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Say goodbye to unauthorized trips from the US to Europe

Once upon a time, US citizens could travel to almost every country in the European Union for 90 days without asking any government for permission beyond showing a passport at the initial point of entry. It was, and still is, for a few waning months, a wonderful, if little recognized, achievement for freedom.

Alas, the days of frictionless travel will soon be a thing of the past. Beginning at an as-yet-unspecified date in early 2024, Americans and residents of 62 other countries that currently enjoy visa-free visits to the Schengen area of the EU will need to pay a fee and submit an online application (including biometric information, work experience, medical conditions and initial itinerary), then pass a criminal/security background check before enjoying this croissant at look gay The sad name European travel authorization and information system (ETIAS) is expected to cost €7 per application and take up to 14 days to make a decision.

Before you start shaking your fist at the freedom-hating Eurocrats, know that ETIAS is the belated continental response to a system that the US has imposed on residents of friendly countries since 2009, called Electronic travel authorization systemor THIS ONE. Like ETIAS, ESTA is a response to 21st century terrorist attacks and combines modest fees ($21) with less-than-instant response times (about 72 hours promised). They both tweak and torpedo (depending on your point of view) the notion of reciprocity.”visa exemption“Travel between high trust countries.

American passports have been given for a long time red carpet treatment around the world, due to the country’s economic weight and traditional leadership role in negotiating international barriers to the movement of people (and goods). The latter ethic began to deteriorate after the Cold War, with the rise of bipartisan policy against illegal immigration in the early 1990s, and then seriously after Saudi nationals pulverized the World Trade Center with stolen planes on September 11, 2001.

The Implementation recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 required travelers from visa-exempt countries (now 40) to submit an application using a machine-readable passport, volunteer a lot of personal information and correctly answer a series of potentially disqualifying questions. Like some of us mentioned at that time, “Whatever we impose on the world, the world will come to impose on us.”

Since then we have imposed even more restrictions, which many Europeans are discovering this summer with dismay. First was the Exclusion 2015 (endorsed by several libertarian-leaning legislators) of dual nationals from both an existing visa-exempt country and Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria, as well as anyone (apart from those in selected professions) who had visited any of ‘these countries since 2011. Then, in 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) added Libya, Somalia and Yemen to the list.

Having been encouraged by the Barack Obama administration, President Donald Trump in his first days in office singled out these exact seven countries for a travel ban and refugees. And it wasn’t over. All it takes is an officer (yes political and arbitrary) The US government’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism for a country that is retroactively declared off-limits to potential visa-free visitors to America.

Thus, as of 2019, citizens of visa-waiver countries who had visited North Korea since 2011 were no longer eligible for visa-waiver treatment. Then, in August 2022 (based on a Trump administration decision), Cuba was added to the no-go list retroactive to 2021; the ESTA application system was updated with a Cuba travel question only this month.

What appeared to Europeans to be a routine questionnaire administered mainly by airlines has now produced the shocking result that they have to spend $160 and wait many, many months you may (or may not!) get permission to travel to the United States. Just over 300,000 Europeans from Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Portugal visited Cuba in 2022, according to the Cuban government.

So, because of 9/11 and the 2014 terrorist attacks around the world, and the partisan swing of politics toward communist Cuba, peaceful Europeans who want to spend money in the U.S. they are being thwarted in the name of fighting terrorism. It’s a stupid policy that will undoubtedly make America poorer while having a marginal (if any) impact on security.

Could the EU retaliate in some way, by exempting more US passport holders from the already modified visa waiver system? On the one hand, visa policies are by definition reciprocal; on the other hand, Washington has more power and can move with much more bureaucratic speed than Brussels. The most likely targets for any future retaliation would be the Americans dual citizenship in disadvantaged countries, or perhaps even those who have traveled to countries that the Eurocrats have deemed beyond the pale. Always remember it happened here first.

Governments love to have humans maximum searchable in the databases, using digitized identification. For a long time, it was irritable Americanswith its stubborn notions of privacy and freedom— the right to go about life without showing papers to people with guns — who led the resistance against the responsibility, of having to ask officials for permission. Now it’s us pushing the rest of the “free world” to go biometric and global banking one-click information from the government. Shame, that.


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