America and Europe have been in conflict regarding Visa for quite some time. There is a word going around about the European Union ending Visa-free travel to Europe from America. Here are some insights and facts about the ongoing Visa war between the two continents.
The citizens of Europe who live in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Poland, Croatia, and Romania are not allowed to enter the US without a Visa. This has broken into an outrage and there has been a serious consequence. The European Commission has voted to demand that Americans should have a Visa in order to travel to Europe.
Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) is a program which runs with several countries of the European continent ever since the 1980s. This program is open to many countries that do not have a high nonimmigrant visitor Visa rates and violations. The European Parliament has a legal obligation to suspend the VWP for a year and this has been agreed upon by the MEPs. This serious step from Europe only suggests that the decision to revoke Visa free travels is due to the failure of countries to meet security requirements of the VWP. This fact was stated by the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.
The impact of suspension of the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP)
The European Travel Commission (ETC) released several warnings to prevent the motion from passing but the efforts were not recognized. The motion was still passed, despite the adverse consequences which could follow. According to the executive director of ETC, Eduardo Santander, ETC understands the reasons for passing the motion and why it is important to uphold the Visa waiver reciprocity mechanism. However, there are serious concerns associated with the political and economic impact of the suspension of this program.
Every year, more than 30 million American citizens travel to Europe and that results in a collective expenditure of more than $54 billion. The travel and tourism sector generates essential revenue and boosts the economy of EU. This sector is one of the promising sectors in Europe and it enjoys an exponential employment growth. Making it more complex for US citizens to come to Europe is surely going to have a major impact. It puts many European jobs at risk, and directly affects travel and tourism jobs. However, after the suspension of the Visa Waiver Programme, things are about to change.
Suspension of Visa Waiver with EU by other countries
Besides the United States, several other countries have followed the same path. In April 2014, the United States of America suspended the VWP with EU. It was followed by other countries like Canada, Australia, Japan and Brunei. In response, EU gave a time of two years to the countries to do the needful and fix the issue. Every country responded positively to this except the US. Australia, Japan, and Brunei have lifted the Visa requirements. Canada is expected to do the same by this year’s end. However, the US has stayed stubborn on its word and have chosen not to lift the Visa requirements.
To top that, the US Customs and Border Protection has stated that there are many new restrictions which be applied to the nationals of VWP countries who have been present in non-EU Muslim majority countries like Syria, Iran, Iraq and Sudan on or since March 1, 2011. This has been a potential reason for EU to fight back and it has escalated the war. The Trump administration has brought about changes which are not in compliance to many countries and this is one of them. Till now, there has not been any change in the Visa requirements but it is likely going to surface sooner or later.