Americans May Lose Visa-Free Travel to Europe

Americans May Lose Visa-Free Travel to Europe PHOTOGRAPH: Wikimedia Commons/ Zboralski | Under Public Domain Dedication

Citizens of the United States who desire to travel to Europe will soon have to apply for a visa. The escalating ‘visa war’ between the U.S. and the European Union have reached its climax. The visa conflict led the European Union lawmakers to reinforce visa requirements on Americans before they enter Europe.

U.S. vs E.U. visa war

The lawmakers voted through a show of hands. The decision was a response to the U.S.’s refusal to allow five European countries to travel to the States visa-free. The U.S. have implemented a visa requirement to Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Poland and Romania.

On March 2, the leaders of the E.U. agreed that they are legally obliged to suspend the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) for U.S. citizens. The Union made the decision after Washington failed to meet a visa reciprocity deadline.

The E.U. Commission has two months to reintroduce the visas for Americans. In 2014, the commission gave a two-year deadline to other countries. The notice was made to ensure that the same VWP will be granted to the European citizens as it did to some nations.

Four countries reciprocated the visa-free policy of the European Union

The commission sent the notice to other nations as well. Since then, Australia, Brunei, and Japan lifted the visa requirements for European citizens. Meanwhile, Canada will lift the requirement in December 2017. Unfortunately, the U.S. failed to act upon the visa reciprocity which led the E.U.’s decision to impose a visa requirement on Americans.

America has long forced some selected E.U. countries to purchase visas before entering the country. This requirement denied the E.U. a full reciprocity of allowing Americans to go visa-free. E.U. officials stated that there is still an ongoing talk between the two parties. However, the visa reciprocity might be hard to establish with President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

The E.U. resolution cited the rules that required the executive body to take action against countries who have failed to offer the full visa reciprocity. The E.U. sent the warning to the U.S. on April 14 which expired at the same time in 2016.

The end of the visa-free travel for the U.S. marked a ‘serious negative step’ on the ongoing visa war. Moreover, the relationship between the U.S. and other countries have deteriorated since the inauguration of Trump. The U.S. president have made jabs to other countries and was vocally hostile with the E.U. during his presidential campaign. The E.U.’s decision to end its visa-free policy to the U.S. might have some repercussions with regards to the relationship of the two parties.

Source: European Parliament News, The Telegraph

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