Residence permit
May 17, 2024
Reading Time: 9 min

How a digital nomad can get a White Card and a residence permit in Hungary

Remote workers can receive a Hungary White Card, which serves as an equivalent to a residence permit for digital nomads. It is issued to individuals earning at least €3,000 per month, less than the requirement for Digital Nomad Visas to Portugal or Malta.

The residence permit is issued for 12 months and can be extended once for an additional similar period. It grants the right to live in one of the most affordable European Union countries and travel to Schengen countries without a visa.

Zlata Erlach
Zlata Erlach

Explains how to move to Hungary as a digital nomad

Hungarian residence for digital nomads in 2024

How a digital nomad can get a White Card and a residence permit in Hungary

What is a Hungary White Card?

The White Card is a residence permit in Hungary, also known as the Digital Nomad Residence Permit or Fehér Kártya in Hungarian. It is issued to remote employees of companies based outside Hungary.

With a Hungarian White Card, digital nomads can open bank accounts in Hungary and travel to EU countries without visas, but they cannot work for a Hungarian company. Digital nomads do not receive free treatment in Hungarian hospitals because they do not pay insurance and other fees.

The residence permit is valid for a year and can be extended for the same period. However, after two years, the foreign national must leave Hungary. They must then leave the country and apply again to obtain a White Card.

Another feature of the White Card is that it does not confer the right to obtain permanent residency. If the foreign national continues to live in Hungary under another type of residence permit, the two years with the White Card do not count towards obtaining permanent residency.

Who can apply for Hungarian residence for digital nomads

Foreigners with citizenship of a country outside the European Union may get a White Card.

The minimum income for applicants for a White Card is €3,000 per month. It must be confirmed by an employment contract or a bank statement for the last six months.

The income must originate from a company outside Hungary. Simultaneously, the employment contract must specify that the digital nomad can work remotely.

Family members cannot join the applicant based on a White Card. It will be issued only to the main applicant. However, spouses can each obtain a White Card and move to Hungary together.

How much does a Hungary Digital Nomad Visa cost?

The Hungarian White Card is a way to obtain a residence permit without investment.

The main costs for obtaining a residence permit include:

  • rental of real estate for the entire duration of the residence permit — €800+ per month;

  • deposit for real estate — the amount of the monthly payment;

  • translation of documents into English, if required — €50+;

  • health insurance for the duration of the residence permit — €15+ per month;

  • state fee for applying for a residence permit — €110;

  • flight to Budapest — €30+.

Individual cost calculation for a Hungary White Card

Individual cost calculation for a Hungary White Card

Documents required to apply for a Hungarian White Card

One must apply for a residence permit in person at the Hungarian consulate in their country of residence. The application must explain why the foreigner is in Hungary if documents are submitted there.

Digital nomads must submit biometrics and provide documents during the application process. The standard requirements for a Hungarian White Card include:

  1. An application for a residence permit and supplement 16. Documents must be filled out either by hand or on a computer.

  2. A copy of a passport valid for at least one year.

  3. Two photos measuring 3,5 × 4.5 cm.

  4. An agreement with the employer indicating the right to remote work, the contract duration, the employee’s responsibilities, and the scope of the company’s activities.

  5. Confirmation of ownership of shares or stakes in the company, for managers.

  6. Any document confirming the company’s legal existence, such as a registration number, tax information, or an extract from the register of companies in the company’s country of origin.

  7. Confirmation of income of at least €3,000 per month — a bank statement for the last six months or a valid employment contract.

  8. Confirmation of savings of €10,000 in any non-sanctioned bank.

  9. Confirmation of an address in Hungary for the entire duration of the residence permit — a purchase and sale or rental agreement for at least 12 months.

  10. Health insurance with a minimum coverage of €30,000 per person.

  11. A written statement that the digital nomad will leave Hungary if the residence permit is refused. In the application, the foreigner indicates that they have sufficient funds to leave the country.

Documents must be translated into English or Hungarian and certified by a notary.

