While a United States passport is not the most powerful passport in the world, it is certainly in the top tier. But with COVID-19 still a growing concern, might U.S. citizens be locked out of the summer travel season?
I think so often (and I am guilty of this too) we Americans think of our passport as the key, not the lock. Want to go another country? Very rarely do I even consider whether Americans are allowed in. Sure, there are some difficult visas required for some nations, but the idea of U.S. citizens being denied entry while others are allowed? Preposterous!
Yet we find ourselves in a unique situation in the year 2020 in the era of COVID-19. Europe is trying to salvage the summer. Greece may re-open first, even to Americans who have been tested. But Germany? France? Italy? With COVID-19 cases still growing in the United States, we could well see Europe re-opened again, yet U.S. citizens still excluded.
Same story in Asia and Australia. Right now, as a U.S. passport holder, I cannot transit through Taipei or Singapore. That imperils two planned trips this summer. How sad it would be if these nations, which have fought COVID-19 well (though Singapore appears to be experiencing a relapse), re-opened their borders to tourists, yet still excluded Americans?
It’s all speculation at this point. We’re all watching the figures closely and hope that the lifting of shelter-in-place orders in several U.S. states does not lead to an upsurge in cases or powerful second wave. But those images of armed protestors at state houses across the nation or even the huge protest in Los Angeles (Huntington Beach) yesterday are being plastered around the world. And those images create fear.
My wife closely monitors German news each day and there’s a strong feeling that U.S. visitors possess too much of a risk right now to be allowed into Germany.
With politics at play, especially in an election year, a reluctance to let Americans back in may also close off the United States to foreign tourists, even those who have been tested and are ready to spend money. That hurts U.S. businesses and harms foreign relations.
As this situation unfolds, I will be watching closely to see how much pressure the U.S. places on other countries to lift travel restrictions against Americans. In this case, I tend to think even as other countries re-open in the next 6-8 weeks and flights resume, travel restrictions against U.S. citizens will remain throughout the summer.
> Read More: The World’s Most Powerful Passport is Now in Asia