In a letter sent from the Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VCMA) and directed to the US embassy in Berlin, the business representatives demand to put an end to the travel ban, ordered by the Biden administration so that German citizens can travel easily across the Atlantic again.
“Business travel to the USA must once again be possible without restrictions. The US government is currently locking out European business travellers. It is incomprehensible that the Schengen states are still classified as high-risk areas by the United States,” the VDMA’s foreign trade specialist, Ulrich Ackermann, noted in a statement.
The chain of German-owned companies that stretches out across the United States and the two-century partnership has resulted in billions of dollars invested in American companies and over 900,000 US workers employed at these companies, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
This ban imposed in March 2020 by the former President, Donald Trump, was reinstated by his successor in a bid to prevent the further spread of Coronavirus.
The ban exempts American citizens and green card holders who can travel to the country, whereas other travellers must be eligible for a National Interest Exception (NIE) if their application qualifies to be working in areas involving “critical infrastructure” or “significant economic activity.”
These applications can be submitted to US embassies and consular offices abroad.
However, according to Ackerman, the NIE exceptions aren’t helping much. Those exemptions apply only in “certain exceptional cases” and do not allow the Germans to travel for client meetings or trade fairs.
He also noted that nonimmigrant work visa holders’ situation is the most critical since they are allowed to apply for the NIE exemption only after entering Germany or have stayed in a non-Schengen country for 14 days before returning. This situation puts workers at difficulty since their route back home would be long, complicated, costly, and unsure.
Unlike the United States, the European Union has issued the EU Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Passport, which is being used to facilitate travel across the EU by allowing fully vaccinated travellers to move within member states freely. However, such practice isn’t being adopted by the US, meaning that fully vaccinated travellers don’t have any exemptions for travelling.
Since June, the German government has been welcoming vaccinated US travellers, imposing no entry restrictions on them. The move followed Head of EU Commission, Ursula Von Den Leyden’s statement to allow travelling for vaccinated Americans, who, just like Europeans, have been vaccinated with the European Medicines Agency authorised vaccines.
As SchengenVisaInfo.com previously reported, the European Union diplomat, Stavros Lambrinidis, has called it a “mistake” the American government’s decision to keep European business from overseeing their investments in the US.
“The executives of those companies want to be able to travel to the US to oversee those investments, and today they can’t. It’s a mistake,” Lambrinidis said.
He also noted that the EU and US have to recommence their partnership since about 60 per cent of the latter’s foreign investment comes from the European countries.