Second Citizenship
April 8, 2024
Reading Time: 10 min

How to get a Hungary residence permit and relocate to this beautiful and affordable country

The path to Hungary permanent residency lies only through a temporary residence permit. A foreigner must live in the country for at least 3 years to qualify for permanent residency.

Starting in 2024, a Hungary Golden Visa is available for wealthy foreigners. For a minimum investment of €250,000, they can become temporary residents for 10 years.

In this article, we talk about all the ways to obtain a residence permit in Hungary and the advantages of living in one of the world’s safest and most affordable countries.

Zlata Erlach
Zlata Erlach

Describes all ways to obtain a Hungary residence permit

How to obtain permanent residence in Hungary: the Golden Visa for investors

How to get a Hungary residence permit and relocate to this beautiful and affordable country

Hungary permanent residency requirements

A foreigner must first obtain a temporary residence permit to move to Hungary.

Temporary residency is issued to investors, financially independent individuals, entrepreneurs, self-employed people, employees of Hungarian companies, and relatives of residents and citizens of Hungary. 

The temporary residence permit allows the holder to apply for permanent residency in the future. However, some residence permits cannot lead to permanent residency. For example, it is the case with a residence permit for digital nomads called a White Card.

A resident can apply for permanent residency after three years of continuous living in the country. For residence to be counted as continuous, holders of a residence permit can't leave Hungary for more than 4 months in a row or more than 270 days in total.

Close relatives of the main applicant can also obtain a permanent residence permit in Hungary. They are a spouse, minor children, and parents.

Applications for permanent residence are accepted online on the Hungarian Migration Service’s Enter Hungary website. You must visit the migration department to submit biometrics for a permanent residence card.

Documents that need to be prepared to apply for permanent residence in Hungary are the following:

  • an international passport;

  • birth and marriage certificates, if applicable;

  • a filled-out application;

  • photographs;

  • a residence permit, which ends in 3—4 months;

  • a CV;

  • health insurance;

  • documents proving means of subsistence;

  • an agreement for the lease or purchase and sale of real estate;

  • a certificate of no criminal record.

It’s advised to include a motivation letter highlighting how you could positively impact Hungary’s economy and cultural scene. Enhancing your application with academic qualifications, any awards you’ve received, or letters of recommendation can further showcase your value to the country.

In case of refusal, a foreigner can file an appeal within 15 days. It is necessary to attach additional documents proving the applicant’s right to obtain permanent residence. The most common reason for refusal is an administrative violation, such as a criminal conviction.

Permanent residence is issued for life. The status does not need to be renewed, but the resident must change their permanent residence card every 5 years by confirming their income or reasons for staying in the country.

All ways to become a Hungarian resident

Financially independent persons become residents if they have a stable income outside Hungary. The source of income can be a salary, pensions, income from renting out real estate, or savings in foreign banks. Another condition is the purchase or long-term lease of real estate.

Spouses and minor children also have the right to apply for a residence permit in Hungary. Each family member must have at least €10,000 in savings and 6 m² of living space.

This residence permit is issued for a period of up to 5 years. Three years after receiving the status, residents have the right to apply for permanent residence in Hungary.

A residence permit for the pursuit of gainful activities is intended for:

  • registered self-employed persons;

  • individual entrepreneurs with a licence;

  • owners and managers of companies who do not actively participate in the legal entity’s activities and do not receive a salary.

They must provide a registration or licence number, business plans, and service agreements to confirm their activity.

This residence permit is issued for 3 years. Then, the status can be extended for the same period or turned into permanent residence.

A residence permit by employment is issued to foreigners employed by a Hungarian company. The validity period of the residence permit depends on the duration of the working contract.

Applicants provide the following documents:

  • a valid passport;

  • proof of address in Hungary;

  • a bank account certificate;

  • a statement confirming the person’s readiness to leave the territory of Hungary upon receipt of a refusal of a residence permit;

  • a preliminary employment contract;

  • a certificate of professional competence with certified translation;

  • health insurance.

The fee for the procedure is €130.

Residence permits for family reunification can be obtained by relatives of Hungarian residents and citizens as well as immigrants with refugee status. Relatives are spouses, minor children, including adopted ones, and guardians of minor children.

Relatives become temporary residents for 3 years. They can then extend their status for the same period or apply for Hungarian permanent residence.

