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Romania and Bulgaria, Welcome to the Schengen Area!

Recent Visa News

Romania and Bulgaria's membership in the Schengen Area is partly official!

Bulgaria and Romania officially joined on March 31st, 2024, but for now it’s only for air and sea travel. Due to Austria’s concerns about increased asylum seekers, land borders still have checks.

The Schengen zone now consists of 29 members as of today, March 31, 2024.

  • 25 EU member states (including Croatia that joined in January 2023)
  • 4 non-EU member states: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland

The Schengen Area’s story began in 1985 with an agreement signed by five European countries to gradually eliminate border checks between them. This aimed to create a zone with free movement of people, goods, and services. The Schengen Convention in 1990 further solidified this goal.

Croatia is a full member of the Schengen Area. It joined on January 1st, 2023.

With a valid Schengen visa, you can freely travel to Croatia for short stays (up to 90 days within a 180-day period) for tourism or business purposes. If you’re not a citizen of a visa-exempt country, you’ll need a Schengen visa to visit Croatia.

China expands visa-free agreements with more countries

Six European Countries: As of March 7, 2024, China offers a 15-day visa-free entry trial program for citizens of Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

  • Visa Required: Citizens of most countries still need a visa to enter mainland China. You’ll need to apply for this visa at a Chinese embassy or consulate before your trip.

  • Visa-Exempt Countries: China offers visa-free entry for short stays (typically 15 or 30 days) to citizens of a limited number of countries. This list has been expanding recently, with some variations depending on the specific agreement.

Kenya began offering visa-free entry

Kenya began offering visa-free entry on January 1, 2024, for tourism and business purposes with a maximum stay of 90 days. However, there’s a catch! While you don’t need a traditional visa, you must still acquire an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) online before your trip. This ETA costs $30 and can take up to three business days to process.

Reciprocity: Congo-Brazzaville

Congo-Brazzaville also lifted visa restrictions for Kenyans around the same time, making travel visa-free in both directions.

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