Or at least it looks like it may be changing soon.
So, if you are a US citizen planning a trip or already circling the globe on your adventures, you will want to keep an eye on the widely reported happenings in the EU right now.
This week, the first step – namely a preliminary vote (the first of three) – on new visas requirements for all America visitors to EU countries – basically, whether they should implement visas.
If, for some reason, you haven’t seen the news about this, here’s a quick breakdown:
In 2014, the EU found out the the US and four other countries had created visa requirements for 5 EU countries despite international agreements that citizens from these countries could travel as tourists without said visas. We had 24 months to fix this and, while the other four countries amended their laws, the US did not. If the EU follows through on the next steps – which given the current state of affairs in international relations is probable – any American traveling through the EU will have to pre-plan every stop and apply for visas before heading out.
The truth of the matter is not many Americans who casually travel have to worry much about visas – there are a lot of countries in and outside of the EU that we still have agreements with – so travelers can easily move around the world with little trouble and forethought. I remember, however, friends in London who are from countries without these agreements who had to forego trips with friends (for times like reading week) because they weren’t given the time to apply for a visa before everyone was off and away.
Plus, planning a trip can be hard enough without having to remember all your information for visas at every stop. However, this is the world we are quickly becoming a part of, therefore, just in case, here are a few things you ought to gather and remember:
1. Keep an up to date list of places you have traveled up and the dates of that travel spanning the last 10 years. You can look at an app like the TravelStory app I talked about a while back (who knew that would become so relevant?). Having this list already made up will seriously save you a giant headache later.
2. Throughout these next few months, anyone who has made plans to travel later in the year will want to keep an eye on this situation and start looking at what you’ll need to get a standard visa, especially at short notice. You can pay a little more and expedite the visa process but if you need more than one, this will cost you and, chances are, will still take time. This will be even worse if many Americans are all trying to get this done at the same time!
3. If this passes and the US can’t create a new agreement, airports may get a little insane. Just like my mom had no idea that this was happening, there will be people all over the US who have no idea that there was more for them to do, and this will gum up the works. Make sure that you give yourself extra time so no one else makes you late and all your extra work is for not. This is important for each stop along the way – your visas time frame shouldn’t be tight enough to cause you an issue, but it’s a good thing to pay attention to.
Again, this is a lot of ‘be prepared’ and ‘just in case’s but it is better to stay ahead of any unexpected policy changes and keep yourself informed.
This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.