With the addition of Bulgaria and Romania, the Schengen area boasts 29 members, encompassing various European Union states as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

Bulgaria and Romania have officially joined Europe’s extensive Schengen area, marking a pivotal milestone in their 13-year quest for enhanced integration. Effective as of Sunday, this development streamlines air and sea travel, eliminating border checks within the Schengen zone. However, Austria’s veto has restricted this status exclusively to air and sea routes, citing apprehensions regarding potential asylum seekers.

With this development, tourists arriving by air in these countries won’t require a separate visa; they can utilize their Schengen visas. However, travelers using road transportation will need supplementary documentation.

With the addition of Bulgaria and Romania, the Schengen zone now encompasses 29 members, comprising several European Union states, Switzerland, and Norway.

There are four seaports and 17 airports, with Otopeni Airport near Bucharest acting as a pivotal hub.

Nonetheless, obstacles persist, particularly regarding border security and the fight against illegal migration. Bulgaria and Romania are dedicated to achieving full integration into the Schengen zone by the end of the year. However, Austria’s agreement currently only applies to air and sea travel. Croatia, having entered the EU after Bulgaria and Romania, preceded them by becoming the 27th member of the Schengen area in January 2023.

While a cause for celebration for many, the milestone has left truck drivers feeling neglected, contending with extended border queues and financial setbacks. Road transport unions, including Romania’s UNTRR, are pressing for immediate action to tackle these challenges, highlighting the considerable economic burden borne by hauliers.

In the face of obstacles, Bucharest and Sofia reaffirm their dedication to unwavering advancement. Romanian Interior Minister Catalin Predoiu emphasizes the urgency of achieving full integration by 2024, including the extension to land borders. With Bulgaria and Romania marking this pivotal advancement, the journey toward a more cohesive Europe persists, notwithstanding the challenges that lie ahead.

At what times is a Schengen Visa required?

If you’re traveling to the Schengen Area from a country without a visa-free agreement, you must apply for a Schengen visa. There are four primary types: A, B, C, and D.

The Uniform Schengen Visa, the most prevalent type, comprises categories A, B, and C. It permits you to travel to any Schengen Zone country once every six months for a maximum of 90 days and grants access to airport transit. If you’re planning a short trip to Europe, this visa is essential.

Keep informed about visa changes by following VisaBud!