Following a motion endorsed by the EU commission, Americans visiting European countries could soon need to obtain visas to do so. The move is the latest round in a diplomatic war over the US’s intransigence in lifting entry restrictions for passport-holders from five EU nations.
Members of the European Parliament voted in favour of introducing legislation which will require Americans to get visas for travel to the EU bloc. The vote effectively means the EU has another two months to bring in a visa application system.
MEPS noted the EU was legally obligated to stop offering visa-free entry to US nationals as all deadlines for the scrapping of restrictions on EU citizens visiting America had passed. The visa programme will initially run for one year. EU travel industry analysts say the move will seriously impact on inbound tourist numbers from the US.
The five countries whose citizens are required to get visas before arrival in the US are Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Cyprus and Poland. The resolution is the end result of a deadline set in 2014 which asked the US as well as Canada, Australia, Japan and Brunei to lift visa restrictions on nationals from the five countries.
Australia, Japan and Brunei have complied and Canada will have done so by the end of 2017. The US is the lone dissenter. The Consular Affairs Division of the State Department claims the five countries do not have security arrangements which meet the criteria stipulated for their nationals to be admitted under the Visa Waiver Program.