The European Union (EU) has been considering changing the requirements for Canadians traveling to Europe for some time now, but they’re having trouble making a decision. Currently, Canadian citizens are able to travel to Europe without any Europe visas. However, Canada requires that citizens of Romania and Bulgaria – both European Union countries – must have visas in order to visit Canada. Many in the European Union feel that this is an unfair discrepancy and therefore wish to start requiring Canadians to obtain a visa to Europe before visiting. People who live elsewhere in the European Union can visit Canada without visas. Only Romania and Bulgaria are currently excluded.
According to the Canadian government, they look at several factors when deciding whether or not to require a visa from citizens of a particular country. These factors include the number of visa applications that are refused as well as immigration violation rates. Evidently, Canada does not feel that the citizens of Romania and Bulgaria can be trusted to return home when they are supposed to.
Recently, however, Canada decided to lift travel visa requirements for Mexican visitors to Canada. This perturbed some members of the EU, who felt that Romania and Bulgaria should be given the same consideration. Of course, the Canadian government feels that it tries to be fair to all countries when considering whether or not to impose travel visa requirements.
If the EU and Canada cannot come to a conclusion about what should be done, there’s the risk that the Canada-EU trade agreement will not be fully ratified. Bulgaria may choose not to sign the deal if Canada continues to require visas for its citizens. This could have big implications for both Canada and the European Union.
In order to better assess the situation, officials from Canada have traveled to Romania to examine current conditions in the country, and it will soon do the same in Bulgaria.
Whatever happens, it seems that the EU will continue to drag its feet before making a decision. It is possible that Canadians will need a visa to visit European countries within the next few months, but once a decision is made, it will likely take a while to be implemented.
For the time being, Canadians should enjoy every opportunity they can to travel to Europe without restrictions (and the people of Mexico should take advantage of their new travel privileges to Canada, as well).
Laurie Lee is co-founder and CEO of Swift Passport and Visa Services. A Chicago native, Laurie loves adventure travel, especially to the Caribbean. She enjoys writing for the Swift Post, as well as for her personal blog, Spare Parts- www.sparebodyparts.com.