FAQ – Hungarian Immigration Law (VISA, Residence Permit etc.)

In this article we collected the answers to the questions often occurring regarding Hungarian immigration procedures and immigration law. If you are thinking about staying in Hungary – whether short or long term – we believe you will find this list useful.

Before you jump onto the list please note that immigration law in Hungary is a complex field of law and each type of visa, residence permit and permanent residence permit has more than one condition and before starting the application process it is highly recommended to consult with a specialist in your individual case.

  1. GENERAL

1.1. I am not an EU or Hungarian citizen. How can I legally enter Hungary?

You will need to obtain a visa or a residence permit depending on the duration of the stay.

However, there is a list of countries whose nationals do not need a visa to enter Hungary (Regulation (EU) 2018/1806)

1.2. How long can I stay in Hungary?

Be default, you share the intended duration of your stay when you apply for a visa and it will be valid for that defined period and you can enter the country once, but in some cases a visa can be valid up to 5 years and enable the holder to enter multiple times.

In case of residence permits the validity period mainly depends on the purpose of the stay, therefore the type of the permit. It may vary from 6 months to up to five years.

1.3. How long does my passport have to be valid?

Your travel document is advised to be valid for at least six months after the intended date of leaving the country.

1.4. I lost my visa/residence permit. What do I do?

You need to notify the authorities immediately.

1.5. How much does the visa/residence permit application cost?

The cost of the procedure is 60 EUR.

1.6. Can hiring a law firm speed up getting my residence permit?

To be represented by a professional is beneficial to avoid unnecessary delay by lack of knowledge in the field or rejection due to poor application submission.  Therefore, in the strict sense hiring and attorney does not speed up the procedure but significantly increases the chances of success.

1.7. Will I get back the application fee if my application gets rejected?

The fee of the visa/residence permit application is not refunded if the application is rejected. The fee covers the costs of the examination of the application.

  1. VISA

2.1. What is a Schengen visa?

It is a document that shows you’re allowed to enter and stay in Hungary for a specific length of time. Depending on the purpose of your stay there are different types.

2.2. How can I get a visa?

You can apply for a visa at the Hungarian Embassy/Consulate or where this process is outsourced in your county.

2.3. What type of visa I need to apply for?

The type of the visa is based on the purpose of your visit and it also depends on the number of times you need to enter and leave the country if applicable.

2.4. I have connecting flights and only entering the international zone of the Hungarian Airport. Do I need a permit for that?

Yes, this type of visa called airport transit visa and it is for passing through the international transit areas of EU airports. The list of countries whose nationals are required to hold one is specified in the Annex IV of the Visa Code.

2.5 How much time in advance should I apply for a visa?

The earliest date is three months prior to the start date of the planned trip and it is recommended to apply approximately two months before the trip at the latest as the procedure can take up to 60 days, especially during peak time in the summer. Without other influencing factors the consulate will make a decision within 15 days, as the general rule.

2.6. Can I leave the Schengen area and return to Hungary with my visa?

This depends on the type of your visa. With a single entry visa the answer is no, but with one allowing two or multiple entries you may enter Hungary twice or more during the validity period.

2.7. How long can I stay in Hungary with a visa?

Your stay can not exceed 90 days within 180 days.

2.8. Can I visit other Schengen States with my visa?

The Schengen visa is usually valid for all Schengen countries. It is important to note however that you always have to submit the visa application at the consulate of the country which is the primarily destination.

2.9. Can my visa be extended?

Only before your visa expires and on reasonable grounds. Existence of force majeure/humanitarian reasons/serious personal reasons needs to be proved. Furthermore, visas can only be extended if you stayed in the Schengen area less than 90 days in the course of the last 180 days.

  1. RESIDENCE PERMIT

3.1. What document do I need to get if I want to stay in Hungary for more than 3 months?

In this case you will need a residence permit. There are several types depending on your planned activities (study, research, work etc.)

3.2. What documents do I need to attach to my application?

Essential attachments are specified based on the purpose of the stay, but there are some common conditions which apply to each residence permit. You have to – besides of course having a valid passport – prove that you have accommodation in the territory of Hungary, sufficient means of subsistence and financial resources to cover the costs of the accommodation and leaving the country and comprehensive health insurance as well regardless of the purpose of your stay.

Check out our article with some examples: Verifying the purpose of residence [http://drdobos.eu/2019/08/18/verifying-the-purpose-of-residence/]

3.3. How long will my residence permit be valid?

This aspect depends on the purpose of your stay, as some permits are only valid for a few months and some can be up to 5 years.

3.4. How can I verify the purpose of residence?

Based on the nature of the residence permit applied for, different documents can be sufficient for verifying the purpose of residence. While a birth certificate is clearly practical to prove family relations, it wouldn’t be efficient in case of work related plans. From prior agreements, contracts to admissions from educational institutions there are specific types of documents for each case.

3.5. Where can I collect my residence permit?

What basically happens is that you will get a visa for entitlement to receive a residence permit and you have 30 days after entering Hungary to collect your permit at the competent authority.

