Second Citizenship
February 8, 2024
Reading Time: 9 min

All ways to get a residence permit in Hungary

The Hungary residence permit is a way to enjoy the perks of living in the EU, like getting a prestigious education and high-quality healthcare.

The most common reasons for foreigners to move to Hungary are employment, university enrollment, marriage, and investment. Each option has its benefits and limitations.

Zlata Erlach
Zlata Erlach

Described various options to get a Hungary residence permit

Residence permit Hungary

All ways to get a residence permit in Hungary

Hungary Golden Visa: residence permits for investors

The Hungarian government introduced the residency program in late 2023, which will be launched in 2024. A foreign investor will be able to get a residence permit by contributing at least €250,000

Validity. The residence permit by investment is granted for 10 years and can be extended once for another 10 years. 

Requirements for applicants. To qualify, an investor should meet the criteria:

  • be over 18;

  • be a non-EU and non-EEA citizen;

  • have health insurance;

  • have a legitimate source of income.

An investor may include family members in the application: a spouse, underage children, and parents who are financially dependent on the investor or the investor’s spouse.

Documents. An investor must get a Guest Investor Visa to Hungary to enter the country and apply for a residence permit. The list of documents for visa and residency application will include:

  1. A passport. It should be valid for at least a year.

  2. Two recent photos of an applicant in a size of 3×4 cm.

  3. Health insurance.

  4. Proof of legitimacy of the income.

  5. Bank statement.

  6. CV for each adult family member.

  7. A marriage certificate if applicable.

  8. Birth certificates of children, if applicable.

  9. Written confirmation of intention to fulfil the investment condition when applying for a visa.

  10. Confirmation of investing when applying for residency.

  11. An application form for a residence permit.

The list of documents is indeterminate and will be clarified once the Golden Visa program is launched.

Costs. There are three investment options, and one of them is property purchase. The cost of property must be no less than €500,000. There are additional expenses:

  1. Stamp duty is 4% if a property costs more than €2.6 million or 1 billion forints. Otherwise, it is 2%.

  2. VAT is 5% and is usually included in the property price. The VAT only applies to a primary property.

  3. Service fees include the services of a lawyer, realtor, and notary. It costs up to 5% of a property price.

  4. Administrative fees start at €280.

To purchase a property, an investor hires a lawyer to accompany a deal. A lawyer obtains permission at the Land Registry.

The most affordable investment option is to purchase units of a real estate fund worth at least €250,000. A fund should be registered with the Hungarian National Bank.

The third investment option to get a Hungary Golden visa is a donation. In this case, an investor transfers to an institution of higher learning a minimum of €1 million. The money will support education, scientific research, and artistry.

Individual cost calculation of a Hungary Golden Visa

Individual cost calculation of a Hungary Golden Visa

Hungary White Card for digital nomads

The Hungary White Card is a residence permit for digital nomads who earn income abroad. They can be employees at foreign companies or entrepreneurs who manage a business. Freelancers and self-employed workers are not considered digital nomads in Hungary.

Validity. A White Card is issued for one year; extending it for one more year is possible. A resident with a White Card cannot apply for permanent residence in Hungary.

Requirements for applicants. To receive and keep a White Card, a foreigner must:

  1. Be employed. The company of employment or the business cannot be registered and operate in Hungary.

  2. Have an income of at least €3,000 per month.

  3. Live in Hungary. That means a White Card holder has to stay in the country for more than 90 days within any 180 period. Leaving Hungary for travel is allowed.

  4. Do not pursue any gainful activity in Hungary or hold a share in a Hungarian company.

A resident with a White Card cannot add a family member to the application.

Documents. There is a list of documents one needs to add to the application for a White card, including:

  1. A valid passport.

  2. An application for a White Card.

  3. Health insurance.

  4. Proof of housing in Hungary. It can be a lease agreement, a purchase agreement, a Hungarian relative’s permit to reside in their property, or another document.

  5. Confirmation of income of €3,000 in the last 6 months.

  6. Permission to work remotely from the employer.

Costs. A foreigner has to incur several expenses to obtain a residence permit, including €110 of an administrative fee for issuing the permit. Health insurance has a minimum price of €15+ per month, and a one-bedroom apartment rental fee is €430+ per month.

Extending the permit requires paying a €60 administrative fee.

Residence permit in Hungary for employees

Permit types. There are a few residence permits for employees in Hungary; the most common are a Hungarian work visa and an EU Blue Card. The work visa is for a wide range of professionals, while the Blue Card is designed for highly qualified professionals with a larger salary.

Validity. The work visa is issued for 4 months, and once an employee enters Hungary with the visa, they apply for a residence permit. The permit is usually valid for 1 year and can be extended.

The Blue Card is issued for 1—4 years with a possibility to extend.

