Two More Countries Join Europe’s Schengen Travel Zone

Two More Countries Join Europe’s Schengen Travel Zone

Rich Thomaselli

Two more nations have officially joined Europe’s Schengen Travel Zone.

Bulgaria and Romania have officially been welcomed into the club.

The Schengen Travel Zone was set up to encourage more travel in Europe. Ostensibly, it allows you to cross the borders of member countries without having to show identification again. Organizers wanted to set up a system similar to the United States. That is, you can travel from state to state without having to show any ID repeatedly.

But there are limits in Europe.

You cannot spend more than 90 days in one country in any 180-day period in Schengen.

But it is a good deal. And the additions of Bulgaria and Romania make travel in Europe even more accessible. Both countries will officially join in March.

Current European countries in the zone include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Bulgaria and Romania have been long-time members of the European Union, but could not join the zone due to the objections of Austria and the Netherlands. Those objections have since been dropped. Persons traveling from Bulgaria or Romania into other Schengen states via land will still be subjected to passport control. But you can fly into and out of those countries. Using air travel to or from Bulgaria and Romania is a lengthy process.

Schengen is dramatically expected to cut down on waiting at airports in both nations.

However, staying beyond the 90-day limit can result in hefty fines or even a ban on traveling in Europe. When traveling to Europe, be sure to check the Schengen guide and verify which countries are part of the zone and what their rules are.


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