Soon American Travelers May Need Visa for Europe
When considering travel risk awareness, a well-run company evaluates many points and concepts. Safety is an important metric, but just one of many that need to be understood between good policy and continued diligence. Travel procedures are changing across the world all the time, and staying on top of these changes can be a challenge in itself. But, with solid and consistent administrative abilities, and the capability to communicate easily with your traveling business teams, most issues related to customs and documentation can be sorted out. One change that needs attention soon is the visa arrangement between Europe and the United States.
Earlier in March, the European Union Parliament voted to restore the requirements for visas to any American traveling to the continent. It is expected that these changes could very well take effect as soon as May 2017. This is based on consistent warnings to the United States (dating as far back as 2014) to change the current system. In short:
- Currently, the U.S.& E.U. have an agreement for visa-free travel rights for citizens traveling to either side of the pond.
- This agreement does not include Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland, and Romania (although they are E.U. member states).
- Japan and Australia were cited for the same issue by the E.U., but have since lifted their travel restrictions entirely. Canada is soon to do the same.
- However, even with the vote, a more official determination is likely to be delayed until the June 2017 meeting between the E.U. and U.S.
What does this mean for your company's travel plans in 2017? For one thing, Europe is a large and vital business and economic destination. Both economies could suffer from any restrictions, and statistics regarding American travel to Europe puts the figure at around 13 million people per year. A situation where an official visa is required for all American people traveling to any European country could create a bureaucratic challenge and make travel more difficult in general.
So, should you take action now within your organization for this potential possibility? The simple answer is not yet. The vote from the E.U. Parliament was non-binding, and most government officials on both sides expect the current agreement to remain. Although there are hurdles to get over, repealing what has been a successful international agreement regarding travel seems unlikely.
That said, it's also in your best interest, as well as being a good travel risk awareness practice, to keep the situation on your radar. By being up-to-date with the latest in travel news and policy, organizations can feel secure in travel plans and business arrangements across the world. For more information on the latest in travel news, as well as guidelines for travel from leaders in the industry, reference our blog.
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