Hungary is a country in Central Europe with its capital in Budapest, a beautiful city divided by the Danube River. The Széchenyi Chain Bridge, built in the 19th century, connects the hilly Buda district with the flat part of the city Pest. A funicular takes guests and residents to Castle Hill, right of the Old Town and the Museum of History. The beauty of the Hungarian capital has captivated generations of tourists. It should come as no surprise that many people seek to obtain permanent residency status in Budapest.
Incidentally, there is no such concept as a Budapest residence permit. Anyone who wants to move to Hungary’s capital should consider obtaining permanent residency in Hungary. On this basis they can live, study and work anywhere they like, whether in the capital or beyond. Moreover, a Hungarian permanent residence permit grants the holder the right to visa-free movement within the EU. Furthermore permanent residents in Hungary enjoy the same rights as citizens, other than voting.
- Types of Permanent Residency in Hungary
- How Can I Obtain Permanent Residency?
- Health Insurance in Hungary
- Required Documents
- The Cost of Permanent Residency
- Instances Where Permanent Residency Applications May Be Denied
- Instances When Permanent Residency May Be Revoked
- Is Real Estate Required to Obtain Permanent Residency?
Types of Permanent Residency in Hungary
In Hungary, the types of permanent residency depend on the status of the applicant. This is because Hungary has separate procedures for citizens of European Economic Area (EEA) countries, permanent residents of EU countries, and everybody else.
In the case of citizens of third countries (non-EEA or non-EU citizens), there are two types of permanent residency based on the length of stay: national and European.
National Permanent Residency
This type of residency is granted to individuals who have legally lived in Hungary for a minimum of:
- three years,
- one year with close family members in Hungary (adult children or parents), or
- two years if married to a permanent resident or a Hungarian citizen.
In addition, children of permanent residents and refugees can apply for national permanent residency, as can individuals who previously held Hungarian citizenship but subsequently lost their citizenship.
Photo: Elijah G (Unsplash)
European Permanent Residency
You can apply for this type of residency if you have lived in Hungary for at least:
- five years or
- two years with a European Blue Card (work permit for highly qualified third-country nationals) and five years in any country of the European Union.
Difference between National and European Residence Permits
The main difference between the types of permanent residency derives from the requirements on residency in Hungary before obtaining them. As for the rights they confer, both national and European permanent residency allow the individual:
- To enter freely any EU country and stay for up to 90 days without registration.
- To work without requiring a special permit in any EU country.
However, there are differences:
- European permanent resident permit holders find it easier to obtain residence permits in other EU countries. They can obtain a temporary residence permit without losing their Hungarian resident status. According to the rules, you can obtain permanent residency in different European countries, but can only hold one at a time.
- European permanent residence permit holders can leave the EU for up to a year without special notification and without risking the loss of their resident status, whereas Hungarian residence permit holders can lose the residence permit if they are absent for six months of absence and fail to provide notification.
EEA citizens and EU residents can apply for a permanent residence card and a so-called ‘permanent temporary residence permit’’.
Hungarian Permanent Residence Card
It is only available to citizens of member countries of the European Economic Area. To obtain such a card, they must have lived in the country for a minimum of five years. Interestingly, Europeans may not apply for national permanent residency, as it is only available to the citizens of third countries.
The mandatory five-year residence period can be reduced in the following instance: if the foreigner came to Hungary to perform professional duties and:
- Retired in Hungary, after living in the country for three years, spending at least one of these years working in the country before retirement;
- Stopped working due to a disability resulting from a workplace accident or an occupational disease. In this case, the applicant must have lived in Hungary for a minimum of two years;
- Lived in the country for three years and then left to work in another EEA member state. The key here is that the person maintains their place of residence in Hungary.
Photo: Philipp Trubchenko (Unsplash)
It is available to individuals with the status of a permanent resident of the EU. On the one hand, it is considered permanent, but on the other hand, it is only valid for a fixed period of time. Whereas the permanent residency mentioned earlier is indefinite, this residence permit is initially granted for a maximum of five years, with the possibility of renewal for another five years. The number of such renewals is unlimited. However, on each occasion, you must prove that the grounds for the receipt of the temporary residence permit are still relevant. Such grounds can vary and may include work, education and others.
How Can I Obtain Permanent Residency?
All applicants, other than European citizens, must demonstrate:
- sufficient financial means
- comprehensive medical insurance or enough money to cover medical expenses if necessary
An application for permanent residency is submitted online through the immigration authority's platform called Enter Hungary. After registering on the website and uploading the required documents, you will have an appointment scheduled at the immigration office. As the local green card is a biometric document, applicants need to appear in person to complete the process.