Requirements for applicants. The basic requirement for a permit is to sign a contract of employment with a Hungarian company. For that, a potential employee should prove their qualifications and language skills and find a job.

An employee who intends to get an EU Blue Card must have a salary that exceeds the average wage in Hungary by 50%. By the end of 2023, Hungary’s average wage was 621,150 forints or €1,606 per month. Hence, an EU Blue Card holder must earn at least €2,409 monthly.

A foreigner with a residence permit as an employee may add their family to the application: a spouse, children, and parents. They are eligible to get residence permits for the same validity period.

Documents. Usually, a foreigner is required to provide a few documents:

  1. A valid passport.

  2. An application for a residence permit or a Blue Card.

  3. An employment contract.

  4. Documents proving qualifications: university diploma, language certificates, a CV.

  5. Medical insurance.

  6. Proof of housing in Hungary, such as a lease agreement.

Costs. The fee for issuing a residence permit is €60 at the consulate. If a foreigner applies for a permit in Hungary, the cost is lower — 18,000 forints, or about €47. The fee for extending a residence permit is 10,000 forints, or €26.

A resident must pay for accommodation, insurance, and daily expenses. The exact sum depends on the city of residence and the family composition. For example, a family of four living in Budapest will spend approximately €2,400 per month without rent. Renting a three-bedroom apartment in the city centre costs about €1,000.

Hungarian residence permit for students

Requirements for applicants. Foreigners who plan to study in Hungary for over three months must obtain a residence permit. The permit allows one to study in a high school, college, university, or another secondary or higher educational institution. A preparatory course organised by a university is also a ground for issuing a permit.

To get a residence permit as a student, a foreigner should meet several criteria. They are:

  • be accepted to an accredited institution as a full-time student;

  • prove language skills according to the study program requirements;

  • have a passport valid for the duration of studies;

  • have adequate accommodation;

  • have sufficient financial resources;

  • have health insurance.

A student with a permit is allowed to work in Hungary for up to 24 hours per week during the term. On holidays and breaks, it is 66 working days per year.

A student with a residence permit cannot add a family member to the application.

Validity. A residence permit for students is valid for the duration of studies if it does not exceed 2 years. The validity period for studies longer than 2 years is 1—2 years, with a possibility of extending the permit for 1—2 years.

Documents. To get a permit, a student should provide:

  1. Proof of student status. It might be an admission certificate from a university or another document.

  2. Confirmation of language proficiency level at which the studies will be conducted. It can be either an official language certificate or a certificate of previous studies pursued in that language.

  3. A passport that is valid for the whole period of studies.

  4. Verification of accommodation, i.e. a lease agreement or confirmation from a dormitory administration.

  5. Health insurance with a cover of at least.

  6. Proof of sufficient financial means.

Costs. The tuition fee in Hungary depends on the course and the university. Typically, it varies between €2,500 and 8,000 per year for foreigners. There is no application fee.

A student also has to have subsistence means. The average cost of living for a single person in Hungary is €640 per month or €7,700 per year. The average rent of a one-room apartment is €340—430 per month or €4,050—5,100 per year.

Residence permit Hungary for non-EU citizens

The University of Szeged is 3rd most prestigious in Hungary and the top 650 in the QS World University Rankings

Other types of Hungary residence permits

There are other ways to become a resident of Hungary. Most require a potential temporary resident to have accommodation in Hungary, sufficient financial resources, and health insurance. The only exception is people seeking asylum in Hungary.

Marriage. A spouse of a resident or a citizen of Hungary gets a residence permit via marriage. The marriage should be registered. Spouses apply for a permit on the grounds of family reunification.

A spouse applies at the nearest consulate, paying a fee of €60. Another option is to apply to the regional National Directorate-General for Aliens Policing in Hungary; the fee is 18,000 forints, or about €47. A marriage certificate is required for the application.

Family reunification. A non-EU citizen living in Hungary can bring their non-EU family members to live with them. It applies to both temporary and permanent residents of Hungary.

Family members eligible to obtain residence permits are:

  • minor children of the main applicant or their spouse;

  • dependent parents of the main applicant or a spouse;

  • siblings or linear relatives of the main applicant or a spouse if they cannot provide for themselves due to health reasons.

A family member needs to submit their application with proof of family ties at the nearest consulate. The fee is €60.

Trainees and volunteers. Students who have a traineeship in a Hungarian company and foreigners participating in a social or humanitarian project of a non-governmental organisation get to obtain a residence permit for the time of their stay. Trainees and volunteers must provide documents confirming their participation in a project or activity.

To become a resident, they may apply abroad at the consulate. Another option is to get a visa to Hungary from their country and apply for a permit after entry. The fee at the consulate is €60; in Hungary, it is about €47.

