As a Schengen member, does Croatia have any new travel requirements?

As a Schengen member, does Croatia have any new travel requirements?

As a Schengen member, does Croatia have any new travel requirements?

Stretching along the Adriatic Sea on the northern shores of the Mediterranean, the Central European country of Croatia has become increasingly popular among international tourists in recent years. And, it’s no wonder why.

The unassuming nation neighbors long-famous destinations like Italy and Greece, and boasts equally rich cultural, architectural and historical attractions, distinctive cuisine, scenic landscapes and natural diversity, but Croatia can generally be experienced at a fraction of the cost.

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Some popular places among tourists that you may have heard of include Zagreb, the capital and major metropolis of Croatia; Split, in Dalmatia, with its beaches and Roman ruins; and the picturesque seaside town of Dubrovnik, filled with intact medieval architecture and surrounded by 13th-century stone walls.

While the Republic of Croatia joined the European Union (EU) in 2013, it has just been accepted as the 27th member of the borderless Schengen area in Europe, adopting the euro as its official currency at the same time. on January 1, 2023. .

What does this mean for American travelers looking to make Croatia their next destination or part of their grand European tour? Well, thankfully, that doesn’t change much for inbound US visitors who come to the country for tourism and business purposes.

Indeed, under an existing visa waiver agreement, US nationals visiting any of the member countries of the Schengen zone are exempt from its visa requirements, provided their stay does not exceed 90 days during for a given period of 180 days.

As it is concisely defined by SchengenVisaInfo, the Schengen area is the product “of an agreement between several European countries to have free borders, as well as a common visa policy and travel requirements for nationals of countries third”.

Croatian city of Dubrovnik on the Adriatic coast
The Croatian city of Dubrovnik on the Adriatic coast. (Photo via iStock/Getty Images Plus/Dreamer4787)

With Croatia’s recent integration into the Schengen area, it is adopting the bloc’s common rules and regulations regarding international visitors, including visa requirements. Also, from now on, Croatian consular offices will issue Schengen visas, as opposed to country-specific visas.

With this change, the most important thing to keep in mind for US tourists is that time spent in Croatia will now count towards the maximum total of 90 days that non-Schengen nationals (yes, even those who are exempt visa) are allowed to stay in the region (i.e. any of its 27 member countries).

However, it is important to remember that US travelers are still required to hold a US passport, which must remain valid for at least 90 days beyond their intended length of stay in Croatia.

Regarding COVID-related travel restrictions, as the world has become accustomed to during the pandemic, there are no vaccination or testing requirements for US nationals wishing to enter Croatia.

If you are researching for a trip to the continent, it may be worth pointing out that non-EU countries are sometimes referred to as ‘third countries’ and non-EU residents as ‘third nationals’ because you are familiarize yourself with the different travel policies.

Potential visitors should also note that some EU member countries have opted out of the open-border Schengen area: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania and Ireland. Conversely, four member states of the Schengen area are not part of the EU: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. So make sure you know the status of your destination country among the various European collectives when preparing your travel documents.


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