As if travel wasn’t already stressful enough, going to Europe is about to become a lot harder for U.S. residents. Until now, Americans traveling to Europe haven’t need a visa to visit as long as their stay clocked in at 90 days or less — but yesterday, the European Parliament voted to end this policy according to Reuters.
When the U.S. and the European Union struck the original deal, called the visa waiver program, it was with the understanding that the U.S. wouldn’t require visas for travelers from EU member countries. But citing security concerns, the U.S. has been requiring visas for travelers from Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania. In other words, we haven’t been holding up our end of the deal.
So the EU is retaliating by ending the policy that made it so easy for Americans to travel throughout Europe. It could be a costly decision too — more than 12.6 million U.S. citizens traveled to the EU in 2016, a number which could drop significantly if people have to start filling out time-consuming visa applications for every trip.
Now that the European Parliament has voted to end the visa waiver program, it will have to be approved by the European Commission, which is the executive branch of the European Union. If the Commission also decides that U.S. citizens should have to apply for visas, your life is going to be a lot more complicated the next time you plan a trip to Europe.
I have a hard enough time coming up with a packing list and making sure my e-ticket is on my phone when I’m going through airport security, never mind having to fill out mind-numbing paperwork in the months leading up to a trip — but it looks like it’s about to come to that.