Second Citizenship
February 22, 2024
Reading Time: 6 min

7 key benefits of Hungary residence

Hungary offers more than 10 ways to obtain a residence permit. Investors, digital nomads, entrepreneurs, students, and researchers may become residents. The residence permit is issued for one to ten years.

Hungarian residents can live in the European Union, travel across the Schengen Area visa-free, and obtain permanent residency and citizenship.

However, residency has peculiarities you want to be aware of before moving to Hungary.

Zlata Erlach
Zlata Erlach

Listed key benefits of Hungary residence

Hungary Golden Visa benefits

7 key benefits of Hungary residence

7 advantages of the Hungary residence permit

1. The right to move to Hungary and live there with a valid residence permit. The permitted period of stay depends on the permit type; thus, students become residents for the period of studying and employees — for the duration of their work contract period.

Investors get Hungary Golden Visas. One obvious Hungary Golden Visa benefit is that residency is granted for 10 years with the right of one extension for the same period.

2. Visa-free access to the countries of the Schengen Area and an opportunity to stay there for 90 days within 180 days per year.

3. There is an opportunity to bring family members to Hungary: children under 18 and spouses may move to the country with the resident. Those who obtain residence permits by investment may include their parents if they depend financially on the applicant or an applicant’s spouse.

4. The right to work in Hungary without a special permit is given to foreigners who become residents by employment, family reunification, or studying. Students are allowed to have a part-time job if it doesn’t take more than 36 hours a week.

It is forbidden for financially independent people or residents who come for medical treatment in Hungary to work or have income as a self-employed person.

5. Access to European bank services. The residents of Hungary may open accounts, apply for bank cards, put unlimited amounts of money into their deposit accounts, make transfers, pay for services, and invest money. Banking services are available at Hungary’s national, European, and international banks.

6. Low cost of living compared to other European countries. A single person’s monthly costs are around €630 without rent, and a family of four spends around €2,200. These monthly living costs are 20—30% lower than in Italy, Greece or Malta but comparable to Portugal and Montenegro.

7. Obtaining permanent residency becomes available after three years of living in Hungary. Qualifying for citizenship becomes available eight more years later.

Will you obtain Hungary Golden Visa?

Practical Guide

Will you obtain Hungary Golden Visa?

5 features of Hungary to be aware of before moving

1. Free healthcare is not for everyone: children under 16, students, and employees of Hungarian companies have access to the state healthcare system. Employers transfer a part of their income to the National Health Insurance Fund, making medical services free for tax-payers.

If a residence permit doesn’t require employment, a resident doesn’t have to pay just for first aid and emergency care. To cover other expenses, the resident has to get national insurance that costs €250+ or a private insurance policy.

2. Foreigners must have a permanent address in Hungary. To meet this requirement, a resident has to rent housing for more than three months and obtain the owner’s consent for registration. Buying a property is also an option.

According to the law, foreign residents must always have a document confirming their permanent address. If a resident changes a permanent address, they must inform the Migration Service within three weeks. Apply to the Enter Hungary website to indicate a new residential address.

3. One has to live in Hungary for 183 days per year to maintain the resident status. Thus, Hungary residency suits those planning to move to the country and settle there.

4. The Hungarian language is among the most difficult to learn. It is the country’s only official language, meaning that the resident has to learn Hungarian to study at university, work or complete a traineeship in local companies.

Even if a foreigner doesn’t have to work in the country, language awareness is necessary to visit a doctor, make an order at a restaurant, and help children do their homework. Just 20% of the population in Hungary speak English.

5. Without a lawyer, a property sale transaction is impossible in Hungary. One cannot conclude a contract, obtain the government’s permission for purchase, transact money for a property item to a seller, or receive a title deed.

Immigrant Invest lawyers and real estate specialists accompany those who apply for residency by investment in Hungary.

How to obtain residency in Hungary

There are more than ten ways to obtain a Hungary residence permit. Usually, a residence permit is given for a special kind of activity, such as:

  • employment;

  • traineeship;

  • studying at a university and language courses;

  • job searching;

  • official purposes;

  • medical treatment;

  • scientific activity and research;

  • volunteering;

  • marriage;

  • family reunification.

However, foreigners may obtain a White Card for digital nomads, a residence permit for entrepreneurs, and a Golden Visa designed for investors.

The residence permit for digital nomads, or the White Card, is issued to applicants who work remotely for a foreign company outside Hungary or remotely run a business abroad. The applicant’s income must be less than €3,000 per month over the past six months.

This residence permit is given for 1 year and may be prolonged.

The residence permit to pursue gainful activity is granted to founders of companies, entrepreneurs, and self-employed people registered in Hungary.

This residence permit is given for 3 years and may be prolonged for 3 years.

The Hungary Golden Visa may be obtained by:

  • purchasing real estate fund units for at least €250,000;

  • buying a property at a minimum price of €500,000;

  • donating to an institution of higher learning at least €1,000,000.

The resident permit under Hungary Golden Visa Program is granted for 10 years.

Application process. It is possible to apply for residence permits only while in Hungary. To enter the country, an applicant must first apply for a National or Schengen visa in case an applicant’s country doesn’t have a visa facilitation agreement with Hungary.

Online application is possible through the Enter Hungary website. The applicant must also visit the office in person to submit fingerprints, have a photo taken for a residence permit card, and pay fees.

The fee is €64—110, depending on the applicant’s citizenship.

The application is being considered within 21 days. Then, the residence permit card is sent to the applicant’s residential address.

