European Parliament urges visa requirement for U.S. travelers

2 Mar 17

EUROPEAN UNION, UNITED STATES

IMPACT – MEDIUM

The European Parliament adopted a nonbinding resolution Thursday, calling on the EU to impose a visa requirement on U.S. nationals.

The resolution was the latest move in a long-running dispute between the EU and the U.S., with some EU officials saying that the U.S. should not have visa-free access to the EU unless it lifts visa requirements on five member states: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania.

The European Parliament called on the EU Commission to address the matter.

“The EU Commission is legally obliged to take measures temporarily reintroducing visa requirements for US citizens, given that Washington still does not grant visa-free access to nationals of five EU countries,” a statement from parliament said. “In a resolution approved on Thursday, MEPs urge the Commission to adopt the necessary legal measures ‘within two months.’”

The dispute dates back to 2014, when the EU issued a “notification of non-reciprocity” over the U.S.’s visa policies. The Commission issued a report on the matter in April 2016, outlining the economic and political consequences of suspending visa waivers for U.S. nationals.

Canada also imposes visa requirements on Bulgarian and Romanian citizens, but has said those requirements will be lifted Dec. 1.

BAL Analysis: While Thursday’s vote is nonbinding, it nonetheless was a strong statement from the EU about the U.S.’s visa policies toward five member states. The likelihood of imposing a visa requirement on U.S. nationals seems remote, especially given the economic and political consequences and the fact that the U.S. would most likely reciprocate by imposing visa requirements on all EU nationals traveling to the U.S. That said, U.S. nationals traveling to Europe should make sure they are traveling with the appropriate documentation and prepare for the possibility of additional scrutiny at EU points of entry.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact BerryApplemanLeiden@balglobal.com.

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