European Parliament Votes to End Visa-free Travel For U.S. Citizens Due To Lack Of Reciprocal Action


European lawmakers in Brussels have voted in favor of canceling the Visa Waiver Program for U.S. citizens based on a regulation that requires reciprocal action with all EU countries.

Currently the United States and Canada still require some E.U. Member countries to apply for visas since these do not fulfill the requirements for Visa Waiver Travel set by the U.S. and Canada.

This week the European Parliament voted in favor if ending visa free travel at least for U.S. citizens which is however a non-binding resolution (for now).

The first time this matter came up was roughly a year ago and we also wrote about it here on LoyaltyLobby (access our previous article here). Since then Canada has made some progress in allowing additional countries (Bulgaria & Romania) to enter visa free but the U.S. has not implemented any changes.

Yesterday The Independent (access here) reported about the E.U. vote that was a year in the making.

The European Parliament has voted to end visa-free travel for Americans within the EU.

It comes after the US failed to agree visa-free travel for citizens of five EU countries – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania – as part of a reciprocity agreement. US citizens can normally travel to all countries in the bloc without a visa.

The vote urges the revocation of the scheme within two months, meaning Americans will have to apply for extra documents for 12 months after the European Commission implements a “delegated act” to bring the change into effect.

The Commission discovered three years ago that the US was not meeting its obligations under the reciprocity agreement but has not yet taken any legal action. The latest vote, prepared by the civil liberties committee and approved by a plenary session of parliament, gives the Commission two months to act before MEPs can consider action in the European Court of Justice. …

The Commission is legally obliged to act to suspend the visa waiver for Americans, but the European Parliament or the Council of the European Union have the chance to object to the “delegated act” it uses to do so.

If the E.U. cancels the Visa Waiver program it’s almost guaranteed that the U.S. will retaliate. This is completely out of control and pretty much the nuclear option to spoil travel for all European Citizens.

The E.U. already messed up their relationship with China due to the difficulties applying for Schengen Visas. to the point where it is a pain for EU citizens to get Chinese tourist visas while U.S. and Canadian citizens can apply for a 10 year visa at little cost.

At the same time E.U. border security is pretty much non-existent with a constant flow of Migrants from North Africa and the Middle East streaming into the country. One has to ask the obvious question if it’s really the right time to push for this issue before cleaning at our own doorstep. Talk about worrying about the wrong issues here.


This is pretty much the cost of expansion of the European Union. They took in more and more countries with a very poor economic structure that do contribute very little to the community while their demographics are posing a certain risk when it comes to safety and security. I don’t see why other countries such as the U.S. or Canada should take the E.U. decision “they are good enough” at face value and allow all these people into their country without a visa – especially nowadays.

It would probably be better to apply resources in another way and start working with the Chinese to simplify their Visa Application process considering the amount of money that Chinese tourists spend while vacationing in Europe. There is very little to no risk that Chinese citizens would even want to immigrate illegally to Europe (again, especially in times like these) so why burden them with overly complicated requirements and at the same time alienate E.U. citizens requiring a visa for China? Politics…

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  • johan

    In what way does the demographics of Poland pose “a certain risk when it comes to safety and security.” of the US?

    • cscasi

      Too many come over and fail to go back! That equates to being here illegally thereafter. That’s one reason why.

    • Gaijinsan

      Likely the comment was targeted toward Bulgaria and perhaps Romania. Poland is no issue.

  • Aaron

    This article just stinks of ignorance. It’s clear you don’t know much about European politics so why form such a strong opinion on it?

    Not saying I agree with the EU decision, but what you’re saying is nuts.

