Is This the End of Visa-Free Travel to the EU?

The European Parliament is giving US travelers a karma lesson

By Diane Rommel

 
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03 March 2017

Travelers, brace yourselves: The European Union might have just shanked your summer vacation

Remarkably, this isn't even related to the much-debated "travel ban" complicating U.S. entry for citizens (and passport holders) of seven predominantly Muslim countries. Rather, it's rooted in the fact that travelers from five E.U. countries — Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Cyprus — require visas for travel to the States. Members of the European Parliament argue that the E.U. doesn't play pick-and-mix with American travelers — for example, requiring visas from Alaskans, Alabamans, Minnesotas, and Rhode Islanders and not from the rest of us. They say that full reciprocity is required. The American position is that our border security requires an extra layer of identification for travelers from those countries. 

The European Parliament voted today to, in fact, suspend our visa-free travel to the E.U — in time for summer vacations. But the vote was a non-binding resolution, and only "urges the revocation of the [visa-free] scheme within two months, meaning Americans will have to apply for extra documents for 12 months after the European Commission implements a 'delegated act' to bring the change into effect." 

In short: Don't panic ... yet. But the easy travel we've enjoyed to countries like France, Spain, Germany — and, yes, Poland, which has marvelous historic sites and a rich gastronomic culture — might be on the way out. 

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