Visiting Europe has been a piece of cake for a long time; the only requirements have been a plane ticket and your passport. However, this ease of travel to Europe may be about to change. Specifically, Americans might be required to get a visa to enter the European Union territory; which is a bloc of 28 countries. Going by the European Parliament resolutions, the visa requirement is supposed to start this May. This is a process that started roughly 2 years ago; where other countries like Canada, Japan and Australia were also informed on the possible visa requirement.
However, no confirmations on the U.S citizens’ visa requirement have been made in this respect. So, why might you require a visa to visit Europe this summer? It all has to do with fair play and equal treatment when it comes to visa waiver programs. The U.S visa waiver program accommodates many countries; nearly 40 to be specific. This program is an agreement that ensures citizens of either country do not require visas to travel freely in stays that last up to 90 days. The reason why the European Union has voted that U.S citizens should get a visa is because of the absence of a reciprocal waiver program in 5 of its European Union countries. Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus have to use visas when visiting the United States.
However, the U.S has in the past not required to get visas to visit these countries. Therefore, in a spirit to equalize this perceived inequality, the U.S was put on notice in this regard. In light of all this, there are diplomatic efforts by the E.U Commission to reach an amicable solution. If the visa requirement for U.S citizens is implemented, there might be significant drop in visitors touring the E.U. This will obviously come with economic downsides. Keep in mind that 30 million U.S visitors visit Europe every year and spend an average of $50 billion.
Before you rush to get a visa to visit Europe, it is good to keep your ear on the ground to see whether this proposal sails through or not. A diplomatic decision might be reached before May is over and this will determine the way forward in this regard. It is worth noting that other countries that faced the same issue including Japan, Canada and Australia have lifted the restrictions on visa requirements for the European Union countries. To this end, citizens of those countries will not require visas to travel to Europe.