Visas For American Travelers

img_9497As a Filipino American dual citizen, I will be directly affected by the European Union Parliament’s (EU) decision to end visa-free travel for Americans visiting countries within the EU.

The vote comes after the US failed to agree to visa-free travel for citizens of five EU countries – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania – as part of a reciprocity agreement. US citizens can normally travel to all countries in the bloc without a visa.

So once this goes into effect, I will need to secure a visa to visit my friends in Germany or embark on a cultural/historical tour of Poland.

Because I believe in basic fairness, I gladly accept this change.  It is time that the U.S. realized that to co-exist in the world community, it has to stop this thinking of being the “best and greatest” nation, entitled to privileges it does not extend to others.

Which brings me to a point I raised in a previous post:  the Philippines should impose the same visa requirements for Americans visiting the country.

For so long, Filipinos have been denied entry into the United States without the American stamp on their Philippine passports.  It is also common knowledge that Filipinos trying to secure a travel visa to America go through the eye of a needle.

We understand the circumstances that led to the Philippines being excluded from the U.S. Visa-waiver program, along with other countries like Mexico and China which have huge numbers of visa applicants.  However, the Philippines must assert its own dignity by not being subservient to unfair policies by its former colonial master.

Travel visa policies are supposed to be reciprocal in nature.  But when one country that is exempt from this travel requirement imposes the same on the other, then we know there is some bullying going on.

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