Visas, residence permits and citizenship in Hungary
Residence permits are governed by the Law on Entry and Residence of Citizens of Third Countries while citizenship rights are set out in the Law on Citizenship.
Hungary is a member of the Schengen Area: certain nationalities must apply for a visa beforehand. There are four main types: A, B, C or D. For more information, check out our Schengen Visa article.
How to get a residence permit
Hungary gives residence permits to applicants who buy property and provide proof of financial independence in the form of a bank statement. Residence permits are issued by Immigration and Citizenship Office of Hungary (Bevándorlási és Állampolgársági Hivatal).
Residence permit requirements in Hungary:
- proof of property ownership (if residential permit is issued to property buyers)passport
- completed application
- criminal record check
- foundation documents (for legal entities)
- employment contract (for employees)
- medical insurance
There are alternative ways to get a residence permit in Hungary:
1. Immigration for retired citizens
Foreign pensioners can apply for permanent residence after three years of uninterrupted living in Hungary. They have to provide proof that they hold €10,000 in a local bank alongside a pension certificate, proof of pension fund payments and property ownership.
2. Registering a legal entity
It costs €2,500 to register a company, the name of which must be in Hungarian. The application requires financial documents, foundation documents and proof of income owners receive from the company.
The decision to grant residency on this basis is within the jurisdiction of the Hungarian registration court. In addition to the company, the applicant must own property (no less than 15 sq m per person) and provide proof of income.
3. Marriage to a Hungarian citizen
It only takes a month to apply for residency in the case of marriage to a Hungarian citizen. After three years of marriage, the individual can apply for Hungarian citizenship.
4. Employment and studies
Individuals with an employment contract have the right to a work visa for the duration of their employment. The application requires a copy of the employment contract and proof of income as well as bank statements proving that the applicant has enough money to support himself until the first salary is paid. Employers submit the application to the Hungarian Employment Centre (Munkaügyi Központ).
Foreign students enrolled in higher education in Hungary can apply for a residence permit. This route requires
Residence permits are granted to academics visiting Hungary for scientific research purposes with an agreement from a Hungarian scientific institute. The institution must provide evidence that it will cover the applicant’s living and departure expenses. In this case, a residence permit is issued for the duration of the agreement for up to 5 years. If the applicant is not the recipient of a research grant,
6. Official visits
Diplomats and members of official delegations (foreign states, foreign or international organisations) get residence permits for the duration of their stay but not exceeding three years.
7. Medical care
Foreign citizens receiving medical care or treatment in Hungary, caregivers for these individuals and minors can get a residence permit for the duration of their stay but not exceeding two years (with the possibility of extension).
How to get permanent residence
After five years of legal residence in Hungary, individuals can apply for permanent residence. In case of family reunification or marriage to a citizen of Hungary, permanent residence permits are issued immediately.
Residence permit requirements include:
- completed application
- documents confirming relationship (birth, adoption, marriage certificate)
- proof of sufficient financial means
- medical insurance
Permanent residence is unlimited and gives the holder the same rights as citizens, excluding the right to vote. The document is renewed every 10 years but the requirements do not change.
How to get citizenship
Hungarian citizenship can be granted by birth, adoption or after eight years of residence in the country. Spouses of Hungarian citizens can apply after three years and persons of Hungarian descent after just one year. A Hungarian language exam is required to get citizenship. Hungary allows dual nationality.