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Canadian, US Travellers Can Breathe Sigh of Relief: Visa Waiver to be Kept Intact

Here's a bit of good news for Canadian and American travelers headed to Europe this summer: You will still be able to travel to France or Italy, visa-free.

AFP Relaxnews

Updated:May 8, 2017, 9:50 AM IST
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Canadian, US Travellers Can Breathe Sigh of Relief: Visa Waiver to be Kept Intact
The European Commission has decided to keep visa-free travel for Canadian and US travelers. (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ yenwen / Istock.com)

Here's a bit of good news for Canadian and American travelers headed to Europe this summer: You will still be able to travel to France or Italy, visa-free.

For months, the specter of being slapped with visa requirements hung low over the heads of Canadian and US travelers following a dispute about visa reciprocity.

At issue was the fact that citizens from countries like Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania were excluded from visa waivers for travel to Canada and the US, a privilege enjoyed by other EU countries.

But in a statement issued this week, the European Commission said they've decided that a suspension of visa waivers would be "counterproductive at this moment."

"Our goal is and remains to obtain full visa reciprocity with both Canada and the US," said Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos in a statement.

"Our continued engagement and patient diplomatic contacts over the past year have brought tangible results already with Canada, and we are committed to proceeding in the same way with the US Dialogue with our strategic partners is the right way forward and we are on the right track."

On May 1, Canada lifted the visa requirements for some categories of Bulgarian and Romanian citizens and is set to achieve full reciprocity as of December 1.

Talks are also ongoing for achieving visa reciprocity in the US.

Overall, it's good news for travelers on both sides of the Atlantic, especially at a time when travel headlines have been dominated by a string of head-shaking incidents like air rage, overbooking and bumping issues and on-board violence.

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