Immigration options available in Hungary for non-EU citizens

by Dr. Tamás Balázs, Partner, Attorney at law

The conditions to enter Hungary depend on the length of stay, the main destination of the visit and the purposes of the visit. We are going to summarize the most important options to enter Hungary and reside in Hungary below.

  1. Visa and residence permits

1.1 Short stay uniform “Schengen” visa (C)

Short stay uniform visa authorizes its owner to a single, double or multiple entries to Hungary. In case of an uninterrupted stay, such visa enables its holder to reside in Hungary during 90 days maximum. Uniform visa applications have to be submitted to the competent Hungarian representations (embassies, consulates) in the country of origin.

1.2 Seasonal employment visa

Seasonal employment visa entitles the holder to single or multiple entries in case of employment for a period between three months and six months. The visa is valid for maximum one year. The applicant has to possess a seasonal work permit issued by the competent Hungarian Employment Office.

1.3 Long stay visa (D) and residence permits

Foreign citizens from non-EU countries wishing to stay in Hungary for a time period exceeding 90 days have to apply for a long-term residence permit prior to the foreseen travel. The long-stay visa which entitles the applicant to enter Hungary in order to take over the residence permit is issued by the Hungarian Immigration Office and must be requested in the same application as the residence permit. This visa is valid for a one-year period and enables the applicant to enter Hungary once, for a period of 30 days.

The following types of residence permits may be granted according to the foreseen purpose of stay in Hungary:

(i) residence permit for income earning purposes;

It might be granted either if a non-EU national performs activities as the owner (member) of a company, or if he or she performs work within the framework of an employment relationship. In case of an entry for business purposes, a letter of invitation is needed from the existing Hungarian business partner, as well as proof of the existence of commercial business relations, or the certificate of the local chamber of commerce on the existence of business relations, and the certification of the address of the envisaged place of accommodation in Hungary.

(ii) residence permit for a visit;

In case of visiting friends, a letter of invitation is needed as well as the photocopy of the personal identification documents/passport of the inviting party in Hungary.

(iii) residence permit for voluntary work

In case of applying for a residence permit for voluntary work, the applicant shall make an agreement with an organisation being responsible for the voluntary service program in Hungary in which it is participating (church, library, town hall etc.) prior to the submission of such application.

(vi) residence permit for investors

Residents of third countries may acquire residence permit in Hungary in case the following conditions are met:

  • the person or the business organization in which the person has a majority ownership possesses state bonds meeting the statutory criteria, issued especially for this purpose and having at least a five-year maturity and a face value of EUR 300,000 (approx. HUF 90,000,000); or
  • in case the enterprise issuing the state bonds declares that the state bonds will be issued in accordance with the payment of the applicant within 45 days from the issuance of the residence permit.

The following residence permits enable non-EU citizens to enter Hungary in special cases:

  • residence permit for educational purposes;
  • residence permit for family reunification;
  • residence permit for medical treatment;
  • residence permit for research.

1.4 EU Blue Card for highly qualified employees

Highly qualified third-country nationals may apply for a combined work and residence permit, i.e. the EU Blue Card. Such permit ensures preferential conditions in relation to residence in a European Union Member State for income earning purposes.

1.5 Titles enabling third country nationals for long-term residence in Hungary  

Temporary residence permit

EU member states must approve long-term resident status after five years of continuous lawful residence in the European Union. If the above status is granted to the third country national, he can apply for a temporary residence permit valid for five years, which can be renewed for further five years.

National residence permit

After three years of continuous lawful residence in Hungary, a third country national can apply for a national residence permit valid for an indefinite period of time.

EC residence permit

After five years of continuous lawful residence in Hungary, a third country national can apply for an EC residence permit valid for an indefinite period of time.


  1. Hungarian citizenship

After eight years of continuous lawful residence in Hungary, a non-EU national may apply for Hungarian citizenship if requirements specified by law have been met, namely:

  • clean criminal record and not being indicted in any criminal case at the time of the decision on the citizenship;
  • assured subsistence and occupancy in Hungary;
  • the naturalization does not jeopardize the interests of Hungary; and
  • the applicant has passed a successful exam regarding the Hungarian constitutional system in Hungarian language.

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