Romania and Bulgaria will enter the Schengen zone in 2024

As of March 31, 2024, Bulgaria and Romania have officially joined the Schengen zone. This marks a significant change for these two Eastern European countries, making travel between them and other Schengen member states much simpler.

What exactly is the Schengen zone? It's an area comprising 27 European states (including the new additions of Romania and Bulgaria) that have agreed to abolish border controls at their shared internal borders. This means passport-free travel for citizens and smoother movement of goods and services across the region.

So, what does this mean for travellers?

  • Air and Sea Arrivals: If you're flying or arriving by cruise or ferry from another Schengen zone country to Romania or Bulgaria, you'll no longer need to show your passport upon arrival. Border checks for air and sea travel have been lifted, streamlining the arrival process.
  • Land Border Crossings (For Now): The situation for land borders is a bit different. Due to a temporary veto by Austria, land border controls between Romania/Bulgaria and other Schengen countries remain in place for now. However, the European Council is working towards lifting these controls at a future date.
  • Important Reminder for Non-EU Travellers: The Schengen zone allows a maximum stay of 90 days within 180 days. This applies to visits to Bulgaria and Romania as well. So, remember to keep track of your travel days within the Schengen zone to avoid any issues.

The inclusion of Romania and Bulgaria in the Schengen zone could have broader implications beyond border formalities.

Here are some potential areas of change:

  • Travel Costs:  While it's too early to say for sure, some experts speculate that travel costs in Romania and Bulgaria might increase due to rising competition within the Schengen zone. However, others believe increased access could lead to more competition and potentially lower prices.
  • Tourism:  With easier access, Romania and Bulgaria's rich cultural heritage and stunning natural beauty could attract more tourists, benefiting the local economies.

Overall, this is a positive development for travellers and the European Union as a whole. It promotes free movement, strengthens regional integration, and opens up new travel opportunities in Eastern Europe.


Do I need a passport to enter Romania and Bulgaria now?

It depends on how you arrive:

  • Air/Sea: No passport is needed if coming from another Schengen zone country.
  • Land: Yes, you'll still need to carry your passport for now due to a temporary veto on lifting land border controls.

When will land border controls be lifted?

An exact date hasn't been set yet. The European Council is working on it, so stay tuned for updates.

How will this affect travel costs in Romania and Bulgaria?

The impact is uncertain. Some predict prices might rise due to increased competition within the Schengen zone, while others believe competition could drive prices down.

Will tourism in Romania and Bulgaria benefit?

Likely yes. Easier access could attract more tourists interested in the region's cultural and natural treasures, boosting local economies.

What's the maximum stay allowed in the Schengen zone, including Romania and Bulgaria?

Non-EU citizens can stay for a maximum of 90 days within 180 days across the entire Schengen zone, including Romania and Bulgaria.

To obtain a romania eVisa

  • Step1: Complete the online application by providing your passport details.

  • Step2: Submit payment online using a credit card.

  • Step3: Monitor your email for confirmation of payment and receipt of your eVisa, which will be sent electronically.

Get eVisa to romania


Apply eVisa