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Hungary is re-closing borders for international tourism on Tuesday, due to a worsening epidemiological situation across Europe.

Starting on September 1, all tourists and foreign nationals will be banned from entering Hungary, with very few exceptions for essential travelers like diplomats or spouses of Hungarian citizens.

Update October 4:
Hungary has decided to extend the closure ban another month, until at least November 1, 2020

hungary closes again sept 1

“As a main rule, from the beginning of September, foreign citizens may not enter the territory of Hungary, only in justified cases.”

 said Prime Minister, Gergely Gulyás.

This is the second European country to re-close borders this week, after Ukraine’s similar closing announcement, barring entry for all international arrivals on August 29th.

Border fence between Serbia and Hungary
Border fence between Serbia and Hungary

Hungary’s situation will look very much like it did back on March 16th when the nation first decided to close its borders. The government has decided to implement almost the same restrictions they did in March, as they proved effective in flattening the nation’s curve.  

hungary rising case numbers
Credit: Worldometers

While Hungary hasn’t seen a significant second-wave surge as some other EU nations, the Prime Minister wants to keep it that way by re-instating tight border controls and quarantines for nationals returning home.

hungary recloses border for tourism
The Hungarian Parliament In Pest

Hungarians returning from abroad must be quarantined for 14 days – or until they can present two negative tests two days apart. We can only accept results if the testing takes place under controlled laboratory conditions in Hungary”

– Gergely Gulyás.

Authorities in Hungary are not only barring incoming tourists and requiring residents returning home to quarantine, but they’re also advising all citizens to not travel outside of the country for at least the next 30 days.

Both the closure for all foreign arrivals and the recommendation for Hungarian’s to not travel outside the country is expected to last at least 30 days, at which point it will either be extended or removed.

hungary closes again for tourism
Fishermans Bastion and River Danube in Budapest

When Hungary reopened first for tourism they devised a color-coded light system that dictated which countries could enter, and what requirements they needed to fulfill.

Most EU nations were classified as ‘green’, which gave them unrestricted access to Hungary, while higher-risk nations like the USA and Russia were given ‘yellow’ status, which still permitted entry with a 14-day quarantine.

Strangely enough, Hungary did have a ‘red’ country list that completely banned nations like Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Ukraine, and other countries that had far more favourable case numbers than the USA or Russia.

It is unclear if the same color-coded light system will come back into effect if Hungary decides to re-open their borders again in October.

Fishermen's Bastion, Budapest
Fishermen's Bastion, Budapest

What to do if you have an upcoming trip to Hungary?

Contact your airline or tour provider immediately. Although the border does not close until September 1, they may cancel trips as early as August 30th, as we saw Ukrainian border control halting entry up to 48 hours earlier than their planned closing deadline.

If your trip isn't until after October 1st, you may want to wait a little longer to see if Hungary re-opens the borders again. 

mask wearing is mandatory in hungary

Exceptions to the closure

General tourists and all non-essential foreign arrivals into Hungary will not be permitted. Here are some examples of exceptions to the entry ban:

  • Hungarian citizens, residents and their spouses
  • Travelers on diplomatic trips
  • Military convoys
  • Essential business travelers/workers
  • Humanitarian corridor for essential transits through Hungary
  • Foreign students with studies in Hungary 

Read More: See what countries have re-opened in Europe for tourism, and which countries have no restrictions or entry requirements, and list of countries now open for American tourists

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Article originally published: August 29, 2020

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