The European Union has approved Croatia as the newest member of the border check-free Schengen zone from next month – allowing travellers to visit the country on a Schengen visa.
The world’s largest free travel zone, the Schengen area comprises 26 countries — 22 EU states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Almost 1.7 million people live in one Schengen country and work in another. Around 3.5 million people cross an internal border each day.
Croatia’s accession from January 1 will make it the 27th member of Schengen..
Croatian border police say they are ready to link with other Schengen countries from January 1, but technical preparations mean that the country’s airport will only be able to follow from March 26.
The Schengen zone allows people travelling between its member countries to cross generally without having to show a passport, ID card or visa.
A visitor’s visa allows one to stay in the Schengen area for up to 90 days over a period of 180 days. The processing time for these visas is between 15 and 30 days. To cut down processing time, one can apply up to six months in advance.