  • JustSomeRando

    as an EU citizen living in the US, all I can say is that this is yet another idiotic move by the European Parliament. They should be focusing on fixing their own border issues, addressing the unequal integration of immigrants, solving the extremism in the banlieues, et al

  • Barbarella

    Dear Sebastian, it must be your age (I try to avoid terms like “ignorance”) that makes you write all those pretty offensive statements re. certain EU members. I am sure you have at least access to Wikipedia on your fancy smartphone (somewhere between all your platinum and diamond e-cards and F class boarding passes). If not, just please google “Yalta 1945” to know what caused that harsh division of Europe for over four decades.
    Perhaps you should ask your own ancestors what led to the Yalta conference.
    And please start using more self-reflection. Besser spät als nie

    • cscasi

      Yalta 1945 was 72 years ago. And, after the Russians left, those countries, there has been adequate time for them to get things back together and come of age. But, there are those who are still behind the power curve, for whatever reasons. Not Sabastian’s fault.

      • Barbarella

        Post Yalta “order” lasted until the fall of the Berlin wall and that was in 1989. “those countries” as you call them had not had any Marshall plan or free market economy for *half century* and you expect Romania or Bulgaria or Croatia to have GDP of the Netherlands. Please…
        Sebastian’s fault?? Nope, he’s just formulating all those ubermensch-like statements but in reality sounds like a nouveau riche with a huge inferiority complex

        • rdrago43

          @disqus_D35D2Zq1Mi:disqus – while I understand your response to @cscasi:disqus , your point about Eastern Europe didn’t really have a Marshall Plan, decades to recover, look at China: they have gone from insignificant to the world’s 2nd largest economy in a very short period of time.

          • Barbarella

            We cannot compare apples to oranges. Look at what happened to Greece which should have rather benefited from staying on the other side of the Iron Curtain and which had joined EEC even before Spain did.
            Also, in 2017 we should not be using terms like Eastern Europe which is a pure Cold War term. Look at the map: Berlin lies just 80 miles from the Polish border and Zagreb lies over 1,200 (twelve hundred) miles West from Moscow.
            It’s CENTRAL Europe.

    • Although I and Sebastian agree about 99% when it comes to airline and hotel loyalty programs, we have bit different views about the EU at the present (both EU citizens).

      My opinion is that bringing the Eastern European countries into the EU was the right thing to do. The problem now is that they have turned extremely right wing and against the EU while taking billions every year as EU infrastructure money.

      • Barbarella

        John, I appreciate your comment. Travel restrictions are against travellers slash regular people and not against governments unless they are in a form of the imposed UN sanctions. As there are Americans who have been astonished with Donald Trump’s victory, or Brits who haven’t accepted Brexit I am sure there are also people in those Central European countries who are ashamed of their right wing governments. I was ashamed when Berlusconi was Italy’s prime minister so I can sympathize.

        I found Sebastian’s comments offensive as it was not against some radical government in some country, it was offensive to the people of those specific nations. VERBATIM “while their demographics are posing a certain risk when it comes to safety and security”. Demographics? Safety and security? Really?

  • Steve

    As I see the ESTA nowadays (compared to a couple of years ago) almost with the full set of questions like if I apply for a regular visa for other countries I second the decision and hope that it’s going to happen, at least for the US. The only difference between ESTA and a visa application is that you can do it online and don’t need to show up in person …

    • Gaijinsan

      You also don’t get a giant full page sticker plastered in your passport. I can get 6-8 individual entry stamps on a page depending on the officer’s flexibility in the booth, I’ll take Electronic Authorization any day over an actual visa. Quite a few countries use them, it’s certainly not only the US.

      • Steve

        I do not disagree on that one, I’m just saying that it should be equality for both sides. I also went through the electronic thing for Australia last year, but it was for free! (Another thing I think is a pain in the a*** in the US system)

        • Gaijinsan

          Been about 4-5 years since I went to Australia, but for a US citizen it wasn’t free. If I recall correctly, some travel agents actually “could” process it free if they wanted to but for the most part everyone charged about $20.

          I certainly understand as well the desire for equality on both sides, but in fact the EU is not a country, it is made up of many sovereign nations, some more stable than others. A very key restriction on nations wishing to enter the scheme is regarding their citizens’ visa rejection rate and overstay %. Can the EU fix that? There are usually deeper underlying problems creating those issues.

