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Croatia Will Join Schengen In 2023: What This Means For Airline … – Simple Flying

From passport-free travel to the Schengen visa, here’s what you need to know about traveling to and from Croatia.
Following a vote hosted by the European Union on whether more countries should be admitted into the Schengen Area for the first time in more than a decade, Croatia will be the first to join as of January 1st, 2023. With the country's long-awaited entry, let's discuss what Croatia's entry means for passengers.
For context, the Schengen Area is known as Europe's passport-free travel zone and was a pact between European countries looking to abolish border checks for those traveling between their territories. Including Croatia next month, the Schengen Area will consist of 27 countries, and most of these countries will use the Euro as their official currency.
Approximately 3.5 million people cross an internal border daily, whereas nearly 2 million live in one Schengen country and work in another. But what does a passport-free travel zone mean for passengers traveling? Previously, those traveling from a country in the Schengen Area to Croatia and vice versa required a passport or identity card to enter the country.
With the Balkan country becoming a Schengen country next year, any flights from Croatia to other Schengen countries will be treated as domestic. The new changes mean that after checking in for the flight and security, passengers on direct flights from Croatia to destinations within the Schengen Area and vice versa can exit their flight without being required to go through the border or police controls.
However, the new changes also mean that airports in Croatia will be undergoing significant changes to adjust the passenger flows for arrivals and departures, and airlines could also be making adjustments. While Croatia might be an official Schengen country from January 1st, the changes within the airport and from the airlines might only be fully implemented much later.
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While the entry of Croatia into the Schengen Area marks a decade-long milestone for both the country and Europe, as it further promotes borderless traveling between more territories, it might be confusing for passengers traveling to Croatia from outside of Europe. Especially now that Croatia is a Schengen country, passengers coming in from certain countries might need to apply for a Schengen visa.
The Schengen visas are primarily for passengers from certain countries planning to visit for short stays, such as tourism and business itineraries. While the list is typically quite long, it includes Cambodia, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Turkey, and Qatar, to name some. Without the Schengen visas, passengers from these countries will be unable to enter Croatia or any other Schengen country.
But what if passengers have a transit stop in Croatia or any Schengen country, and their final destination is elsewhere? Concerning this, passengers from some countries must apply for and obtain an airport transit visa when transitioning through the international parts of airports in any of the Schengen countries. The list of concerned countries includes Ethiopia, Iran, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, to name some.
The entry of Croatia into the Schengen Area will indeed make border crossing a lot more convenient for passengers traveling between Schengen countries. The lack of a requirement for border control will likely mean Croatia will start seeing a significant boost in domestic flights, and airports and airlines could also start seeing a sudden surge in passenger traffic. With the domestic adjustment required in the aviation sector, it would be interesting to witness what the flight schedules will look like for European carriers flying to and from Croatia.
Journalist – Charlotte is currently pursuing a full-time undergraduate degree majoring in Aviation Business Administration and minoring in Air Traffic Management. Charlotte previously wrote for AirlineGeeks. Based in Singapore.

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