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Bulgaria and Romania Set to Issue Short-Term Schengen Visas from April 2024

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In a significant development for international travelers, Bulgaria and Romania are poised to begin issuing short-term Schengen visas starting April 1, 2024. This move marks a pivotal step in the integration of these countries into the broader Schengen Area.

Officials from the European Union clarified to Fragomen that both Bulgaria and Romania are expected to issue Schengen C visas. These visas will allow foreign nationals to enter and stay in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

This advancement is closely linked to the EU Council’s decision allowing Bulgaria and Romania partial access to the Schengen Area. The EU recently decided to lift border controls at air and sea borders with these countries in March 2024, signaling their welcome into the zone. This decision represents the largest expansion of the area of free movement in the world.

While the decision on lifting land border controls remains pending, the current move is set to benefit both individuals and businesses by granting them the right to free movement by air and sea. Discussions and decisions regarding the lifting of land border controls are expected later in the year.

The EU Commission had initially confirmed the readiness of Bulgaria and Romania to join the Schengen Area as early as 2011. Over the years, these nations have consistently met the necessary conditions, with their readiness reaffirmed by experts in 2022 and 2023. To ensure safety and security, both countries have implemented measures for cooperation in security, policy, and judicial matters.

This expansion, the ninth of its kind, is anticipated to boost travel, trade, and tourism, while simultaneously strengthening the internal market. The Schengen Area, which covers almost 450 million EU citizens and foreign nationals in or visiting the EU, guarantees free movement. With this expansion, citizens of the EU can travel, work, and live in any of the Member States without special formalities, enhancing freedom and convenience for all involved.

For more detailed information and updates, stay tuned to VisaViews.com.

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