The European Union (EU) is re-thinking travel as it relates to Americans and Canadians visiting Europe, and is in the initial stages of discussing a plan where visitors from these countries may need visas when simply travelling to the EU.
Officials in the EU note they may stop the current visa-waiver program for those living in the United States and Canada, as some citizens within the European Union nations require a visa when visiting these countries. Currently, those living in the U.S. and Canada merely need a passport to visit Europe, while those travelling to America, from Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, Romanian, and Cyprus need a visa to enter the country. Alternatively, those from Bulgaria and Romania require a visa to visit Canada as well.
Mina Andreeva, representative, European Commission notes that their objective is to achieve a mutual full waiver agreement for all citizens within the European Union.
CNN reports that the American government noted the countries listed above have not met the conditions around their visa waiver requirements. However, a state department representative did note that they will continue to have open discussions with each country regarding the requirements for the visa program, and how each nation is progressing in this regard.
The Great White North has also responded to this, with a representative from department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship stating that there is a need for Canada to be satisfied that the countries meet the conditions needed for a full visa waiver.
Under guidelines for the EU, the European Commission must advise around reciprocal visa requirements for those nations that prohibit visa-free travels for EU citizens, two years after notification of such. This deadline will pass as of April 12th, and the European Commission will gather to discuss this issue the week of April 18th. Should they decide to move forward with the change, it would come into effect four month after the ruling.
It’s important to note, should this ruling be approved, U.S. citizens could still travel without a visa to the UK and Ireland, as these countries do not participate in the EU visa program.