Meghna Misra
Last Updated 09 Jan 2024
Exclusive: Romania & Bulgaria Set to Enter Schengen Zone! What It Means for EU Travel?

StampThePassport, India's first hybrid offline & online visa application platform, anticipates groundbreaking changes in European travel dynamics as Romania and Bulgaria prepare to enter the Schengen border-free zone via air and sea routes by March.

The long-awaited move, announced by officials from both countries on 28th December 2023, marks a significant milestone in the European Union's border policies. Austria, initially apprehensive due to concerns about illegal immigration, has consented to the entry of the two Balkan states in a phased approach.

Schengen Expansion: Bulgaria and Romania Enter Schengen!

Come March, travellers holding Schengen visas will gain access to two additional European countries—Bulgaria and Romania—marking a significant stride towards an expanded border-free zone within the European Union. What is stopping you from applying for your Bulgaria Visa Online in 5 minutes.

The recent agreement among member states signals a pivotal move for Bulgaria and Romania, allowing them to implement Schengen system rules at their ports and airports starting from the end of March. This breakthrough arrives as Austria, the final dissenting voice against enlarging the passport-free area has partially eased its veto. Let's apply Your Romania Visa Online in 5 Minutes!

Austria Relents: Schengen Approval Paves Way for Bulgaria and Romania

Since their EU accession in 2007, Bulgaria and Romania faced resistance due to concerns over issues like corruption, organized crime, and border security. Although historically grappling with corruption, both nations have made notable strides in addressing these challenges.

While the current approval primarily focuses on air and maritime travel, there's optimism that land border regulations might follow suit. However, Austria maintains reservations, apprehensive about a potential surge in migrant influx. Vienna emphasizes the need to fortify land borders, seeking additional EU funding, and urges Sofia and Bucharest to support migrants from conflict zones.

The potential removal of land controls holds significant economic implications, streamlining commercial traffic across Bulgaria and Romania. This move is expected to notably reduce transit times for trucks navigating through the Danube River from Greece and Turkey. Bulgaria's Finance Minister, Assen Vassilev, stressed the economic significance, highlighting the anticipation for a tangible boost once land borders are opened.

Economic Impact: The Promise of Open Land Borders for Bulgaria and Romania

Amidst ongoing discussions, this stride towards Schengen inclusion stands as a positive benchmark for Bulgaria and Romania. It signifies their commitment to aligning with EU standards and fostering regional collaboration.

Established in 1985, the Schengen area encompasses 23 of the 27 EU member states and their neighboring nations—Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein—creating a zone facilitating seamless travel across borders.