Croatia’s Entry into the Eurozone and Schengen Area

The Schengen Area: Seamless Travel for 420 Million People

Today, the Schengen Area encompasses over 4 million square kilometers and nearly 420 million people across 26 countries:

  • 22 of the 27 European Union member states.
  • All European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Member States, including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

As of December 8, 2022, the European Union Council lifted border controls with Croatia. While border controls still exist at the internal borders of Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania, it’s important to note that Ireland remains outside the Schengen Area.

Šibenik - Croatia

Schengen FAQ: Croatia’s Accession and Travel Benefits

When did Croatia join the Schengen Area?

Croatia officially became a Schengen Area member on January 1, 2023.

What does accession to Schengen mean?

Croatia, as a Schengen member, joins 26 other EU and EEA countries in eliminating border controls at mutual borders, including passport checks. This aligns with the broader EU freedom, security, and justice policy and facilitates international travel through a unified visa policy.

Will Croatia have border controls after January 1, 2023?

As of this date, land and sea border controls with Slovenia, Hungary, and Italy have ceased. Croatia’s borders with Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro now serve as the Schengen Area’s external borders.

Croatian international airports will undergo a three-month transitional period until March 26, 2023, to adapt their border controls. After this period, Schengen flights arriving in Croatia will no longer require passport or border control.

Travelers arriving on Schengen flights originating from third countries must undergo Schengen entry border control upon arrival. They also need to pass Schengen exit border control when leaving the Schengen Area.

What does this mean for visas?

For citizens of countries requiring a visa, entry requirements can be checked at the nearest Croatian embassy or consulate. Holders of Schengen visas can enter Croatia and move freely within the Schengen Area.

What benefits does joining the Schengen area bring?

Croatia’s open borders with Schengen neighbors reduce congestion for tourists while increasing responsibility at external borders with neighboring non-Schengen countries. The freedom of movement within Schengen enhances tourist flow in the region.

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