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Fears of further US travel restrictions

August 5th, 2023

After a series of fierce reactions to the decision by US authorities to restrict the validity of visa-free travel by Hungarian citizens to the United States, observers fear that Hungary might be excluded from the US visa-waiver program altogether.

On Piac és Profit, editor János Hollós quotes an unnamed government source who interprets the restrictions announced by the United States on Tuesday as a last warning. The veteran business reporter describes the measure of tightening visa-free entry to one journey over one year as a humiliating one for Hungary. He warns that the next step could be excluding the country from the visa-waiver system offered to 40 countries.

On Hirklikk, Zsuzsa N Vadász reports that there are no more available dates this year for visa seekers on the webpage of the US Embassy in Budapest.  She believes that frequent visitors must have tried to get visas fearing further restrictions.

On the Szabad Európa webmagazine, András Kósa hopes that an agreement can be reached by the two sides to avoid further restrictions. Negotiations have been underway, he writes, and a compromise was on the horizon before the restrictions were announced on Tuesday. The Hungarian side refused to hand over to the US the full data of all naturalized Hungarians who are also citizens of neighbouring countries but offered to immediately transfer all available information on any individual cases if requested by the US immigration authorities. He hopes such a compromise may help avoid further tightening of US visa-waiver rules for Hungarians.

(For the antecedents, see BudaPost, August 3 and 4)