Croatia is officially part of Europe’s Schengen Area.
European Union countries on Thursday voted to allow Croatia into the Schengen Area, a set of countries with no border checks for those traveling in between. Croatia was the only one of the three countries to be voted in, receiving unanimous support from the 26 Schengen states.
Romania and Bulgaria, the other two countries up for placement into the Area, will both have to wait longer. Getting into the area requires unanimous support from other members.
Starting on Jan. 1, 2023, Croatia will lift its border measures with other Schengen countries, which means that people will not have to stop for border checks if they’re driving between Croatia and other Schengen countries. Croatia will also begin using the Euro, instead of the Kuna, its current currency.
The Schengen Area is considered the world’s largest “Free travel Area” with 26 countries, including 22 EU states plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. It was created in 1985 and named for the town of Schengen, Luxembourg.
According to the Associated Press, almost 1.7 million people live in one Schengen country and work in another, while another 2.5 million people cross an internal border each day. Citizens of Schengen countries flying within the Schengen Area have to go through security checks, but not border checks, upon arrival.