Residence Permit
February 22, 2024
Reading Time: 10 min

How to obtain Hungary citizenship: 7 paths to an EU passport

A Hungary passport is obtained by naturalisation, marriage, birth, descent, or repatriation.

To get citizenship, a foreigner without Hungarian relatives must live in the country for at least 11 years. The path to citizenship by marriage takes 5 to 10 years.

Hungarian citizens gain freedom of travel and access to medical, educational, and banking services in the EU.

Get Hungary citizenship in 2024
How to obtain Hungary citizenship: 7 paths to an EU passport

Main ways to get a second passport in Hungary

By naturalisation. To naturalise in Hungary, a foreigner must first obtain a residence permit. After living in the country for three years with this permit, the individual becomes eligible for permanent residency. 

Eight years after achieving permanent residency status, one can apply for Hungary citizenship by naturalisation, making the total duration of the naturalisation process 11 years.

Although there is no program for obtaining Hungary citizenship directly by investment, investors can acquire residency in the country through the Hungary Golden Visa program.

By marriage. Marrying a Hungarian citizen does not automatically confer the right to citizenship, but it does expedite the process of acquiring a second passport. To be eligible to apply for citizenship, the couple must have been married for at least 10 years if they do not have children, or for 5 years if they do have a child.

By family reunification. Parents, children, and siblings of a Hungarian citizen are eligible to obtain a Hungarian passport. Initially, relatives may receive a residence permit for family reunification. After residing in the country for five years, they become eligible to apply for a passport.

By ancestry. A foreigner with Hungarian ancestry can obtain a Hungarian passport by proving their lineage. This requires verification that a parent, grandparent, or more distant ancestor was a Hungarian citizen.

Acceptable documents to demonstrate such ancestry include:

  • old Hungarian passports and ID cards;
  • certificates of domicile or old citizenship certificates;
  • other old Hungarian official documents like school records, labour or military booklets, and address registration sheets.

By descent. A child born to at least one Hungarian parent automatically acquires Hungary citizenship, regardless of the place of birth. This means that even if the child is born outside of Hungary, they are still eligible for Hungary citizenship by descent. However, a child born in Hungary to foreign parents does not automatically gain Hungarian citizenship.

A Hungarian citizen receives two primary documents:

  1. An identity document (ID), which adults are required to renew every 6 years, while children must renew theirs every 3 years.
  2. A Hungarian passport, which is necessary for international travel outside the European Union. Adults renew their passports every 10 years. Children aged 6 to 17 renew their passports every 5 years, and children under the age of 6 renew theirs every 3 years.

Hungary citizenship by naturalisation

Citizenship requirements. To be eligible for citizenship, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • reside in Hungary;
  • not leave the country for more than 45 days per year;
  • have no criminal record;
  • pose no threat to Hungarian national security;
  • maintain a permanent address within the country;
  • pass a citizenship examination.

The citizenship examination encompasses three areas: the Hungarian language, Hungarian culture, and the Constitution of Hungary. Exemptions from the exam are provided for graduates of Hungarian language courses or higher educational institutions in Hungary, applicants over the age of 65, and applicants with disabilities.

The timeframe for acquiring citizenship by naturalisation in Hungary varies from 3 to 11 years.

For the majority of applicants, citizenship by naturalisation requires residing in the country for a minimum of 11 years, which includes living for 3 years with a residence permit followed by 8 years as a permanent resident

Residents under 18 and stateless persons are eligible to apply for citizenship after residing in the country for 5 years. 

Refugees and parents of children who have been naturalised in Hungary can apply for citizenship after living in Hungary for 3 years. 

Minor children can obtain Hungarian citizenship within 3 to 5 years following their parents’ naturalisation.

To apply for Hungary citizenship, applicants must personally submit their documents to the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior or the Unified Customer Service Office in Budapest.

Upon approval of the application, the new citizen is given one year to finalise the citizenship process, which includes obtaining an ID and taking the oath of allegiance to Hungary. Failure to take the oath will result in the annulment of the application.

