On Thursday, Romania’s Prime Minister announced that they had reached an agreement with Austria, which had been blocking Romania and Bulgaria from joining Schengen, that there would be a partial agreement in place from March 2024.
Passport and ID checks by border guards are removed from air and sea travel between Schengen member states and Bulgaria and Romania, but they will remain in place for overland border crossings for now (apparently, these are being negotiated as well).
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EU member states must join the Schengen agreement except Ireland, which has a common travel area with the UK.
There are also four countries, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland, that are not part of the EU but have joined the Schengen. Then, the three microstates of Monaco, Vatican, and San Marino are effectively part of Schengen, as there are no border checks for travel to/from them.
Then there is the outlier of Andorra, sandwiched between Spain and France, which is not part of the EU or Schengen, which may cause headaches for third nationals to visit this mini-state.
This is a welcomed Schengen update from the EU, and now we have Cyprus, which is yet to join the agreement, and eventually, they will.
It makes travel easier between these countries, especially with airlines that don’t check IDs, as you scan your boarding pass at the gate and are good to go.
If you travel by land, you usually don’t notice when you cross from one country to another, although there might be a sign somewhere.