EU and Trump US visa war intensifies with both Americans and Europeans possibly losing visa-free travel rights

Americans may lose visa-free travel to Europe as the European Parliament responded to Washington’s refusal to allow EU citizens from some of the newer EU Countries visa-free travel access to the United States.  In a ‘show of hands’ vote the European Parliament has decided to end visa free travel for US citizens in its continuing  ‘visa battle’ between Brussels and the US.  However, this is a non-binding vote and in practice the visa restrictions may never be imposed.  

The US Trump Administration is also thinking of making it more difficult for European nationals wishing entry to the US under the B1 visitor for business and B2 visitor for pleasure visa scheme.  Most EU nationals can come under the B1/B2 visit visa waiver scheme for entry of under ninety days.  Under the visa waiver scheme  you need to apply online under ESTA the Electronic System for Travel Authorization.

MEPs have decided that US citizens crossing the Atlantic will be required to go through more complicated and difficult procedures to gain entry to the EU.  The visa quarrel between the EU and the US surfaced when America refused to allow citizens from Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania to travel to the States, visa-free.

Speaking to Telegraph Travel, a supplement of the Daily Telegraph, a European Parliamentary source said: “This is a seriously negative step in the EU-USA visa war.”

The Trump administration may in future make it more difficult for Europeans to gain visit visas to the US.  Recently at George Washington University the Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, said due to concerns about terrorism requirements for Europeans visiting the US should be reviewed.  The US B-1/B-2 Visit Visa waiver program has been very successful.  This has enabled nationals of 38 Countries for a cost of $14 to visit the US without the inconvenience of having to be interviewed at the local US Embassy or Consulate.

Sanwar Ali, Editor of workpermit.com News has the following comments about Trump and US Visa policy

Recently Donald Trump has issued an Executive Order for a review of the H1B visa scheme.  The H1B visa scheme for highly skilled overseas workers has come under attack by Trump.   What will happen after the review is yet to be seen.  Will it actually be possible for Congress to pass new legislation on the H1B visa scheme.  It has proved difficult for the US Congress to agree on major changes to US visa policy.   It has also proved difficult for both US President Trump and his predecessor President Obama to put through changes to US visa policy by Executive Order.  They have both faced legal challenges in the Courts to their Executive Orders.

If now Trump makes it significantly more difficult for EU nationals to visit the US this will no doubt increase the level of animosity towards the Trump administration in Europe as well.  Increasingly around the World people are deciding they will not visit the US on holiday.  The US tourism industry has lost hundreds of milliions of dollars in revenue since Trump was inaugurated as President.

As has been seen Trump frequently changes his mind.  Even if he is  able to will Trump in reality try and make major changes to the US H1B visa scheme.  It seems most of the Trump Cabinet and Trump himself benefits from the current H1B visa scheme.  It seems most people including Trump supporters and the Media have got things wrong about what Trump will do.

It also seems that some Neo-Nazi White Supremacist Groups who previously were very pro Trump have turned increasingly against Trump because of the air strikes in Syria.  They want to see good relations between the US and "White" Russia that supports Syrian President Assad. Andrew Anglin the owner of the Neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website, that previously referred to Trump as the "God Emperor", who is being sued for anti-semitic harassment has become much more luke warm about supporting Trump.   Richard B Spencer head of the white supremacist National Policy Institute who told his Audience during their annual conference on 20 November 2016 “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” recently had a demonstration opposing Trump military involvement in Syria.

Anyway, we will keep our readers informed of what is happening with US visas and other visas around the World.  It seems that the activities of Donald Trump continue to  be of great interest to people around the World.

Possible Suspension of Visa Free Program for US Citizens

It’s understood that the EU Commission now has two months to impose visit visa restrictions for Americans wanting to travel to Europe, after MEPs concluded that the EU is now ‘legally obliged’ to pause visa free access for US citizens for 12 months. However, as already mentioned individual EU Countries may decide not to go ahead with these visa restrictions.

This decision was reached after the US failed to meet a deadline in response to what’s known as ‘visa reciprocity’. However, Parliament will have the opportunity to object to anything proposed by the Commission.

The requirement to apply for a visa to travel to another country is widely considered to be off-putting for potential visitors, mainly because of the added cost and the time it takes for an application to be processed. A country that wants its tourism industry to excel will often look at lifting restrictions on existing visa requirements.

The decision to suspend Visa free access for US citizens was passed, despite a stark warning from the European Travel Commission (ETC) of the harm a visa war with the US could potentially have on the continent’s tourism sector.

In a joint letter to MEPs, Eduardo Santander, executive director of the ETC and Michael de Blust, secretariat of the Network for the European Private Sector in Tourism, wrote: “We fully understand and respect the visa waiver reciprocity mechanism embedded in European legislation to ensure that all nationals of Member States part of Schengen can benefit on equal terms from exemption of visa requirement.”

“However, we are very concerned about the economic and political impact of a suspension of visa waiver for US nationals. Making it more difficult for US citizens to travel to Europe would certainly deprive the European travel and tourism sector of essential revenue, and put thousands of European jobs at stake in one of the few sectors which experiences a strong growth in employment,” the letter said.

Failure of US to ensure visa waiver rights for all EU Citizens

In April 2014, the European Commission became aware that the US – plus Australia, Brunei, Canada and Japan – had failed to deliver reciprocal visa waiver rights for its citizens that Europe offered in return.

The Commission issued a two-year deadline for these countries to bring their visa programmes in line with those offered to their citizens by Europe. However, with those countries failing to meet the deadline, the Commission took action. Consequently, Australia, Brunei and Japan have since lifted their visa requirements, with Canada likely to follow suit by the end of 2017. However, the US has failed to act.

Responding to Europe’s demands that Bulgarian, Croatian, Cypriot, Polish and Romanian citizens are being denied US visa-free travel, the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs specified that those nations ‘do not yet meet security requirements for the US VWP.’

Speaking to Telegraph Travel, in a riposte to the EU vote, a State Department official said: “The objective of the US Visa Waiver Program is to facilitate travel to the United States while maintaining the highest standards of screening to protect national security.”

“The program is open to countries that have very low non-immigrant visitor visa refusal rates and immigration violations, issue secure travel documents, and work closely with US law enforcement and security authorities,” the official said.”

“We have maintained an open dialogue with EU officials—as well as officials from those Member States that require visas for travel to the United States—on this matter. It is premature to speculate on an imposition of visas on US citizens,” they added.

Fewer American tourists may visit Europe

An estimated 30 million US tourists visit Europe annually, spending more than $54 billion (£44bn). Meanwhile, MEP and chair of the Tourism Task Force, István Ujhelyi said: “The effect of terrorism in Europe in recent years emphasised how fragile our appeal is as a destination in long-haul markets.”

“This is not a time to put unnecessary obstacles in the way of one of the sectors most capable of generating employment,” he added.

UK nationals do not usually need a visa for entry to the US. However, they are required to apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) if travelling by air or ship to the US.

Workpermit.com can help with E1, E2, L1, H1B, B1 in lieu of H1B, B1 Business Visit Visas, E3 Visas and other types of US Visas

For more information, or to find out if you are eligible for an US work visa, contact WorkPermit.com on 0344 991 9222.