Croatia Will Soon Enter the Schengen Area. Are We Ready?

We Are Only One Step Away From the Full Membership

Croatia is joining the Schengen Area on January 1, 2023, meaning we are only one step away from the full membership. The final confirmation of the EU Council is expected at the beginning of December. Thus, controls at the land borders of Croatia with other Schengen countries should be abolished from January 1 next year, and at airports from March 26, 2023. We asked the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Police Department, as well as the Dubrovnik Airport is Croatia ready to be welcomed into Schengen.

‘All border crossings in the area of ​​the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Police Department are ready for Croatia’s entry into the Schengen area. The border police started infrastructural, technical and personnel preparations, passed several rounds of evaluation by the Schengen Commission and, in doing so, met all the set criteria for adaptation to the future external the borders of Schengen’, Dubrovnik-Neretva Police Department confirmed for DuList.

The Republic of Croatia is legally and procedurally already adapted to the European legal acquis, rules and standard procedures in the work of the border police. What will change after entering into the Schengen area in terms of border traffic with Bosnia and Herzegovina?

‘In the matter of border traffic, the rules adopted by the bilateral agreement between the Republic of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are not changing’, the Dubrovnike-neretva County Police department stated.

The Dubrovnik Airport: Underway Adjustments

When it comes to The Dubrovnik Airport, director Viktor Šober points out that the Airport is in the process of adapting to the Schengen regime. All basic works will be completed before March 26, 2023 meaning the organization of the arrival zone for passengers from third countries. Šober pointed out that work is being done to increase the space for passengers arriving from third countries as a preparation for the introduction of the EES (entry/exit system) for entering the Schengen zone.

How the new border regime will affect them?

‘The new Schengen/non-Schengen passengers classification brings us a new challenge for capacity management because we, as a coordinated airport, have our declared capacity of seven flights, i.e. fourteen landing and take-off operations in one hour. In this year’s flight schedule, we had a total of seven flights per hour from Schengen destinations and non-Schengen destinations, regardless of their mutual ratio.

With the entry of the Republic of Croatia into the Schengen area, i.e. with the new border and division of areas, we manage the capacities for the next year so that we will accept a maximum of four flights per hour from non-Schengen destinations out of a total of seven flights per hour according to the declared capacity of the airport.

This hourly limit ensures the best quality of service and overall does not reduce the number of announced flights, but by scheduling them by hours, the infrastructure capacities of the airport are used in the best possible way’, Šober concluded.

After the confirmation of the EU Council, Croatia will become the 27th member of the Schengen area.