Partial Schengen access for Bulgaria in 2024 – what does this mean in practice

At the end of 2023, the Council of the European Union confirmed that Bulgaria and Romania will partially enter into the Schengen zone in 2024. What does this mean in practice, are there any nuances and how this decision will affect the Bulgarian real estate market – experts of the Apart Estate agency answer all these and other questions.

Partial Schengen access for Bulgaria in 2024 – what this means in practice

Just before the New Year holidays, Bulgaria and Romania were excited by the great news – from March 31, 2024, both countries will be included in the Schengen zone.Partial Schengen access for Bulgaria in 2024 – what does this mean in practice

However, this joyful news was very soon overshadowed by a number of nuances. Due to Austria's position, Bulgaria and Romania will only be included in Schengen via air and sea. This means that if, for example, you travel by plane to Hungary or

Germany there will be no border control upon arrival at these countries. The same is valid for traveling to Greece or Denmark by sea.

Control will remain only when crossing land borders. So, if you decide to travel from Bulgaria to Greece by bus, you will have to go through visa and passport control and probably will need to wait at the border for several hours.

Several other nuances connected to the decision of accepting Bulgaria in Schengen can be noted:

  • The decision applies to all countries included in the Schengen Agreement. These are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Greece, Portugal, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Hungary, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
  • When arriving at one of these countries by air, it will now be possible to go through the corridor for arrivals from Schengen countries.
  • National visas issued by Bulgaria and Romania before 31 March 2024 will remain valid for the period specified on the document. They can be used for transit through the Schengen countries, as well as for staying on their territory for no more than 90 days in a period not exceeding 180 days. There is one important note however – the corresponding state must recognize these short-term visas.

It is believed that the decision to access Bulgaria into Schengen will have a positive impact on the tourism business and will help attract tourists from around the world.

The Bulgarian real estate market accepted the news of the country's inclusion in the Schengen Agreement neutrally. Probably, a small increase in prices will be observed in the summer and autumn, when tourists who take advantage of the Schengen visa-free traveling, will start arriving at the Black Sea resorts, Sofia, and Plovdiv.

Seeing the real relief of the visa regime, businessmen and real estate owners will see more opportunities to rent out property to tourists and will be more willing to buy apartments in Burgas, Sozopol, Nessebar, and Sunny Beach.

Currently, the cost per square meter in the Burgas neighborhoods Lazur, Bratya Miladinovi, center, Vazrazhdane reaches 2,000-2,500 euros. You can buy an apartment in Slaveykov and Izgrev neighborhoods based on the price of 1,450-1,800 euros per sq. m. In the Meden Rudnik neighborhood, prices start from 850 euros/sq.m. 

The current average cost per square meter in Sozopol and Nessebar is 1,500 euros, in Chernomorets and Sveti Vlas – 1,250 euros, in Sunny Beach – 900 euros.

According to Apart Estate forecasts, in 2024 you can expect a property price increase of 5-8%.

The issue of extending the Schengen Agreement to Bulgarian land borders will be considered at the end of 2024. A positive decision will be made based on the results of the repeated monitoring of the situation at airports, sea and river ports, and on the border with Turkey, as well as on the analysis of how adequate will be the policy of Bulgaria and Romania in regarding refugees arriving in the European Union.

Apart Estate experts continue to monitor news in the area of real estate in Bulgaria and in all areas that may have an impact on the apartment market in Burgas, Nessebar and other resorts in the Southern Black Sea region. If you want to buy a studio apartment or an apartment near the sea, a cottage in the suburbs of Burgas and nearby villages, contact us by phone or messenger. We will help you choose the best option, prepare recommendations for purchase and help you quickly conclude a purchase agreement.

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