Travel Visas Required for U.S. Summer Travelers to Europe?
European Parliament Calls for Measure to Force Americans to Apply for Travel Visas Prior to Visiting This Summer
The travel industry is abuzz as media outlets are reporting that the European Parliament is seeking to force American travelers to apply for travel visas before they visit member countries this coming summer.
Why is this happening? Well, this has been brewing for a number of years as Washington refuses to grant visa-free access to people from four east European states and Cyprus, while those from the other 23 member states can enter using the U.S. visa waiver program. EU rules call for equal treatment for all Union citizens (Rueters article).
Obviously, if this were to come to pass, this would create a nightmare for the millions of American citizens who have travel plans booked for the coming year.
We have already received a few calls from concerned clients, so I called our local congressional office yesterday to inquire about this issue. In my conversation with a congressional staffer, I was told that my congressman was aware of and monitoring the situation, but suspects that this will ultimately go down as “political theater”.
Think about it, the European Parliament can force attention to the issue by getting millions of American travelers up in arms about having to apply for a last-minute travel visa to enter member EU countries this summer.
As I contemplated this situation, I can’t imagine the European Parliament bringing this threat to pass before the busy summer travel season. American travel to Europe is very important to the EU member countries, and this monkey wrench in the process could potentially hurt the economies of those countries involved. This is particularly true for countries like Italy and Greece who are still dealing with struggling economies.
Further, I can’t imagine that they have a travel visa application process in place that could handle the millions of potential applications. It would certainly wind up being a nightmare for all involved.
What to do?
As we speak, there are currently no requirements for American citizens to seek and receive a travel visa for visits to EU countries. As our congressional staffer told us, this will most likely blow over as political theater. However, stranger things have happened. Right?
We’ll keep an eye on this issue, and if we see this threat becoming reality, we’ll most certainly bring it to your attention in a timely matter. For now, stay tuned.
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