Residence Permit
April 22, 2024
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9 benefits of Hungarian citizenship and ways to obtain it

Holders of a Hungarian passport can live, work, study, and seek medical treatment in all EU states. They also enjoy visa-free access to over 170 countries.

A foreigner without Hungarian relatives must live in the country for at least 11 years to become eligible for citizenship by naturalisation.

The Hungary Golden Visa for investors opens a path towards citizenship in one of the safest EU countries.

Benefits of Hungarian citizenship and ways to obtain it
9 benefits of Hungarian citizenship and ways to obtain it
Benefit #1

Increased freedom of travel

Hungarian citizens travel to over 170 countries without a visa, including all the EU and EEA states and the United Kingdom. To visit the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, holders of a Hungarian passport obtain an eTA — Electronic Travel Authorization — that is faster and cheaper to get than a regular visa.

Foreigners who have not yet acquired Hungarian citizenship can also enjoy some travel benefits and get the right to visit any EU country visa-free. This is possible by obtaining residency in Hungary.

Benefit #2

Living, working, and studying in the EU

Hungarian citizens can enter the country at any moment, even if the borders are closed, and spend an indefinite time there. They can also live, work, and study in any EU state without obtaining special permission. 

For stays in other EU countries exceeding 90 out of 180 days, Hungarian citizens must only have a permanent address and register with the local police department.

Benefit #3

Favourable tax and business environment

Citizens of Hungary can set up businesses in the country and benefit from various incentives such as tax deductions and government grants.

The corporate tax rate in Hungary is just 9%, which is the lowest in the EU. Furthermore, there is a development tax incentive allowing the deduction of up to 80% of the annual payable corporate income tax.

Hungarian citizens enjoy a relatively low personal income tax rate of 15%. For context, the peak rate in Germany is 47.5%, while in France, it can amount to a maximum of 55%.

Benefit #4

Access to a solid banking system

With a Hungarian passport, individuals can open bank accounts in Hungary and other European countries to keep the money in hard currency and facilitate international transactions.

The banking system of Hungary is recognised as the healthiest and most developed in the CEE region. There are about 40 banks in the country, including major European banks such as OTP Bank, Raiffeisen Bank, and Erste Bank. Hungarian banks offer a whole range of banking services, including debit and credit cards, loans, mortgages, and brokerage services. Almost all of the services can be provided online.

Benefit #5

Affordable living standards

Hungary is one of the cheapest EU countries in terms of living. Prices for consumer goods and services are 32 % below the EU average, according to Eurostat. Gas, electricity, and fuel prices are the lowest in the EU.

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is the most expensive city in the country, but it is still more affordable compared to other European capitals. For example, the average property price per square metre in the city centre is around half as expensive as in Vienna, Rome, or Berlin.

Benefit #6

High safety level

Hungary is among the 20 safest and most peaceful countries in the world, according to the Global Peace Index. Public security in Hungary has significantly improved during the past decade due to the government spending around 2% of the country’s GDP on this purpose.

The country has lower crime rates than many other countries, including those in Europe. In particular, the country boasts a low homicide rate of 0.9 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is below the average of 2.6, as per the OECD.

Benefit #7

Access to the Hungarian education and healthcare

Hungarian higher education diplomas are recognised across Europe. Five Hungarian universities are ranked among the top 1000 world best universities, according to QS Top Universities ranking. The list includes the universities of Szeged, Debrecen, Pecs, and two institutions in Budapest: the Eötvös Loránd University and the Budapest University of Technology and Economics.

Hungarian citizens can seek treatment at public and private clinics in the country. They are also eligible to receive a European Health Insurance Card that allows getting medical treatment in EU countries free of charge or at a reduced cost.

The country is also a popular destination for medical tourism. Budapest is often referred to as the world’s spa capital due to its thermal springs.

How to become a Hungarian citizen in 2024
Szechenyi Thermal Bath in Budapest is one of the largest bath complexes in Europe. Overall, there are around 100 thermal springs in Budapest and over 1,300 across the country
Benefit #8

No need to renounce the first nationality

Hungary allows dual citizenship. Thus, after obtaining a Hungarian passport, foreigners do not give up other passports unless the country of their first citizenship stipulates it.

Dual citizens can live, work, and study in either country, enjoying civil rights and privileges in both states. They also benefit from travel opportunities granted by both passports and, when abroad, can get consular assistance from Embassies and Consulates of both countries.

Benefit #9

Living at the heart of Europe

Hungary is located at the centre of Europe and is well connected to other countries. A trip to Vienna by train or a flight to London or Paris will take less than 3 hours.

Hungary is a country with a diverse geography. Its natural attractions include mountains, rivers, and Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Europe. All of this makes Hungary a good place for outdoor activities.

Ways to obtain Hungary citizenship

By birth, descent, or ancestry. A child with at least one Hungarian parent has the right to obtain a passport, regardless of the place of their birth. One can also claim citizenship if they prove that one of their parents, grandparents, or more distant ancestors was a Hungarian citizen.

