08 November 2016

EU wants own ESTA

The European Commission would like to have an ESTA for Europe for American residents.

EU wants own ESTA

The ESTA is of course intended only for short trips to America, but the European Commission also wants a Visa Waiver Programme for Europe. This travel authorisation should then be an obligation for all travellers from ‘friendly countries’.

France and Germany

The countries of Germany and France are considered to be the two most important EU Member States. They have called in Brussels to appoint a mandatory Visa for the EU as a result of all the recent terrorist attacks in Europe, although there are no direct indications yet. This Visa would then become an obligation for all travellers from countries that normally do not need a Visa when traveling to countries within the EU such as: Australia, Canada, America, Japan, etc.


The trouble is that Canada and America both have their own Visa Waiver Programme, the ESTA for America and the eTA for Canada. Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus and Croatia must apply for a Visa when they want to travel to America, so they are outside the Visa Waiver Programme. Romania and Bulgaria cannot participate in Canada's Visa Waiver Programme, so they must request a Visa for America and Canada.


Brussels has stated several times to disagree to this, believes that all EU Member States should have the same rights and obligations and should not exclude countries. Ottawa (Canada's capital) and Washington (US capital) were urged to enter the Visa Waiver Programme for all countries of the European Union. If they would not do this, the European Union would also introduce the Visa Waiver Programme for America and Canada.


Brussels has repeatedly requested Ottawa and Washington to take action, but unfortunately this has not happened yet. Now Brussels does not dare to go ahead and takes a passive stand. This decision has been postponed twice by EU directors. The last time it was postponed dated back in July. In November this year, the presidential elections in America will be held and the EU has postponed this decision. They do not consider it appropriate now to cut this topic. The EU has decided to address this issue again in spring 2017 when the new president has arrived in the White House. Also the anti-terrorism card will then be addressed. The EU could use this to plead for its own Visa Waiver Programme.