How Australians Can Stay in Germany For 90 Extra Days

How Australians Can Stay in Germany For 90 Extra Days
Berlin, Germany. Photo by Matt Graham.

As an Australian tourist, you can generally travel within Europe’s Schengen Area without a visa for up to 90 out of every 180 days. This is based on a “rolling calendar”, and takes into account your 180-daytravel history on any given day.

The Schengen Area includes most of western Europe, Scandinavia, Iceland, the Baltics and Greece:

Schengen Area countries as of April 2024
The Schengen Area countries in Europe. Map created with mapchart.net.

After a full 90 days within the Schengen Area, Australian citizens would normally need to leave and would not be able to return without a visa until at least another 90 days had passed. In the meantime, you could return to Australia or perhaps travel to other non-Schengen countries in Europe like the UK, Ireland, Serbia, Albania or North Macedonia.

Alternatively, if you have a visa for a country within the Schengen Area, including a working holiday visa, you would have the right to stay in that particular country as long as your visa remains valid. (The “90/180 day” rule for other Schengen countries still applies.)

But did you know that since 1952, Australia and Germany have had a bilateral agreement that allows Australian tourists to enter Germany for up to 90 days at a time, as often as they like?

The German-Australian Agreement on the Exemption of Visa Requirements

On 22 December 1952, Australia and Germany signed a bilateral “Agreement on the Exemption of Visa Requirements”. This is not widely known, but it is still in force today and the German border police should be aware of this agreement.

Under this bilateral agreement, Australian citizens can travel to Germany without a visa and stay for up to 90 days at a time. The main conditions are that:

  • Your passport must be valid for the entire duration of your stay
  • You cannot “engage in any type of gainful employment” (i.e. work in Germany)

Without a visa, you still cannot stay in Germany (or elsewhere in the Schengen Area) for more than 90 consecutive days. However, under this agreement, there is no limit to the number of times you may enter or re-enter Germany. So, if you wish to stay for another 90 days, you could simply depart Germany for any non-Schengen country and then return to Germany.

This could be as simple as flying from anywhere in Germany to London and back, since the UK is not part of the Schengen Area. It would even be allowed to fly back to Germany on the same day.

Landing in London
Flying to London would be an easy option if you need to head to a non-Schengen country. Photo by Matt Graham.

If you wish to use this agreement, you could advise the German border police on arrival that you are entering under the bilateral “German-Australian Agreement on the Exemption of Visa Requirements, dated 22.12.1952”. Make sure that you get entry and exit stamps in your passport, as you’ll need to be able to prove the amount of time you’ve spent in Germany.

This agreement is only between Australia and Germany

If you would like to use the German-Australian visa exemption agreement to holiday in Europe for more than three months, we would suggest visiting any other European countries you wish to visit first. That’s because other countries may not recognise this agreement between Australia and Germany. Schengen countries other than Germany will probably count any time you’ve spent in Germany during the previous 180 days as part of your 90 allowable days within the Schengen Area, unless those countries also happen to have a similar bilateral agreement with Australia.

Once you’ve finished doing whatever you want to do in the rest of Europe, it would probably be a good idea to leave the Schengen Area. (Again, flying to London would be an easy option – but you could also travel to somewhere like Skopje, for example.) Then, enter Germany on a direct flight from a non-Schengen country. That way, you’ll clear passport control at an airport in Germany and get a German entry stamp in your passport. This is important!

Berlin Airport
Make sure you fly directly between a non-Schengen country and Germany. Photo by Matt Graham.

During your stay in Germany under this bilateral agreement, you cannot visit other European countries. This means you would not even be allowed to cross the border into a neighbouring Schengen country such as Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Belgium or France. You must stay in Germany for the entire time.

But, again, you could travel directly to another country outside the Schengen Area, then return to Germany and your 90 days will reset.

Just make sure you leave Germany before your 90 days expires, and fly directly from a German airport to a non-Schengen country so you’ll receive a German exit stamp in your passport.

The German Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) website also has some useful information about this agreement for Australians in English.

Get a German visa to stay longer or work in Germany

Keep in mind that this agreement still only lets you travel to Germany for tourism purposes, and only for up to 90 days at a time. If you would like to stay longer and/or work in Germany, consider whether you might be eligible for a German visa or residency.

