ESTA restrictions for USA travelers from Hungary

The U.S. Embassy in Hungary has announced that it has made significant changes to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) for Hungarian passport holders in response to security vulnerabilities in the application for Hungarian citizenship:

  • Effective August 1st, 2023, the validity period of an ESTA authorization for Hungarian travelers has been reduced from two years to one year.
  • The otherwise unlimited number of entries with ESTA during the validity period has been limited to a single use for Hungarian citizens.

Therefore, Hungarians may only enter the United States once with an ESTA approval and must apply for an ESTA again for the next entry.

ESTA Hungary changes effective for approvals from August 1st

The shortened ESTA validity period for Hungarian citizens applies only to new applications submitted after August 1st, 2023. All existing ESTA authorizations issued before this date will remain valid for the original two-year period, allowing for multiple entries into the United States.

New ESTA requirements for Hungarian citizens

The ESTA program allows travelers from 41 countries to enter the United States without a visa for up to 90 days. Previously, all ESTA beneficiaries - regardless of citizenship - had to meet the same requirements to travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP):

Standard requirements for citizens of all 41 Visa Waiver countries include:

  • Possession of a biometric passport (valid either 6 months after departure or until the day of departure, depending on nationality)
  • The proper purpose of travel (tourism, business, medical treatment, or transit)
  • The right length of stay (no more than 90 days at a time)
  • No ESTA or visa denials in the past
  • Some biographical requirements of the traveler (e.g., no criminal record, no deportations, no drug addiction)
  • Good health (e.g., no illnesses that are contagious and difficult to treat or that could pose a threat to other travelers or US homeland security)
  • A clean travel history (no travel to Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Cuba, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, or Syria)
  • No dual citizenship with Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Sudan, or Syria

The additional ESTA requirements for Hungarian travelers are as follows:

  • Hungarian place of birth: Only individuals with a Hungarian birth certificate can participate in the ESTA program.
  • Proof of return or onward travel: This may be in the form of a return ticket to Hungary or an onward ticket to another destination outside the United States. Travelers with electronic tickets must present a copy of the itinerary to US immigration officials at the port of entry.

The U.S. Embassy recommends that Hungarian citizens who meet all eligibility requirements apply for ESTA well in advance of their intended travel to avoid possible interruptions or delays. It is also recommended to check the official website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Hungary for the latest updates and guidelines regarding the visa application process and ESTA approval.

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