Bulgaria and Romania – which entered the European Union in 2007 – have been trying to join the Schengen Area for over a decade. Recently, Austria has opposed admitting Bulgaria and Romania, citing concerns about managing irregular migration. In December 2023, Austria conceded this position and allowed the removal of border checks for air and sea travel.
What should you know?
- Effective March 31, 2024, Bulgaria and Romania will partially join Europe’s Schengen Area.
- Until further notice, border checks will continue to apply for any land-based travel between Bulgaria, Romania, and other Schengen Area countries.
- Bulgaria and Romania will start issuing uniform Schengen C visas from April 1, 2024.
Pros and Cons
- Air and sea travel between Bulgaria, Romania and Schengen Area countries will become easier and quicker, as affected travellers will no longer be subject to border control inspections.
- It has been clarified that Bulgaria and Romania are expected to start issuing uniform Schengen C visas from April 1, 2024. Generally, national entry visas only provide transit rights through Schengen Area countries (unless the Schengen Area country has specifically granted entry and stay rights for such visas).
- Land border checks are to continue for an indefinite period. Until further notice, border checks will continue to apply for any land-based travel between either Bulgaria or Romania and other Schengen Area countries.
To learn more about Bulgarian residence permits, please contact us.