US Tightens Travel Restrictions After Hungarian Passport Fraud

US Tightens Travel Restrictions After Hungarian Passport Fraud

( – The Biden administration imposed new travel restrictions on Hungarian citizens on August 1. The US Embassy said the decision came after concerns that the identities of almost 1 million foreigners receiving Hungary’s passports haven’t been properly verified over the last nine years.

These restrictions will also pertain to the Visa Waiver Program, which allows passport holders from 40 nations around the world to enter the country without a visa for up to three months. The duration of travel validity for Hungarian passport holders that use the Electronic System for Travel Authorization was shortened from two years to one. Each traveler will now be allowed a single entry into the country, representing a unique limitation among the 40 countries in the Visa Waiver Program.

As reported by the Washington Post, a Biden administration official said this change takes place after failed efforts from Washington and Budapest to solve the “security concerns.” The official explained that hundreds of thousands of Hungary’s passports were issued without proper verification, to the point where criminals with no connection to the European country received them.

In 2011, the Hungarian government started to offer a simplified naturalization process to people claiming Hungarian ancestry, even if they didn’t live or wanted to live in the country. Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Hungarians living abroad acquired citizenship through this process. Most of these were from Serbia, Ukraine, and Romania.

In a statement, the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban blasted the Biden administration for taking these measures against “all Hungarians.” The Interior Ministry claimed that the White House demanded personal information of ethnic Hungarians with dual citizenship, but Budapest refused to take this step. The ministry said that Orban’s main “concern” is protecting the security of every citizen.

The statement also said this is the reason why the administration of “President Joe Biden” is taking these actions against Hungary. The ministry also accused the White House of “taking revenge” on all Hungarians.

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