Yesterday, March 2, 2017, European Union lawmakers voted to deny United States travelers visa-free access to all European member states. The European Commission has the license to act if the U.S. doesn’t change its policy within two months. What does this all mean?
Reciprocity, the real issue
From Travel, Lilit Marcus reported, “while Americans can currently visit any European country without a visa (provided they’re not working or staying longer than three months), not every EU member nation gets the same privileges the other way around.” It is currently setup that Europeans with passports from 23 countries, including France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden, can enter the United States without a visa, but European members of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland, and Romania are not included in the waiver program in the United States or Canada. Europeans want that changed.
The first notice of change was given to the U.S. in 2014, at that time the United States agreed to a timetable to add European states to its visa-free list. Last April the European Parliament and European Commission revisited the issue when their two-year warning period from 2014 had expired.
“The lack of visa reciprocity affects at least 14 percent of European citizens, namely the people of Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Cyprus, and Poland as well as some EU citizens with dual nationality,” said Filiz Hyusmenova, Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group President. After the vote on March 2, 2017, Filiz made the following statement, “It is hight time for the commission to show administrative will and political strength and unity of the European Union on the international scene.”
According to the December 2016 report by the United States Department of Homeland Security; it excludes those five European countries because more than 3 percent of their applicants for visas to the United States are denied for one reason or another.
With the European Parliament passing a non-binding resolution calling for the reintroduction of visa requirements for American citizens, they also warned that it could take further steps of bringing the European Commission to court if they continue to not stand up to Washington.
If you have plans to travel to Europe this year, don’t worry too much just yet. Reuters, a European Commission spokesperson, hinted that they might not even respond until summer. If the requirements are reinstated, European lawmakers note that it would be temporary until reciprocity is achieved.
Even if it is just temporary, this could cause a significant dip in tourism and business travel to European Nations, which is a large source of revenue that many European countries depend on. It could also affect our passport, we have one of the most powerful passports in the world; it could lead to a tumble in the rankings. Making it more difficult for us to access other countries.
Remember to always check for the latest travel guidelines to determine what documents you need to travel to other countries, cruises, and flights. We have a few trips to Europe this year and will try to keep all ladies who are traveling with us updated on which documents as this continues to develop this year. One place to check for latest travel documents is the U.S. Passports & Internation Travel website.
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Journeys for Women is perfect for women who love to travel but don't want to travel alone. We are a diverse group that includes women from age 18-80. What we share is the love of fun and adventure.