Over the past few hours, the USA and Turkey have banned the issuance of travel visas that effectively bans American citizens from entering Turkey, and vice versa. Turkey issued their ban hours ago after the USA instituted the ban earlier on Monday (October 9).
This comes as part of the American protest over the arrest of a Turkish citizen who worked for the US Embassy in Ankara. The Turks claim the employee has links to Fethullah Gulen, an individual that Turkey believes is behind terrorist attacks within their borders.
Typically, Americans traveling to Turkey simply buy their Visas at the airport in Istanbul or other points of entry and proceed to enter the country with no problem. However, as a result of this suspension this is no longer possible and Americans traveling to Turkey in the near term will not be allowed to enter the country. This ban applies to the online Turkish E-Visa system as well.
Turkish Airline flights between the USA and Turkey have not been impacted thus far. No US based carrier flies to Turkey.
The situation is quite fluid so expect more updates.
The US State Department has issued a supplemental form for those who need a Visa to enter the USA. Though it is not breaking news since the State Department said previously that they were heading in this direction, it is now part of the process to gain entry to the states.
Not everyone applying for a Visa will be required to submit this supplement. According to the Federal Register, it is expected that this supplement may affect 65,000 Visa applicants.
The form itself is quite clear in terms of what information is needed:
- Personal history, including passport info and countries visited over the last 15 years.
- Information on siblings and spouses.
- All of your email addresses over the past 5 years, including personal, work, and educational addresses.
- All of your social media handles and aliases over the past 5 years.
- Employment history over the past 15 years.
In looking at the fine print, it appears that this form is set to expire in November 2017. The State Department offers no information as to whether or not this enhanced screening will continue beyond the expiry of this form. Normally forms like this are approved by the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) are valid for 3 years.
With this form only being valid until November, I can’t help but think it’s a temporary measure put in place by the White House on heels of their strategy to temporarily increase scrutiny on those wishing to enter the country.
A few days ago, you’ll recall that I wrote about a wildcat proposal by EU Ministers to bring about visa requirements for Americans and Canadians wishing to visit EU member states. A vote was to take place this month on whether or not to move forward on the proposal and seek the approval of EU member states.
Apparently the EU may have been playing chicken, and they ‘Bawwwwked’……
In an unsurprising development, The EU Commission conveniently delayed the vote until July 12, 2016 to ‘allow all sides to reach an amicable reconciliation’ and ‘to extensively scrutinize and take into account potential adverse political consequences that might arise from such proposals or decisions’.
No kidding or as we say in ‘Murrica, No S**t.
The US and Canada were not the only targets. Brunei, Japan, and Australia all face the same ‘wrath’ from the EU.
So for the time being, it looks like this issue has been put away and like most initiatives launched by the inmates that run the EU asylum, it will probably be forgotten as the next shiny distraction comes along to occupy to EU Commission.
Unfortunately it is not a typo.
In an escalating trade ‘row’ between the EU, USA, and Canada some in the EU Commission are toying with the idea of introducing Visa requirements for Americans and Canadians wishing to enter the EU.
The whining from the EU stems from the fact that the USA and Canada require visas for citizens of Romania and Bulgaria, both of whom are members of the EU. The EU’s complaint to the US and Canada is that all of their member nations should be treated similarly when it comes to travel requirements and thus Romanians and Bulgarians should not have to apply for visas if their fellow EU-ians don’t face the same requirements.
In addition to the mutual exclusion of Bulgarians and Romanians from the visa waiver by the US and Canada, the US also requires visas from citizens of Poland, Cyprus, and Croatia all of which are members of the EU.
Is this a serious proposal?
Yes, insomuch that it is being debated in the EU Commission and the decision to submit this proposal to the EU Parliament and Council could come later in the month.
What are the odds of success?
Slim to none. Such a radical policy change would require approval of the member states and it is widely expected that the member states would not vote in favor, knowing the potential economic impact their respective economies would face if all of a sudden it was harder for Americans and Canadians to travel to Europe. Recent statistics suggest that upward of 15 million Americans visited Europe in 2015. Putting visa requirements on this group will stress this figure going forward and cripple tourism in Europe.
Why is this a thing?
Well, it looks as though it’s being used as a bit of extortion. In parallel to these threats is the ongoing negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement which would theoretically boost economic activity between the EU, the USA, and the rest of the world if implemented. And wouldn’t you know, there is a series of high level meetings between heads of states coming in the next 2-3 weeks that seek to move the TTIP agreement closer to implementation.
In my humble opinion this is simply a weak-minded ploy by the EU to try and exert some kind of extortion to improve their position during the TTIP negotiations. Apparently the powers that be within the EU leadership did not finish near the top of their class when it comes to negotiation skills.
Perhaps I should send them a copy of Donald Trump’s ‘The Art Of The Deal’? 🙂