Refugees. A foreigner forced to leave their country because of persecution or risk of serious harm may seek asylum in Hungary. To become a permit as a refugee, they apply to the Asylum division of a regional directorate as soon as they enter Hungary.

Their family members may also be recognised as refugees.

5 benefits of Hungarian residency

1. An opportunity to move to the European Union. Hungary is democratic, safe, and economically developed. The country ranked the 17th safest country globally, according to the Global Peace Index 2023. Hungary is also among the 50 richest countries in the world.

2. Comparatively low cost of living. Hungary is one of the most affordable countries in the European Union. On average, expenses in Hungary are €645 per month for a single person without rent. The sum is €855 per month in Italy, €1,025 in Austria, and €785 in the Czech Republic.

3. Visa-free travel across the Schengen Area. A resident of Hungary gets to travel to the other countries of the Schengen Area without a visa and stay there for up to 90 days within 180 days.

Hungary shares borders with 5 EU countries: Austria, Croatia, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia; they are within a 3-hour drive from Budapest.

4. Opening accounts in European banks. Residents of Hungary get to open accounts in Hungary’s banks. Major international banks operate in the country, i.e. CitiBank, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, CIB Bank, and others. To open an account, a resident typically provides just a passport and a permit.

5. Access to high-quality medicine and education. 11 Hungarian universities are included in the best 1,500 universities of the world. Hungarian graduates can work in all EU countries, the UK, and the USA.

Hungary is popular for medical tourism. Foreigners from all over Europe come to the country for health improvement, high-level dentistry, and cosmetic surgery.

Hungarian residence permit

Hungary is famous for thermal baths and hot springs located in Budapest and all over the country; most of them are open throughout the year

How to get a Hungary residence permit by investment

The program is set to be launched in 2024, so the exact procedure and timeline are yet to be established. The process of obtaining a Hungary Golden Visa is estimated based on the experience of Immigrant Invest lawyers.

1

1 day

Preliminary Due Diligence

Immigrant Invest conducts a preliminary check of an investor. A certified Anti Money Laundering Officer runs the check. It helps identify the risk of rejection and reduce it to a minimum.

Preliminary Due Diligence is completely confidential.

2

2 weeks

Documents preparation

Lawyers of Immigrant Invest prepare a list of necessary documents. The investor provides the originals, and the lawyers translate and notarise the copies.

3

Up to 3 months

Getting a Guest Investor Visa

The investor applies for a Guest Investor Visa at the local consulate. The visa is issued for 2 years. Within this time, an investor has to come to Hungary to apply for a residence permit.

4

Up to 93 days

Fulfilling investment conditions

The investor enters Hungary, chooses a project, and then financially contributes. There are 93 days to fulfil investment conditions and apply for a residence permit.

5

3 days

Applying for a Hungary residence permit

The investor visits the migration office to submit a passport, the originals of the documents, and the biometrics. The investor also takes a photo of a residence permit card.

6

Up 3 weeks

Getting a residence card

A migration office of Hungary reviews the application within a few days. In case of approval, the investor makes an appointment with the migration office.

The card is sent to the investor to the investor’s address by mail within 21 days.

7

After 10 years

Extending residence permit

Hungary residence permit for investors is valid for 10 years. It is then possible to extend it once for 10 more years.

Obtaining permanent residency and citizenship in Hungary

After residing in Hungary continuously for 3 years, a third-country national with a residence permit may apply for permanent residency.

There are several exceptions:

  • digital nomads with a White Card are not eligible to get permanent residence;

  • EEA nationals must legally reside in Hungary for 5 years;

  • the conditions of getting permanent residence for investors are yet to be disclosed;

  • students may apply for permanent residence, but only half of their time at the institution is considered when calculating those 5 years.

After 8 years of residing in Hungary as a permanent resident, a foreigner can obtain citizenship by naturalisation. The requirements to get it:

  • no criminal record of the applicant;

  • sufficient means of subsistence and a place of abode in Hungary;

  • naturalisation is not considered a threat to the public order or the national security;

  • passing the citizenship test in the Hungarian language.

A citizen of the country gets the most rights and privileges compared to a resident. For instance, a citizen can get free healthcare, while a resident must pay for non-emergency treatment. A citizen gets the right to vote in elections. Also, there is no requirement to reside in the country with citizenship, compared to the obligation to live in Hungary 183 days a year to keep residency.

Terms and benefits for Hungary residents and citizens

Aspect

Residence permit

Permanent residency

Citizenship

Issued for life

No

Yes, but card renewal every 5 years

Yes

Free healthcare

First aid and emergency healthcare

First aid and emergency healthcare

Yes

Travel to Schengen Area visa-free

Yes, for up to 90 days every 180 days

Yes, for up to 90 days every 180 days

Yes, without limitations

Can leave and enter Hungary freely

While the permit is valid

Yes

Yes

Opening accounts in local banks

Yes

Yes

Yes

Right to vote

No

No

Yes

Key thoughts about residence permits in Hungary

  1. Hungary has several types of resident permits: for investors, employees, students, digital nomads, and family members.

