Will US citizens need visas to visit EU countries?

European Parliament approves a non-binding resolution amid an ongoing dispute with the US over visa restrictions against five EU nations. But any move to reintroduce visa requirements would have to be approved by EU's member states first.

Photo by: AP Archive
Photo by: AP Archive

US citizens can currently enter European countries without a visa.

The European Parliament on Thursday said US citizens should have to get visas to visit the European Union (EU) member states as long as Washington refuses to allow permit-free travel for five of the bloc's countries.

A non-binding resolution approved by Members of European Parliament (MEPs) by a show of hands said the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, was "legally obliged to take measures temporarily reintroducing visa requirements for US citizens" within two months.

Any move to reintroduce visa requirements for US citizens would have to be approved by member states first, a process which could take years.

"Citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania still cannot enter US territory without a visa, while US citizens can travel to all EU countries visa-free," a parliament statement said.

The Commission should suspend the visa waiver system for US nationals for 12 months, it said.

European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, April 20, 2016. (Reuters)

The parliament statement noted that Canada also imposed visa requirements on Bulgarian and Romanian citizens but these restrictions were now due to be lifted in December.

A spokesperson for the EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos acknowledged the resolution and said he had resumed efforts to obtain full visa reciprocity during a recent visit to Washington.

"Our approach of continued engagement and patient diplomatic contacts brought tangible results with Canada. Our assessment of the situation with the US has not changed and we will continue our discussions," the spokesperson said.

TRTWorld and agencies