All foreigners require a passport valid for at least three months and issued within the last 10 years to enter Hungary. Hungary is part of the Schengen area, and citizens of EU and EEA states don’t need a visa to enter the country; all they need is either their passport or European identity card.
Citizens of a select number of non-EU countries, including the US, Switzerland, Canada, Australia and Brazil, do not need a visa, but those who do need a visa for Hungary have to apply for a Schengen visa.
Schengen visas for Hungary
To apply for a Schengen visa, expats will need to gather the required documents, complete the visa application form and submit it to the Hungarian consulate or embassy in their home country before they travel. Expats must also ensure they have Hungarian travel insurance. Processing time can vary, so expats should make sure to submit the application well before their departure date.
If applying for a Schengen visa to travel to Hungary for business purposes, it is usually necessary for expats to include a letter of invitation from the Hungarian business party and a letter from their local employer stating their duties in Hungary.
In some cases, applicants may be asked to provide additional documents at the discretion of the Hungarian embassy or consulate. It's common for expats to be asked for proof of employment and residence in their home country as an indicator that they will return home after their trip.
Once granted the Schengen visa, it is still best for expats to bring their documents with them on their trip; in some cases, the border officers may request them.
Residence permits for Hungary
Foreigners intending to stay in the country for longer than 90 days need to secure a residence permit for Hungary. They should apply before entering the country; successful non-EU applicants will be granted a single-entry visa for the purposes of collecting their permit, this visa is typically valid for 30 days. The permit allows expats to apply for address registration and is renewable and valid for a year. Long-term resident status is granted after five years of continuous stay in an EU country for both EU and non-EU nationals alike, this residence permit will be valid for three years and is renewable for another three years.
For EU/EEA nationals and other nationalities that do not need a visa to enter Hungary, a residence permit can be applied for at the Office of Immigration and Nationality in Hungary after arrival. This should be done within the first 93 days of being in the country. Upon the issuing of a Residence Permit, EU citizens will be given a Registration Card and an Address Card will be posted to them. The Registration Card is only valid if presented with the expat's Address Card and passport.
The documentation required to secure a residence permit is dependent on the purpose of one's stay in Hungary.
Once expats have a valid residence permit and card, they can apply for a tax card and a social security card. To secure employment in Hungary, a valid work permit, in addition to the residence permit, is required.
*Visa requirements can change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
"I had no problems securing a visa and work permit at all. I went through Interrelo Relocation Company which handled everything speedily, reasonably and professionally." Read more about American expat Gary's experiences in Budapest.
Are you an expat living in Hungary?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Hungary. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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