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Hungarian Passport Fraud: The Catalyst for U.S. Tightening Travel Restrictions

Unraveling the U.S. response to Hungarian passport fraud; Security concerns and international relations (Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay)

As of August 1st, the United States has tightened travel restrictions for Hungarian passport holders. This decision comes in the wake of concerns over the insufficient verification of identities for nearly one million foreigners who were granted Hungarian passports. The restrictions apply to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, which allows passport holders from 40 countries to enter the United States without a visa for up to 90 days.

The Impact on Hungarian Passport Holders

Previously, Hungarian passport holders enjoyed the privilege of multiple visits to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program. However, the validity period for these passport holders has now been reduced from two years to one year, and each traveler is limited to a single entry into the United States. This is the only such restriction among the 40 participating states in the Visa Waiver Program.

The U.S. government had made several attempts to resolve these security concerns with Hungary’s government. However, these efforts were unsuccessful, leading to the imposition of these new restrictions. The issue at hand is the hundreds of thousands of passports that were issued without stringent identity verification requirements. Some passports were even issued to criminals looking to travel who pose safety threats with no connection to Hungary.

The Hungarian Government’s Response

In 2011, Hungary’s government offered a simplified naturalization procedure that allowed those claiming Hungarian ancestry to acquire citizenship, regardless of their residence. This procedure enabled ethnic Hungarians residing in neighboring countries to acquire citizenship. Critics argue that this program allowed non-taxpaying ethnic Hungarians to vote in elections, giving the ruling party an electoral edge.


Due to these concerns, Hungary was previously categorized as a provisional member of the Visa Waiver Program. In response to the new restrictions, Hungary’s government stated its unwillingness to provide the personal data of dual citizens abroad to protect their security. They claimed that the restrictions were a form of revenge from President Joe Biden’s administration on Hungarians.

The Future of Hungarian-U.S. Relations

The U.S. and Hungarian governments are now working together to resolve these security concerns. The U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, David Pressman, expressed disappointment with Hungary’s response to the security concerns. However, he remains hopeful that the two nations can find a resolution to this issue.

In conclusion, the U.S. decision to tighten travel restrictions for passport holders is a significant development in international travel regulations. It highlights the importance of stringent identity verification in maintaining national security. As the situation unfolds, it will be interesting to see how Hungary responds to these restrictions and what measures it takes to address the U.S. security concerns.

Russia to make it easier for to get passports

In a contrasting move to the United States’ tightening of travel restrictions for Hungarian passport holders, Russia has announced that it is making it easier for Hungarians to obtain visas to Russia. This announcement came on the same day that the U.S. imposed its restrictions, citing security risks associated with Hungarian passports issued between 2011 and 2020.

The Russian government has introduced an electronic visa system for citizens of 55 countries, including Hungary. The electronic visa, which costs USD 52, allows a one-time stay of 16 days in Russia. Applications can be made through the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website or via a mobile phone application.

To apply for an e-visa, foreign nationals need a valid passport, health insurance, and a passport photo. However, they do not need an invitation, hotel reservation, or any other document proving the purpose of the trip. The application must be submitted no later than four days before the planned date of entry into Russia, and the visa is valid for 60 days after issuance. This move by Russia simplifies the visa application process for Hungarians, making travel to Russia more accessible.

Written By

Randle McMurphy is a dedicated father of two with a deep passion for music, film, and the art of cherishing each passing moment.


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