Travelers from the U.S. are used to traipsing around Europe without worrying about visa fees and added paperwork. This summer should change that carefree, globetrotting view.
Just as the U.S. dollar nears parity with the euro ($1.06 for every euro), the European Parliament has voted to end free visa passage for U.S. citizens temporarily. The U.S. brought this on itself by requiring visas for travelers from Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania -- all European Union members -- but not the rest of the European Union. The other counties participate in a reciprocal visa-waiver program that's been admittedly beneficial to the EU as a whole.
"Making it more difficult for U.S. 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 experienced a strong growth in employment," says European Travel Commission Executive Director Eduardo Santander.
But that's the price you pay for violating EU rules that require al member citizens to be treated the same way. The visa-waiver exclusions were made well before President Trump took office, but the State Department's response indicates that the administration may not be so keen on extending the visa-waiver program to the entire EU.
"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 U.S. law enforcement and security authorities," the State Department said in a statement just oozing with subtext.
There's a U.S.-EU meeting in June that may clear all of this up, but in the meantime it's given U.S. travelers reason to consider the time and money that go into securing visas elsewhere on the globe. With help from the folks at HowMuch.net, here's a look at visa fees for U.S. travelers:
Editors' pick: Originally published April 13.