No need to start panicking quite yet over European visas for U.S. citizens.
While the dispute is nothing new, the movement to change the standards is. The reasoning behind the motion is straightforward. Travelers from the United States have visa-free travel throughout the European Union (EU) and Schengen Zone. However, about 14% of EU travelers still require visas to enter the U.S. (Poland, Romania, Cyprus, Croatia, and Bulgaria).
This lack of reciprocity has moved EU parliamentarians to pass a motion to introduce temporary visa requirements requiring U.S. citizens to obtain a visa before visiting the EU. They hoped to introduce this temporary requirement within two months. However, the European Commission stated that a diplomatic solution was the preferred avenue of resolution, making the May deadline to start imposing visas unlikely.
Before everyone starts scrambling for tickets to visit before this requirement is put into place, we must be reminded that this dispute of reciprocity has been ongoing since 2014. Australia, Brunei, Canada, Japan and the U.S. were not providing reciprocity of visa-free travel to all EU citizens. Of the five countries, Japan, Brunei, and Australia have granted visa-free access to all EU citizens, while Canada and the U.S. have not done so yet.
Deutsche Welle reported that officials in the EU hoped to resolve the dispute during a U.S. and EU meeting scheduled for 15 June 2017. In short, a lot more time is needed for any sort of changes to be enacted. The parliament merely passed a non-binding resolution calling on the Commission to act.
Any type of law in Europe takes time and it would also take more time for each Member State to implement it. It’s too politically sensitive for the EU to legislate, likely only another warning will be given. If the Commission acts, it can be to issue another warning, which it did from 2014/2016, that stated reciprocity would be considered unless the U.S. changed. That warning expired, hence, the parliament passing a motion on the issue. The Commission can also do nothing. That would mean the Parliament takes the Commission to court, which, at a typical rate, would be 2-6 years of processes.
However, if you’re at all worried about not being able to get to the EU, go now, prices are ridiculously low! Below is a current map of everywhere U.S. citizens can visit visa-free.