Residence Permit
May 21, 2024
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Hungary dual citizenship: complete guide

Foreigners often seek a second citizenship as a backup plan for unforeseen circumstances in their home country, to simplify international travel, or to relocate to a country with a higher standard of living. A Hungarian passport fulfils all these needs.

Hungarian laws do not mandate renouncing one's original citizenship upon acquiring a Hungarian passport. Most commonly, citizenship in Hungary is obtained by naturalisation.

Hungarian dual citizenship
Hungary dual citizenship: complete guide

Does Hungary allow dual citizenship?

Dual citizenship is allowed in Hungary, and the law does not restrict individuals from holding passports of other countries. However, the Hungarian state recognizes individuals with a Hungary passport as citizens of Hungary alone, regardless of any other citizenships they may hold.

Holders can retain their original passport along with the Hungarian one if the laws of their original country permit it. For instance, citizenship from countries like the USA, UK, Australia, Turkey, or Portugal can be retained alongside Hungary citizenship, but not from China, Spain, or Austria, where the original citizenship might be automatically terminated or revoked according to the country's regulations.

Obtaining citizenship is not a prerequisite for living in Hungary; a residence permit, such as the Hungary Golden Visa, is sufficient.

How does dual citizenship differ from second citizenship?

Dual citizenship and second citizenship refer to distinct concepts, primarily differentiated by military obligations.

Dual citizenship occurs through special agreements between countries, allowing individuals to hold citizenship in both places without facing double military duties. Essentially, a person with dual citizenship is required to perform military service in just one of the countries, if at all. 

However, Hungary has not signed such dual citizenship agreements with any other country.

Second citizenship is acquired when a person becomes a citizen of another country, provided the laws of both the original and the new country permit it. Unlike dual citizenship, there's no agreement to limit military obligations to one country, meaning an individual may be subject to military service requirements in both countries, if applicable.

Yet, obtaining Hungary citizenship cannot lead to a military obligation, as Hungary abolished mandatory military service in 2004. Now, serving in the Hungarian army is entirely voluntary and based on contracts.

Second citizenship: Hungarian dual passport
A Hungarian citizen needs a passport solely to travel abroad. For domestic purposes, an electronic ID card suffices

6 benefits of Hungarian dual citizenship

1. Visa-free travel. Hungarian citizens enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 171 countries, including the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, and Japan. For the United States, Canada, and Australia, they need only to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA).

2. Opportunities in the EU and EEA. As an EU member state, Hungary allows its citizens to live, work, and start businesses in any EU country and European Economic Area (EEA) countries, such as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, with minimal formalities. To relocate within the EU, a Hungarian citizen only needs to purchase or rent property and register their residence.

3. European Healthcare Access. Hungary offers access to free European healthcare through a compulsory medical insurance system. This system covers treatments in state clinics and hospitals and adheres to EU standards. Free medical coverage is provided to children up to 16 years old, students, and retirees. Other citizens contribute a portion of their income to the health insurance fund monthly.

4. Access to free European education. Hungarian citizens have access to free education in Hungary's public schools and universities. Additionally, they benefit from lower tuition fees at universities across Europe compared to non-EU students.

5. Bank accounts in Europe. Opening bank accounts in Europe can be challenging for foreigners, who may be perceived as high-risk for money laundering by banks. However, Hungarian citizens enjoy the ease of opening accounts in EU banks and in Switzerland, facing fewer such barriers.

6. Citizenship for children. Children of Hungarian citizens automatically qualify for a passport if they were under 18 when their parents acquired citizenship or if they were born after that time.

How to get dual citizenship in Hungary
The cost of living in Hungary is significantly lower than in many other European countries. For instance, a family with children in Hungary needs approximately €2,000 per month to live comfortably, in contrast to €3,000 required in Italy

Hungary dual citizenship for Americans

Dual citizenship is permitted for Americans, allowing them to obtain Hungarian citizenship without giving up their US passport.

In the United States, individuals holding dual citizenship are primarily recognized as American citizens. Dual nationals must use their US passport to enter and leave the United States.

