip. 

However, there are still some countries that aren’t a part of the Schengen Area (see further down for the list). In those cases, visit Smartraveller to find detailed information related to the destination’s entry requirements for Aussies.

How long can you stay in the Schengen Area?

You can stay in countries in the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days during any 180-day period. 

The 90 days don’t have to be consecutive either. This means that you could stay within the borders of the Schengen area for 45 days, then leave for a country outside the Agreement, before coming back a few weeks later to do another 45 days.

However, making sure you don’t overstay your welcome during the overarching 180-day period is important. Those that do stay longer than the 90 days allowed could be fined or even barred from entering the Schengen Zone. 

While working out how many visa-free days you have in the Schengen Area can be a complicated affair, you can use the European Commission’s short-stay visa calculator to help figure it out.

Which European countries are in the Schengen Area?

There are 27 European countries in the Schengen Area, allowing for the free movement of travellers between member countries’ borders. The most recent member is Croatia, as of 1 January 2023.

Schengen Area countries include:  

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Croatia 
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania†
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland.

†Romania will partly join the Schengen area from 31 March 2024. Schengen rules will apply to those arriving by plane or boat, but border checks will still be carried out for those arriving by train, bus, or car (land arrivals).

Which European countries are not part of the Schengen Area?

The European countries which are not part of the Schengen Agreement include:

  • United Kingdom
  • Ireland
  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Georgia
  • Kosovo
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • North Macedonia (Republic of North Macedonia)
  • Romania† (will partly join Schengen area from 31 March 2024)
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine.

Is the UK part of the Schengen Area?

Unfortunately, the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales) is not a part of the Schengen Agreement. 

However, as an Australian citizen, you won’t need to apply for a visa if you’re travelling around the UK for less than 6 months as a tourist. But you will need a visa if you plan to stay for longer than 6 months, or if you intend to work while you’re there. 

For more information about travel to the UK, check out our travel insurance for the UK guide, or head over to Smartraveller.

Other eligibility requirements for entry into Schengen Area

As Australians, your reason for travel within the Schengen Area must be for: 

  • Business 
  • Visiting relatives or friends 
  • Tourism or holidays 
  • Sports events 
  • Cultural events
  • Transit between airports
  • Medical reasons 
  • Short-term study (exchange student) 
  • Research purposes.

Do you need a passport for Schengen countries?

While you won’t necessarily need a visa, you will still need to have a passport to travel around Europe. 

More importantly, your passport will need to be valid for at least three months after the date you intend to leave Europe. 

When you arrive in a Schengen Area for the first time, you will receive a stamp in your passport which has your date of entry. Make sure you get this, otherwise it could land you in hot water.

Travel tips for the Schengen area

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least three months after you intend to leave the Schengen Area 
  • Keep track of how long you intend to stay in Schengen countries, as you have a limit of 90 days over a 180-day period
  • Don’t forget to pack a good travel money card to avoid nasty currency conversion fees while you’re away 
  • Consider downloading a few of these 13 great travel apps to help you get ready and make the most of your trip 
  • Read the travel insurance Europe guide for tips and tricks about travelling to Europe
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Jack Dona
Jack Dona
RG146
Money writer

Jack is RG146 Generic Knowledge certified, with a Bachelor of Communications in Creative Writing from UTS, and uses his creative flair to cut through the financial jargon and make home loans, insurance and banking interesting. His reader-first approach to creating content and his passion for financial literacy means he always looks for innovative ways to explain personal finance. Jack's research and explanations have been featured in government publications, and his work is regularly featured alongside major publications in Google's Top Stories for Insurance.