Bulgaria and Romania join the Schengen area

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Starting March 31, 2024, Bulgaria and Romania will officially become members of the Schengen area, meaning that Schengen rules will apply in both countries, including the issuance of Schengen visas and the lifting of controls at internal air and sea borders.

The European Commission lauds this milestone, emphasising the expansion of the world’s largest common area without internal border controls. President Ursula von der Leyen hails the occasion as a historic moment for the Schengen area and both countries.

Cooperation Frameworks established by the Commission, Bulgaria, and Romania aim to enhance collaboration on border management and migration issues. Additionally, a regional initiative on police cooperation involving several countries, including Bulgaria and Romania, will address cross-border crime.

The Council will determine a date for lifting checks at internal land borders between Bulgaria, Romania, and other Schengen countries, with support from the Commission.

Despite meeting the requirements for Schengen membership in 2011, Bulgaria and Romania have now achieved full integration into the Schengen area, contributing to the area’s internal security and facilitating free movement within Europe.

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