EU Angered By US Proposal To Charge For Online Visas
The United States is planning on charging $10-$20 for issuing previously free visas to citizens of the European Union and other visa-excempt countries.
The EU and the US have an agreement that allows EU citizens and others that live in countries participating in the visa waiver program to travel to the States without a visa. As of 2009, travellers need to register online at least 72 hours before they travel, and the US is now planning to charge for this mandatory registration. According to the EU, this may be interpreted as a visa, which means European countries could also start demanding visas from their American visitors.
The money is intended to be used to promote travel to the United States, and educate potential visitors on how the visa-free program works.
"Only in 'Alice in Wonderland' could a penalty be seen as promoting the activity on which it is imposed," said John Bruton, the European Commission's ambassador to Washington.