Why should Bulgaria join Schengen?
Bulgaria is a member state of the European Union. However, Bulgaria is still not a Schengen area country. Also, Bulgaria has not adopted the Euro yet. Both the adoption of the Euro and the access to Schengen are in the eventual future of Bulgaria, given its membership to the EU.
Nonetheless, even though Bulgaria hasn’t yet abolished its border policy and set up border-free zones with fellow EU members, it’s thoroughly committed to doing so soon. The country applies the Schengen acquis to multiple areas already.
Joining the Schengen area would boost the Bulgarian economy significantly, ensuring a constant flow of internal tourism from European countries. This will make it easier for travelers to travel to Bulgaria as it would abolish all entry checks. Bulgarians will also enjoy their freedom of movement and heightened work, study, and travel opportunities.
Will Bulgaria join Schengen in 2022?
Bulgaria has committed to joining the Schengen area soon, but there is no fixed date for when this will happen. The European Commissioner Ylva Johansson has spoken favorably about Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania soon becoming Schengen countries. Johansson believes welcoming the three countries into Schengen will strengthen European security and facilitate freedom of movement and cross-national opportunities among Europeans.
Currently, the European Commission is evaluating Bulgaria based on several criteria for Schengen membership, among which are: infrastructure and organization, personal data protection, police cooperation, and border control. Bulgaria has shown progress in all of these areas, but concerns remain regarding the country’s rampant corruption and organized crime.
Prime Minister Petkov recently remarked how it is time for Bulgaria to earn the trust of its European partners and show other governments that the country can keep its promises of modernization, integration, and cooperation.
Does traveling to Bulgaria require an ETIAS?
No, a visa ETIAS waiver is not required at present to enter Bulgaria. That’s because Bulgaria is not part of the Schengen area yet. Nonetheless, after this happens in the following years, it will be necessary for any traveler to receive an online authorization before showing up at the border. The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will go live at the end of 2022 and become mandatory in 2023, and it will impact hundreds of millions of travelers.
Applying for an ETIAS will be a simple process that does not require more than 10 minutes. Citizens from many nationalities, Argentinians included, will be able to apply if they own a passport, a valid email address, and sufficient funds. Bulgaria will maintain its border policy until it signs the Schengen Agreement in the future.