American citizens are subject to US taxation on worldwide income, regardless of their place of residence. This means Americans must report and potentially pay taxes on income earned abroad. Since the termination of the double taxation avoidance treaty between the USA and Hungary on January 1st, 2024, citizens may be subject to taxation on the same foreign income in both countries.

Hungarian dual citizenship for UK citizens

Dual citizenship is recognized in the UK, allowing British citizens to retain their original passport when applying for Hungarian citizenship. 

Holding a Hungarian passport grants British citizens all the rights and privileges associated with UK citizenship, including the right to reside in the UK permanently, and the freedom to leave and re-enter the UK at will.

The UK and Hungary have maintained a double taxation treaty since 2011, ensuring that Hungarian citizens do not pay income tax twice on the same earnings. If they pay income tax in the UK, they are not taxed again in Hungary. Instead, the tax paid in the UK can be deducted from their Hungarian tax obligations.

Hungarian citizens cannot receive diplomatic assistance from the British government while in Hungary. However, they are eligible for diplomatic protection from both the UK and Hungary when in a third country, where neither has jurisdiction.

Hungary dual citizenship for Australians 

Australia allows dual citizenship, meaning its citizens are not required to give up their original passport to acquire another nationality. Australian citizens are required to use their Australian passport for entering and leaving Australia, but they may use a Hungarian passport for travel elsewhere.

Since 1991, Australia and Hungary have upheld a double tax agreement. This agreement prevents double taxation by exempting income in Hungary that is subject to taxation in Australia. Conversely, Australia permits its citizens to credit taxes paid in Hungary against their Australian tax obligations.

Apply for Hungarian dual citizenship
Hungary has established double tax treaties with 83 countries, among them Australia and the UK

Residence permit: the first step towards Hungary dual citizenship

Residency in Hungary is not exclusive to its citizens; foreigners can obtain a residence permit for relocation. The entry and residence of third-country nationals are regulated by the relevant Hungarian law.

Hungary Golden Visa offers three pathways to a residence permit:

  1. Investment of at least €250,000 in investment fund units.
  2. Purchase of residential property valued at €500,000 or more.
  3. A donation of at least €1,000,000 to a higher education institution.

Additionally, popular alternatives for gaining residency include:

  • proof of external income of at least €10,000.
  • starting a business or engaging in entrepreneurship within Hungary.
  • employment with a Hungarian company.
  • marriage to a Hungarian citizen.

A residence permit in Hungary is usually issued for a maximum of five years and is renewable. In contrast, the Hungarian Golden Visa provides a longer validity period of 10 years.

Holders of a residence permit are generally required to spend at least 9 months per year in Hungary to maintain their status. After residing in Hungary for three years, foreigners may become eligible for permanent residency. 

3 ways to obtain a Hungarian passport

1. Hungary citizenship by repatriation or descent. Citizenship can be acquired by individuals who, or whose ancestors, were born or lived in historic Hungarian territories before 1920 or between 1938 and 1945. This eligibility extends to their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. 

Historical Hungarian territories encompass areas such as Southern Slovakia, Transylvania in Romania, Zakarpattia Oblast in Ukraine, and Vojvodina in Serbia.

The process for obtaining citizenship by repatriation does not require the applicant to reside in or relocate to Hungary.

2. Hungary citizenship by investment.  Direct acquisition of Hungarian citizenship by investment is not possible. Instead, foreigners can initially secure a residence permit by investing between €250,000 and €1 million in the country’s economy. 

After maintaining resident status for three years, individuals may become eligible to apply for permanent residency. Following an additional eight years of permanent residency, they can then apply for citizenship by naturalisation.

3. Hungary citizenship by naturalisation can be acquired by foreigners who have continuously resided in Hungary for 11 years, holding either a residence permit or permanent residency. Throughout the final eight years of this period, applicants must not leave Hungary for more than 45 days in any given year.

The residency requirement for Hungarian citizenship is reduced under two specific conditions:

  1. For individuals who were either born in Hungary or obtained a residence permit before the age of 18, the required period of residency is shortened to five years.
  2. Spouses of Hungarian citizens and parents of minor Hungarian children are required to reside in Hungary for only three years.