Health Insurance in Hungary
When obtaining permanent residency, as a rule applicants already live in Hungary on a temporary residence permit. This means that they should have a health insurance policy. The cost of the insurance policy is as follows:
- in the case of children under the age of 18: EUR 2,400 for the first year of temporary residence and EUR 1,200 for subsequent years;
- in the case of adults: EUR 3,300 for the first year of temporary residence and EUR 2,100 for subsequent years.
After obtaining permanent residency, the cost of the health insurance decreases significantly. However, adults must wait another nine months before they can apply for a more affordable insurance policy of EUR 300. Children are insured immediately and free of charge.
There is an important caveat: since 2016, the Hungarian National Health Insurance Fund requires foreigners to provide proof of deregistration from the health insurance system in their home country. This policy was introduced to protect Hungary's healthcare system from any undue burden. It is worth noting that emergency medical care will be provided free of charge in any case.
Regardless of the type of permanent residency, as a rule you will need the following documents:
- passport or another identification document
- proof of legal residence - a Hungarian temporary residence permit.
In the case of citizens of EEA countries, this is often sufficient to apply for permanent residency, although the immigration authority may request additional evidence.
In the case of citizens of third countries, including European residence permit holders, the list of documents required for permanent residency is more extensive. You will need to gather and provide the following documents to the immigration authority:
- birth, marriage, or divorce certificates;
- a proof of financial means;
- one photograph;
- health insurance.
Minors will require their parents' consent for permanent residency. Applicants for national permanent residency will need a certificate of no criminal record. This certificate should be obtained no more than six months prior to the application from the country of previous residence and is required for all individuals aged 14 and above.
All foreign documents must be translated into Hungarian and authenticated by the diplomatic or consular representation in the issuing country. Hungarian officials do not accept notarisation or even judicial certification as conclusive proof of the authenticity of a document.
Photo: Anna Hunko (Unsplash)
The Cost of Permanent Residency
When applying for the permanent residency, you will need to pay the following fees:
- the permanent residency for citizens and residents of the EEA countries: HUF 1,500 (USD );
- all other applicants: HUF 25,000 (USD 70).
Instances Where Permanent Residency Applications May Be Denied
Applications for permanent residency in Hungary may be denied if:
- the applicant has a criminal record;
- the presence of the applicant in Hungary may cause a threat to public or national security;
- the applicant is listed in the Schengen Information System which restricts entry and residence in the EU;
- the applicant provided false information or documents in their residency application, etc.
Applicants must also meet the minimum residency requirements. Time spent in Hungary for educational purposes, seasonal work and diplomatic service will not count.
To obtain a comprehensive and up-to-date list of the grounds for the denial of permanent residency in Hungary, you should refer to the page for the specific type of residency on the website of the Immigration and Citizenship Authority.
Instances When Permanent Residency May Be Revoked
Permanent residence cards issued to EEA citizens may not be revoked. Permanent residency can only be revoked for third-country nationals. This can occur in the following cases:
Permanent Residency Type
Grounds for Revoking Permanent Residency
The spouses divorced within three years of the receipt of permanent residency. This applies in cases where residency was granted based on marriage.
Absence from Hungary for more than six months without a special notification. If you have informed the immigration authorities, you can leave for up to two years, but no longer, provided that you have lived in the country for 180 days prior.
Absence from the European Union for more than 12 months. In the case of Blue Card holders, this period is longer - 24 months.
Absence from Hungary for six years.
Receipt of permanent residency in another European country.
Discovery of deception during the receipt of permanent residency
Deportation of the foreign national
Loss of refugee status which had served as the grounds for the granting of permanent residency
Absence from place of residence in Hungary
Lack of sufficient means of subsistence
Lack of health insurance
Deportation from the EU
Is Real Estate Required to Obtain Permanent Residency?
Hungarian legislation does not contain such a requirement. It only obliges the applicant to provide proof of a place of residence. This does not necessarily have to be a property ownership certificate; a tenancy agreement will suffice. It goes without saying that the ownership of a house or flat can play a positive role when the authorities decide whether to grant permanent residency. However, you must remember that sufficient means of subsistence is more critical. The cost of real estate is not taken into account. The immigration authorities are more interested in a bank account statement with the current balance or an income certificate.
In a Nutshell
In Hungary, there are various procedures for obtaining permanent residency. Citizens of EEA countries can easily obtain a permanent resident card by living in Hungary for five years. EU residents who come to this country for work are eligible for so-called temporary permanent residency. Third-country nationals can apply for national or European permanent residency after living in the country for three and five years, respectively. In some cases, this period can be shortened to one or two years.
Regardless of the type of permanent residency, the application is always submitted online through the Enter Hungary service. As the permanent resident card is a biometric document, you need to obtain it in person at the immigration office. A permanent resident card cost about USD 4 for a citizen of the European Union and USD 70 for everybody else. In exceptional cases, permanent residency can be revoked.
Cover photo: Budapest, Ervin Lukacs (Unsplash)