The United States has decided to restrict Hungary's participation in the Visa Waiver Program due to security concerns related to new passports issued between 2011 and 2020, The Guardian reports. POLITICO.
Under the US Visa Waiver Program, citizens of participating countries can travel to the United States for up to ninety days without a visa for tourism or business purposes, they only need the so-called Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA, Electronic System for Travel Authorization).
However, as of Tuesday, the validity of the ESTA for Hungarian passport holders will be reduced from two years to one year, and will be valid for one use only.
Forty countries participate in the programme, and the restriction affects only Hungary.
The US Embassy also responded
American embassy advertisement The decision is due to the fact that between 2011 and 2020, the Hungarian government granted Hungarian citizenship to about one million people under simplified naturalization procedures without proper security checks on their identity.
Due to the decision of the Hungarian government, according to which it has not fully managed the security risks arising from the simplified naturalization procedure, the procedures for participation in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP for short) will be modified for all holders of Hungarian citizenship Passports
– they say, adding thatThe United States government has made significant efforts over many years to avoid this amendment and to address long-term security risks arising from simplified naturalization procedures.
The Embassy believes that the Hungarian government has not addressed the concerns raised.
This change is effective immediately and will remain in effect until the underlying security concerns are addressed. Reducing the validity of an ESTA only affects new ESTA applications received after the entry into force of this Statement and is not retroactive. ESTA permits issued before August 1, 2023 are still valid for two years and for multiple entries