Documents for applying for Hungarian citizenship by naturalisation:

  1. A completed application form, “Honosítási kérelem,” filled out in Hungarian.
  2. A passport.
  3. Two photographs, each measuring 3.5x4.5 cm, to be used for the application and ID.
  4. A birth certificate.
  5. A certificate from the citizenship examination or a diploma from an educational institution in Hungary.
  6. Marriage and divorce certificates, applicable even if the spouse is not a Hungarian citizen and is not applying for citizenship.
  7. Certificates of official employment in Hungary.
  8. An income statement from the Hungarian Tax Authority or an employer.
  9. The contract of sale or lease agreement for housing in Hungary.
  10. A statement of registration at the place of residence, verifying the required period of residence in the country.
  11. A receipt confirming payment of the application fee.

Expenses. Applicants are responsible for covering the costs associated with interpreter and notary services. The fee for a passport ranges from €6 to €26; the exact amount varies based on the validity period of the documents and the age of the applicant.

How to get Hungary citizenship by naturalisation, investment, or descent
In Hungarian, ‘Magyarország’ means ‘Hungary’, and ‘útlevél’ translates to ‘passport’

Types of Hungary residence permits that can lead to naturalisation

Several options are available for obtaining a residence permit, including:

  • making an investment;
  • gaining employment or starting a business;
  • pursuing studies or engaging in scientific research;
  • demonstrating financial independence;
  • seeking medical treatment.

The Hungary Golden Visa program offers investors a pathway to residency. Participants initially apply for a Guest Investor Visa, which grants entry into Hungary for two years to make an investment. After that, investors are awarded a residence permit valid for 10 years.

The investment options are as follows:

  • purchase of investment funds units — €250,000+;
  • purchase of real estate — €500,000+;
  • charitable donation — €1 million.

The investor’s spouse and children under 18 can also be included in the application.

Examples of property in Hungary

Residence permits for financially independent persons are available to foreigners who have a stable income from outside Hungary. This income can come from various sources, such as salaries from foreign companies, rental income, dividends, and pensions.

The main applicant has the option to include family members in their application. To qualify, an applicant is required to demonstrate a minimum yearly income or savings of €10,000 for each family member included in the application.

The permit is issued for 5 years with the possibility to extend it.

Residence permits for entrepreneurs are available to foreigners over the age of 18 who register a company in Hungary. This permit is valid for 3 years.

Family members cannot be included in the entrepreneur's residence permit application. Instead, a spouse must submit a separate application for a residence permit by family reunification for themselves and any minor children.

An applicant for a residence permit in Hungary must have a permanent address in the country. Housing can be either rented or owned. Documentation such as a lease or purchase agreement must be submitted along with the application.

Hungary citizenship by descent

Several categories are eligible for Hungary citizenship by descent:

  • a child born to at least one Hungarian parent, regardless of the country of birth;
  • children under 18 adopted by Hungarian citizens;
  • children under 18 found in Hungary whose parents are unidentified.

Parents must apply on behalf of the child, and a certificate of citizenship is issued under a simplified procedure.

Required documents:

  1. An application form titled “Visszahonosítási kérelem”, completed in Hungarian.
  2. A birth registration form “A születés hazai anyakönyvezéséhez”.
  3. A notarised birth certificate, translated into Hungarian.
  4. The marriage certificate of the parents.
  5. A copy of the non-Hungarian parent’s passport, if applicable.

Expenses. The state fee is €6. Additionally, parents are responsible for the costs of notarization and translation of documents if the child is born abroad.

The process of obtaining citizenship typically takes between 90 and 150 days.

Hungary citizenship by marriage

A foreigner is eligible to apply for a Hungarian passport if they have been officially married to a Hungarian citizen for at least 10 years. This period is reduced to 5 years if the couple has children.

Requirements. To qualify for citizenship, a foreigner must:

  1. Be legally married to a Hungarian citizen for 10 years, or 5 years if the couple has children.
  2. Reside in Hungary with their Hungarian citizen spouse.
  3. Fulfil the general criteria for Hungarian citizenship applicants, which include having no criminal record, no outstanding tax debts, and no serious health issues.

Citizenship by marriage applicants are not required to take the citizenship examination.

Documents include:

  1. A completed application form “Honosítási kérelem” in Hungarian.
  2. A valid passport.
  3. Two photographs measuring 3.5x4.5 cm, for the application and ID purposes.
  4. A birth certificate.
  5. All relevant certificates of marriage, divorce, or a spouse’s death.
  6. A certificate of official employment in Hungary.
  7. An income statement from the Hungarian Tax Authority or an employer.
  8. A housing contract in Hungary for sale or lease.
  9. A residence registration statement, confirming the required period of residence in Hungary.
  10. A receipt for the application fee payment.

