Hungary Country Profile
This country guideline provides general information on the most common corporate immigration processes for Hungary. Please note that immigration processes in every country are subject to frequent change, and also that each case is assessed on its own merits. Therefore, this guideline should be taken as providing general information only. Cases to Hungary are handled by our London Office. For specific, detailed advice, please contact your representative.
This guideline is divided into the following sections. Please click on the links below to be taken directly to the relevant section.
- Immigration Categories
- Typical Process Overview
- Typical Documents Obtained
- Application Materials
- Business Visitors
- Change of Status
- Salary and Payroll
- Red Flags
- Penalties for Non-Compliance
- Bilateral Agreements
A brief description of corporate immigration categories by assignment type follows. The appropriate immigration category or status for your employees will depend on their specific details and on your company. The most common category for corporate transfers in our experience is the Combined Work & Residence Permit, process. For details on non-typical categories not listed (investors, special programs), please contact your representative.
Note that Executive Officers performing executive duties, those performing installation or a service to a Hungarian client as part of a contract [occasionally for a maximum of fifteen (15) days within thirty (30) days period], and those in certain other situations can obtain a different category of visa which does not require a Work Force Demand or a Work Permit.
The following process overview is applicable to the Combined Work & Residence Permit process. Approximate overall processing time from the time the first step is submitted to the time the employee is legal to work in Hungary is three (3) to four (4) months. However, note that lead time for document gathering at the start of the process should be factored in, as should processing time for completion of post arrival formalities. In Hungary, the document gathering stage of the process is particularly labor-intensive, as many documents must be legalized and translated. We can assist with this if required. See the “Application Materials” section below for further details.) Average processing time for each step is noted below.
Step One: Work Force Demand Application
Processing Time: One (1) to Two (2) days
Prior to applying for a work permit, the assignee’s position must be posted with the local Labor Office. The Work Force Demand is valid for sixty (60) days. If the Combined Work & Residence Permit application is not submitted within those sixty (60) days, a new Work Force Demand must be placed. The Work Force Demand can sometimes be bypassed if the ratio of Hungarian and foreign employees in a similar job position at the company in Hungary is high enough, or, outside of Budapest and Pest country, this may sometimes be bypassed for key personnel.
Step Two: Combined Work and Residence Permit Application
Processing Time: Ninety (90) days, but extended during peak times, e.g. summer or Christmas
As soon as the Work Force Demand has been posted, the Combined Work and Residence application can be submitted at the Immigration Office/Consulate.
Non-visa nationals may submit the application for the Combined Work and Residence Permit at the local Immigration office in Hungary. Personal appearance is required when submitting the applications and also when collecting the Combined Work and Residence Permit. Note that work can only be commenced for Non Visa Nationals once the Combined Work and Residence Permit has been collected.
NOTE: If assignee has already been in Hungary on business status, he/she must abide by the Schengen regulation for the stay duration permissible in the Schengen area.
Consular Process Nationals requiring an entry visa for Hungary must apply for a Type D work/residence visa before entering the Schengen area. This is applied for on the basis of the Combined Work and Residence Permit process for Hungary. Employees will obtain a Work Visa and dependent family members will obtain a “family union”/“other” status (if not married) Residence Visa. These visas will be valid for thirty (30) days and are single entry only.
Visa nationals will enter Hungary once their Work/Residence Visas have been approved, and must collect their Combined Work and Residence Permit as soon as possible but in all cases within thirty (30) days of arrival.
Step Four: Address Registration
Processing Time: Same day
Within thirty (30) days of arrival the address of the assignee and family needs to be registered with the authorities. This is done at the same time as collecting the Combined Work and Residence permit. Personal appearance is required.
Following the work permit process described above will result in the obtention of the following immigration documents. Typical validity is noted next to each document name. For details on the renewal process, please see the next section, “Renewal.”
- Combined Work and Residence Permit: (egységes munkavállalási és tartózkodási engedély): Up to twenty-four (24) months.
- Address Registration (lakcímkártya ügyintézés): Valid as long as residential address remains the same.
Renewal is possible. Renewal processes takes ninety (90) days; please allow two (2) weeks’ lead time for document gathering. Note that residence permit renewal applications must be submitted at least one (1) month before the expiry date of the residence permit.
Permanent Residence may be an option for applicants who have resided in Hungary legally for at least three (3) consecutive years and meet other requirements, or have Hungarian ancestry. We can assist with all of these processes.
