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Bulgaria and Romania are not yet officially Schengen, but they are in the SIS and have a 90/180 rule. What isn't clear is whether that rule is applied as if they are part of Schengen, or whether one could legally spend ninety days in Bulgaria, then ninety in Romania, and then on to Hungary.

I realize the answer might be voided by their Schengen membership becoming finally approved. And I'm just curious about the rules, independent of whatever COVID restrictions still exist.

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    What have you read about these rules? Why do you think it's unclear? – Relaxed Mar 30 at 6:59
  • The relevant wording in 565/2014/EU: 'Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania may consider as equivalent to their national visas, for transit through or intended stays on their territory not exceeding 90 days in any 180-day period...' – Mark Johnson Mar 30 at 7:38
  • That, like everything else I read, does not answer the question of whether leaving Romania on the 90th day, crossing into Hungary, and staying there one day would result in Schengen declaring that the 91st day. The Relaxed answer says no. – WGroleau Mar 30 at 16:19
  • @MarkJohnson Your Posted wording doesn't work in English. Can you expand it enough to rectify that? – Robbie Goodwin Mar 31 at 20:46
  • @WGroleau, Relaxed answer is correct, since these countries do not fully implement the Schengen acquis. Quote from Schengen Border Code Artical 12 (2)(a), regulates when an entry stamp is missing - but acceptable proof has been supplied: '... in his or her travel document the date on which, and the place where, he or she crossed the external border of one of the Member States applying the Schengen acquis in full;' In your sample the date and place where crossing from Romania to Hungry would be used. – Mark Johnson Apr 1 at 6:44
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In a nutshell, both Bulgaria and Romania apply the whole Schengen acquis (which means all the rules about entry and short stays, the SIS and Dublin regulations, the list of countries whose citizens need a visa, etc., etc. and not merely the 90/180 day limit) but only to one country (not as part of the Schengen area nor to both countries as a group).

Consequently, there are still border checks between Bulgaria and the Schengen area but also between Bulgaria and Romania, you are only granted entry to one country, the 90 days are counted country-by-country. The same is true of Croatia and Cyprus.

On top of that there are somewhat confusing rules regarding visa recognition. Most residence permits and visas from Schengen countries exempt visitors from any visa requirement in Romania and Bulgaria. This exemption specifically covers multiple-entry short-stay visas and long-stay national visas but not single-entry visas. A similar visa from Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus, or Croatia also exempts the holder from the visa requirement in the three other countries in the list. However, a visa or residence permit from one of these four countries does not exempt the holder from any Schengen visa visa requirement (with one exception: residence permits as a member of an EU citizen's family).

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