According to the Federal Council of Switzerland, the Swiss government has decided to drop passport checks at its airports for individuals flying from Bulgaria and Romania starting March 31, 2024.
This move follows the EU Council’s decision to lift air and maritime border controls with Bulgaria and Romania and means that all passengers travelling from the two countries will soon not have to present their passports upon arrival at Swiss airports, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
At its meeting on January 24, the Federal Council approved Switzerland’s response. For Switzerland, the adoption means, in particular, that from March 31, there will be no more checks at airports for people travelling to and from Bulgaria and Romania.
Announcing the news, the Federal Council reassured the public that based on the experience of Croatia joining the Schengen Area at the beginning of last year, there is no expectation of a significant increase in migration due to this decision.
The same stressed that existing measures would be used to tackle irregular migration and cross-border if needed.
A significant increase in migration cannot be expected as a result of the decision. Existing instruments and preventive measures will be used to combat illegal migration and crime.
The Council of the EU decided on December 30, 2023, for the internal border control at the air and maritime borders with Bulgaria and Romania. While the land border controls with Bulgaria and Romania will stay for now, the EU Council said that it is also looking into the possibility of lifting them in the future.
As the EU Council revealed, the date of Schengen accession by land of Bulgaria and Romania will be decided after March 31, 2024.
The EU Commission has been saying since 2011 that the two countries were ready to join Schengen and has reiterated their readiness throughout the years.
However, just at the end of last year, the EU said that it was time for it to make the ninth enlargement by adding Bulgaria and Romania to the borderless area.
As soon as Bulgaria and Romania officially join the Schengen Area with air and sea borders, the two countries will also be able to start issuing Schengen visas. Nonetheless, exact information on the matter has yet to be revealed.