3.6. Can I get a residence permit to Hungary by purchasing a real estate?

To get a residence permit, having appropriate accommodation is one of the conditions, however the existence of other cause is necessary to justify the purpose of the stay.

3.7. Do I automatically get a residence permit if I establish a company in Hungary?

It needs to be mentioned in the first place that there is no factual situation in which the residence permit is automatically granted, as this is a process that begins after submitting an application.

Furthermore to get a residence permit as the executive of a newly founded company is a complex procedure. It is not only necessary to prove that personal presence is essential, but corroboration of the presumption that the income of the company will cover the costs of living of the third-country national with a detailed business plan is also a condition.

3.8. I have a valid residence permit, do I need another permit to travel to other Schengen States?

A residence permit issued in Hungary allows you to travel or stay in other Schengen States but the duration of your stay may not exceed 90 days within a 180 day period.

3.9. Can my residence permit be extended?

If the purpose of the stay still stands your permit can be extended, typically for the same amount of time it was issued before.

3.10. How can I extend the validity of my residence permit?

The application can be submitted 30 days before the residence permit expires at the latest and the valid passport has to be presented to the authorities.

3.11. Do I need to travel back to my home country to submit the request for extension?

No. You can submit that at the competent regional immigration office in Hungary.

  1. WORKING IN HUNGARY

4.1. What kind of residence permit do I need if I want to work in Hungary?

There are different types of residence permits in this case based on your position and the duration of the work. You have to apply to a different permit if you wish to carry out researching activities, want to work as a trainee, employee or as an executive officer of a company. For works which are seasonal by nature (in agricultural sectors) there is a specific type of permit as well.

4.2. If I have a signed work contract, is my permit guaranteed?

Not necessarily, as there is an annual number of work permits that can be issued in each year. This number is specified by the Hungarian Minister of Finance.

4.3. Is it in all cases mandatory to apply for a work permit?

Based on the position or the nationality of the third country national, there may be an exemption to the obligation to obtain a work permit in the first place.

4.4. I am an executive officer of a company in Hungary. Which permit do I need?

The scope of work shall be examined, as there are two options. If the applicant wishes to perform work outside of the specific activities as executive officer, then residence permit for the purpose of employment is needed. If the third country national only wishes to act as executive officer then the purpose of the stay is to carry out gainful activity in regard of choosing the appropriate residence permit.

4.5. I don’t have a job jet. Can I apply to the permit for the purpose of job searching?

This permit is only available to individuals who had stayed in Hungary with a study or research permit and successfully completed the respective activity. It is not possible to come to Hungary before getting a job offer without fulfilling these specific requirements.

  1. ACCOMMODATION

5.1. Can I look for a flat after I got my residence permit?

You need to have an existing place of abode when applying, therefore this should be arranged before you submit your application for the long term permit.

5.2. How can I prove that I have a place to abode?

You will need to present documents attached to the application. E.g. booking confirmation or proof of ownership.

5.3. I’ll will stay at a friend’s place for free. Do I have to present any documents regarding accommodation?

Yes, you need to prove the existence of an accommodation free of charge as well. E.g. letter of accommodation from your friend.

5.4. I purchased a house in Hungary a couple of years ago. Is my purchase contract enough?

In this case you will need a copy of the title deed, which is probably already in your possession. However, the copy you attach to your application can’t be older than 30 days.

  1. FAMILY REUNIFICATION

6.1. Only family members of Hungarian citizens can apply?

Not necessarily. If your family member holds a long-term visa, residence permit, immigration permit, permanent residence permit, interim permanent residence permit, national permanent residence permit, EC permanent residence permit or residence card or is recognised as refugee in Hungary may apply you may apply.

6.2. Who is considered a family member by law?

Spouses of a third country national or a Hungarian citizen, minor children, including adopted and foster children and parents or individuals having parental custody can be considered as family members.

6.3. My Hungarian girlfriend is pregnant. Can I apply for residence permit based on that?

As you are not married, and your child isn’t born yet, in the eyes of the law you do not have a family member who is a Hungarian citizen. Therefore, there is no legal basis to submit and even less getting a residence permit for the purpose of family reunification.

6.4. Can I work in Hungary with a residence permit for the purpose of family reunification?

No. You need to submit a separate application if you decide to perform work.

6.5. If I apply for a residence permit what rules apply to my family members? Can I bring them with me?

As keeping families together is a priority, the legislation allows your family members to apply as well. In this case, of course, the means of subsistence needs to be examined thoroughly in addition to other equally relevant aspects.

The applications can be submitted at the same time and their acceptance depends on the issuance of your – “the main” – residence permit.

If you have further questions on residency in Hungary do not hesitate to contact us!

Disclaimer: We provide our services in accordance with the Hungarian and European laws in effect. We assist our clients only in lawful entry and residency in Hungary and we do not support illegal immigration.

Dobos István attorney at law (ügyvéd; Budapest)/ Kőhidi Ákos attorney at law (ügyvéd; Győr)/ Laczó Barbara

E: office@doboskohidi.eu

Phone / Whatsapp: +36303088151 / + 36305866162

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