Romania and Bulgaria Join Schengen Area: What it Means for Digital Nomads

Last Updated on 22 April 2024 by Brittany

As of March 31, 2024, Romania and Bulgaria join Schengen Area, removing border controls between the now 29 countries. 

This is excellent news for EU nationals and the European economy, but what does this mean for digital nomads who would stay in these countries and wait to return to the Schengen Area?

Now that Romania and Bulgaria join Schengen Area, EU nationals and those with Schengen visas (including tourist visas) can move freely between the bloc without going through passport control when crossing the borders. 

europe map - romania and bulgaria join schengen area
via Unsplash

What is the Schengen Area?

The Schengen Area consists of 29 countries in Europe that allow free movement between them, which means there are no border control checks for your passport. 

As of today, the Schengen Area includes the following countries:

  • Austria ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น
  • Belgium ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช
  • Bulgaria ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฌ
  • Croatia ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท
  • Czech Republic ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ
  • Denmark ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ
  • Estonia ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ช
  • Finland ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ
  • France ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท
  • Germany ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช
  • Greece ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ท
  • Hungary ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡บ
  • Iceland ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ธ
  • Italy ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น
  • Latvia ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ป
  • Liechtenstein ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฎ
  • Lithuania ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡น
  • Luxembourg ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ
  • Malta ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡น
  • Netherlands ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ
  • Norway ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด
  • Poland ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ
  • Portugal ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น
  • Romania ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ด
  • Slovakia ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฐ
  • Spain ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ
  • Sweden ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช
  • Switzerland ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ

Third-country nationals can stay in the Schengen Area for 90 days out of a 180-day period. So, this means that you can stay in any of the countries listed above for a total of 90 days.ย 

You may not stay in Italy for 90 days and then in France for the next 90 days. This would result in overstaying your tourist visa. 

After you have spent 90 days in the Schengen Area, you must leave for at least 180 days before returning. 

digital nomads in Croatia - romania and bulgaria join schengen area

What Does this Mean for Digital Nomads That Romania and Bulgaria Join Schengen Area?

As Romania and Bulgaria join the Schengen Area, digital nomads feel a bit lost with their travels. These two countries were once havens for digital nomads waiting to reenter the Schengen Area after their 90-day tourist allowance ended. 

The same was true for Croatia before they joined Schengen in January 2023. 

Now, digital nomads must opt to stay in other countries that are outside the growing Schengen Area. Some popular destinations that meet this criteria include:

  • Montenegro ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ช
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฆ
  • Georgia ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ช
  • Serbia ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ธ
  • Albania ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฑ
  • Turkey ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท
  • Cyprus ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡พ

Digital nomads can still experience the European vibes in these countries while staying out of the Schengen Area.ย 

passport stamps - romania and bulgaria join schengen area
via Unsplash

How Digital Nomads Can Stay in Schengen Area for One Year or More

Over the last couple of years, countries in the Schengen Area have introduced digital nomad visas, allowing remote workers to temporarily reside abroad. Some of these digital nomad visas can actually lead to permanent residency too. 

Applicants meeting certain income, remote experience, and nationality requirements may apply for these European digital nomad visas and have the ability to stay in the Schengen Area for more than 90 days at a time. 

What Countries in the Schengen Area Have a Digital Nomad Visa?

The current countries in the Schengen Area that offer a digital nomad visa that allows remote workers to reside in the country for at least a year include:

When you apply for a digital nomad visa in one of these countries, many require you to be present for at least six months out of the year. For the rest, you can freely travel the Schengen Area.ย 

romania and bulgaria join schengen area

Apply for a Digital Nomad Visa with Professional Assistance

If your dream is to experience a European lifestyle and stay in the Schengen Area for more than 90 days at a time, then a digital nomad visa could be right for you! 

Applying for visas can be complicated, especially when it comes to navigating complicated bureaucracy. 

Thatโ€™s why Nomads Embassy has partnered with hand-selected local immigration lawyers to provide a Done-for-You Digital Nomad Visa service. Simply gather your documents, attend your visa appointment, and follow your personal lawyerโ€™s instructions. 

Itโ€™s never been simpler to apply for a digital nomad visa in the Schengen Area. 

To get started, request Nomads Embassyโ€™s free digital nomad visa eligibility assessment today! 

Brittany
Content created by
Brittany
When Iโ€™m not writing and teaching people how to achieve a location-independent lifestyle, you can find me globetrotting, experiencing new cultures, and working on my amateur photography skills.
At Nomads Embassy, we independently test and review digital nomad services and provide detailed insights on digital nomad visa applications and requirements using a detailed, multi-step methodology. When you use our affiliate links to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more about our editorial process and read our full disclosure.
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