Schengen visas for EU countries from March 31, 2024

New era of travel: Schengen visas for EU countries from March 31, 2024


03/25/2024 05:19

Due to partial accession to the Schengen area, from March 31, 2024, tourists from certain EU countries will be issued single Schengen type C visas instead of national ones. Following this change, travelers will no longer be able to use national visas to visit other countries, but will instead have to obtain a biometric Schengen visa.

The Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) reported that from April 1, Bulgaria and Romania will also begin issuing unified Schengen type C visas. At the same time, the time spent in these countries will be taken into account in the period of stay in the Schengen zone, which means that the maximum time of stay within the zone will be 90 days in six months, and leaving the zone will not reset this period.

The timing of obtaining a Schengen visa for Russians has not yet been determined, but the Bulgarian Embassy noted that consultations and testing of the system are currently underway.

If Russians received short-term visas from Romania or Bulgaria before March 31, they will not be able to use them to visit other Schengen countries. However, if they have residence permits or long-term D visas issued before the specified date, then they will remain available to enter the zone.

From March 31, it will also be impossible to enter Bulgaria and Romania with Cypriot national visas, since the Republic of Cyprus is not part of the Schengen zone.

Currently, it is still not easy for Russians to obtain a Schengen visa, but some countries continue to issue it. According to ATOR data, it is most accessible to obtain a visa through Hungarian and Greek visa centers. Also, Austria, Croatia, Italy, Spain, France, Slovenia, Switzerland and Portugal continue to accept applications for a Schengen visa for tourist purposes from Russians.

Despite EU membership, Bulgaria and Romania were not previously part of the Schengen area. However, at the end of 2023, the EU Council approved a “partial Schengen” for them, which allows citizens to enter without visas through airports and seaports. Controls at land borders remain in place for now, but may be abolished in the future.

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