For many South Africans (mainly the travel addicts), a Schengen visa is a piece of gold. Let’s not beat around the bush about the power of our green passports…
Sure, we can go to some pretty cool places like Thailand, Mauritius, Argentina or the Bahamas without a visa, however, with a Schengen visa you can visit 26 European states! Only with a Schengen visa are you able to visit some European countries that have probably been on your bucket list for a long time.
The Schengen area currently comprises 22 of the EU’s 28 member states as well as four non-EU members (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein). Even though Croatia became an EU member in 2013, it has not been part of the Schengen zone, alongside Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania, and the United Kingdom.
Recent news reports have confirmed that Schengen circle is about to get bigger. The European Commission has requested that the EU Council include Croatia in the area without internal border controls after it announced that Croatia has taken the necessary steps to ensure it meets all the requirements for joining the Schengen area. According to Dimitris Avramopoulos commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship, Croatia being included will contribute to further strengthening the Schengen area and ensure that the EU’s external borders are better protected.
And even though this is great news for many travellers, this move has sparked much criticism – especially from Slovenian politicians.
However political the situation may be, if Croatia joins the Schengen zone, a lot of South Africans will be smiling from ear to ear: Plitvice Lakes, Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Zagreb, Northern Velebit National Park, can you imagine yourself there yet? We can!