USA, Canada and Schengen: IATA appeals to get visa issues resolved


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on EU and North American governments to resolve a looming crisis for the EU–US/Canada visa waiver program. Today, most EU citizens can visit the US and Canada without having to apply for a visa, with US and Canadian citizens being granted similar visa-free access to EU states.

Canada and the US, however, require nationals from some EU states to obtain visas.

Canada requires visas for nationals from Bulgaria and Romania.
The US requires visas for nationals from Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Cyprus, and Poland.

In January 2014 a reciprocity clause was included in the Schengen legislation. Under that clause, visa-free access to EU countries (except UK and Republic of Ireland) can only be granted to citizens of a third country if that third country offers reciprocal visa-free access.

The European Parliament and the Council have until 12 July 2016 to advise the European Commission on whether the provisions of the 2014 reciprocity amendment should be enforced for Canadian and US citizens.

According to the European Travel Commission, more than 30 million Canadian and US tourists visit Europe each year, spending over $54 billion.

“Nobody wants to risk the economic consequences of introducing new requirements for travelers from Canada and the US to Europe. We are calling on the EU institutions to agree upon a proportionate approach, in cooperation with their US and Canadian counterparts,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President, Europe.

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Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.