Hungary White Card — Hungary Digital Nomad Visa

Along with the application for a residence permit, digital nomads fill out Annex 16, a form containing information about an employer outside Hungary

Processing time for a Hungary White Card

The process of obtaining a residence permit from the date of application takes 3—4 months. The timing depends on the workload of immigration centres. The quickest time to consider your application is in the autumn or spring when the fewest international students come to Hungary.

To expedite the processing time, confirm that you meet all eligibility requirements, including a valid reason for remote work in Hungary and demonstrating financial self-sufficiency.

Hungary White Card application process

Learn how to apply for the Hungary Digital Nomad Visa while in your country of citizenship.

1

1 day

Preliminary Due Diligence

The Immigrant Invest Compliance Department conducts a preliminary check on applicants for residence permits in Hungary. This check is completely confidential and will help identify potential risks of status denial.

2

Up to 1 month

Preparing documents

An applicant for a Hungarian White Card gathers a package of necessary documents. Immigrant Invest lawyers assist in filling out government forms.

3

Up to 1 month

Submitting an application

The digital nomad registers to apply at the Hungarian consulate in their country of citizenship or residence.

On the appointed day, the applicant must bring the collected documents, take photographs, and submit biometrics. The documents will be reviewed within 21 working days.

4

1 month

Receiving a D visa

If the residence permit is approved, the digital nomad will receive a D visa valid for three months, sent by mail along with their passport. The visa allows them to come to Hungary for 30 days and receive a residence permit card.

5

1—3 months

Arrival in Hungary and receiving a White Card

A residence permit card is obtained from the National Office for Foreigners in Hungary. It must be personally picked up from the office.

If the application for a White Card was submitted in Hungary, the residence permit card will be sent by mail to the registered address.

6

In 1 year

Renewal of the residence permit

A digital nomad can extend their residence permit for another year. They submit documents for renewal at least 30 days before the expiration date of the card.

Applications are accepted online, but the digital nomad must visit the immigration office to submit biometrics and take new photographs.

The residence permit will be extended if the foreigner stays in Hungary for at least 90 days within a 180-day period.

5 reasons why digital nomads choose Hungary

1. Low taxes. Hungary boasts one of the lowest income tax rates in the European Union at 15%. Digital nomads can become tax residents of the country by spending at least 183 days a year in Hungary or being registered at their place of residence solely in Hungary.

If a digital nomad has not become a tax resident, they don’t pay taxes but must only declare their income.

2. Safety. According to the Global Peace Index, Hungary is among the world’s top 20 most peaceful countries. On immigration forums, people mention that walking late at night in Budapest is safe, and the likelihood of encountering a pickpocket is much lower than in Paris or Berlin.

3. Visa-free travel in Schengen countries. Foreigners with Hungarian residence permits can enter Schengen states without visas and stay there for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. One can drive to Vienna or Prague in three to five hours.

4. Affordable cost of living. Maintaining a high standard of living in Hungary is cheaper than in other EU countries. On average, one person will need €1,500 to live in Budapest, which is less than half the amount required in Madrid, Lisbon, or Vienna.

5. “Old Europe” and the modern city. Hungary features many narrow European streets and historical buildings, the most recognisable being the Hungarian Parliament. However, it is not the only attraction worth seeing in Budapest. As part of the Liget Budapest project, the House of Music, a modern music stage and exhibition centre, was constructed.

How to get a Hungary White Card

The House of Music in Hungary is the cultural centre of Budapest, located in the city park of Városliget. Concerts, exhibitions, and lectures are held there

Taxes for digital nomads in Hungary

According to Hungarian law, digital nomads must declare income, including income received outside the country. They must obtain an individual tax number and submit a tax return. The filing dates for returns can be found on the website of the Hungarian Tax Administration.

Digital nomads are exempt from paying income tax in Hungary. However, if they spend at least 183 days a year in the country, they become Hungarian tax residents. In this case, income tax is levied at a rate of 15%.

The digital nomad will only have to pay income tax once the income is received in a country with Hungary having a double tax treaty. For example, a digital nomad who works for an Israeli company only pays income tax in Israel. However, they still need to declare such income in Hungary.

