Stretching along the Adriatic Sea at the northern fringes 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 modest nation closely neighbors such long-celebrated destinations as Italy and Greece, and boasts similarly rich cultural, architectural and historical attractions, distinctive cuisine, picturesque landscapes and natural diversity, but Croatia can usually be experienced at a fraction of the cost.
Some popular tourist spots you may have heard of include Zagreb, Croatia’s capital and major metropolis; 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 Europe’s borderless Schengen area, at the same time adopting the euro as its official currency on January 1, 2023. .
What does this mean for American travelers looking to make Croatia their next destination or part of their European grand tour? Well, fortunately, not much changes for American visitors who come to the country for tourism and business purposes.
That’s because, under an existing visa waiver agreement, US citizens visiting any of the Schengen Area’s member countries are exempt from its visa requirements, provided their stay does not exceed 90 days within a specified 180-day period. – daily.
As succinctly defined by SchengenVisaInfo, the Schengen Area is the product of, “an agreement between several European countries to have free borders and a common policy on visas and travel requirements for non-EU nationals”.
With Croatia’s recent integration into the Schengen area, it adopts 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 biggest thing for American tourists to keep in mind is that time spent in Croatia will now count toward the 90-day maximum that non-Schengen nationals (yes, even visa-exempt ones) are allowed to stay in the region (ie, any and all 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 a minimum of 90 days beyond the intended length of stay in Croatia.
In terms of travel restrictions related to COVID, as the world has learned during the pandemic, there are no vaccination or testing requirements for US citizens seeking to enter Croatia.
If you’re doing some research on a trip to the continent, it’s probably worth noting that non-EU countries are also referred to as “third countries” and non-EU residents as “third-party nationals” like you . reviewing different travel policies.
Prospective visitors should also note that there are several EU member states that have opted out of the open border Schengen area: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania and Ireland. Conversely, there are four member states of the Schengen Area that are not actually part of the EU: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. So make sure you are aware of the status of your destination country among the various collectives of Europe while you are preparing your travel documents.
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