          • The Australian evisitor (or whatever it is called) is completely free for Europeans and different interface compared to the paid one offered to many others.

  • Max von Driska

    Agree, they should fix the borders and “invite” the Eastern members to leave the bloc.

  • Steffe

    Funnily enough, the serious crime statistics of the US compared to EU are on a completely different level. As well as number of criminals / capita.
    Good move from the EU to stop the criminals from coming to the continent.

  • allma385

    Agreed – what have Croatia or Cyprus ever done for us? They’re obviously a threat to the US.

    F*ck those puny countries for expecting equality. I’m with you Sebastan, you should be our Führer – the whole idea of the union was not to inconvenience travel for the rest of us.

  • Bill___A

    The EU is a mess and cannot even agree amongst themselves regarding immigration issues. The USA and Canada, by selectively requiring visas, are doing what’s best, which is to allow people from the vast majority of countries to enter visa free, while requiring some to get visas. Until the EU gets their collecive act together, they should refrain from telling others what to do.

    • Holiday_Hero

      Do you know what happened the last time a self important dictatorship picked on Poland?

  • ilya

    One visa to EU area is also visa to Schengen area free travel within Schengen participating countries. The key principle of on international diplomatic relations is reciprocity – thus difficult to imagine a situation in where US visa (to EU nationals) covers California and Florida but not Texas and Minnesota. US negotiates as federation, the same principle is for the EU regarding visas.

    • ilya

      to continue: would it then make sense for the EU to state that visa-free travel is OK for people from California and Minnesota, but people from other states need a visa? I doubt that US would accept this kind of deal.

    • cscasi

      That is what the European Union decided to do within the borders for which if has jurisdiction; not what the United States decided, wanted or had any say in. So, it can do what it wants and the United States can do what it wants. The United States does not have to comply with the wishes of the European Union.

  • dave the knave

    Not sure how the USA requirement makes sense but the European Parliament is fiddling while Rome burns…and Malmo and Stockholm and Paris and….

  • Holiday_Hero

    “They took in more and more countries with a very poor economic structure that do contribute very little to the community while their demographics are posing a certain risk when it comes to safety and security”


    Not sure if your intention was to alienate your readers, but that is what you are doing.

  • Marek

    This little analysis is dramatically stupid and a sign of eternal ignorance spreading over the Internet. Eastern European countries are the positive force in maintaining security in the EU dominated by the craziness of Germany, Sweden and others. Crime rates such as intentional homicide per 100,000 are 0.7 (Poland – the safest country in the OECD) versus 3.9 (US – best in years). Do I have to continue?

    • cscasi

      You are right. They are good in some areas, but not up to speed in others.

  • EU citizen

    Kudos for the EU!

    We are a Union! and as such all countries share the same rights and obligations for good and for bad, and in the same way, the UE has the obligation to defend the rights of citizens from all member states, against their own states, other EU states, and foreign countries as well.
    This is the beauty of being a European Citizen!

    What the European MP’s have done, is just reafirming the EU’s sovereignty and solidarity, besides, let’s not forget that EU travellers are bound to get an ESTA before travelling to the US, basically a visa, if in e-format.

    As for Chinese visa system, the EU is in it’s right to control the flow of tourist and financial refugees from the P.R.C. I for one, am totally behind a close scrutiny of visa applications from China, considering:

    1. How a destination falls in attractivity once mass PRC tourism is allowed (i.e. see what happened in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Cambodia…)
    2. The high level of fraud encountered in PRC loged visa applications to the EU. (vox populi amongst Consular officials in the PRC)

    3. The increase of financial, immigration and tax crimes linked to networks of PRC individuals. (see clandestine workshops in Italy, GaoPing case in Spain, etc)

    • Ian MacKenzie

      “EU sovereignty”
      Three cheers for Brexit !!!