I am a New Zealander wishing to spend almost 9 months in Spain, without working.
I am hoping someone can tell me if I can leave Spain (and the Schengen area) twice in this period (before each set of 90 days is up) and return to Spain without any problems?!
I have been told that Spain allows you to stay for over 90 days in any 180 day period, as long as each stay is under 90 days. I would like to know, if this is really the case, whether there is a limit to the number of times you can do this?
I have emailed the Spanish consulate but am still awaiting a reply.
Thanks in advance for any advice you can give!
There is some confusion about short stay (tourist) visas, transit visas, long stay visas, Schengen, and validity for various nationals visiting EU countries.
I've found a fairly clear description of the rules :
The Schengen Agreement was originally signed in 1985, but was not implemented until 10 years later in 1995. It removed the need for border control posts, allowing easy access between countries that are part of the agreement.
This is a list of countries participating in the Schengen Agreement:
The countries in the Schengen agreement have a uniform visa regime that distinguishes 4 main types of visa. In addition, specific types exist for special groups (notably, refugees and diplomats), but these are not relevant to regular travellers.
Transit visa (A and B visa)
Transit visa are required for non-exempt third-country nationals passing through the Schengen area.
Both visa have a maximum validity of 120 hours.
The holder of an A-type visa is not allowed to leave the airport transit area.
The holder of a B-type visa is allowed to use overland transport for transiting purposes.
The visa may be subject to routing restrictions.
Short stay visa (C visa)
Short stay visa are required for non-exempt third-country nationals. The same rules apply to those who are exempt from visa application; they just do not need to apply in advance, but are granted the visa (in the form of an entry stamp) upon arrival.
The holder of a C-type visa is allowed to stay in the Schengen area for maximally 90 days in a 180 days period. This means you can stay in the Schengen area for at most 90 days, then leave for 91 days, then come back, etc. YOU CANNOT RENEW YOUR VISA / VISA WAIVOR BY EXITING AND RE-ENTERING IN LESS THAN 91 DAYS
C-type visa can be single-entry or multiple-entry.
Validity is printed on the visa. Validity may start either at the date of issuance, or at the date of first entry. This seems to depend on the issuing authority; make inquiries prior to booking flights etc.
C-type visa are not extendable beyond the 90-days-within-180-days limit.
Additional restrictions may be set by individual countries party to the agreement, especially concerning purpose of visit, financial means, antecedents, ailments, etc. The holder of a C-type visa has to comply with the additional requirements of each country s/he wants to enter.
Long stay visa (D visa)
Long stay visa are subject to regulations of the issuing state. They are not uniform Schengen visa, and come by many different names.
A D-type visa is required for every stay longer than 90 days.
D-type visa are not issued for purposes of tourism.
Usually, D-type visa only allow the holder to reside in the issuing country. Permission to work or study has to be obtained separately, and is often a prerequisite to enter the visa application process.
Typically, a D-type visa can only be applied for in the future holder's country of current residence.
D-type visa only give access to the issuing country. The holder of a D-type visa is not allowed to travel around the Schengen area. Note that third-country nationals exempt from visa requirements can travel outside the country they hold a D-type visa for, but for maximally 90 days in a 180 days period.
Combination visa (C+D)
Combination visa are meant to give the holder of a D-type visa the possibility of moving through the Schengen area. Both parts are subject to the regulations described above.
When the validity of the C-part starts, seems to depend on national regulations of the state issuing the D-part. In some cases, validity starts simultaneously with the validity of the D-part; in other cases, validity starts as soon as the holder enters another Schengen country; in still others, validity starts at the date of issuance. Make inquiries!
A single transit in another Schengen state is included in the D-type visa itself. If additional transits are necessary, a combination visa is required
Who needs a Schengen visa?
Countries can be divided in four groups as below. This website gives an up-to-date overview of which countries are part of which group.
Countries party to the Schengen agreement :
See the list at the beginning of the article. Nationals from those countries and their overseas territories do not require a visa. Resident non-nationals do, in most cases.
Countries subject to special provisions :
For a number of countries, special provisions are made in the Schengen agreement. Nationals from those countries and territories do not require a visa. This is the case for
Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein
Nationals from a number of countries do not have to apply for a C-type visa in advance. They are granted the visa upon arrival. This is the case for
all countries in North America and Central America, except Belize
certain countries in South America (notably Argentina, Brazil and Chile)
Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia and Singapore
Australia and New Zealand
San Marino, Vatican City, Andorra and Monaco
The exemption is only granted to 'clean' nationals of the above countries. If you have criminal antecedents or a SIS registration, the exemption does not apply. You will be denied entry in those cases, and be repatriated at your own expense.
