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Visa Waiver Program

Travel on the Visa Waiver Program

Last Updated on 07/11/2014
Traveling visa-free or with a visa charts

Traveling visa-free or with a visa

PLEASE NOTE: On August 6, 2010, the United States Customs and Border Protection agency announced the implementation of a $14 fee beginning September 8 for applications made through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).  This fee is based upon the costs incurred for administering the system and as established by the Travel Promotion Act of 2009. 

This fee affects all travelers visiting the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.  Travelers in possession of a United States visa or already with an approved ESTA will not need to pay a fee, however, they will be subject to the fee when applying for a new ESTA.  ESTA authorization is good for two years.

The United State Embassy in Budapest would like to remind all travelers that completion of an ESTA is required for travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.  We recommend that the ESTA be completed at least 72 hours prior to travel. 

All third-party services offering to facilitate completion of the ESTA are not affiliated with the U.S. Embassy and have no influence on the 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 directly 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 DHS web site.

Beginning November 17, 2008, 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 the following requirements apply: 

  • The traveler is in possession of a valid Hungarian e-passport with an electronic chip. (All individuals with biometric passports are eligible to apply for ESTA, regardless of whether their fingerprints have been taken by the Hungarian authorities.) The Hungarian e-passport has a reddish cover, while the older non-electronic passport covers are blue. Travelers with either passport (blue or e-passport) and a valid visa may continue to travel as before. 
  • 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 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. The Secretary of Homeland Security has established a fee for the use of the ESTA system, comprised of $10.00 for each VWP applicant receiving authorization to travel to the United States and $4.00 for the processing of the ESTA application. Applicants who are denied authorization to travel to the U.S. under the VWP will only be charged $4.00. The fee may only be paid by credit card.  For more information about the fee, please visit our FAQ About ESTA page.
  • Please check whether you are eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program: VWP checklist (PDF 388K).

Additonal Information about the Visa Waiver Program

Important reminder:

Visa-free travel does not include those who plan to study, work or remain more than 90 days in the United States. Such travelers need visas.  If an immigration official has reason to believe that a VWP traveler is going to study, work or stay longer than 90 days, the officer will refuse to admit the traveler.

If you have question about the Visa Waiver Program or about ESTA, please visit our FAQ About ESTA page.

Airport security:

Please note: U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Announces Enhanced Security Measures for Travelers to the United States (July 6, 2014)

ESTA Information

Visit our Travel to the U.S. section!

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