If the marriage was registered outside Hungary, the applicant must provide a certificate confirming the marriage registration within Hungary — “Adatlap házasság hazai anyakönyvezéséhez.”

Expenses. Applicants are responsible for covering the costs of notary and interpreter services, as well as a state fee.

The timeline for obtaining citizenship through marriage spans either 5 or 10 years, depending on the presence of children.

Hungary citizenship by family reunification

Relatives of Hungarian citizens can obtain citizenship through family reunification. Initially, they are granted a residence permit as a family member of a Hungarian citizen or resident. Normally, after 8 years of residence in Hungary, they may apply for citizenship. This also applies to relatives of refugees holding a Hungarian permit.

A residence permit obtained by family reunification authorises employment in Hungary.

Requirements. Several categories are eligible to apply for a permit:

  • spouses of Hungarian citizens or residents;
  • relatives of Hungarian citizens or residents, such as siblings, parents, or children;
  • legal guardians of foreigners with a Hungarian residence permit or citizenship.

Procedure. It is crucial to demonstrate that the family relationship existed before entering Hungary. A Hungarian citizen or resident acts as a sponsor for the applying relatives.

Required documentation varies depending on the relationship to the sponsor and includes:

  • birth, adoption, and marriage certificates  to prove kinship;
  • a certificate of incapacity for dependent relatives;
  • financial statements proving the sponsor's ability to support the applicant.

Documents’ list include: 

  1. A completed “Honosítási kérelem” application form in Hungarian.
  2. A valid passport.
  3. Two 3.5x4.5 cm photographs for the application and ID.
  4. A citizenship exam certificate.
  5. Marriage and divorce certificates, applicable even if the spouse is not a Hungarian citizen.
  6. The sponsor's proof of employment in Hungary.
  7. The sponsor's income statement from the Hungarian Tax Authority or their employer.
  8. Housing contract (sale or lease) in Hungary.
  9. Residence registration statement verifying the required residency period.
  10. Fee payment receipt.

The obtaining period. The residence permit for family reunification is issued within a minimum of 30 days and is valid for 3 years, with the possibility of extension for another 3 years.

Residents may apply for Hungarian citizenship by naturalisation after 8 years of living in the country. If the applicant is married to a Hungarian citizen and they have a child together, the waiting period is reduced to 5 years.

Hungary citizenship by repatriation

Children and grandchildren of ethnic Hungarians are eligible for citizenship under the repatriation program by proving their ancestry to individuals born or residing in the Hungarian regions of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire before 1920 or between 1938 and 1945. 

Eligible territories include:

  • Southern Slovakia;
  • the Transylvania region in Romania;
  • the Transcarpathian region in Ukraine;
  • Vojvodina in Serbia.

The primary criterion is establishing lineage to Hungarians from these regions.

However, there are exceptions. Two categories are ineligible for citizenship:

  1. Applicants with ancestors born to a Hungarian mother and non-Hungarian father before October 1st, 1957.
  2. Descendants of Hungarian citizens who emigrated from the country before September 1st, 1929.

Procedure. Applicants must compile documents evidencing their Hungarian heritage, such as:

  • the applicant’s birth certificate;
  • birth certificates of the applicant’s parents and Hungarian ancestors;
  • marriage certificates of the applicant’s parents and ancestors.

These documents can be sourced from church records, registry offices, or state archives, with their authenticity verified by the Hungarian Interior Ministry.

Documents to apply for a Hungary passport by repatriation:

  1. A completed application form in Hungarian.
  2. A valid passport.
  3. A birth certificate.
  4. Marriage, divorce, and children’s birth certificates.
  5. Ancestors’ birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates.
  6. Two 3.5x4.5 cm photographs for the application and ID.
  7. A certificate demonstrating basic knowledge of the Hungarian language.

Expenses. Obtaining citizenship by repatriation often necessitates hiring migration lawyers, with fees starting at €500. Applicants also cover costs for document translation into Hungarian and notarization of foreign-issued documents, in addition to state fees for ID and passport issuance.

