Serbian and Bosnian passport holders will soon be unable to travel to Croatia with only a valid passport in their hands, as the same will need to apply for a travel authorization in advance and carry its confirmation with them when showing up at the Croatian ports of entry.
With the coming into force of the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), planned to happen next year, travellers from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and all other third countries under the Schengen visa-free regime, will be obliged to obtain such authorization before travelling to Croatia.
The scheme is expected to affect, in particular, thousands of Serbian and Bosnian citizens who cross the borders daily or weekly, as well as those living in borderline areas. The same is expected to become fully effective by May 2023.
Though in principle, the ETIAS scheme will be created for travel to the 26 Schengen Area countries, Croatia will also apply it, in spite that the country isn’t a Schengen member yet.
“The ETIAS Regulation applies to the Member States that are part of the Schengen area, including those which do not yet fully apply the Schengen acquis, i.e. Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania,” the European Commission notes in this regard.
Aside from Serbs and Bosnians, the citizens of over 60 world countries who currently can travel to the Schengen Area visa-free, including here citizens of the United Kingdom, will also have to apply for an ETIAS travel authorization before their trip to any of the 26 member states, Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, and Romania.
According to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), around 1.4 billion travellers from visa-free countries will soon be subject to the ETIAS obligation by May next year.
The procedures for obtaining an ETIAS are, however, quick and easy. Travellers will only have to go to the ETIAS website, which hasn’t been created yet, and fill in a form that is expected to take them ten minutes to complete. The form will ask for information like the traveller’s full name, date and place of birth, citizenship, home address, email and phone number, education and work experience. Travellers will also have to answer questions regarding their medical conditions, travel to war countries and criminal records.
While applying for an ETIAS will cost €7 per person, Serbian and Bosnian travellers will not need to apply for it every time they travel to Croatia and other EU or Schengen Area countries since the first ETIAS issued to them will be valid for a period of three years, or until the traveller’s passport expires, whichever date comes first.
Over the same period, a traveller can use his/her ETIAS numerous times to enter the Schengen Area, Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania, as long as the same does not violate the permitted period of stay of 90 days within any 180 days.