Bulgaria in Air and Sea Schengen: Questions and Answers

Photo: Stella Ivanova

Bulgaria has joined the Schengen area for free travel, but initially only by air and sea routes. This entails the elimination of border controls for air travel among member countries of the agreement. Here are some key questions and answers for travelers regarding this development:

What is Schengen?

The Schengen Area is a zone comprising 27 European countries that have abolished passport and other types of border controls at their mutual borders. This allows for the free and unrestricted movement of people within the area, similar to domestic travel. Established in 1995, the Schengen Agreement represents one of the most significant achievements of European integration, facilitating travel, trade, and cultural exchange among its member states.

Which countries are part of Schengen?

The Schengen countries consist of all EU member states except Cyprus, which still maintains border controls, and Ireland, which is not part of the Schengen zone. Additionally, countries in the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland) are also part of the Schengen area. Bulgaria and Romania to partially joined this group on March 31.

What changes when I arrive in a Schengen country?

Upon arrival in a Schengen country, travelers departing from Bulgaria will not undergo document checks at the airport of arrival. Instead, they will proceed directly to the baggage claim area and exit the airport without any interruption for border control. However, if they are connecting to a non-Schengen destination, their documents will be inspected upon exiting the Schengen area.

What changes if I arrive from a Schengen country?

The primary...

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