Reduction of ESTA Validity

Embassy of the United States of America
Budapest, Hungary
August 1, 2023

Reduction of ESTA Validity due to Hungarian Government’s Inaction to Meet Visa Waiver Program Security Requirements


The Government of Hungary’s simplified naturalization process granted Hungarian citizenship to nearly one million people between 2011 and 2020 without adequate security measures in place to verify their identities.  In light of the Government of Hungary’s decision not to fully address the security vulnerabilities created by its earlier implementation of its simplified naturalization process, procedures for all Hungarian passport holders to utilize the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) have been modified.   


Today, we notified the Government of Hungary that the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) validity period for travel by Hungarian passport holders is reduced from two years to one year.  Additionally, the validity of an ESTA for Hungarian passport holders will be limited to a single use. 


Despite extensive efforts over many years by the U.S. government to avoid this outcome and resolve longstanding security issues arising from Hungary’s simplified naturalization process, the Hungarian government has opted not to address the concerns raised in order to fully meet VWP requirements.  The VWP is a comprehensive security partnership between the United States and designated countries to protect the security of Americans and travelers to the United States. 


This change will go into effect immediately and remain until the security concerns underlying it are addressed.  This reduction in ESTA validity will only affect new ESTA applications received after the effective date of this notice and is not retroactive.  All ESTA approvals granted prior to August 1, 2023 remain valid for two years and for multiple entries.