A residence permit for official representation is issued to the following applicants:

  • holders of privileges under established diplomatic relations or international law, and members of their families;

  • participants of official delegations of foreign government bodies and international organisations;

  • journalists;

  • those wishing to take part in international conventions;

  • employees of scientific, educational and cultural institutions operating in Hungary.

This residence permit is issued for the duration of service or events but for no more than 3 years with the possibility of extension for the same period.

A national residence permit in Hungary can be obtained by citizens of Ukraine and Serbia if their stay contributes to preserving and promoting the Hungarian language, culture, and national identity. It is also granted if it helps to strengthen family connections.

Individuals aiming to support or improve non-accredited educational institutions in Hungary are also eligible for residency.

This residence permit is issued for 5 years with the possibility of extension for the same period.

A residence permit for other purposes is intended for those whose purpose of stay does not fall under any other type of residence permit. The reason may be searching for a job or studying at an unaccredited educational institution.

This residence permit is issued for 5 years and can be extended for the same period.

Residence permits by investment will be issued starting in 2024. Investors receive a residence permit under preferential terms, valid immediately for 10 years.

Individual cost calculation of a Hungary Golden Visa

Individual cost calculation of a Hungary Golden Visa

Hungary Golden Visa: permanent residency through a residence permit by investment

In 2024, investors will have the opportunity to obtain a Hungary residence permit under a new program. Only citizens of countries outside the European Union and the European Economic Area are allowed to participate.

As a first step, an applicant will be issued a Guest Investor Visa valid for 2 years. Upon obtaining it, investors need to enter Hungary to apply for a residence permit.

In Hungary, the foreigner must fulfil one of three investment requirements:

  • invest in a local real estate fund — €250,000+;

  • purchase residential property — €500,000+;

  • donate to a higher education institution — €1,000,000+.

By law, the applicant must invest within 3 months after entering Hungary on the Guest Investor Visa for the first time. The visa does not restrict freedom of movement: an investor can legally stay in Hungary for up to 90 days within any 180 days and enter and exit the country an unlimited number of times.

A residence permit by investment is issued for 10 years. Upon expiration, it can be extended once for the same period.

An investor with a residence permit is not required to reside in Hungary but can move there if they decide to obtain permanent residency. Investors submit documents for permanent residency on general terms after 3 years of living in the country.

7 advantages of Hungary permanent residency

1. Visa-free travel to Schengen countries. Hungarian permanent residents can visit in other 26 Schengen countries for up to 90 days out of 180.

The geographical location of Hungary allows travelling to neighbouring countries by car. Vienna, the capital of Austria, can be reached in 3 hours from Budapest. The journey to Prague will take 6 hours. You can find yourself off the coast of the Adriatic Sea in Croatia in just 5 hours.

For longer distances, it is easier to travel by plane. For the weekend, you can fly to Milan, Paris or Barcelona; the journey takes 2—3 hours, and tickets without luggage cost only €22—37.

2. Favourable conditions for doing business. Hungary is a country with a developed economy and a good international reputation. The country exports food, wine, cars, and medical supplies.

Hungary has agreements for the avoidance of double taxation with more than 60 countries, including Brazil, China, India, the UK, and the USA.

3. Low taxes. Hungary has some of the lowest taxes among all European countries, with an income tax rate of 15%. In comparison, in the Czech Republic, Italy and Portugal, tax rates can reach up to 23%, 47%, and 53%, respectively.

A Hungarian resident pays taxes and fees of 4—10% when purchasing real estate. In comparison, in Germany, the rate is 7.2—12.8%, and in Portugal, it is 12—15%.

The corporate income tax in Hungary is 9%, which makes the country attractive for doing business. In other EU countries, taxes are higher; for example, in Denmark, the tax rate is 22%, and in Spain, it is up to 25%.

4. Access to quality medicine and education. According to the QS World University Rankings 2023, 11 Hungarian universities are among the world’s 1,500 best. Diplomas from Hungarian higher education institutions are recognised in other EU countries, as well as in the USA and Great Britain.

Many tourists come to Hungary for health reasons. Prices there are 40—70% lower than, for example, in the UK and Scandinavia. The country is known for its abundant thermal and mineral springs. Additionally, dental services, vision correction surgeries, and cosmetic and plastic surgeries are in high demand.

5. Low cost of living. Real estate, food, transport and entertainment are 2 times cheaper in Hungary than in many other European countries. You will need €3,000 per month to live in Budapest. To maintain the same living level, you will need €4,500 in Vienna and €5,700 in Copenhagen.