The process for obtaining Hungarian citizenship by ancestry typically ranges from 3 months to 1 year.

Hungary citizenship by declaration

A declaration is a form of citizenship application directed to the President of Hungary, exempting applicants from the requirement to pass exams on the Hungarian language and the country's laws. This pathway to citizenship is exclusively available to three categories of individuals.

Requirements. Eligible individuals include:

  1. Those who lost their Hungarian citizenship due to emigration between September 15th, 1947, and May 2nd, 1990.
  2. Applicants under 19, born in Hungary without citizenship, who have lived in the country for five years prior to submitting their declaration.
  3. Individuals born before October 1st, 1957, to a Hungarian mother and foreign father, who did not acquire citizenship at birth.

Procedure. Applicants must submit their declaration to the Ministry of Interior. No additional documents are required beyond the declaration itself.

The obtaining period. The Ministry of Interior takes a minimum of 3 months to review the declaration. 

Hungary citizenship by investment

Obtaining Hungarian citizenship solely by investment is not possible. Previously, there was a program that permitted investors to secure permanent residency in Hungary with a contribution of €300,000, but this program was discontinued in 2017.

As of 2024, however, investors have the option to acquire a Golden Visa, which is a residence permit valid for 10 years and renewable for an additional 10 years. 

The Golden Visa program requires a minimum investment of €250,000. After residing in the country for 11 years, investors are eligible to apply for citizenship through naturalisation.

Benefits of Hungary citizenship

Visa-free travel to 171 countries, including the UK, Japan, and Hong Kong. For entry into the USA, Canada, and Australia, foreigners require an electronic visa, which can be obtained online within 3 to 4 days prior to travel.

As EU citizens, Hungarians have the right to reside in any EU country. For stays exceeding 90 days within a 180-day period in countries like France or Spain, it's necessary to have a permanent residence address in the destination country and to register with the local police department.

Access to European education. Students can attend public schools and universities at no cost for programs conducted in Hungarian. English-language programs are more prevalent in private institutions. Moreover, Hungarian citizens benefit from lower tuition fees at any European university compared to students from non-EU countries.

Accounts in European banks. With a Hungary passport, individuals can open accounts in both local and international banks across Europe, avail themselves of consumer loans and mortgages, and invest in securities.

Dual citizenship is allowed, allowing foreigners to retain their original passport when acquiring Hungarian nationality, unless their country of origin prohibits dual citizenship, such as China or India.

Access to healthcare. Hungarian citizens with health insurance receive free medical treatment in state clinics. This insurance covers general practitioner visits, pregnancy care and consultations, and hospital admissions for medical issues.

Apply for Hungarian citizenship
Hungarian thermal baths are renowned for their therapeutic uses, including alleviating skin conditions, enhancing blood circulation, and relaxing muscles

Step-by-step guide to getting Hungary citizenship

Let’s explore the pathway to Hungarian citizenship through the lens of the naturalisation process.

Acquiring Hungary citizenship by naturalisation requires a period of 11 years, during which a foreigner obtains a residence permit, achieves permanent residency, and subsequently applies for a passport.

Up to 60 days
Getting a visa
Getting a visa

Investors are eligible for an Investor Guest Visa, while other applicants may receive a long-term national D visa of other type. Applicants must submit their visa applications at the local consulate.

The process involves gathering the necessary documents, completing the application form, and providing biometric data. The fee for consulate processing is €110.

Up to 3 months
Getting a residence permit
Getting a residence permit

Upon entering Hungary, a foreigner has 30 days to apply for a residence permit either at the local immigration office or online. Investors, who enter Hungary on an Investor Guest Visa, are given a 3-month window to meet the investment requirements.

The duration for which the permit is issued ranges from 2 to 10 years, contingent on the type of permit.

The fee for the residence permit varies between €60 and €100.

In 3 years
Getting permanent residence
Getting permanent residence

Foreigners who have lived in Hungary permanently for 3 years are eligible to apply for permanent residency. Holders of the EU Blue Card who have lived in the country for at least 2 years also qualify for permanent status.

Applicants must submit their application for permanent residency to the regional office of the Hungarian Immigration Service 30 days before their current residence permit expires.

The application incurs a state fee of €70.