Individual cost calculation of a Hungary Golden Visa

Individual cost calculation of a Hungary Golden Visa

When a residence permit can be revoked

The Migration Service may refuse the application for a residence permit, decline to extend residency or revoke it if the applicant:

  • has misinformed the service while applying for a residence permit;

  • has a disease that puts the wellness of the Hungarian nation under threat. However, the list of such illnesses is not specified by law;

  • doesn’t meet the requirements for maintaining the resident status; for example, spends less than 183 days a year in the country;

  • doesn’t have a permanent residential address or hasn’t informed the Migration Service that they have moved;

  • is engaged in activity not intended by the type of obtained residence permit;

  • has a residence permit from a company created to simplify third-country nationals' entry to Hungary.

The students who work more than 36 hours a week, fail their exams or haven’t defended a diploma thesis may also lose their residence permit.

How to renew a residence permit in Hungary

The renewal application is submitted online on the Enter Hungary website. The possibility of extension, the list of documents, and fees depend on the residence permit type.

The Migration Service checks all the documents to ensure that the foreigner is still eligible for a residence permit, e.g., if they still fulfil the investment requirements to study or run a business.

Applicants submit biometrics in person by visiting a Migration Service office.

Apply for renewal at least 30 days before the permit expires. Should the applicant submit the documents belatedly, the authorities will regard the application as a new submission rather than a renewal.

Immigrant Invest lawyers recommend collecting documents 60 days before the permit expiration.

The basic list of the documents, regardless of the permit type, is the following:

  • a foreign passport;

  • a completed application;

  • 2 photos;

  • health insurance: a universal one or with coverage of 30,000+;

  • application that a foreigner is ready to leave the country within 30 days if the residence permit is not renewed;

  • confirmation of having a permanent address in Hungary;

  • the document proving an income or savings.

The list of additional documents depends on the residence permit type. It may include an employment agreement with a Hungarian company, a contract with an educational institution, a clinic or hospital confirmation, a marriage certificate, and children’s birth certificates.

Benefits of Hungarian residence permit

A resident's ID card contains a biometric photo and the scans of the fingerprints of its owner, and a few holograms protect the data. Source:

How to obtain Hungary permanent residency and citizenship

Living in Hungary for 3 years with a residence permit qualifies a foreigner for permanent residency. The applicant confirms a permanent address, income or savings for self-support, and health insurance.

The application for permanent residency is also submitted online, but a foreigner has to visit the Migration Service office in person to submit biometrics.

Permanent residency is granted for life. However, it may be revoked if the permanent resident has spent more than six months in a row outside Hungary. To prevent revocation, the resident must submit an application describing the reasons and the dates of the trip to the Migration Service.

Hungary citizenship is obtained by naturalisation, which takes 8 years of living in Hungary with permanent residency.

Applicants eligible for Hungary citizenship are those who have:

  • a clear criminal record;

  • no serious diseases;

  • a stable income;

  • a confirmed permanent address in the country;

  • a document proving the period of living in Hungary for at least 8 years.

Hungarians-to-be take a language proficiency test and an exam proving their knowledge of Hungarian culture and history. Hungarian university alumni and people over 65 don’t have to take these tests.

The citizenship applicant submits the documents and a completed application in person to the Ministry of the Interior of Hungary or the one-stop customer service in Budapest. When the application is approved, a new citizen takes an Oath of Allegiance.

Advantages and disadvantages of the Hungary residence permit: key takeaways

  1. The Hungarian residence permit lets its owner move to the country of the European Union, travel visa-free within the Schengen Area, and apply for permanent residency in 3 years.

  2. Foreigners must prove living in the country to obtain residency by providing a rental agreement or a title deed. Also, they must have a document confirming their permanent address in Hungary.

  3. Investors can get a residence permit in Hungary. To obtain one, they fulfil the investment requirements that start at €250,000. The resident permit is granted for 10 years with the possibility of one extension for the same period.

  4. Maintaining residency usually requires spending at least 183 days a year in Hungary. Thus, a residence permit would suit foreigners who want to move to Hungary and settle there.

  5. The Hungarian language is one of the most difficult languages to learn. However, a resident has to have at least a basic command of it. Just 20% of the Hungarian population speaks English.

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 Golden Visa?

Practical Guide

Will you obtain Hungary Golden Visa?

Frequently asked questions

  • What countries can I visit with a Hungary residence permit?

    The Hungary residence permit grants an opportunity to travel visa-free within the countries of the Schengen Area and other European states. Hungary residents can choose from 35 visa-free destinations.

  • Can I work in Europe with a Hungarian residence permit?

    Certain types of residence permits let their holders work in Hungary without getting any special allowance. For instance, Hungarian companies employees, students, and residents for family reunification have a right to work in the country.

    The residents who obtained their permit by investment, financially independent people, and residents who stay in Hungary for medical treatment are forbidden to work.

  • Can I work in Italy with a Hungarian residence permit?

    No. The temporary residence permit for employees and job-seekers in Hungary allows its owner to work only in the territory of Hungary. A residence permit is necessary to work in any other European country.

    However, a Blue Card holder may reside and work in one of the EU’s Member States as a highly qualified employee.

  • Can I leave Hungary with its residence permit?

  • How many years does one have to live in Hungary to obtain citizenship?

    A total of 11 years of living in Hungary is required to qualify for citizenship by naturalisation. Of these, one must hold a temporary residence permit for 3 years and permanent residency for 8 years.

  • Does Hungary allow dual citizenship?

    Yes, Hungary allows dual citizenship. If a resident’s native countries allow dual citizenship, they may hold two passports.