The tax year in Hungary coincides with the calendar year. On March 15th, the taxpayer receives an electronic declaration. After that, they have a month and a half to check and adjust it. By May 20th, the taxpayer must submit the final return and pay the tax. This can be done online in their personal account.

Income from which countries is not taxed in Hungary

Albania

Andorra

Armenia

Australia

Austria

Azerbaijan

Bahrain

Belarus

Belgium

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Brazil

Bulgaria

Canada

China

Croatia

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark

Estonia

Egypt

Finland

France

Georgia

Germany

Greece

Hong Kong

Iceland

India

Indonesia

Iran

Ireland

Israel

Italy

Japan

Kazakhstan

Kosovo

Kuwait

Kyrgyzstan

Latvia

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Macedonia

Malaysia

Malta

Mexico

Moldova

Mongolia

Montenegro

Morocco

Netherlands

Norway

Oman

Pakistan

Poland

Portugal

Philippines

Qatar

Romania

Russia

San Marino

Saudi Arabia

Serbia

Singapore

Slovakia

Slovenia

South Africa

South Korea

Spain

Tunisia

Turkey

Turkmenistan

Thailand

UAE

United Kingdom

Ukraine

Uruguay

Uzbekistan

Vietnam

Reasons for a residence permit denial

Most often, residence permits are denied due to the provision of false information about the applicant and their employer, expired passports, or insufficient income.

The refusal can be appealed within 8 working days after notification of the decision. The appeal is submitted to the same immigration office where the application for a residence permit was accepted, or to the Hungarian consulate in the country of residence. However, the appeal will not be considered on its merits if:

  • it is submitted by third parties not specified in the initial application for a residence permit;

  • it contains new information not previously provided;

  • the appeal was filed without stating a reason.

The appeal fee is €160, or HUF 47,000. To pay the fee, you must fill out a form.

The Hungarian Immigration Service revokes residency in the following cases:

  • after the residence permit was issued, it turned out that the applicant did not meet Hungary’s requirements for digital nomads;

  • the foreigner left Hungary for a period of more than 90 days;

  • the foreigner works for a Hungarian employer;

  • the foreigner bought a share in a Hungarian company.

Hungary’s permanent residency and citizenship for digital nomads

The White Card does not grant the right to obtain permanent residency. To qualify for a permanent residence permit, a foreigner must live in Hungary with another type of residence permit.

National permanent residency is granted to a foreigner for an indefinite period if they:

  • have lived in Hungary with a residence permit for at least 3 years;

  • have not left Hungary for more than 4 months in a row;

  • have spent no more than 9 months outside Hungary;

  • have demonstrated an interest in permanent residency in Hungary — for example, by keeping most of their savings in Hungarian banks.

A foreigner cannot obtain a permanent residence permit by simply spending at least 183 days a year in Hungary. In this case, they become a tax resident and are obliged to pay taxes in the country.

A European permanent residence permit, or EU long-term residence permit, will be issued on the same basis as a national permanent residence permit, but there is no need to prove interest in the status. The permanent resident card is renewed every 5 years.

An application for citizenship is submitted after 11 years of living in Hungary. It must be done in person at the Ministry of Interior or a Customer Service Office.

Hungarian citizenship is issued under the following conditions:

  1. The applicant has lived in Hungary as a permanent resident for at least 8 years and has not left the country for more than 45 days per year.

  2. The applicant has no criminal record and does not pose a threat to Hungarian national security.

  3. The applicant has passed exams on his knowledge of the language, history, and culture of Hungary.

  4. The applicant has a stable income and a permanent address in Hungary.

Other ways to move to Hungary

Investors obtain Hungary Golden Visas. The investor first applies for a Guest Investor Visa. With this visa, they enter Hungary within 2 years and fulfil one of the investment conditions: buying shares in investment funds, purchasing real estate, or donating to a higher education institution. The minimum investment is €250,000.

