The 6 December meeting of the Council of the European Union, Justice and Home Affairs in Brussels adopted a conclusion by which nine new EU Member States – Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia and Malta joined the Schengen Area.
This decision provides for the abolition, from 21 December, of border control on land and maritime borders of Latvia with Lithuania and Estonia, and thus this border has become the internal border of the Schengen space. The abolition of border control at the internal air borders is planned for 30 March 2008.
The border of Latvia with neighbouring countries Russia and Belarus, which are not members of the Schengen Treaty, has become the external border of the Schengen Area. Border controls on the external border of the Schengen Area are maintained.
With the accession of Latvia to the Schengen Area on 21 December this year, Latvia's diplomatic and consular representations abroad have commenced the issuance of a uniform or Schengen visa, which is valid in the territory of all the states – members to the Shengen Treaty.