The European Commission issued a press release yesterday that essentially rapped the US government for failure to move on visa reciprocity with third countries. Currently, nationals of twelve European member states continue to require a visa to travel to the US unlike members of “old” Europe who enjoy visa-free travel to the US.
The EU has threatened to retaliate against the US by implementing visa requirements for its diplomats unless the rules are revised to allow for visa-free travel to all EU nationals. The failure to amend the rules is of a piece with DHS’ Great Wall of China mindset when it comes to tourism. Examples include two recent initiatives that do nothing to make the US more welcoming; one requiring even “Old” Europe nationals (who can come to the US without a visa) to register online beginning next year prior to traveling to the US while another involves the recording of all ten fingerprints for visitors. The palpable sense of exasperation shown by some visitors at any port of entry while attempting to enter the US is in contrast to the entry process at any EU port where no landing cards or customs cards is required for anyone regardless of nationality.