6. Living in a safe country. According to the Global Peace Index 2023, Hungary is one of the twenty safest countries to live in. Over the past 10 years, crime in the country has decreased by 65%. Hungary also tries to maintain political neutrality to protect its citizens.

7. Cultural and natural resources. The buildings of the Hungarian Parliament, the Royal Palace, the Szechenyi thermal baths, and ruin bars are only a small part of what Hungary is famous for. Eight of the country’s sites are on the UNESCO heritage list. For example, the village of Hollokö, the caves of Aggtelek, and the Slovak Karst.

Hungary is also famous for its mountains, mineral lakes, national parks, and cosy, well-kept villages. For example, in the city of Tihany, the atmosphere of antiquity has been preserved: houses are built in a traditional style, and there are many shops with lavender and ceramics made by local craftsmen.

How to obtain permanent residence in Hungary

The Hungarian Sea, Lake Balaton, is the largest freshwater body of water in Europe. It is known for its pure and iodine-rich water. There, you can relax at one of the healing resorts and even go yachting

Step-by-step process for obtaining Hungary permanent residency

In most cases, a Hungarian permanent residence permit is issued 3 years after continuous living in the country. Let's look at the step-by-step process of obtaining permanent residency in Hungary through residence permits for investors.


1 day

Preliminary Due Diligence

Lawyers conduct a preliminary check that helps them identify possible risks, reduce them to 1%, and find a solution in case of failure. For example, prepare additional documents or select a different investment program.

A certified Anti Money Laundering Officer carries out the check at Immigrant Invest. The process is completely confidential.


2 weeks

Document collection

Immigrant Invest lawyers provide the investor with a list of required documents, then translate and notarise copies and help fill out government forms.


Up to 3 months

Applying for a Guest Investor Visa

A Guest Investor Visa is issued for 2 years. The investor must come to Hungary and apply for a temporary residence permit during this time.


Up to 93 days

Arrival in Hungary and fulfilment of the investment condition

The applicant invests in a local real estate fund, donates to a higher education institution, or purchases real estate. The investment condition must be fulfilled within 3 months from the date of arrival in Hungary.


3 days

Applying for a residence permit

The investor uploads scans of documents to the Enter Hungary website.

The application is processed within 2—3 days. The applicant can book an appointment at the migration department if the decision is favourable.


Up to 3 weeks

Submitting biometrics and waiting for a residence permit card

At the appointed time, the investor comes to the immigration office with a passport and original documents, has their fingerprints taken and is photographed for a resident card.

The card is mailed to the specified address in Hungary within 21 days.


3 years later

Applying for permanent residency

Applications for permanent residence are also accepted online on the Migration Service’s Enter Hungary website. You must visit the migration department to submit biometrics for a permanent residence card.

Conditions for extending Hungary permanent residency

Permanent residency is issued for life in Hungary. But to maintain it, you can’t leave the country for more than 4 months at once and for more than 9 months in total.

Every 5 years, you need to renew your permanent residence card. Documents for renewal must be submitted 30 days before the card expires.

The application is submitted online. The fee is approximately €54.

How to become a Hungarian citizen

A Hungarian passport can be obtained after eight years of having a registered address in Hungary, which is available only to persons with permanent residence status. The main condition is not to leave the country for more than 45 days a year during these eight years.

The applicant also confirms that they have no criminal record or other problems with the law.

Another condition is passing an exam on knowledge of the Hungarian language, culture and constitution. Persons over 65, graduates of Hungarian universities or language courses, persons with no legal or limited legal capacity, and people with disabilities and health problems are exempt from the exam.

For the following categories of applicants, the mandatory time of residence in Hungary is reduced:

  1. For foreigners born in Hungary or who received a residence permit before turning 18 — up to 5 years.

  2. For spouses of Hungarian citizens, persons with a refugee status and parents of minor Hungarian citizens — up to 3 years.

  3. For foreigners of Hungarian origin — up to 1 year.

Documents for a Hungarian passport are submitted to the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration of Hungary. The application review process takes 3—6 months.

Hungary allows dual citizenship. It means the foreigner can keep their first passport.

Moving to Hungary: cost of living, real estate and more

One can rent real estate in Hungary on their own or with the help of a realtor or an agency. Many relevant groups on social networks offer good options. One-bedroom apartments cost €350—700 per month.

The price for one square metre when buying real estate is a minimum of €2,700 in the city centre and at least €2,000 in other areas.