  2. A foreign investor may get a residence permit by purchasing units of a real estate fund for €250,000. Another option is to buy a property worth €500,000 or donate €1,000,000 to a higher education institution.

  3. A Hungarian permit allows its holder to live in the country of the EU, get access to European healthcare and education, and travel to the Schengen countries without a visa.

  4. To get a residence permit for investors in Hungary, a foreigner prepares documents, gets a Guest Investor Visa, makes an investment, and applies for a residence permit. Immigrant Invest lawyers assist an investor during each step.

  5. Foreigners with a resident permit apply for permanent residency after residing in the country for 5 years. After 8 years of living in the country with permanent status, they are eligible to obtain citizenship of Hungary by naturalisation.

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

  • How do I get a residence permit in Hungary?

    To get a residence permit in Hungary, a foreigner chooses grounds to obtain the permit, collects documents, and applies for it. If an applicant’s passport does not allow them to enter Hungary without a visa, they get the visa first.

    There are various reasons to get a permit: employment, marriage, studies, need for asylum, etc. The exact procedure and set of documents depend on the chosen option. For example, one needs to get a Guest Investor visa and make a financial contribution to obtain a residence permit for investors.

  • How much is a Hungarian residence permit?

    The fee to issue a residence permit is €60 at the consulate or about €47 in Hungary. Other expenses depend on the permit type. For example, an investor will have to pay at least €250,000 to get a Hungary Golden Visa.

  • Can I get a residence permit based on investment?

    Yes, it is possible to get a residence permit in Hungary for investors. The program is called Hungary Golden Visa and is set to be launched in 2024. To qualify, one needs to purchase units of a real estate fund worth €250,000, buy a property that costs €500,000, or donate €1 million to a higher learning institution.

  • What documents do I need for a residence permit in Hungary?

    Normally, a standard set of documents for a residence permit in Hungary consists of:

    • A valid passport.

    • An application for a permit.

    • Medical insurance.

    • Proof of housing in Hungary. It can be a lease agreement, a purchase agreement, a Hungarian relative’s permit to reside on their property or another document.

    • Confirmation of sufficient financial resources. Depending on the type of permit, there might be specific requirements for income. For example, for a digital nomad, it is €3,000 per month.

    • Documents verifying a foreigner’s eligibility to apply for a permit, i.e., a marriage certificate or a work contract.

    Additional documents may be required for some types of permits. For example, for a White Card, it is a letter from an employer of a digital nomad confirming the right to work remotely.

  • How long does it take to get residency?

    There are no specific rules dictating the timeline of getting residency in Hungary. The process depends on the grounds for a permit, the load of the migration office, and other conditions. Normally, it takes 2—8 months to get residency in Hungary.

  • Can I work anywhere in the EU with a Hungarian residence permit?

    Technically, yes, you can work anywhere in the EU with a Hungarian residence permit. However, one of the requirements to keep a permit is to stay in Hungary for at least 183 days a year. The same applies to a permanent resident.

    After 8 years of residing in Hungary, a foreigner may get citizenship of Hungary by naturalisation. In that case, you can work anywhere in the EU.

  • Can I convert my student residence permit to a work residence permit in Hungary?

    Yes, you can obtain a work residence permit after a student permit in Hungary. To do so, a student should graduate from university and then find a job in the country. If a student quits university to find a job, they automatically lose their student permit and should leave the country.

  • Can I travel to other countries in the Schengen Area with a Hungarian residence permit?

    Yes, a foreigner with a Hungarian residence permit gets to travel to the Schengen Area countries without a visa and stay there for up to 90 days within 180 days. Together with Hungary, there are 29 European countries in the Schengen Area.

  • How long after getting a temporary residence permit can I apply for permanent residency?

    After residing in Hungary continuously for 5 years, a foreigner with a residence permit may apply for permanent residence. After residing in the country for 8 years, a foreigner has a right to apply for citizenship.

  • What is the procedure for renewing a Hungarian residence permit?

    To renew a Hungarian residence permit, a foreigner should collect the same documents as for the first application and submit them to the migration office in Hungary. The fee for renewing a residence permit is 10,000 forints or €26.

  • How long after permanent residency can I apply for Hungary citizenship?

    After 8 years of residing in Hungary as a permanent resident, a foreigner can obtain citizenship by naturalisation. A citizen of the country gets the most rights and privileges compared to a resident.

  • Can I lose my permanent residence in Hungary?

    Yes, a resident may lose residency if they do not reside in the country for more than 183 days a year without prior notice to the authorities. The migration office considers this behaviour as an intention to settle in another country and can revoke permanent residence.