The European Union Council has resolved to incorporate Croatia in the borderless Schengen Area beginning January 1, 2023.
While the ruling is excellent news for Croatians and other EU nationals, Schengen Area visa-free travellers who utilised Croatia as a base to reset their 90-day term of permitted stay in Schengen nations are not pleased, according to SchengenVisaInfo.com.
Since Croatia began its journey to become a Schengen country and removed entry visas for travellers who did not require a tourist or business visa to enter the 26 Schengen Area countries for stays of up to 90 days within any 180-day period, many travellers have used Croatia as a country they would travel to and stay in for some time in order to be able to return to the Schengen countries without violating the 90-days rule of stay.
Besart Bajrami, the founder of SchengenVisaInfo.com, comments on the issue, explaining that while Croatia currently allows travellers from most Schengen visa-free countries to enter its territory without requiring an entry visa, the travellers' period of stay is not included in the number of days that they are permitted to remain in the Schengen.
“Once Croatia is officially part of the Schengen, which will happen on January 1, the days one spend in Croatia will also be counted towards the total number of days permitted to stay in the Schengen Zone. This means that those who used Croatia as a reset base will no longer be able to do so, including ehre British citizens,” Bajrami notes.
However, he argues that the three other non-Schengen EU nations, Romania, Bulgaria, and Cyprus, which allow British citizens to enter without a visa, can also be used as a reset base.
“Travellers may also spend some time in other countries as Albania and the rest of the Western Balkan, before they travel back to the Schengen Zone, as these countries also permit visa-free entry for Britons, and none of them are part of the Schengen,” he says.
Furthermore, he claims that these countries may be better possibilities for Britons because they are much cheaper than Croatia.
The Council of the EU, which comprises of the heads of the EU nations, decided on December 8 to award Croatia Schengen Area Member membership.
The measure means that land and sea border controls with the rest of the Schengen countries will be eliminated on January 1, 2019. By the other side, air border restrictions will be phased down on March 23, 2022.
Croatia will also be able to fully utilise the Schengen Information System and issue Schengen visas to visitors to Croatia and the other 26 Schengen states from January 1.
By fLEXI tEAM