In 8 years
Obtaining citizenship
Obtaining citizenship

Applications for a Hungarian passport should be submitted to the regional office of the Ministry of the Interior or to the Unified Customer Service Office in Budapest. Upon submission, the application is registered, verified, and subsequently reviewed by the President of Hungary.

The state fee for issuing an ID card is €5. For a passport, the fee ranges from €6 to €26, depending on the document’s validity period and the applicant’s age.

Up 1 year
Taking an oath
Taking an oath

After the application is approved, the applicant takes the oath of allegiance to Hungary and receives a naturalisation certificate.

Reasons for the refusal of a Hungary citizenship application

An application for Hungary citizenship may be rejected if the applicant:

  • provided false information or misrepresented facts;
  • failed the citizenship exam;
  • violated the residency regulations in Hungary.

Applicants have the option to appeal the decision. To do so, an applicant must prepare an appeal with the assistance of a lawyer and submit it to the Metropolitan Court of Budapest.

Key insights on Hungary citizenship

  1. Hungary citizenship can be acquired by naturalisation, marriage, descent, declaration, or repatriation. 
  2. For naturalisation, a foreigner must reside in Hungary for 11 years.
  3. Applicants are required to pass a citizenship exam covering the Hungarian language, culture, and the Constitution.
  4. Hungary does not offer a citizenship-by-investment program. Instead, investors may get a Hungary Golden Visa for contributing €250,000.
  5. Hungary permits dual and multiple citizenships.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to get Hungary citizenship quickly?

The quick way to get Hungary citizenship is to have Hungarian roots. Foreigners having Hungarian ancestors usually get citizenship by repatriation within 1 year.

Foreigners without Hungarian kinship get nationality by naturalisation. They need to obtain a residence permit and then permanent residence after 3 years of living in Hungary with a permit. They may naturalise after 8 years of residing in the country as permanent residents. In total, the process takes 11 years.

Who can obtain Hungary citizenship?

Any foreigner can obtain citizenship in Hungary as long as they meet the requirements and don’t pose a threat to national security. The requirements are:

  • residing in Hungary for at least 8 years as a permanent resident; 
  • not leaving the country for more than 45 days a year;
  • no criminal record;
  • a permanent address in the country;
  • passing a citizenship exam.
What are the benefits of a Hungary passport?

A Hungarian passport offers a variety of benefits. Hungarian citizens officially become residents of the European Union. They visit 171 countries worldwide visa-free and register a business in Europe under a simplified procedure. They also buy real estate, receive medical services, and study at the best universities in Europe.

Do children born in Hungary get Hungary citizenship?

Children born in Hungary get Hungary citizenship in case at least one of the parents is a Hungarian citizen. A child born in Hungary to foreign parents does not obtain citizenship in the country.

How can I get Hungary citizenship?

To get Hungary citizenship, a foreigner obtains a residence permit to live in the country long-term. A permit is issued on the grounds of study, work, family reunification, or investment.

One needs to live in Hungary for 3 years with a permit, then obtain permanent residence and live within the country for 8 more years. After that, a foreigner is eligible to apply for a passport.

Does Hungary allow 3 citizenships?

Yes, Hungary allows dual and multiple citizenship. This means a foreigner does not need to renounce their first passport in order to get Hungarian nationality.

Do I qualify for dual citizenship in Hungary?

Hungary allows its citizens to possess dual and multiple citizenship. There is no need to renounce your first citizenship unless your country prohibits dual citizenship. It is advisable to check your government’s website.

Do you have to speak Hungarian to get Hungary citizenship?

Yes, you do. To get a passport in Hungary, applicants take a citizenship exam on their knowledge of the Hungarian language, culture, and the Constitution. Some categories do not need to take the exam, i.e. spouses of Hungarian citizens.

Is it hard to get citizenship in Hungary?

Obtaining citizenship in Hungary can be a complex and time-consuming process. There are several requirements to meet, including residency, language proficiency, and knowledge of Hungarian history and culture. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate a clean criminal record and have a stable source of income.

The process can be challenging, but with proper preparation and documentation, it is possible to obtain citizenship in Hungary.

Does Hungary have a good passport?

Yes, a Hungary passport is good in terms of freedom of travel. With a Hungarian passport, you may visit 171 countries without visas, including the UK, Japan, and Hong Kong. As for visiting the USA, Canada, and Australia, a foreigner needs an electronic visa.

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