Switzerland Eases Air and Sea Travel Regulations with Bulgaria and Romania

Switzerland Eases Air and Sea Travel Regulations with Bulgaria and Romania

The Federal Council of Switzerland has recently declared a significant policy shift, announcing the discontinuation of passport checks at its airports for passengers arriving from Bulgaria and Romania, effective March 31, 2024.

This move follows the EU's decision to lift border controls by air and sea for Bulgaria and Romania however controls will remain in place at land borders.

As a member of the Schengen zone, Switzerland acknowledges the autonomy of Bulgaria and Romania to issue their own Schengen visas, signalling a step towards enhanced collaboration.  Swiss Officials do not expect an immigration spike drawing on positive results after Croatia joined the EU free-travel zone in 2023.

Existing tools to prevent illegal immigration will remain active, authorities said.

An Important Milestone

As EU members since 2007, ending Romanian and Bulgarian border checks represents an important milestone towards their full integration into Europe’s borderless Schengen Area.

The region, created in 1985, permits over 400 million citizens of 27 countries to travel freely without document checks at internal borders.

It will expand to include 29 members once Bulgaria and Romania fully join the Schengen Area.

Officials said that Sofia and Bucharest have agreed to fully apply EU law obliging all asylum applications to be processed in an immigrant’s port-of-entry.

Switzerland said that passport control at land crossings with Romania and Bulgaria will continue after March 31st until a separate EU decision lifts those barriers as well.

The move signals a new chapter that brings the two EU members one step closer to enjoying the same travel freedoms as their neighbours.

As the Schengen Area continues expanding to accept new countries, it reaffirms the promise of open borders across an ever more unified Europe.

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