Dozens of foreign citizens found themselves stuck at Ferenc Liszt International Airport despite having Hungarian registration cards, due to the Hungarian governmentʼs decision to close the countryʼs borders, according to a report by U.K. news site theguardian.com.
The Guardianʼs CEE correspondent Shaun Walker wrote that he was in a room by the airportʼs departure gate, in close confinement with about 60 people.
According to the report, European Economic Area nationals with permanent residency permits are allowed to enter Hungary, but most Europeans who live and work in Hungary are only in possession of registration cards, the main legal requirement.
The journalist writes that yesterday, European embassies had been led to believe that citizens with registration in Hungary, able to prove links to the country, would be allowed to enter.
This morning, those in the transit were told that they had a choice of flying home or waiting an indefinite period of time for approval to enter the country, according to Walker.
Recognizing that it would, at the very least, create uncertainty, and quite possibly real problems, the British Embassy says that it has been working on the issue with the Hungarian government since the latter announced the ban on non-Hungarian citizens entering the country.
British Ambassador Iain Lindsay told the Budapest Business Journal, “We are encouraging the Hungarian government to allow all British residents of Hungary to re-enter the country.”
A British Embassy spokesperson referred concerned British citizens to the information it has published on its Facebook page (ukinhungary) and the FCO travel advice for Hungary. The spokesperson added that the embassy would share more details as soon as it was able via Facebook and other social media outlets.
Speaking specifically about the situation at Ferenc Liszt International Airport, an embassy spokesperson said, "We are aware that British Nationals resident in Hungary have been held at Budapest Airport for several hours pending a decision on their entry to Hungary. The delay appears to be a result of each person being considered on a case-by-case basis."
The spokesperson added, "The British Embassy Budapest is engaging with the Hungarian government and authorities to resolve the issue for the people affected and more generally for future arrivals. We are advising British Nationals affected by this issue to call +36 1 266 2888 or send a Direct Message to the Embassy on Facebook (ukinhungary)."
Walker told fellow journalists that he managed to enter the country after waiting 16 hours at the airport.
"Out, finally! Off to self-quarantine for 14 days. (Was not requested or demanded of me but after the night in that crowded airport room seems the responsible thing to do)," he wrote on his Twitter account.