It’s Official! Romania to Enter the Schengen Area in March 2024… Kind Of

It’s official! Romania will partially join the Schengen area in March 2024.

While it’s not a “full entry” in the borderless European area that Romanians feel they need to be part of, it’s still an important step forward for the country.

This means that, starting March 31st, 2024, Romanian joins the Schengen area by air and sea only.

There will no longer be checks on persons at EU internal air and maritime borders between Romania and other countries in the Schengen area.

Bulgaria is also part of the deal, with the two countries working together to receive joint access to the borderless zone for over a decade now.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said in an official statement:

Today marks a historic moment for Bulgaria and Romania. And a day of great pride for Romanian and Bulgarian citizens. As of March, they will be able to freely cross internal sea and air borders, without border controls.

This is a major step forward for both countries and for the Schengen area as a whole. Congratulations to Bulgaria and Romania: this great achievement is possible thanks to your hard work, commitment and perseverance.

Thanks to you the Schengen area will become even stronger to the benefit of all EU citizens.

While Romanians were expecting (or, better said – hoping) for being given full access to the Schengen zone, Austria’s veto prevented that.

The country’s officials claim that there is still a lot of work to be done at both Romania and Bulgaria’s external land borders.

So, under these circumstances, seeing both countries join the Schengen area partially, can still be considered a win. Better than nothing, right?

Starting March 31st, Romanian and Bulgarian citizens, as well as anybody departing from any of these two countries by air or via maritime routes will no longer go through border checks if their destination is another country in the Schengen Area.

The countries that are part of the Schengen area include all the European Union Countries, except for Cyprus and Ireland, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

As a person who doesn’t travel much by plane and almost never by boat, I am still waiting for the full approval of Romania into the Schengen Area, but this is, most likely, still some time away.

But if you’re a foreigner planning to take advantage of the new situation, you can get ready for visiting Romania by learning about the country’s culture here, as well as decide what’s the best summer destination between Romania and Bulgaria.

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