Utilities cost approximately €150 for a three-bedroom apartment.

Public transport in Hungary is well-developed: there are metro, trams, trolleybuses, buses, and commuter trains. Due to convenient infrastructure and short distances, the journey takes little time. A monthly pass for public transport costs around €25. Car sharing and taxis are in demand in Budapest.

A mobile tariff with 10 GB can reach €25. But you can connect to Wi-Fi in many cafes and libraries for free.

Public hospitals are free for everyone who is officially employed in Hungary, as well as for minors, students, refugees and those receiving unemployment benefits. Appointments with a therapist are booked at least a week in advance, while other specialists have a waiting list of two weeks.

An appointment with a doctor in a private clinic costs, on average, €65; the price for an ultrasound is at least €26 and for a blood test, it is €39.

Groceries in Hungarian supermarkets are inexpensive. The cost of a restaurant lunch starts at €9, and the price for a bottle of an imported beer is €2. The cost of bread in bakeries ranges from €2.30 to 6, and drinking a cappuccino in a coffee shop will cost €1.50—3.50.

Hungarian people are sociable, friendly and leisurely. Strangers can start talking to each other about anything in line at a store. Neighbours often go out into the yard and talk over a cup of coffee.

How to obtain Hungary residence permit, the Golden Visa

Hungary has long, warm summers and short, mild winters. Autumn colours the country in bright orange hues, while in spring, you can enjoy the fragrance of flowering trees

Main things about permanent residency in Hungary

  1. Hungary permanent residency can be obtained after living in the country for 3 years as a temporary resident.

  2. A residence permit status is issued to investors, financially independent individuals, relatives of Hungarian residents and citizens, self-employed people, entrepreneurs and employees of Hungarian companies.

  3. The Hungary Golden Visa is available to investors. They receive a 10-year residence permit if they invest in a local real estate fund, buy a property, or donate to a higher education institution. The minimum investment is €250,000.

  4. Hungarian permanent residency is issued for life, but the permanent residence card must be renewed every 5 years.

  5. To be eligible for citizenship, permanent residents mustn’t leave Hungary for more than 45 days a year within eight years.

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 you become a permanent resident in Hungary?

    Permanent residency in Hungary can be obtained after living there for 3 years with a residence permit.

    Investors can receive a residence permit if they buy real estate, donate to a higher education institution or invest in a local real estate fund. The minimum investment is €250,000.

    Residence permits can also be obtained by financially independent persons, employees of Hungarian companies, relatives of residents and citizens of Hungary, and entrepreneurs.

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

    Permanent residency in Hungary can be obtained after living there for 3 years. For residence to be counted as permanent, during these three years, residents cannot leave Hungary for more than 4 months in a row or more than 9 months in total.

  • Is it possible to obtain permanent residence in Hungary by investment?

    No, you must first become a temporary resident. Investors receive a residence permit for 10 years immediately, but after 3 years, they have the right to apply for permanent residence.

    To obtain a residence permit, investors choose one of the following options: buy a property worth €500,000+, donate to a higher education institution of at least €1,000,000, or invest €250,000 or more in a local real estate fund.

  • How to obtain Hungarian citizenship?

    You can become a Hungarian citizen if you have lived in the country for 11 years. First, 3 years with a residence permit card, and then another 8 years with a permanent residence status. To qualify for citizenship, you cannot leave the country for more than 45 days a year during your entire stay.

  • What are Hungary permanent residence benefits?

    Permanent residence in Hungary allows you to travel without visas to 26 other Schengen states, gives access to quality education and medicine and leads to citizenship of the country. Hungary has low taxes and a favourable business environment. This country is also considered one of the safest in the world.

  • How much does a residence permit cost in Hungary?

    Starting in 2024, a residence permit for an investment program, or the so-called Golden Visa, has been operating in Hungary. Investors receive residence permit status for 10 years at once.

    To become residents, they fulfil one of the following conditions: buy real estate worth €500,000 or more, donate to a higher education institution for €1,000,000, or invest at least €250,000 in local real estate funds.

  • Can I get PR in Hungary after studying?

    You can’t get permanent residence in Hungary based on a residence permit for students. However, if you find a job, you can get a working residence permit, which can then, 3 years later, be turned into a permanent residence card.

  • Can I get residency in Hungary if I buy a house?

    A person can get a Hungarian residence permit if they buy a house. The minimum price of a property must be €500,000.