If you’re an Australian citizen aged 18-30 years old, a German working holiday visa could be one option. This allows you to live and work in Germany for up to a year.


While best efforts are made to keep this information updated, we do not guarantee its accuracy. If you spot an error, would like to suggest new information to be added or simply have a question, please let us know in the comments and we’ll endeavour to respond or update the article as quickly as possible!

Matt Graham

Matt is the founder of Working Holidays for Aussies. Passionate about travel and always looking for great deals, he believes that gap years & working holidays are the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture and gain invaluable life experience. Originally from Australia, Matt has travelled to over 70 countries and has lived in New Zealand, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

24 thoughts on “How Australians Can Stay in Germany For 90 Extra Days

  1. So; What I understand of my reading of this bilateral agreement between Germany and Australia is 1. An Australian can stay 90 in Germany on a Shangan visa 2. Then travel to a non Shangan country for a day 3. Then return to Germany for another 90 days under the bilateral agreement.
    What I have not read is how many times can an Australian use the 90 day bilateral agreement? Is it as simple as leaving for a day ; stay for 90 days ; leave again for a day; return for another 90 days…etc etc? Appreciate your reply.

    1. Hi Brian. Firstly, you would not be staying in Germany for 90 days on a “Schengen visa” – this is a specific type of visa which is not related to the bilateral treaty between Australia and Germany. You do not need any visa as an Australian to stay in Germany for up to 90 days at a time.

      There is no limit to the number of times you can stay in Germany for up to 90 days, leave directly to a non-Schengen country, then return to Germany. The only thing is that you can’t stay in Germany for more than 90 days at a time under this arrangement, and this doesn’t work if you also want to travel to any other Schengen countries.

    2. Many thanks for taking the time to answer. Yesterday I got to the bottom of this. Firstly everyone on this topic should forget the connection to the Shangan visa ,signed by Australia if my memory is correct in the 1970’s. The bilateral agreement was established/signed in 1953. The two have nothing to do with each other. With the bilateral agreement so lang as an Australian leaves Germany to a non EU country ( maybe also non- shangan country) and returns to Germany then this gives another 90 days and can be repeated indefinitely. No work permission though. This is not widely known and as taken me a long time to find out. For Germans its 365 days in Australia. Brian

      1. Hey there – do you have any documents or ‘success stories’ using the repeat entry under the bilateral agreement? I’m seeing very mixed interpretations of what ‘no limit to number of entries’ means – with some suggesting that after exhausting the visa-free Schengen period, the Bilateral 90 days can only be used once (but you’re allowed to leave Germany unlimited times to non Schengen countries if needed).
        Any clarification would be hugely appreciated.
        B

        1. Th “ lBilateral Visa Waver Agreement “ 1953 between Australia and Germany is obviously a law agreed well before the Shangan agreement . Don’t get the two confused. So many people do. The 1953 law still exists. And it covers a maximum stay of 90 days…I make sure I stay a few days short of 90 days..89..87 etc depending on my transport out of Germany. You must NOT travel to a Shangan country. You can then return to make another request for another 90 stay. ( even on the same day ..or a month later.. I holiday in other places for a while so I have never done this in one day). I have now done this three times and have had no problem ( only the immigration officer at the border is unclear of what I request…they do ring someone and my passport is then stamped with an entry stamp). They can ask you to prove your financial situation…you cannot work….or manybe proof of health insurance but they have never done this to date. This is the long and short of it. You need to pay particular attention to what I have written.
          One more thing you cannot visit any other Shangan country once you have entered Germany on this 1953 agreement ….as I said it has nothing to do with the Shangan countries ..it’s the agreement between Australia and Germany. You could leave Germany to a non Shangan country and return to another Shangan country to benifit from the 90 day in 180 day rule.

  2. Hi Matt, thanks for a great article. Love your work here and on Aust FF. I recently spent nearly 90 days in the Schengen Zone (I didn’t enter Germany) and flew to Albania before my time was up, with an exit stamp to prove it. I’ve booked to fly from Belgrade to Munich and intend to make use of this exemption. Do you have any recent reports of people successfully entering under the agreement and any advice if border police don’t know about it?

