Croatia to join Schengen visa-free travel zone, what does that mean for Brits?

By Linsey McNeill
12/12/2022
Home » Croatia to join Schengen visa-free travel zone, what does that mean for Brits?

Croatia will join the Schengen visa-free travel zone on 1 January, which could limit the amount of time Brits can spend in 27 countries, including many popular holiday destinations.

The Council of the EU confirmed on Thursday that the Schengen zone will be extended to include Croatia, but it denied applications from Bulgaria and Romania.

The decision means that there will be no checks on visitors at internal land and sea borders between Croatia and other countries in the Schengen area from 1 January, but checks on internal air routes will remain until 26 March 2023 to coincide with the start of summer flight schedules.

The change means that, from 2023, any time Brits spend in Croatia will count towards their 90-day visa-free limit in the other 26 countries in the Schengen area. And any time Brits spend in the Schengen zone within a 180-day period will count towards their 90-day vsa-free limit in Croatia.

At the moment, Brits can spend up to 90 days out of 180 in Croatia without a visa and up to 90 days visa-free in the Schengen area; the days spent in Croatia don’t count towards the 90-day visa-free limit in the EU or Schengen countries and visits to the Schengen area don’t count towards the 90-day visa-free limit in Croatia.

The Schengen area includes most countries in the EU, including Spain, Greece, Portugal, France and Italy, plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. It doesn’t include Cyprus, the Republic of Ireland, Romania or Bulgaria.

However, from November 2023, Brits will have to apply for a new visa-waiver (ETIAS) to travel to the Schengen area, which will also cover Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania, as well as Croatia.

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