Relations between the two governments have been strained recently over Budapest’s postponement of a parliamentary vote on Sweden’s entry into NATO, and the Hungarian government’s restrictions on gay rights, according to Reuters.
US Embassy in Budapest In his statement He mentioned that The period of validity offered to Hungarians under the Electronic Travel Authorization (ESTA) system will be immediately reduced from two years to one year, and only one visit will be possible under the system, Not for multiple visits.
They write that this change is effective immediately and will remain in effect until the underlying security concerns are addressed. An ESTA reduction will only affect new ESTA requests received after the effective date of this notice and will not be retroactive. ESTA permits issued before August 1, 2023 are still valid for two years and for multiple entries – It was stated in the advertisement.
The US embassy said that between 2011 and 2020, Hungary granted citizenship to about one million people – most of them Hungarian citizens living in neighboring countries – “without taking adequate security measures to verify their identity.”
According to a senior US government official, the amendments did not apply to the other 39 participants in the Visa Waiver Program, but only to Hungary.
There is a systemic problem: hundreds of thousands of passports were issued between 2011 and 2020 without any identity verification requirements.
The official said.
When asked whether this measure was related to other issues causing disagreement between the two governments, the official said: “The United States is paying close attention to Hungary’s decisions,” adding that this step should not be interpreted in the same way as other measures. Issues.Related message.
According to the official, security vulnerabilities in Hungary were identified long before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Reuters notes that the restrictions entered into force a day after the Fidesz party boycotted the parliamentary session held by the opposition parties, which was supposed to vote on Sweden’s application to join NATO. In the end, no vote was taken.
Last year, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Sweden applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), but due to objections from Turkey and Hungary, it has been unable to join the military alliance for the time being.
In 2014, the United States banned six Hungarians from entering the United States, and this year a Hungarian official at the International Investment Bank was placed on the sanctions list.
The announcement was published on the US Embassy’s website at 9:30 am, and the news may be related to the weakness of the forint this morning.
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