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Will Europe end Visa Waiver for Americans?


In a diplomatic rumbling that predates the Trump administration, Europe and the U.S. are at war over visas, and U.S. citizens may soon need to get them for travel to Europe.

The issue is that 5 EU nations are excluded from the U.S. Visa Waiver program, which allows citizens of eligible countries to visit the U.S. without obtaining a visa. In return, U.S. citizens don't need visas to travel to members of the European Union.

But the EU is listening to protests from the 5—Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania—that Europe should back them up, and that the European principle of freedom of movement is involved.

A show-of-hands vote week before last in the European Parliament instructed the European Commission, the EU's executive, to suspend the Visa Waiver Program with the U.S. for a year because the U.S. had not met a deadline to include the 5. The Commission was given two months to implement the rule.

The deadline the U.S. missed was set in 2014, when European authorities identified the U.S., Australia, Brunei, Japan and Canada as not complying with reciprocity. The deadline expired at the end of last year, but only the U.S. has not complied.

Tourism authorities and travel industry spokespeople on both sides of the ocean are hoping the problem can be resolved; it's generally agreed that the hassle of having to obtain extra documents puts people off travel to those countries.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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