Croatia and Romania are two of the youngest EU nations and may soon ascend to the Schengen Area. For those who aren’t aware, the Schengen Area comprises 26 European countries and abolishes all passport and other types of border control at their mutual borders.
These two countries are the latest candidates endorsed by the European Commission itself to be qualified for Schengen accession.
The impact on American travelers means that there will be a reduction in the amount of time they are allowed to stay in Europe as tourists. If Croatia and Romania are accepted into the Schengen Area, tourists cannot spend more than 90 days in any 180-day rolling period within the zone.
Currently, Croatia and Romania retain control of their borders and have instituted that non-residents can stay for 90 full days out of every 180 days, irrespective of other travel.
At the moment, this means that Americans can stay in Croatia and Romania for 90 days and then cross into the Schengen Area for another three months. If the EU parliamentary bodies vote these countries into the Schengen Area, this will however cease.
Another change that is on the horizon for both countries come next year is the new Entry-Exit System (EES). EES will see all non-EU tourists have to undergo fingerprinting when arriving in Europe to ensure compliance with the 90/180-day rule.
The Schengen Area is the world’s largest visa free zone and each country agrees to controls for external border control. Each prospective member nation must meet certain criteria based on these criteria: border control legislation, infrastructure and organization, personal data protection, visas, deportations, police cooperation and more.
The list of current Schengen members include: Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.