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Bulgaria, Romania to join Schengen visa system allowing entry via ports & airports from March 31

Effective March 31, 2024, Bulgaria and Romania will implement the Schengen visa system rules for entry through ports and airports.

While border checks for air and sea travel in Bulgaria and Romania will be lifted, the decision on entry by land will be determined after March 31, 2024, according to the Council of the European Union. This decision comes after an agreement among the Member States, as reported by SchengenVisaInfo.

This means that from March 31, Schengen visa holders can seamlessly cross the borders of Bulgaria and Romania through air and water routes while travelling in Europe, even as road entry is not yet permitted.

In a statement released on December 30, the Council applauded the decision, noting that the removal of air and sea border controls for Bulgaria and Romania aligns with the winter/summer schedule change set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Fernando Grande-Marlaska Gómez, Spanish Minister for the Interior, expressed satisfaction, stating, “I am very pleased that in 2024 air and maritime internal controls between Bulgaria and Romania and the other Schengen countries will become a thing of the past, after 12 years of negotiations. We are thus continuing to build an ever wider and stronger area of free movement.”

This marks the ninth enlargement of the Schengen area, initially established in 1985 by France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The Schengen area now includes 27 member countries.

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