The European Commission has adopted a new set of rules that enable Indian, Saudi, Bahraini, and Omani nationals to obtain short-stay Schengen visas with longer validity periods. Under the new rules, Indian nationals may be eligible for two- and five-year multiple entry visas, based on their travel history. Saudi, Bahraini, and Omani nationals residing in their respective home countries are now eligible for five-year multiple entry visas. The expansion of visa validity periods reflects the EU’s determination that these nationals pose low migratory and security risks. The moves are expected to facilitate travel to Europe by reducing the frequency with which qualified nationals must apply for new short-stay visas.  Continue Reading EU Opens New Schengen Visa Options for Indian and Middle Eastern Nationals

As of March 2024, the Schengen Area will partially expand through the lifting of air and sea border controls with Bulgaria and Romania. This marks the ninth expansion of the free movement zone, which most recently added Croatia in January 2023. Land border controls with Bulgaria and Romania will remain in place for the time being and the two countries will continue issuing national entry visas rather than Schengen visas. In announcing the expansion, the European Commission – the executive arm of the European Union – emphasized that discussions on lifting land border controls will continue in 2024.Continue Reading Schengen Area Expands to Include Air & Sea Travel to Bulgaria & Romania

Effective January 1, 2024, Kosovo passport holders may travel to European Union member states in the Schengen Area without a passport, and may remain in Schengen territory for up to 90 days in any rolling 180-day period. EU passport holders are likewise now eligible to travel visa-free to Kosovo. The visa-free program includes travel to all EU member states that are part of the Schengen Area, as well as Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania, plus non-EU members Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. Kosovo passport holders will still require visas for travel to Ireland, which is an EU member but outside the Schengen Area.Continue Reading EU and Kosovo Launch Mutual Visa-Free Travel Program

The European Commission has delayed the implementation of the European Travel Information Authorization System (ETIAS). ETIAS is an automated electronic visa waiver program intended to facilitate travel across borders in Europe while better identifying security risks for the Schengen bloc. ETIAS was previously set to be launched in May 2023 but delayed until November 2023. With this new announcement, the launch of ETIAS is likely delayed until 2024.Continue Reading EU Delays Launch of Electronic Visa Waiver Program

On December 8, 2022, the Council of the European Union voted unanimously to accept Croatia’s bid for admission to the Schengen Area. The decision means that as of January 1, 2023, all internal land and sea border controls between Croatia and neighboring Schengen states will be lifted. Checks at internal air borders will be lifted starting March 26, 2023. Croatia will also begin issuing Schengen visas beginning January 1, 2023, and will make full use of the Schengen Information System. Croatia’s addition to the Schengen Area is one of a series of recent developments in the country’s increasing integration with the European and international communities. These developments include Croatia’s adoption of the euro, addition to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, and grant of free movement in Switzerland.Continue Reading Schengen Area Adds Croatia to Free Movement Zone