Europe’s Visa War with USA May Terminate All Travel

The EU Parliament voted to impose visas on all Americans forcing them to apply for visas to travel to Europe for business or tourism because Washington requires visas for Europeans coming from five EU countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania). So while the world criticizes Trump for vetting people from certain Middle Eastern countries, nobody looks at any other government. European Parliament is really brain-dead for the total contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP of Europe 136bn (9.2% of GDP) and that was in 2014.

From the American perspective, in the US travel market Europe represents about 17.3% of the Americans traveling. The EU Parliament voted by show of hands in this latest “visa war” between Brussels and Washington. The EU Commission has now two months to reintroduce visas for Americans suspending the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) with the US. Parliament and the European Council will have the chance to object to anything put forward by the Commission, but this seems to be something really stupid and will increase the pressure to breakout of the EU. The two most popular spots for American tourists is Italy and Greece. For Greece, this is a lifeblood with tourism accounting for nearly 7% of GDP, when the government accounts for 40%. Cut off tourism for Greece, and that will be the final straw.

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Becoming an Estonian E-Resident in 63 days

Because I do a lot of business in the EU, the (relatively) new Estonian E-residency program intrigued me so I decided to give it a shot. Really, it only takes 15 minutes or less to apply, costs EU$101, so what can it hurt if it never goes anywhere?

You apply through their website,, you give them a handful of information, a scan of your passport, some passport photos, etc, pay the fee and then wait.

You get an email from them at each step of the process, which is nice.

My application timeline went a little something like this:

Day 1: did application, paid fee
Day 20: Estonian Police review the file.
Day 30: Estonian Police approve the file and grant e-residency. They then send all the pertinent stuff on to your chosen embassy or consulate (you choose when you apply)
Day 47: Documents arrive at Estonian embassy in Washington DC. I receive a notification to contact them and make an appointment to pick up my card and paperwork.
Day 63: I show up at the embassy, get my stuff, all done in less than 10 minutes. They give you the chip card, a little folding USB card reader, and pin codes.
All done!

This is the whole package. No massive pile of papers necessary.

Instructions in the package guide you through how it works (albeit a bit vaguely) but a quick search online to see what other people experienced helps clear a lot of stuff up.

The Estonian website has a good FAQ which offers links and explanations to how to use your new e-residency to sign documents, open businesses, etc. Once you figure it out, it’s extremely easy and straightforward (perhaps they could use a revamp of their instructions). There is also an online forum for/by other e-residents.


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