Nationals from all other countries have to apply for a visa in advance. This is the case for
all of Africa
all of Asia except Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia and Singapore
all of Oceania except Australia and New Zealand
certain countries in western South America and the Caribbean
certain countries in the Balkans
How to apply for a Schengen visa
Applications should be made with the competent representation (i.e., the consulate) of the country of first entry, or of the country that is the main destination. The application process is handled by the party states, and is therefore not uniform. More information and application forms can be found on the respective consulate websites. Most countries' Immigration Services also have a webpage with more information.
Violating the conditions of your Schengen visa renders the visa invalid. Holders of an invalid visa automatically receive the status of unwanted alien; if you happen to come to the attention of national law enforcement while having said status, you will be deported out of the Schengen area at your own expense.
Overstaying is the most common visa violation. Be advised that you will always be found out, as your visa is checked upon leaving the Schengen area. Overstaying may be penalised with a substantial fine, payable on the spot. In addition, you will be registered as a visa offender in the Schengen Information System (SIS), which party countries and certain non-Schengen countries consult before granting you a visa. Registration in SIS will greatly diminish your chances to get another Schengen visa in the future. In addition, SIS registration may lead to trouble entering other countries, notably the US and Canada.
Also, many people are under the impression that, once they're inside the Schengen area, they are 'home free', and run no risk of being caught. This is not true. Even though border checks have been abolished, countries party to the Schengen agreement retain the full right to make sure that everyone on their territory has a valid reason for being there. Checks in public transport are common; some member states even allow random ID checks on the streets.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
Thanks Peter! You are right about there being some confusion.
I have finally received a reply from the Spanish Embassy in NZ, in response to my question "Am I able to stay in Spain for 8 months, without working, by leaving Spain twice (before each set of 90 days) and ensuring my NZ passport is stamped each time?":
The answer to your question is yes. (Please note you are not allowed to work or study holding a visitor visa.)
Please take a look on this document of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand explaining the situation.
Visa-free access for New Zealand visitors to Europe
New Zealand passport holders are able to spend up to three months visa-free in most European countries, and up to six months visa-free in the United Kingdom. The only European countries that require New Zealand passport holders to have a visa for a stay of less than three months are Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine.
Visa-free access for New Zealand passport holders intending to stay for more than 3 months in the Schengen area is complicated.
Schengen area countries permit most holders of passports from outside the Schengen area to stay visa-free in the Schengen area as a whole, regardless of the particular country or countries, for no more than 3 months out of a 6-month period. (This is sometimes expressed as 90 days out of a 180-day period.)
However, New Zealand has bilateral visa waiver agreements with many of the individual countries in the Schengen area. These visa waiver agreements allow New Zealanders to spend up to three months in the relevant country, without reference to time spent in other Schengen area countries. The European Commission has confirmed that these agreements continue to be valid. These agreements thus effectively 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 as a whole.
The countries with which New Zealand has bilateral visa waiver agreements are:
You can therefore move visa-free among the above countries for periods of up to 3 months in each country. If, however, you move to other countries in the Schengen area, 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, your presence in a Schengen area country with which New Zealand does not have a bilateral visa waiver agreement may be challenged by local police or other authorities. You may also be accused of being an overstayer when you leave the Schengen area, or when you enter another country outside the Schengen area.
These visa waiver agreements, and the overall Schengen area visa waiver, are not work visas or work permits.
Note: Hungary has special requirements. Even if New Zealanders have already spent up to 3 months in the Schengen area, they may enter Hungary and remain there for up to a further 90 days visa-free. But they must then leave the Schengen area from Hungary, and must not go to other Schengen countries during their stay in Hungary if they have already spent 3 months elsewhere in the Schengen area.
Despite confirmation from the European Commission that the visa waiver agreements continue to be valid, border and immigration officials in Schengen area countries are occasionally unaware of this and question New Zealanders’ rights to stay visa-free in the Schengen area for longer than 3 months. You should contact the embassy or consulate of the Schengen area countries you plan to visit to get the latest update on visa requirements if you plan to stay in the whole Schengen area for more than 3 months.
You are also advised to ensure that your passport is 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 (eg, accommodation receipts, ATM slips).
Hope I caught you in time - only just found this thread.
I'm a Kiwi too, and although plenty of people will tell you that you are in the same boat as everyone else with the Schengen exemptions, the jury's still out.
As you're going to Spain, it might help you to know that you don't need to count Spain as part of the Schengen area when you move in and out of the country.
The NZ Embassy in Madrid is pretty clear:
New Zealand citizens are not required to obtain a visa to travel to Spain. As visitors, they may remain in the country for a maximum of 3 months regardless of the amount of time spent in any of the other Schengen states.
(Italics added by me for emphasis)
This means (finally) that someone inside one of the relevant countries is confirming that there are indeed some overrides to the Schengen treaty if you hold a Kiwi passport.