Upcoming Schengen area expansion: Bulgaria and Romania Set to Join

Exciting news that impacts trade and the movement of talent! Bulgaria and Romania are on the verge of joining the Schengen Area, bringing significant border control and visa regulation changes.

Effective from 31 March, border checks at internal air and sea borders between Bulgaria and Romania, and other Schengen states, will be discontinued. However, land border controls will remain in place for the time being, with a decision regarding their potential removal to be determined at a later date.

Commencing 1 April, Bulgaria and Romania will start issuing short-term visas under the Schengen framework. This process will include the integration of biometric data and an updated visa design.

It is important to note that national short-term visas issued by Bulgaria and Romania prior to 31 March, 2024, will retain their validity until their respective expiration dates. These visas will permit holders to enter for transit or stay for up to 90 days within a six-month period across all Schengen Agreement countries.

Additionally, individuals holding permanent or temporary residency in Bulgaria and Romania will be entitled to short-term visits to other Schengen countries, limited to 90 days within any six-month period.

As of 31 March, entry into Bulgaria using a Cypriot visa will no longer be possible. Conversely, entry into Cyprus will be permissible with a Bulgarian national visa issued before this date or with a Bulgarian Schengen visa.

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