• European Parliament Approves Resolution Regarding Visa Exemption for U.S. Citizens
  • May 9, 2017
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • The European Parliament has passed a resolution asking the European Commission to end the short-term visa exemption for U.S. citizens traveling to the European Union. This exemption allows tourism and business travel up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Negotiations between EU and U.S. officials are ongoing, and there is no immediate impact of this resolution for U.S. citizens traveling to the European Union.

    Next Steps

    The European Parliament’s resolution requests the European Commission to take action in the next two months to suspend the U.S. visa exemption for 12 months. Even if the European Commission decides to do so, the European Parliament or Council may object within four months of the suspension.

    Background

    The European Union currently grants a visa exemption for 90 days in any 180-day period for U.S. citizens during their stay in the Schengen Area; however, the United States does not grant a short-term visa exemption for nationals of EU Member States that, per the rules of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, have a U.S. visa refusal rate of more than 3%. These include Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania.

    In April 2014, the above five EU member states notified the European Commission that because of the United States’ refusal to grant their nationals a visa waiver, the Commission should adopt a rule requiring U.S. citizens to obtain a visa to travel to these countries for short trips.

    The European Commission has not yet adopted a suspension; however, the European Commission progress reports from July and December 2016 indicate that the United States has not made significant progress to lift the related visa requirements. An updated progress report is expected in June 2017.

    What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    There is no immediate impact of this resolution, and negotiations between EU and U.S. officials are ongoing. It is unlikely that any changes will be announced before the European Commission adopts a new progress report in June.