Applicants must pass an examination on the Hungarian language, culture, history, and constitution. Additionally, they must demonstrate a clean criminal record and prove they have sufficient income to support themselves and their family.

How to get dual citizenship in Hungary by naturalisation

Obtaining Hungarian citizenship requires living in Hungary on a residence permit for at least three years and then as a permanent resident for at least another eight years.

6 months
Get a Golden Visa in Hungary
Get a Golden Visa in Hungary

To acquire a Golden Visa in Hungary, an applicant first secures a Guest Investor Visa. Within three months of their initial entry using this visa, they are required to invest a minimum of €250,000 in the Hungarian economy. 

The Golden Visa, once issued, remains valid for up to 10 years, provided that the investor maintains their investment in Hungary for at least five years.

In 3 years
Apply for a permanent residence
Apply for a permanent residence

Foreigners applying for permanent residence in Hungary after a three-year period of living in the country must ensure they do not leave the country for more than four consecutive months. 

Additionally, their total time spent outside Hungary should not exceed 270 days. 

Applicants must also show that granting them permanent residence aligns with Hungary’s interests.

In 8 years
Apply for Hungarian dual citizenship
Apply for Hungarian dual citizenship

After residing in Hungary for at least another 8 years, individuals may apply for Hungarian citizenship by naturalisation. The residency period is counted from the date of registering a permanent residence address in Hungary.

Key points about Hungarian dual citizenship

  1. Investors who obtain the Hungary Golden Visa can subsequently apply for a Hungarian passport.
  2. Hungary permits second citizenship, but the country does not have any formal agreements regarding dual citizenship with other nations.
  3. American, British, and Australian citizens are not required to renounce their original passports to get citizenship in Hungary.
  4. Hungarian citizenship by naturalisation is granted after 11 years. In some cases, the period may be reduced to 3 or 5 years.
  5. Foreigners are allowed to live in Hungary with a residence permit. Obtaining a Hungarian passport is not mandatory.

Frequently asked questions

Where is dual citizenship not allowed?

Dual citizenship is not allowed in several countries, including China, Austria, Spain, and the UAE, among others. In these countries, laws prohibit citizens from holding dual or multiple citizenships.

Conversely, dual citizenship is permitted in countries such as Hungary, Portugal, Turkey, the USA, the UK, Australia, and Malta.

Which second citizenship is the easiest to obtain?

The easiest second citizenships to obtain are often through citizenship-by-investment programs, particularly in Caribbean countries and Vanuatu. These programs allow foreigners to gain citizenship usually within a few months, starting at investments of at least $100,000.

Investors can get Hungarian citizenship in 11 years by investing €250,000 or more in the country’s economy.

Where is it easiest to obtain citizenship in Europe?

Investors can acquire Malta citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment within 1 or 3 years. The minimum investment sum is €690,000.

Hungarian citizenship is granted by naturalisation over an 11-year period by investing from €250,000 to €1 million.

Why is a second citizenship needed?

Second citizenship is often obtained to provide a backup plan for unforeseen circumstances, simplify travel around the world, or relocate to a country with a higher quality of life and better opportunities. Second citizenship can also help with tax optimisation.

Does Hungary allow dual nationality?

Yes, Hungary allows second citizenship, but the country does not have any formal agreements regarding dual citizenship with other nations.

Can I have dual citizenship in the US and Hungary?

Yes, you can. Both the US and Hungary allow their citizens to hold passports from other countries. 

Who is eligible for Hungarian citizenship?

Citizenship in Hungary can be obtained by naturalisation, repatriation, or descent. To apply, foreigners need to reside in the country for at least 11 years or have relatives born in Hungary.

How many citizenships can Hungarians have?

Hungarian citizens are allowed to hold more than one citizenship simultaneously. However, it’s important to check the laws of the other countries involved, as they might have varying regulations concerning dual or multiple citizenships.

Do Hungarian citizens need a visa to the USA?

To enter the United States, Hungarian citizens need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA).

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for government programs in the European Union and the Caribbean.

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