Visas – is it really that hard? Or am I just dumb? The answer: YES.

I found some information on travelling to France, specifically with respect to visas.  Check out this web site:  http://www.ambafrance-au.org/Frequently-Asked-Questions.

As far as I can tell, if we’re staying for less than 90 days (which we would be, since my long service leave is only three months), we don’t need a visa, because of something called the Schengen Agreement.  This applies to other countries in Europe, including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Spain and Sweden.

But then this page mentions a Schengen Visa:  http://www.ambafrance-au.org/General-rules-applying-in-France.  If we don’t need a visa, what’s the point of a Schengen Visa?  This Yahoo Questions post answers it, I think:  http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090129062054AAIPq7k.  It’s for people who aren’t from a country that’s party to the Schengen Agreement.  This site is useful too:  http://www.schengenvisa.cc/.  It says, “The Schengen visa is a “visitor visa”. It is issued to citizens of countries who are required to obtain a visa before entering Europe.”  And since we don’t require a visa, we don’t need to do anything more.  I think.

If it turns out we do need a visa (even if it’s just a Schengen Visa), then the whole thing becomes a giant pain in the arse, because they want to know your every movement (hotel booking confirmations, flight booking confirmations) during the stay, proof of means of subsistence (ie you’re not going to work whilst in France), bank account statements, visits to the Embassy in Sydney and god knows what else.  The hotel booking part would be impossible to provide, given we intend to camp and just tool about without planning accommodation too far ahead.

But I think we’re OK without a visa.  I think.

 

About Max

I'm an IT nerd who spends much less time on my bike than I'd like. I'm planning a big cycle tour for when I get long service leave (2013). Until then, I keep plodding along at my job and get on my bike when I can. Did I mention I love riding my bike?

Posted on 17/09/2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. You don’t need a visa if you are an ustralian citizen. They probably won’t even be that interested in looking at your passport. We travelled from Italy to France via Switzerland & they couldn’t have cared less at borders. Strangely, we had the most trouble going into England – like we would want to stay for a long time in a cold, grey country…

    • That would Australian, how un-Australian of me.

    • Thanks for the reply. That confirms what I’d 99% suspected. I’m surprised you had hassles getting into England. Isn’t Australia still part of the Commonwealth?!

      Many years ago, my grandparents (who were living in Egypt, but my grandfather had British citizenship) had to browbeat Australian immigration officials into letting them into the country. They came here as refugees during WW2. My grandfather, in his very formal English, told them in no uncertain terms that as a British citizen, he was a citizen of the Commonwealth, and therefore they could not refuse him or his family entry.

  2. It was really weird with England, I think they suspect Australians of wanting to stay long enough to get a British passport, so they really questioned me about how long I ws staying & if I had a ticket to go back to Australia. They wanted to see it but it was packed in a bag. Weird, & I was in my 40′s at the time, so it wasn’t like I was a young back-packer

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