US restricts Hungarian passport holders’ visa-free journey for safety considerations

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The United States imposed new journey restrictions on residents of Hungary on Tuesday over considerations that the identities of almost 1 million foreigners granted Hungarian passports over 9 years weren’t sufficiently verified, in keeping with the US Embassy and a authorities official.

American and Hungarian national flags fly in downtown Budapest, Hungary, with the historical parliament building at the background. The United States is imposing travel restrictions on citizens of Hungary over concerns that the identities of nearly 1 million foreigners granted Hungarian passports over nine years were not sufficiently verified. That's according to the US Embassy and a government official. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)
American and Hungarian nationwide flags fly in downtown Budapest, Hungary, with the historic parliament constructing on the background. America is imposing journey restrictions on residents of Hungary over considerations that the identities of almost 1 million foreigners granted Hungarian passports over 9 years weren’t sufficiently verified. That is in keeping with the US Embassy and a authorities official. (AP Picture/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

The restrictions apply to the US Visa Waiver Program, which permits passport holders from 40 international locations to enter america for enterprise or tourism with no visa for as much as 90 days.

The validity interval of journey for Hungarian passport holders underneath the Digital System for Journey Authorization was diminished from two years to 1 12 months and every traveller might be restricted to a single entry into america. They’re the one such restrictions among the many 40 collaborating states within the Visa Waiver Program.

A senior US authorities official mentioned the change adopted years of failed efforts by the US to work with Hungary’s authorities to resolve the safety considerations. The official spoke anonymously to be able to candidly characterise diplomatic engagements.

Tons of of 1000’s of Hungarian passports had been issued with out stringent identification verification necessities, a few of them to criminals who pose a security menace and don’t have any connection to Hungary, the official mentioned.

Hungary’s authorities, underneath the management of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, started providing a simplified naturalisation process to these claiming Hungarian ancestry in 2011, even when they did not stay or intend to stay in Hungary.

Tons of of 1000’s of the at the least 2 million ethnic Hungarians dwelling in neighboring international locations — primarily in Romania, Serbia and Ukraine — acquired Hungarian citizenship by way of the simplified process.

Critics mentioned this system allowed non-taxpaying ethnic Hungarians residing in different international locations to vote in Hungarian elections, giving Orban’s ruling Fidesz occasion an electoral edge.

America earlier recategorised Hungary as a provisional member of the Visa Waiver Program due to the considerations.

Hungary’s authorities responded to the restrictions Tuesday in an announcement from the Inside Ministry.

The assertion mentioned america had demanded the non-public knowledge of ethnic Hungarians overseas with twin citizenship and that Hungary’s authorities was unwilling to supply that info to be able to defend these residents’ safety.

“That is why President Joe Biden’s administration is now taking revenge on Hungarians,” the assertion mentioned.

This story has been revealed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content. Solely the headline has been modified.

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