The United States has imposed strict restrictions on visa-free travel for people from Hungary – Politico writes.
As part of the US Visa Waiver Program, citizens of participating countries can travel to the United States without a visa for up to ninety days for tourism or business purposes. For this, they only need the so-called Electronic Travel Authorization System (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 the ESTA will be valid for only one use.
The decision only affects applications submitted after August 1, and previously issued ESTA permits are still valid for two years and for multiple entries.
Of the 40 countries participating in the US program, only Hungary was affected by this move. The decision is made by the US Embassy According to his statement This can be traced back to 2010, when Orbán’s government granted citizenship to Hungarians across the border.
According to the Americans, under the simplified naturalization procedure, nearly a million people obtained Hungarian citizenship between 2011 and 2020 without adequate security checks.
According to the ambassador, the US government has been dealing with this “security vulnerability” for years, but the Hungarian government decided not to address the concerns raised and did not do anything to meet the program’s requirements in all respects. “It’s a really unfortunate day,” David Pressman said, adding that this was not the outcome the United States sought.
The amendment is effective immediately and will remain in effect until the underlying security concerns are addressed, the embassy said in a statement.
“The United States of America has asked Hungary for data on Hungarians abroad who have dual citizenship. Hungary does not disclose this to anyone, because the safety of Hungarians abroad is at stake. That is why the government of President Joe Biden is now taking revenge on Hungarians!” On behalf of the Hungarian government, the Interior Ministry, led by Sándor Pinter, first responded to the Americans’ announcement in a three-sentence statement.
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