PLANNING TO TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES ON THE VISA WAIVER PROGRAM? KNOW THE RULES BEFORE YOU GO!
Hungary is a provisional member of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which enables citizens of participating countries to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business for 90 days or less without obtaining a U.S. visa. Visitors applying for entry under this program are allowed to remain for a maximum of 90 days. Travelers must meet certain requirements and have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel. Visitors who enter on the VWP cannot change status or extend their duration of stay. Travelers coming to the United States under the VWP cannot work or study. If you plan to stay for more than 90 days, or if you intend to study or to work, you MUST obtain a visa before traveling. Overstay consequences are severe; make sure you know the rules before you travel! You can find more information at the websites of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State.
Important Update Effective August 1, 2023
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.
Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, which includes the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, travelers in the following categories are no longer eligible to travel or be admitted to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP):
- Nationals of VWP countries who have been present in Cuba on or after January 12, 2021 (with limited government/military exceptions).
- Nationals of VWP countries who have been present in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited government/military exceptions).
- Nationals of VWP countries who are also nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria.
These new eligibility requirements do not bar travel to the United States. Instead, travelers who do not meet the requirements of the VWP pursuant to these recent changes must apply for a visa using the regular appointment process at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Those who have urgent business, medical, or humanitarian travel to the United States may request an expedited visa appointment.
If an individual believes he or she is exempt from these recent changes because of his or her diplomatic or military presence in one of the countries listed above and has his or her ESTA denied or revoked, he or she may go to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website, www.cbp.gov or contact the CBP information Center, http://www.cbp.gov/contact. Certain other categories of travelers also may be exempt from these changes. Travelers should apply for ESTA and whether they are eligible for a waiver will be determined on a case-by-case basis as part of the ESTA process, consistent with the terms of the law. Travelers also may apply for a non-immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection strongly recommends that any traveler to the United States check his or her ESTA status at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/ prior to making any travel reservations or travelling to the United States. More information is available at www.dhs.gov/visa-waiver-program and at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/visa-waiver-program.html.
If you are a citizen of a VWP partner but have received notice that you are no longer eligible to travel to the United States under the VWP, you should apply for a non-immigrant visa at least three months in advance of your desired travel. If you do not have imminent travel plans, you should pay the non-immigrant visa application fee, fill out the DS-160 non-immigrant visa application form at https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/, and schedule a visa appointment. If your travel is imminent, you may request an expedited visa appointment. Please include in your request the date and purpose of your travel, as well as a copy of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection message you received regarding your ESTA status. For more information please visit travel.state.gov.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 are available on the CBP website.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables citizens of participating countries to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business for 90 days or less without obtaining a U.S. visa. Visitors applying for entry under this program are allowed to remain for a maximum of 90 days. Visitors who enter on the VWP cannot change status or extend their duration of stay. Travelers coming under the VWP cannot work or study. If you plan to stay for more than 90 days, or if you intend to study or to work, you MUST obtain a visa before traveling. Failure to do so could result in your being detained at the port of entry and returned to Hungary on the first available flight.
Please note that travelers from VWP countries must pay a fee of $21.00 when applying for ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). The credit card payment will be made online as part of the registration process. Effective August 1, 2023, an ESTA approval for Hungarian passport holders is valid for one year (or upon passport expiration, if sooner) and for one entry to the United States. The U.S. Embassy recommends that travelers apply for ESTA at least 72 hours prior to travel. Travelers in possession of a valid U.S. visa and lawful permanent resident aliens (Green Card holders) do not need to apply for ESTA.
All third-party services offering to facilitate completion of the ESTA are not affiliated with the U.S. Government and have no influence on ESTA approval or processing time. We advise travelers to exercise caution and to scrutinize the services provided before using any third-party service.
Travelers wishing to register for ESTA should visit the ESTA website to apply. The ESTA application website is available in 22 languages and includes a help section that provides additional information for VWP travelers to guide them through the application process. Additional information about ESTA is available on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) web site.
Hungarian citizens intending to visit the United States for tourism or business for up to 90 days are eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if all of the following requirements apply:
- The traveler is in possession of a valid Hungarian passport. Your passport must be valid for six months past your expected stay in the United States and you must not have reported it lost or stolen.
- The traveler’s place of birth is Hungary. Hungarian passport holders born outside of Hungary are ineligible for ESTA and require a valid visa to travel to the United States.
- The traveler is holding a return or onward ticket to his or her country of residence. If traveling on an electronic ticket, a copy of the itinerary must be carried for presentation to U.S. immigration at the port of entry.
- The traveler has complied with the conditions of previous admissions to the United States and has not been found ineligible for a U.S. visa.
- The traveler has a valid authorization from the Department of Homeland Security’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Please print your authorization and carry it with you when you travel.
Additional Information about the Visa Waiver Program
- Video: Electronic System for Travel Authorization – Get It and Go (in English with English captions) by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (wmp, 6.3MB)
- For a complete list of countries currently enrolled in the Visa Waiver Program, please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s web page.