Relax: Americans Won’t Need a Visa to Travel to Europe Any Time Soon

Mar 3, 2017

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Yes, it’s true that the European Parliament yesterday passed a nonbinding resolution recommending that travelers from the US must have a visa to visit EU member states. But the truth is that it’s highly unlikely that travel requirements will actually change in the near future.

What we’re seeing is a form of political posturing, a reaction to the US’ restrictions on travel for citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania. Residents of those countries do need a visa to enter the US, while citizens from other EU countries do not. American citizens can enter those five nations without a visa.

Some context: In 2014, the European Commission discovered that Australia, Brunei, Japan, Canada and the US didn’t offer reciprocal, visa-free travel to citizens of a few European Union countries. Four of those countries effectively changed their tune, lifted restrictions, and now allow (or will soon allow) free travel between the respective nations. Only the US hasn’t changed its policy.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, will eventually get to decide if it actually wants to enforce the rule. Parliament hopes the Commission will take action within two months. But placing a barrier to entry in the form of visa requirements would most likely hurt tourism and Europe‘s economy. It’s also possible that the US would retaliate with its own set of revised visa restrictions on Europeans across the board.

As of now, nothing is set in stone, and negotiations between the US and the EU will continue. A spokesman for the European Commission appeared to “tamp down any expectations that it would impose visa requirements on Americans within two months.”  A progress report is expected by late June.

H/T: The New York Times

Featured Image courtesy of Getty Images. 

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