Nurlan and his family were granted permanent residence in Hungary in 2016. Five years later, in 2021, Nurlan again applied to Immigrant Invest to renew their permanent residence cards. He told us how much time the family spends abroad, whether they are going to apply for a second citizenship and the opportunities that have materialized for his children as a result of being granted permanent residence in the European Union.
Backstory: why Nurlan chose permanent residence in Hungary
Nurlan has been attracted to Hungary since Soviet times: he worked at a joint Soviet-Hungarian enterprise and often visited the country. He is drawn to Hungary by its European standard of living and the friendliness of the locals.
Nurlan has two children: Azamat and Dinara. He wanted them to be free to choose where to study, live and work. Therefore, when his children grew up, Nurlan decided to apply for permanent residence in the European Union, in Hungary.
In 2016, the family approached Immigrant Invest’s lawyers and asked them to start their application. Nurlan invested €300,000 in Hungarian government bonds and in return received permanent residence under the state’s investment program.
The Hungarian permanent residence by investment program was closed in 2017
In 2021, similar programs are available in several EU countries. Among them, the Malta Permanent Residence Program is the one most in demand.
How Hungarian permanent residence helped Nurlan’s children become cosmopolitans
In 2016, Nurlan's son Azamat graduated from a university in Bishkek and wanted to continue his studies abroad. Dinara, his daughter, also wanted to continue her education in Europe.
As Hungarian permanent residents, Azamat and Dinara traveled to several countries to select their universities. They did not have to obtain visas to travel to France and the UK. In order to travel to the United States, they received visas at the consulate in Hungary, where interviews are held regularly. Azamat and Dinara also visited Asia several times as they were always attracted by the East, especially Japan and South Korea.
Traveling around the world helped Nurlan's children find and choose the right place to study and live. When visiting universities, they also found out which documents are needed for admission and how to prepare the application. They did not have to deal with the uncertainty and worry of guessing whether they had received the correct latest information online.
In 2021 Azamat and Dinara are continuing their studies abroad. Azamat is studying Japanese and economics in Tokyo. Dinara is studying for a Master’s degree at a French university: she has finished her first year at university in Paris and is now continuing her studies at a partner university in Seoul, Korea.
Nurlan is glad that he is able to give his children the opportunity to get an international education at the best universities and travel freely around the world.
Universities where Azamat and Dinara have studied over the past five years
|Where Azamat has studied ||Where Dinara has studied |
|Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University||International University of Kyrgyzstan|
|Eötvös Lorand University in Budapest||University of Newcastle|
|Tokyo University||University of California at Berkeley|
|Paris School of Economics|
Nurlan and his wife have bought a house in Nice. In summer and winter, during the children's holidays, the whole family meets on the Cote d'Azur. From there they holiday in the Alps, on the Atlantic Ocean, or visit resorts in Spain and Italy.
They are able to travel around Europe without visas: the family always uses their Hungarian permanent residence cards to cross borders within the European Union. During these visits, the children have improved their English, French and German at a conversational level.
Career prospects of Azamat and Dinara
Hungary will be a good starting point for Azamat's and Dinara's international careers. Azamat has already been offered to head the branch of a European company in Hungary. However, he chose to continue his studies in Japan. After completing his studies, he plans to start his own business in Hungary.
Dinara needs two internships to complete her master's degree. She is taking her first six-month internship in Seoul. For her second internship, she has applied to McKinsey & Company in Budapest.
Once Azamat and Dinara have lived for eight years in Hungary, they will be eligible to apply for Hungarian citizenship. With a Hungarian passport, they will be able to move to any country in the European Union. Moreover, the combination of a European, American and Asian education will allow them to find high-paying jobs in any country in the region.
Attitude towards foreigners in Hungary and the language barrier
Nurlan finds Hungarians very friendly. The older generation is united by their common Soviet history. However, even among young people, Nurlan did not notice any prejudice against foreigners.
Nuraln's family speak Kyrgyz and Russian. Nurlan's peers, as a rule, speak Russian well: previously, Russian was a compulsory subject in Hungarian schools. Even today it remains the third most popular foreign language in Hungary after English and German.
Young Hungarians do speak a little English. However, most of the locals only know Hungarian, including those working in government offices.
Nurlan considers Hungarian to be a difficult language. Hungarian has common roots with Finnish and Estonian. However, it does not resemble Kyrgyz, Russian or English at all.
Nurlan's children have no plans to learn Hungarian yet. However, if they are going to apply for Hungarian citizenship, they will have to take an exam on their knowledge of the country's constitution, history and literature in Hungarian.
Moving abroad with the whole family
Nurlan would like to move and live in Hungary. He was going to buy an apartment in Budapest five years ago when he received his residence permit. However, the children chose to study at universities in different countries, and the family postponed their move to Hungary.
Nurlan and his wife have not forgotten about their plans. In the next two years, Nurlan expects to retire and move to Budapest or to a local resort in Heviz. If the children decide to live and work in Hungary, Nurlan will also buy both of them apartments in Budapest.
My wife and I really like Hungary. Beautiful, comfortable and many people know the Russian language. And it is much cheaper than France. While I am working, I cannot think of moving, of course. However, my wife and I often visit Hungary: we treat our joints in the local thermal waters.
wants his whole family to eventually move to Hungary
Foreign trips during the pandemic
Before the pandemic, Nurlan and his wife traveled to Hungary for treatment in Hungary’s famous thermal waters twice a year. As they have Hungarian permanent residence cards, they were able to continue their treatment in 2020, when non-resident foreign tourists were not allowed to enter Hungary.
Although Azamat and Dinara are studying abroad, they are allowed to visit their parents in Kyrgyzstan or return to Europe as they have permanent residence in Hungary. However, they have not taken advantage of this opportunity, as it would mean that, on returning to South Korearnand Japan, they would have to spend two weeks in quarantine. They do not want to miss their courses due to quarantine and have therefore decided to remain at their universities in Korearnand Japan.
The family plans to meet in Hungary when it is safe to travel. Nurlan and his wife have been vaccinated against coronavirus in Hungary, and their children plan to get vaccinated, too. Therefore, the family will be able to meet in Hungary without having to take tests or stay in quarantine.
How to get permanent residence in the European Union
Hungary closed its permanent residence by investment program in April 2017. This did not affect those who had been granted permanent residence, as a Hungarian permanent residence permit is issued for life. However, permanent residence cards need to be renewed every five years.
From 2013 to 2017, the Hungarian permanent residence by investment program was one of the most popular ones among investors. Applicants were able to receive permanent residence in exchange for investing in government bonds. After five years, the bonds could be redeemed and the money returned in full.
Although the Hungarian program is now closed, there is an even better alternative available: the Malta Permanent Residence Program.
specializes in international and economic law and is the head of the Maltese office of Immigrant Invest
€112,000 — minimum investment amount under the Malta permanent residence program, just one-third of the cost of the Hungarian program. Investors must fulfill the following four conditions in order to obtain a Malta permanent residence card:
- rent or buy a home on the island;
- pay an administration fee and government fee;
- make a donation to a Maltese non-governmental organization;
- confirm the presence of assets of €500,000, including financial assets worth €150,000.
The main applicant’s spouse, children, parents and grandparents can all obtain a residence permit in the same application. The Malta permanent residence card allows the holder to travel without visas to the Schengen countries.