Security Vulnerability: US Restricts Hungarian Visa Exemption

  • 2 Aug 2023 2:40 PM
  • Hungary Around the Clock
Security Vulnerability: US Restricts Hungarian Visa Exemption
The US on Tuesday announced restrictions on Hungarian passport holders in its Visa Waiver Programme due to security concerns related to passports issued between 2011 and 2020.

From August 1, the validity period of ESTA permits falls from two years to one year for those in possession of Hungarian passports. In addition, Hungarians will be permitted only one visit to the US in that period.

US ambassador David Pressman told Politico that the Hungarian government issued hundreds of thousands of passports as part of the simplified repatriation programme in 2011-20 without having stringent identity verification mechanisms.

A senior US government official speaking anonymously told the Associated Press that some of these passports were issued to criminals who pose a security threat and have no connection to Hungary.

Pressman told the daily that Washington has for years held consultations across various administrations, but the Hungarian government has decided not to eliminate this security vulnerability.

“This is about a choice,” he added. “The Hungarian government thus far has chosen not to address that security concern, which has led the US to respond”.

In response, the Interior Ministry asserted that the Biden administration has taken revenge on Hungarians.

It said the US demanded data on ethnic Hungarians with dual citizenship from Hungary, but Hungary will not make that data available to anybody, as the security of ethnic Hungarians is at stake.

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