The United States is one of the least welcoming countries in the world based on our visa policy. Only Canadians, Palauans, Marshall Islanders, and Micronesians can come here without some sort of visa. Everyone else needs to either preregister for $14 or pay $140 for a ten year visa. Most people need to pay the $140.
I think this is ridiculous because many countries which require visas are safer than we are, and we are really not protecting ourselves by making German tourists pre-register before they invade with socks and sandals.
All jokes aside, this should be a much bigger diplomatic issue. There are a few options for countries to reciprocate. Some countries usually will charge the citizens of the other country the same amount before abolishing visas, but I think there is a better way to do this.
When most Americans travel abroad off the continent we will most likely travel to The European Union. These countries are our allies, and safer than us by practically every metric. There is absolutely no reason to have visas for German and French tourists. I count a visa as any document which a tourist must pre-register for and pay money before they arrive, whether there is a 99.9% approval rate or not. The European Union should negotiate with my country to get visa-free access for their citizens by making a demand.
Either all Schengen Treaty citizens get visa free access to the United States,or the following laws will trigger.
- Americans will have to pay $140 for a 10 year visa to visit the Schengen Area effective immediately. This will be an on-line application. Each and every applicant will be given a message that this is reciprocity, and if they want visa-free access to call their member of congress which the EU will provide for them on the page.
- Elected government officials must pay $1000 for a single entry 14 day visa to visit the European Union or Schengen Area effective immediately.
- The United States President and Secretary of State are banned from entering the European Union or Schengen Area effective immediately.
- Ambassadors must pay $3 per day to remain in the European Union. Starting 1 January 2021 Ambassadors must pay $1000 per day to remain in the European Union.
Or the United States can give EU and Schengen Area members visa-free entry.
Tourist visa fees will be refunded after visa-free access is granted.
This would probably work.
Unfortunately, the European Union is not doing this plan. Instead, under the leadership of Juncker they are deciding to go with a similar plan to the US, Canada, and Australia of having low-cost visas for tourists starting the beginning of 2021. They said themselves back when the US started charging for ETA that the idea that it would increase tourism is ludicrous. However, 8 years later they end up doing the same thing which will not help their tourism industry. It will not keep Europeans safe, neither will it increase goodwill between countries. Their system is even worse because applicants will need to announce which country they intend to enter in and will not be allowed to enter in other countries in the Schengen Area. This means that unless if they see sense before then that people will be required to always to fly through one country and then transfer, which will hurt tourism.
I personally have family in Germany, Finland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Saying I MUST always enter through Germany to go to Finland for a three year period is inconvenient, and doesn’t benefit anyone.
The system we have now where we present our passport when we arrive and get a stamp is as much as we need (probably more than we need actually) in terms of safety on both sides of the Atlantic relative to both countries. ETIAS is also not just being targeted at the US, Canada, and Australia who have similar absolutely ridiculous systems.
More than this, pre-registration like ESTA, ETA, and ETIAS push refugees out of sight and out of mind, enabling fascists. With the EU, Canada, USA, and Australia implementing such systems, the number of places where refugees can safely go to avoid persecution grow low in number. These programs are not being targeted at countries like Saudi Arabia which would be a real security risk given their attacks on other countries with their paramilitaries, but instead between free and developed countries, where they simply do not belong.
There also isn’t nearly enough research on the impact of such systems on tourism or safety, meaning they are not making us safer, and the government has failed to provide any proof that they actually keep terrorists from crossing borders.
We need proof that these are not working, and to abolish them as fast as politically possible. Europeans need to vote out EPP, Australians need to vote in Labour, and Americans need to vote in Democrats. Then a Democratic Party, Labour Party, Liberal, S&D alliance can work on ending visas between the EU, Canada, United States, and Australia since the far-right coalition has failed to provide any evidence that these programs actually keep people safe.
Wir sind ein Volk.
The ESTA was funded to support The Brand USA, a private-public partnership funded by ESTA visa fees to advertise tourism to the United States. They state on their website: “As one of the best levers for driving economic growth, international travel to the United States currently supports over two million American jobs (directly and indirectly) and benefits virtually every sector of the U.S. economy.”
Sounds like a self-aware wolf to me… because they are literally funded by a program which is proven to reduce tourism to the United States…
This is just too rich.