Currently the Schengen area covers over 4 million square kilometres, with a population of almost 420 million people, and includes 26 countries.
On December 8, 2022, the Council decided to lift border controls with Croatia. However, border controls at the internal borders of Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania persist, and Ireland remains outside the Schengen area.
When did Croatia join Schengen?
Croatia officially entered Schengen on January 1st, 2023.
What does Schengen membership entail?
By entering Schengen, Croatia has aligned itself with 26 other EU and EEA countries that have done away with passport and other border controls at their shared borders. As part of the broader EU freedom, security, and justice policy, the Schengen area operates as a unified jurisdiction with a common visa policy for international travel.
Border controls post-January 1st, 2023
Since January 1st, 2023, land and sea border controls with Slovenia, Hungary, and Italy have been lifted. Croatia’s borders with Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Montenegro now serve as the external Schengen border. However, it’s important to carry the required identification, as neighboring countries may implement temporary border controls if deemed necessary. Stay updated on current land border directives for the specific border you plan to cross.
Croatian international airports transitioned to Schengen on March 26, 2023. Flights originating from Schengen countries no longer require passport/border control upon arrival in Croatia.
For travelers boarding flights between Schengen countries but originating from third countries, Schengen entry border checks are mandatory upon arrival in the Schengen Area. This is to ensure proper differentiation between passengers who boarded at the origin and those who joined in the middle. Travelers are also required to go through Schengen exit border checks upon departure.
What about visas?
Nationals requiring a visa should check details at the nearest Croatian embassy or consulate. If holding a Schengen visa, one can enter Croatia and move freely within the Schengen Area.
What are the benefits of Schengen entry?
Being part of the open Schengen border with neighboring countries reduces border congestion for tourists. However, it also means increased responsibilities for Croatia at its external borders with non-Schengen neighbors. The freedom of movement within Schengen is expected to enhance the flow of tourists throughout the region.