If recent news headlines have you wondering whether you’ll soon need a visa to visit Europe, don’t stress.
Before you start worrying about what this could mean for the US or the hypothetical hassle of applying for visas, we’ve rounded up the facts you need to know.
Here are some questions you might be asking yourself.
Q. Why would Europe require Americans to get a visa?
A. The situation arises because the US has not been in accordance with reciprocity agreements it made with the EU since 2014. Under this agreement, American citizens would be allowed to travel freely to EU member countries (known as the Schengen zone) without a visa, and vice versa. However, the US currently requires visas for citizens visiting from five European countries — Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania.
Q. What’s next?
A. The EU Parliament’s recommendation to impose visa requirements for Americans has reopened a dialogue with the US about its visa waiver agreements. However, industry experts suggest that added visa requirements for American travelers won’t happen. Tom Jenkins, CEO of the European Tourism Association, commented in a press release:
There is no imminent threat to current US-Europe visa waiver arrangements. So long as the US requires visas from some citizens of the EU, then the EU – as a whole – is obliged to reciprocate. The European Parliament is exploring the nature of that obligation.
As of now, nothing is set in stone. The chief spokesman for the European commission has appeared to quell concerns that new visa requirements will be imposed in two months by advocating for “continued engagement and patient diplomatic contacts with Washington.” In its next step, the commission will issue a progress report on its discussions with the US, but not before the end of June.
Q. I have a trip booked to Europe. Do I need to look into getting a visa?
A. No. It is unlikely that the EU Commission’s recommendations for visas will carry through. Of course, Grand European will let travelers know if any important changes happen in the future.
So will Americans need visas to travel to Europe? It’s highly unlikely.