    1. As far as I know, this is still working fine. Most of the German border police at the airport would be aware of the rule, but if you’re concerned, you could always take a printout of the advice on the German embassy’s website.

      Just let them know when you arrive that you’re entering Germany under this bilateral agreement.

  3. Hi Matt,

    Great article!

    Being an Aussie, Let’s say if I use all my 90 days in Germany (I know I could visit other Schengen countries) on Schengen visa and on 90th day I exit Schengen area. Can I re-enter Germany again for the next 90 days under this bilateral agreement? This way I would get to spend 6 months in Germany. I’m just looking to spend more time around Germany.

    Also, you mentioned that we can’t enter any other Schengen countries under this agreement, which is fine. But what would happen if I want to leave Germany anytime before I finish my 90 days under this agreement, can I re-enter again?

    Thanks!

    1. Thought I would send this to you also. Hope it helps. In theory an Australian can spend 365 days a year in Germany…. (Indefinitely)….if you did not need to work and that you left for a non Shangan country four times a year.)Spending no more than 90 days on each stay.
      Th “ lBilateral Visa Waver Agreement “ 1953 between Australia and Germany is obviously a law agreed well before the Shangan agreement . Don’t get the two confused. So many people do. The 1953 law still exists. And it covers a maximum stay of 90 days…I make sure I stay a few days short of 90 days..89..87 etc depending on my transport out of Germany. You must NOT travel to a Shangan country. You can then return to make another request for another 90 stay. ( even on the same day ..or a month later.. I holiday in other places for a while so I have never done this in one day). I have now done this three times and have had no problem ( only the immigration officer at the border is unclear of what I request…they do ring someone and my passport is then stamped with an entry stamp). They can ask you to prove your financial situation…you cannot work….or manybe proof of health insurance but they have never done this to date. This is the long and short of it. You need to pay particular attention to what I have written.
      One more thing you cannot visit any other Shangan country once you have entered Germany on this 1953 agreement ….as I said it has nothing to do with the Shangan countries ..it’s the agreement between Australia and Germany. You could leave Germany to a non Shangan country and return to another Shangan country to benifit from the 90 day in 180 day rule

      1. Thanks, Brian! This is SO helpful. Out of curiosity, in what timeframe did you complete these three successful returns to Germany? And what breaks did you take between them?
        Thanks again,
        B

        1. Bridget….For the bilateral agreement- all three in the last 12 months or so…Egypt-6 weeks…….Romania~ 4 days…….Turkey-5 days. …all non Shangan countries.
          I was alerted to this agreement by an immigration officer when I thought I could only stay 90 days in 180 using the Shangan visa. Let’s hope they don.t change this . Hope this helps.

  4. This sounds great. Thanks for the info!

    I am currently on a Working Holiday Visa (WHV)… I want to leave just before it ends, spend a month in Australia, and then come back to Germany. I spoke with someone at ‘die Ausländerbehörde’ they told me after my WHV ends I am not allowed to return to Germany for 90 days. I didn’t know about this…

    So thought maybe I could still re-enter but it must be under the Aus/German Bilateral Agreement instead of a Schengen Visa.

    So I asked him if he knew about the ‘Aus/German Bilateral Agreement on the Exemption of Visa Requirements’ he kept confusing it with the Schengen Visa… To his understanding the Bilateral Agreement isn’t separate to the Schengen Visa…

    So he told me it isn’t possible…

    But maybe it is possible, I don’t think he understands all the details…

    What do you think? Has anyone been in this situation with a Working Holiday Visa? Would really love to know!!! Thanks 🙂

    1. It sounds to me like the person you spoke to at the Ausländerbehörde simply isn’t aware of this obscure bilateral agreement between Germany and Australia from 1952. Which honestly isn’t all that surprising. 😉

      If you want to double-check, maybe try contacting the German Consulate-General in Australia.

        1. I have spoken with the Generalkonsulat der Bundesrepublik Deutschland Sydney, they told me in their opinion I am allowed to re-enter Germany, whenever I like, as long as I leave the Schengen Area before my WHV ends. But they cannot give me official confirmation.

          So I took this email and other evidence to the Ausländerbehörder Freiburg to get confirmation. Despite all my attempts to explain clearly and differentiate the case of Australian passport holders to other country passport holders – they kept looking right past it all and kept saying it isn’t allowed. They are very busy in there and I get the impression that there is a misunderstanding.

