• European Commission Decides Not To Suspend Visa Waiver for U.S. Citizens
  • July 4, 2017
  • The European Commission has confirmed that the visa waiver program for U.S. citizens will not be suspended at this time due to its belief that it would be counter-productive to do so. This comes as a response to the European Parliament's March 2017 resolution requesting that the European Commission suspend the short-term visa exemption for U.S. citizens. In its decision, the Commission also considered the United States’ long-standing commitment to admit Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program once they have met the requirements stipulated by the related U.S. legislation.

    Background

    The European Union currently grants a visa exemption for 90 days in any 180-day period for U.S. citizens staying in the European Union. However, in the United States, in order to be included in the Visa Waiver Program, among other requirements, a country must have a U.S. visa refusal rate of less than 3%. Since Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania have a refusal rate of more than 3% (among other Visa Waiver Program requirements that they have not met), the U.S. has not included them in the Visa Waiver Program thus far.

    In recent months, the United States has reconfirmed its commitment to admit these five countries to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program once they have met the requirements stipulated by the related U.S. legislation.

    An updated progress report by the European Commission is expected in December 2017.

    What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    There will be no impact for U.S. citizens travelling to the European Union for business or tourism.

    Until the visa waiver reciprocity issues that triggered the consideration of this measure are resolved, nationals of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania must continue to obtain consular visas prior to travelling to the United States.