Schengen Area Expands to Include Bulgaria and Romania
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Europe, News feed Date: 20 March, 2024

Schengen Area Expands to Include Bulgaria and Romania

Schengen Area Expands to Include Bulgaria and Romania

The European Commission (EC) has announced that Bulgaria and Romania will join the Schengen Area on Sunday, March 31, 2024. But what does that all mean? Find out in this Latitude news story that covers the background and the ramifications.

Schengen Explained

Back in the mid-1980s, European Union (EU) countries started to talk about free movement within the EU. In the tiny Luxembourg village of Schengen in 1985, a big decision was made.

Signatories agreed to phase out checks at common borders and a Convention actioned this Agreement. It wasn’t until 1995, however, that the Schengen Area aka Schengen Zone came to fruition, comprised of 7 EU countries.

This side of the New Millennium, the number of members will rise to 29 at the end of March 2024. Most EU countries are Schengen Area members, except Cyprus and Ireland. Non-EU Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland also belong to the area.

The RIF Trust Take on Bulgaria and Romania’s Accession

Our European Residency and Citizenship by Investment specialist Ilana van Huyssteen-Meyer points out the extra benefits to existing and potential investors.

“The Greek, Portuguese, and Spanish Golden Visas, along with the Malta Permanent Residence Programme, will carry more value,” she reveals.

“Why? Instead of 27 countries, Golden Visa holders and their families can access without the need for a visa, there will be 29. This broadens their business and leisure travel opportunities.”

“There are new extra advantages of Europe’s sole Citizenship by Investment, Maltese Exceptional Investor Naturalization. As a citizen by investment of Malta, you and qualifying family members will be able to travel to Bulgaria and Romania without having to apply for a Schengen Visa.”

Schengen Area FAQ

1.) What is the Schengen Area?

According to the EC, “the border-free Schengen Area guarantees free movement to more than 425 million EU citizens” as well as residents of the European Union. If you’re either or hold a Schengen Visa, you won’t be subject to border checks when crossing the internal borders of Schengen countries.

2.) Is Switzerland in the Schengen Area?

Yes, Switzerland is one of the Schengen countries. It’s one of the four non-EU states in the area.

3.) Which countries are in the Schengen Zone?

Here’s a list of countries in the Schengen Area from March 31, 2024:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

4.) Is Romania in the Schengen Area?

Nearly. Romania will become a Schengen country at the end of March 2024.

5.) Is Ireland part of the Schengen Area?

No. Ireland declined to join the Schengen Zone in 1985. Doing so would have destroyed the Common Travel Area with the UK that enables British and Irish citizens to move freely between and live in either country.

6.) Is the UK part of the Schengen Area?

No. Contrary to popular belief, the country did not leave the Schengen Zone because of Brexit. When Britain was a EU state, it was not a Schengen member although its citizens did enjoy the right of freedom of movement within the Union.

Find out about Bulgaria and Romania joining the Schengen Zone.

How to More Easily Access Schengen Countries

If you want to travel across the Schengen Zone without applying for a visa, we can advise you about Residency by Investment. Citizenship by Investment, meanwhile, also allows you to settle, study, and work across the whole of the EU, and we can guide you every step of the way. So, don’t delay and contact RIF Trust today.

Schengen Area Expands to Include Bulgaria and Romania

Date: 20 March, 2024

Posted in: Europe, News feed