Investors immediately get residence permits valid for 10 years. Along with the investor, their family members can also become residents: spouses and minor children.

Upon company registration, foreigners over 18 can obtain one-year residence permits. If the company makes a profit, foreigners can extend this status once for one or two years.

Family members can be added to the application after one year. The spouse submits a separate application for a residence permit through family reunification for themselves and children under 18. After the residence permit expires, you need to leave Hungary and resubmit the documents.

Individual cost calculation of a Hungary Golden Visa

Individual cost calculation of a Hungary Golden Visa

Living in Hungary as a digital nomad

Cost of living. On average, renting a one-bedroom apartment in the centre of Budapest costs €600 per month, while prices might be lower outside the city centre.

Utility costs, including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage disposal, typically amount to around €150 per month for a small apartment.

Grocery expenses can vary based on where you shop and your dietary habits. On average, a single person might spend approximately €400 per month on food, including groceries and occasional dining out.

Safety. Budapest has a relatively low crime rate and is ranked among Europe’s top 20 safest countries. Violent crime is rare, and most visitors do not encounter any safety issues during their stay.

As a popular tourist destination, Budapest attracts millions of visitors each year. The city takes measures to ensure the safety of tourists, including a police presence in major tourist areas and public transportation hubs.

While walking around the city, especially in tourist areas like the historic district of Buda or along the Danube River, exercise standard precautions such as keeping an eye on your belongings and avoiding poorly lit or deserted areas at night.

Healthcare. Hungary has a tax-funded universal healthcare system organised by the state-owned National Health Insurance Fund. One hundred per cent of the population is covered by universal health insurance.

Digital nomads can use government medicine or apply for expat policies that ensure treatment at the best private hospitals.

Transportation. Budapest has an efficient and safe public transportation system, including buses, metro, trolleybuses, trams, suburban railway lines, and boat services. A one-way ticket costs €1.20, and a monthly pass is €25.

The MOL Bubi is a bicycle-sharing network in Budapest. The apple-green bikes can be hired from and returned to any docking station found at major transport hubs in the city centre. So far, 1,150 bikes can be hired from 98 docking stations in the centre of Budapest.

Pets policy. Hungarians have a strong appreciation for animals, who are valued members of many families. Around 50% of Hungarian households have at least one pet. The most popular pets in Hungary are dogs, followed by cats, birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

All dogs and cats must be microchipped, and their owners must register them with the local authorities. Owners must also ensure that their pets have valid vaccinations and keep them on a leash or in a designated area while in public spaces.

Things to know about the Digital Nomad Visa to Hungary

  1. The Hungarian nomad residence, or White Card, is issued to remote workers with a monthly income of €3,000.

  2. Only one applicant can receive a White Card in Hungary. If spouses wish to move to Hungary, they each need to obtain a White Card.

  3. The Digital Nomad Visa does not entitle to permanent residency or a Hungarian passport.

  4. The White Card is valid for a year and can be extended for the same period.

  5. After two years of living in Hungary, you can reapply for a White Card by applying for a residence permit again.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence by investment programs in the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of our global 15-year expertise — schedule a meeting with our investment programs experts.

Will you obtain Hungary White Card?

Practical Guide

Will you obtain Hungary White Card?

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the Hungary Digital Nomad Visa?

    The Digital Nomad Visa is a residence permit for employees of foreign companies with an income of €3,000 per month. This residence permit is valid for 1 year; the status can be extended for the same period.

    With a digital nomad residence permit, you can live in Hungary, but you cannot work for a Hungarian company. After 2 years, the foreigner can leave Hungary and reapply for a residence permit.

  • What is the Hungary White Card?

    The White Card is a residence permit for employees of foreign companies. Those who work remotely and earn from €3,000 per month can obtain the status. The residence permit is valid for a year and can be renewed once for the same period.

  • What are the Digital Nomad Visa Hungary requirements?

    The Digital Nomad visa, or white card, will be issued to employees of companies outside of Hungary. Income requirement: at least €3,000 per month. In this case, a foreigner needs to buy or rent real estate in Hungary.

