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More specifically, will I get in trouble with either Cyprus or Romania by doing this?

For those of you who may not know, four EU countries that are not yet part of the Schengen area, namely Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria and Cyprus have agreed to recognize visas for each other as if they were their own.

Now, I know that for the Schengen area, you could definetely get in trouble if you don't visit the very country that issued your Schengen visa. For example, you could receive a "national" visa next time, which doesn't let you into Schengen. Or say, border agents might also be suspicious of you if you haven't entered the country your visa is for prior to entering whatever country you're actually visiting.

Will there be similar problems in this case?

Background: I am a Russian, and Cyprus actually happens to be issuing its visas to Russians completely free of charge, not to mention it is probably somewhat easier for me to get a visa to Cyprus when it comes to paperwork as well.

  • I've removed my answer and corrected the title. Hopefully someone knowledgeable in Cyprus visas can answer as I'm only familiar with how the Schengen works. – JonathanReez Supports Monica Dec 3 '17 at 16:43
  • Do you mean not visit the issuing country at all? Or not enter through the issuing country? The latter has been known to happen but is actually completely illegal, that's not how Schengen visa are supposed to work. Also, by default, national visas do let you visit other countries in the Schengen area. – Relaxed Dec 4 '17 at 10:04
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What's similar to the Schengen area in Cyprus and Romania:

  • Both countries do apply Schengen rules. They are theoretically bound to join and took over most of the Schengen acquis. Even the recognition of each other's visas is regulated through an EU decision.
  • Border guards in Romania can therefore make problems for the exact same reasons that Schengen border guards and would not necessarily treat a Cypriot visa as a completely separate visa. And if you never visited Cyprus at all, the Cypriot consulate would have every reason to be suspicious of your intentions when you apply for renewal.
  • There is no formal requirement to visit Cyprus first, it all comes down to your ability to credibly claim you did not misrepresent your situation to get the visa. That's why one trip might be fine but renewing the visa could be trickier.
  • Romania is connected to the Schengen Information System (with limitations), which means border guards can see alerts issued by Schengen countries. I am not sure exactly what type of alerts they can see and whether they can enter any.

What's different between Cyprus, Romania, and full Schengen member countries:

  • As far as I know, they cannot directly annul a visa from another country. That's possible between full Schengen members (under somewhat restrictive conditions) but not between candidate countries I think.
  • They might however notify the country that issued the visa and can certainly deny entry. And that's all the legal basis they need to make difficulties if they want to. If that happens, you would also end up with a stamp that ought to raise the other country's consulate's attention. Stamps follow the standard Schengen format.
  • To the best of my knowledge, Cyprus is not currently connected to the SIS.

What I don't know:

  • I have no idea how strict Romania or Cyprus are about this stuff. The legal basis is there but countries have a lot of leeway in how strictly they wish to enforce it. There is a lot of difference between countries about this, even between full Schengen members.
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    As always, the simplest solution is to just follow the original itinerary and either visit Cyprus first or apply for a Romanian visa or get a much more useful Schengen visa and visit some country on the way. – JonathanReez Supports Monica Dec 4 '17 at 10:27

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