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 country map
The Schengen Area countries in Europe. Map created with (click on the image to view a larger version).

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, Romania 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 Zagreb, 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 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 60 countries and has lived in New Zealand, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

5 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

  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.

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