Croatia to join Schengen Area in Europe from January 2023

Dec 9, 2022

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Croatia is officially joining the Schengen Area, which allows free movement between 22 European Union (EU) countries and four others, from January 2023.

Travellers will no longer face passport checks or other border control measures when travelling from Croatia to other Schengen Area countries. It’s surely set to be an impactful move for the Balkan nation, given that 75% of its foreign visitors arrive from Schengen nations, according to the Croatian Prime Minister – and neighbours Slovenia and Hungary are already part of the zone.

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The full list of countries currently in the Schengen Area are:

  • Austria
  • Belgium,
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland.

Bulgaria and Romania also applied to join, but alas didn’t get the same good news and were denied entry.

The European Council’s interior ministers make the decision on which countries can join the zone, and all must be unanimous. Euronews reports that Austria opposed both countries joining due to concerns over an influx of migrants from the Western Balkans region — a move Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis countered, and later called “inexplicable” in comments translated from Romanian.

Related: 15 of the most beautiful villages in Croatia

So, when does all of this kick in for Croatia? Well, mostly from 1 January 2023. This is when checks at internal land and sea borders between Croatia and other Schengen Area nations will cease. However, airport checks will last a bit longer, stopping on 26 March, according to the European Council.

The U.K. is not a member of the Schengen Zone but the U.K. and EU do have a visa-free travel arrangement, meaning if you plan on staying for fewer than 90 days, you will not require a visa for now. British travellers passing through will still need to have at least three months left on their passports and are only able to stay for 90 days during a 180-day period. Later in 2023 when the new ETIAS scheme is introduced, Brits will have to pay €7 (£6) for a three-year ‘visa’ when travelling to countries in the EU.

It’s also worth noting that Croatia is saying goodbye to its currency, the kuna, and joining the Euro from 1 January, too — so keep that in mind if you plan a visit and are wanting to use any old kuna currency that you may already have. According to local reports, the kuna and euro would both be accepted for a two-week period, but after that point, you are likely to only be able to use euros.

Vit Rakušan, Czech minister of Interior, said in a statement: “I am very pleased that during the Czech Presidency [of the Council], Croatia was able to take two important steps in its European integration by joining both the Euro and the Schengen areas.

“I am confident that these successes will pave the way for other member states who fulfil the conditions to take the next step in their European journeys, and my colleagues and I will continue to work hard to ensure that we can welcome Bulgaria and Romania into the Schengen family in the near future.”

Featured image by Westend61/Getty Images

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