          This was my 2nd attempt. I don’t know what to do from here. I am waiting on them to reply to my email, I really pushed for them to actually look into my situation but they just don’t seem to have the time to consider my case. Can I visit another Ausländerbehörde or something?..

        2. I agree that the office in Freiburg is probably mistaken, but I’m not sure why you need to get “confirmation” from them specifically. They probably have never heard of this rule, but the decision to admit you into the country is ultimately up to the border police when you re-enter Germany. They should be familiar with this rule, which is stated on the German government’s website.

          The general consulate in Sydney would be more familiar with the current rules than a random Ausländerbehörde office, in my opinion.

  5. Well, I think all of this, it just does not fair for german at all. Australian can stay for 90 days without visa but german have to apply for ETA and pay for it. I do not understand about their agreement and do not know why?? And that was my misunderstanding and thought I as german do not need visa for Australia then what happened to me was I just missed the flight because of not had enough time to apply ETA at the airport so I had to pay more than 1000€ to buy the new ticket for the next day, how stupid was that.
    That was my lesson to thought that german passport can use to many country without visa, that was so wrong!!!!!

    1. I believe Australia requires citizens of most other countries (not just Germans) to apply for an ETA before travelling there. This is different to needing a visa.

      The European Union will soon introduce a requirement for citizens of most other countries to get an ETA to enter the Schengen Area and this will also apply to Australians entering Germany under this agreement which dates back to 1952.

  6. Hi Matt, this is great news. Thanks so much for the advice.
    Can you confirm what I am doing is correct and ok to use the 1953 bilateral agreement.
    We plan to spend 6 months in Eastern Europe and Greece. Flying in to Munich on the 16th May and flying out of Munich on the 15th November. That’s a total of 183 days. Which is over the Schengen visa period. What I’m hoping we can do is, on arrival in May, leave Munich after a few days, travel around East Europe and Greece then head back to Munich just before the 180 days has elapsed and then use the 1953 bilateral agreement to enter the county again, but then fly home to Australia within the next five days.
    Am I dreaming or is that doable? Would we need to fly back to Munich or would land crossing be acceptable also?
    Thanks so much in advance for your reply.
    We are two 60 year olds that are retired. Not sure if that makes a difference.
    Thanks again.
    Regards,
    Andy.

    1. Hi Andy,

      No, unfortunately this would not be allowed because this bilateral agreement between Australia and Germany is only for stays of up to 90 days, and only for stays entirely within Germany (and no other Schengen countries).

      What you could do though, for example, is spend some time outside of the Schengen Area in Eastern Europe (i.e. in non-Schengen countries such as Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia, etc.), then spend up to 90 days in Schengen countries, then leave the Schengen Area (e.g. to the UK). You could then fly directly from a non-Schengen country to an airport in Germany, stay in Germany (only) for up to 90 more days, and then leave from Germany directly to a non-Schengen country.

      Please have another read of the article and the German government’s website which explains the rule in more detail.

  7. Thanks Matt, much appreciated.

    We did a lot more searching for more information and I think we worked out what we could do. Provided we don’t over stay the 90 day period in any Schengen country within our 180 day period we’re confident we can stay out of trouble. Hahaha.
    All the very best and thanks again
    Cheers Andy

  8. Hey, I’m currently in Australia and planning a backpacking holiday around Europe, to my understanding I can travel across the schegen area for any 90 out of 180 days. if I exhausted those 90 days then left to a non schengen country to then re-enter Germany under the bilateral agreement, would I be able to wait out the remaining 90 days in Germany, then allowing me to travel freely across the schengen area again? also, because of the lack of border control between schengen countries what would hypothetically stop me from travelling to other countries whilst visiting Germany under the bilateral agreement?
    Thanks

    1. No, you wouldn’t be able to travel in Schengen again after waiting out the 90 days in Germany because other Schengen countries don’t necessarily recognise this bilateral agreement which is just between Australia and Germany.

      In theory there’s nothing stopping you travelling to other countries while in Germany if you don’t get checked at the border. However, there is a possibility that you could get checked at any time when re-entering Germany – this does happen – and if caught, you could get into trouble. I would not risk it.

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