E.U. Delays Requiring Visas for Americans Traveling to Europe
The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of specific countries to travel to the United States for tourism, business, or while in transit for up to 90 days without having to obtain a visa. Citizens of 38 countries are eligible for visa-free entry into the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. A list of those countries can be found here.
The United States has been facing pressure from the European Union over its decision not to extend visa waiver privileges to nationals additional European Union member states — Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania. In fact, the EU has been threatening to impose visa requirements for Americans traveling to Europe if the United States does not agree to add the 5 aforementioned countries to the list of countries entitled to visa-free travel.
This Visa Waiver Program debacle was further worsened in December when Congress passed legislation that would require dual nationals of the 38 Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries and Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan, as well as persons who have traveled to those countries in the past five years, to obtain a visa prior to traveling to the United States. Since the Visa Waiver Program is based on the principle of reciprocity, it was expected that the EU would have to follow suit and require visas for those individuals as well.
Fortunately, the decision to suspend visa-free travel for Americans traveling to Europe has been delayed by the European Commission until July of this year.