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  • Writer's pictureCreimerman Product Team

Bulgaria and Romania Join Schengen: A Boost for Residency Programs

Bulgaria and Romania have lifted their internal air and sea border controls on March 31, after a 13-year long process. This historic milestone has increased the number of Schengen states to 29, with 25 of them also being EU members.

From now on, all other Schengen rules will apply in both countries, including issuing Schengen visas and passing through internal air and sea borders without controls.

The accession of Bulgaria and Romania has been welcomed by the highest EU institutions and travel-related organizations. This step will not only strengthen the Schengen area but also make it more attractive by significantly expanding the world's largest common area without internal border controls.

This expansion is expected to have a positive impact on the residency programs of both countries. Now, travelers wishing to visit Bulgaria or Romania can apply for a Schengen visa at their consulates, allowing them to visit the rest of the Schengen Zone. Additionally, the time spent in Bulgaria or Romania will count towards the total time spent in the Schengen Zone.

The decision to allow Bulgaria and Romania to join the Schengen Zone, albeit only by air and sea, was made last year, after Austria lifted its veto. The authorities of both countries, with the assistance of other Member States, have taken all necessary measures to ensure a smooth implementation of Schengen rules as of March 31.

Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, has pledged to make the removal of internal land border controls a priority during her mandate. This could further boost residency programs in Bulgaria and Romania, as the elimination of internal land border controls would facilitate even more mobility for residents and travelers in the region.

In summary, Bulgaria and Romania's accession to Schengen represents a significant step not only for the Schengen area but also for the residency programs of these countries. This expansion is expected to benefit both European citizens and international residents and travelers seeking opportunities in these countries in terms of residency and mobility.

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