After the E.U. commission made the proposal to introduce a requirement for Americans and Canadians to get visas before traveling to their member countries, authorities have discussed and on Tuesday, April 13, they have delayed any decisions to be made within three months.

European Union flags outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. Credit: GBE Factory EU

“The Commission is … today inviting the European Parliament and the (European) Council (of member states) to urgently launch discussions and to take a position on the most appropriate way forward… and to inform the Commission on their respective positions by 12 July 2016 at the latest,” the EU’s executive arm said in a statement.

Right now, Americans and Canadians can travel to E.U. nations without needing a visa, due to a visa-waiver program, which frustrates some E.U. countries because the privilege is not mutual, since the citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania are required to have a visa before visiting the United States, as well as to Canada from Bulgaria or Romania.

United States officials have said these countries do not meet the legal standards required for visa waivers, and that is why their citizens need visas to enter the country.

The European Commission, first, needs to launch a legal procedure to suspend its visa-waiver programs. A deadline was set for July 12, where a decision has to be made before that date. But even if the Commission decides to implement the new visa requirement, this will not take effect until 2017. This is due to the fact that the majority of governments, and the European Parliament, would have six months to block the move.

The E.U. claims reciprocity to the United States on a case-by-case basis, said a State Department spokesperson, adding that the objecting countries, such as Canada and the United States, have not met the legal requirements.

After July 12, Americans and Canadians may have to need visas to travel to the E.U., either for tourism, business or family visits.

Source: The New York Times