    Relatives cannot be included in the application for a Hungarian white card. Also, a digital nomad’s residence permit does not give the right to join relatives after receiving the status.

    Stateless persons have the right to obtain a residence permit in Hungary, but citizens of the European Union and European Economic Area countries do not.

  • How to get a Hungary White Card?

    First, the foreigner collects the necessary documents and receives an entry visa to Hungary. With this visa, he comes to the country and picks up a residence permit card from the immigration service. The whole process takes 3—4 months.

    In addition to proof of employment and income, the applicant also needs:

    1. Demonstrate the presence of savings of €10,000 or more in an account in a non-sanctioned bank.

    2. Buy health insurance with coverage starting from €30,000 in Hungary.

    3. Buy or rent real estate in Hungary for the entire duration of the residence permit. In this case, the area of residential real estate must be at least 6 m² per person.

    4. Confirm your intention to leave Hungary. To do this, you can provide a certificate of availability of funds to purchase a ticket to your country of residence.

  • How much do you need to earn for a Hungary White Card?

    A White Card will be issued to foreigners with an income of €3,000 per month. In this case, the income must come from a company outside of Hungary.

    The amount of income must be confirmed, for example, by providing an employment contract. The digital nomad also provides a certificate of savings amounting to €10,000 or more.

  • How long do you need to live in Hungary to get permanent residence?

    White card holders cannot apply for permanent residence in Hungary. The period of living in Hungary with a digital nomad residence permit will not be counted towards obtaining permanent resident status.

    To obtain permanent status, you must live in Hungary for three years with another type of residence permit.

  • Is it possible to work with a Hungary nomad residence?

    Under Hungarian law, digital nomads cannot work in the country. If a foreigner works for a Hungarian company, he may be denied status or deprived of a residence permit.

  • How long does it take to get a Hungary Digital Nomad Visa?

    You can get a white card in 3—4 months. The timing depends on the workload of immigration centres.

  • Which countries issue digital nomad visas?

    Portugal is one of the most popular countries for remote workers. It is chosen for its low cost of living and safety and the opportunity to move to Portugal with the family. But Portugal has stricter income requirements than Hungary: digital nomads must earn at least €3,280 per month to qualify for a visa.

    A residence permit for digital nomads can be obtained in Malta. You must earn at least €3,500 outside of Malta. You can include your spouse and children in your application for a residence permit.

  • What are the benefits of Hungarian residence for digital nomads?

    Typically, a digital nomad visa is a residence permit for 1—5 years. During this time, the foreigner can live in the country. As a rule, you cannot work with a local company with a Digital Nomad visa. It will be issued to those who already receive a stable income abroad.

    A residence permit in Hungary or another Schengen country gives the right to travel without visas to countries in the region and freely open accounts in Hungarian banks. Digital nomads also do not pay income tax if they live in Hungary for less than 183 days a year.

  • Do digital nomads pay taxes in Hungary?

    According to Hungarian law, digital nomads are required to declare income, including income received outside the country. To do this, they receive an analogue of the TIN and submit tax returns. The filing date of returns can be found on the website of the Hungarian Tax Administration.

  • How Much Does the Hungary Digital Nomad Visa Cost?

    The Hungarian White Card is a way to obtain a residence permit without investment.

    The main costs for obtaining a residence permit include:

    • rental of real estate for the entire duration of the residence permit, €800+ per month;

    • translation of documents into English, if required, €50+;

    • deposit for real estate — the amount of the monthly payment;

    • medical insurance for the duration of the residence permit, €15+ per month;

    • state fee for applying for a residence permit, €110;

    • flight to Budapest, €30+.

  • Can I work remotely in Hungary?

    Yes, remote work is becoming increasingly common in Hungary, especially in the technology, finance, and customer service industries. Many companies offer remote work opportunities, allowing employees to work anywhere in Hungary or abroad.

    Remote workers can apply for the Hungary White Card to live in the country and work for foreign companies. With this card type, digital nomads can open a bank account in Hungary and travel to EU countries without visas.