a castle with trees around it with Peleș Castle in the background
Photograph ©2007 by Brian Cohen.

Schengen Area Adds Two Countries in 2024

The total will become 29 countries in the Schengen area of Europe.

The Schengen area of Europe adds two countries in 2024, as they are officially welcomed by the European Commission. To start, controls at borders for both air and sea are expected to be lifted sometime in March of 2024; and discussions pertaining to further decisions to lift controls at land borders will continue later this year.

Schengen Area Adds Two Countries in 2024

a man standing in front of a building
Photograph ©2007 by Brian Cohen.

The newest countries of the Schengen area of Europe are Romania and Bulgaria.

Their accession will boost travel, trade and tourism and will further consolidate the internal market.

“Bulgaria and Romania are ready to join the Schengen area”, according to this official press release from the European Commission of the European Union. “The Commission first confirmed that both Bulgaria and Romania were ready to become part of the Schengen area without internal border controls in 2011. Since then, Bulgaria and Romania have continued to demonstrate that they fulfil the conditions for becoming Schengen members. This was reconfirmed by three fact finding missions at the Bulgarian and Romanian external borders in 2022 and 2023. The Commission also launched pilot projects with Romania and Bulgaria in March 2023 to boost external border management, reinforce cooperation with neighbouring countries and ensure fast asylum and return procedures.”

The addition of Romania and Bulgaria marks the ninth expansion of the Schengen area, which is currently comprised of 27 countries and extends greater than 4 million square kilometers with a population of almost 420 million people. The Schengen area will grow to 4.5 million square kilometers with a population of 450 million with the addition of Romania and Bulgaria. Initially launched as an intergovernmental project between France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg in 1985, the Schengen area has gradually increased to become what is currently the largest common area of free movement in the world without internal border controls.

Final Boarding Call

a large white building with columns and a garden with Romanian Athenaeum in the background
Photograph ©2007 by Brian Cohen.

Traveling between countries within the Schengen area of Europe is similar to traveling between states in the United States. No passports are necessary; and no border crossings inhibit movement.

Adding Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen area will allow for greater freedom of travel between those two countries and the other 27 countries that are currently members of the Schengen area.

The bad news is that travelers will find collecting stamps in their passports for Romania and Bulgaria to become significantly more difficult — unless they enter those countries from outside of the Schengen area of Europe.

You can read about my day in Sofia — which is the capital city of Bulgaria — as well as peruse my photographs in the following two articles:

All photographs ©2007 by Brian Cohen.

  1. Passport stamps are becoming harder to get. The US no longer stamps passports. In the past, many times, they would stamp my US passport.

    My previous passport needed extra pages added. I had them added just after they announced that extra pages would soon be discontinued. That passport had every original page full of stamps and some of the additional pages with stamps.

    My new passport was ordered to have double the number of pages. In contrast, I have so few stamps that the usual size would have been more than enough. Still, I like the thicker passport because more pages makes it stiff and more resistant to damage.

    Not only does travel within the Schengen area no longer results in stamps but many countries have stopped stamping passports. These countries include U.S., Singapore, Israel, Argentina, etc. (Maybe the US stamps some foreign passports???). Heads of government should be impeached if they don’t stamp passports!

  2. Those two sh.thole countries should have not been the members of EU at the first place. Deeply corrupted, poor countires with huge amount of crime(with gypsies at the top). Hopefully that partly Schengen would turn back to non-Schengen.

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