New Rules May Force U.S. and Canadian Travelers to Get Visas for European Trips
April 12, 2016
By Traveler Confidential Staff
NEW RULES MAY FORCE U.S. AND CANADIAN TRAVELERS TO GET VISAS FOR EUROPEAN TRIPS
Right now, if U.S. and Canadian travelers visit Europe, all they need are passports. But, this long-standing practice may end soon.
This week, the European Union is considering changing rules for Americans and Canadians who wish to travel to Europe. The EU may begin requiring people to apply for visas to visit European countries in as soon as four months. It’s taking up this issue because the U.S. won’t let all citizens of the EU visit America visa-free. The U.S. requires residents of Poland, Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, and Romania to apply for a visa in order to visit the U.S.
The U.S. government has refused to waive those visa requirements because it says those countries haven’t met the requirements of the U.S. visa waiver program. That program lets certain citizens or nationals visit the U.S. for up to 90 days without first obtaining a visa, as long as they meet certain requirements.
European Commission spokesperson Mina Andreeva recently told CNN Money:
“The objective here is to achieve full visa waiver reciprocity for citizens of all member states and this is a priority for the European Union.”
Current EU rules state countries that refuse to allow visa-free travel for all EU citizens must be formally notified about this restriction and given two years to waive the ban. If after two years the restricted European countries are still being denied visa-free travel, then the EU has to propose reciprocal visa requirements for that country. The deadline to allow those five European countries to travel to the U.S. visa-free is Tuesday, April 12, 2016. This is why the EU is mulling over the decision this week.
However, the EU’s decision will have no effect on travel to the U.K. and Ireland since neither adheres to the EU’s current visa policy.