By marriage. Marrying a Hungarian citizen does not automatically lead to citizenship, although it makes the process easier. To apply for citizenship, the spouse of a Hungarian passport holder must meet one of the following conditions:

  • at least 3 years of residence in Hungary and 3 years of marriage;
  • at least 10 years of marriage;
  • at least 5 years of marriage and having children together.

By naturalisation. To qualify for citizenship by naturalisation, a candidate must prove living in the country for eight years with a permanent resident status and pass a Hungarian language test.

To obtain permanent residency, one must first get a residence permit and live in Hungary for 3 years. Residence permits are issued on the following grounds:

  • for family reunification;
  • for employment at a Hungarian company;
  • for education or scientific research;
  • by investment.

Hungary Golden Visa is a program that offers investors a pathway towards a residence permit through three options:

  • purchase of investment fund units for €250,000+;
  • real estate purchase for €500,000+;
  • charitable donation for €1,000,000+.

The residence permit is valid for 10 years and can be extended once for the same period. The main applicant can add their spouse and principally dependent children to the application.

How to apply for Hungary Golden Visa step-by-step

Regardless of the chosen investment option, obtaining a Golden Visa takes up to 6 months. Immigrant Invest lawyers assist investors throughout the whole process.

1 day
Preliminary Due Diligence
Preliminary Due Diligence

A Certified Compliance Anti-Money Laundering Officer conducts a thorough verification of the investor’s data against international databases. The procedure is confidential and mandatory; it reduces the risk of application refusal to as low as 1%.

2 weeks
Collecting documents
Collecting documents

Immigrant Invest lawyers draw up a list of documents required to apply, including passports, birth and marriage certificates, proof of sufficient funds, and a written commitment to fulfilling the investment condition.

The lawyers translate and notarise documents and complete government forms.

3 months
Obtaining a Guest Investor Visa
Obtaining a Guest Investor Visa

With a Guest Investor Visa, the investor travels to Hungary to apply for a residence permit. The visa is valid for 2 years and allows living in Hungary for more than 90 days out of 180, as well as multiple entries to the country.

Up to 3 months
Fulfilling the investment condition
Fulfilling the investment condition

The investment must be made within 3 months of the first entry into Hungary with a Guest Investor Visa.

1 day
Applying for a Hungary Golden Visa
Applying for a Hungary Golden Visa

The process can be done remotely or in person with the relevant immigration authority.

2 months
Receiving a residence permit card
Receiving a residence permit card

The investor visits the migration office at a designated time, presents their passport and original documents, provides biometrics, and has a photograph taken for the residence permit card.

The card is mailed to the investor’s address within 21 days.

Key things to remember about Hungary citizenship

  1. Hungarian passport holders enjoy many benefits, including visa-free travel to over 170 countries and an opportunity to work and study in any EU state.
  2. There are several ways to obtain a Hungarian passport, including ancestry, marriage, and naturalisation. Citizenship by naturalisation is granted after 8 years of living in the country with a permanent resident status.
  3. The Hungary Golden Visa allows investors to obtain a 10-year residence permit for a minimum investment of €250,000. After 3 years of living in the country, investors can get permanent residency followed by citizenship 8 more years later.

Frequently asked questions

What are the benefits of Hungary citizenship?

Hungary is an EU country, meaning its citizens can live, work, and study in any of the 27 member states. Hungarian passport holders can also travel to over 170 countries without applying for a visa.

Other Hungary citizenship benefits include the possibility of living in one of the safest countries, with relatively low costs and well-developed healthcare. After acquiring Hungarian citizenship, one is not required to renounce their first passport unless the country of their first citizenship stipulates it.

How can a foreigner get a Hungarian passport?

There are multiple ways to obtain a Hungarian passport. Some of the fastest paths are to prove having Hungarian ancestors or marrying a Hungarian citizen. For a foreigner with no Hungarian relatives, the only way to become a citizen is naturalisation. To be eligible, they must live in the country for eight years with permanent residency.

Can I obtain Hungary citizenship by investment?

Foreigners cannot obtain a Hungarian passport directly by investment. However, investors can get a 10-year residence permit under the Hungary Golden Visa program.

After 3 years of living in the country with a residence permit, one becomes eligible for permanent residency. To qualify for citizenship by naturalisation, they must live in Hungary for eight years as a permanent resident.

How strong is the Hungarian passport?

Hungarian citizens can travel to over 170 countries without applying for a visa at a consulate. They don’t need a visa to visit EU and EEA states and the United Kingdom. 

To visit the United States, Canada, or Australia, Hungarian passport holders obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization, which is faster and cheaper to get than a regular visa.

How long does it take to get a Hungarian passport?

The timeline for obtaining a Hungarian passport depends on the path chosen by the applicant.

For foreigners with Hungarian ancestors, the process takes six months to two years. Spouses of Hungarian citizens can get their passport in 3—10 years, depending on the circumstances. Obtaining Hungary citizenship by naturalisation takes 11 years.

Does Hungary allow dual citizenship?

Yes, you will not be required to renounce your first nationality after becoming a Hungarian citizen unless the country of your first citizenship prohibits having two passports.

Is a Hungarian language test required for citizenship?

Foreigners wishing to become Hungarian citizens by naturalisation must take a language test to prove at least an intermediate level of knowledge of Hungarian.

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

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