The government of Hungary requires all foreign assignees departing the country to submit their original Residence Permit, as well as a withdrawal letter signed by the assignee and his or her family, to the Immigration Office. If the assignee and his or her family have already departed the country, a representative may submit this documentation with a signed authorization to act on the assignee’s behalf; if the assignee and his or her family are still in Hungary, they may go in person to the Immigration Office or give Power of Attorney to a third party (lawyer). Immigration Office should sign and stamp the withdrawal form on the same day so that the assignee and family have evidence of de-registration.
Also, notification to the Immigration office by employer has to be made at the end of employment as well i.e. within five (5) days of assignment end date.
Dependent immigration status approval depends on the immigration status of the principal applicant. Where the principal applicant is in Hungary with a work permit, the following rules apply for dependents:
- Minimum age (spouses): N/A
- Maximum age (children): Eighteen (18) (if non-EU citizens) or twenty-one (21) (if EU citizens)
- Unmarried partners: Yes, if certain requirements are met
- Same sex partners: Yes, if certain requirements are met
- Non-traditional dependents (e.g. parents): Possible, depending on the situation
- Work authorization granted? No
Application materials vary depending on the immigration category being applied for and on the specifics of the case. We will advise you in detail regarding your specific case; however, general application materials for the work permit process are noted below.
- General application materials include current resume (C.V.), original undergraduate degree with sworn translation into Hungarian, lease agreement on a property registered with the land registry authorities, birth and marriage certificates, corporate tax documents, and corporate registration certificates.
- All documentation must be submitted in Hungarian and may need to be legalized. This requirement depends on the Consulate where the application is submitted. We can assist with the legalization requirements.
- For citizens of certain countries, dependents need not have their birth and marriage certificates translated into Hungarian; however, these documents have to be apostilled by the home country’s relevant authorities.
- Name of visa granted: Schengen type C
- Duration of stay: Ninety (90) out of one hundred eighty (180) days in the whole Schengen area
- General activities permitted: “Business only”, generally defined as attending business meetings and seminars. If you are unsure whether your assignment may be considered business, please contact your representative.
It is now possible for some, non-restricted nationalities to convert their status from visitor to work without leaving the country. For nationalities requiring visas, it is not possible to change status from a Type C (short term) business visa to a Type D long term visa.
Salary and payroll requirements vary depending on the immigration category and on the specifics of the case. In Hungary, the authorities will expect to see salary at the same level as a Hungarian national would expect to receive for the same position. Salary level has to meet the job position based on the ‘FEOR’ number ID of the position. Please contact your representative for more details for your specific situation.
Qualification requirements will vary from case to case and will depend on the immigration category under which the application is made. However, in general, the immigration authorities do expect to see an undergraduate degree. In some situations, a strong case may be made for applicants without a degree, as long as secondary level educational certificates can be submitted and provided their level of experience and industry specific qualification is high. Please contact your representative for more details.
In our experience, the following points are important to note at the start of the process. If any of the below situations apply to you, contact your representative immediately for further detailed advice.
- Absence of original degree.
- Absence of relevant experience.
- Insufficient compensation.
- Original diploma, including translation, is required for Step One and so should be secured without delay.
- Permits must be withdrawn (cancelled) within five (5) working days of assignment/employment end; failure to do this will result in a penalty for non-compliance.
Penalties for Non-Compliance
The government of Hungary takes immigration non-compliance very seriously. Penalties for non-compliance may include fines, deportation, and imprisonment.
|Violation||Penalties & Consequences|
|Unlawful boarder crosses||Up to 100,000 HUF (326.13 EUR) penalty by police officer|
|Violation relating to travel documents provided.||Up to 50,000 HUF (163.06 EUR) penalty by police officer|
|EEA citizen: Non registration commitment||Up to 100,000 HUF (326.13 EUR) penalty by police officer|
|Non-Reporting Obligations and Data Changed||Up to 50,000 HUF (163.06 EUR) penalty by police officer|
|Violation||Penalties & Consequences|
|Unlawful boarder crosses||Expulsion from the country|
|Expelled foreigner staying in the territory of Hungary or returning to the country||Imprisonment up to one (1) year|
|Violation||Penalties & Consequences|
|Employment of Illegal Foreigner||Up to 100,000 HUF (326.13 EUR) penalty by the Hungarian Labour Inspectorate|
|Any kind of labour irregularity (employment without residence permit, work permit or residence registration card)||First Violation:
Employer is obliged to pay to the State Budget Central: the amount of the employee’s salary x 4 times or minimum wage x 8 times at least
|Second Violation within Three (3) Years:
Employer is obliged to pay to the State Budget Central: the amount of the employee’s salary x 8 times or minimum wage x 15 times
|Any kind of labour irregularity (related to labour relation, registration with labour authorities)||In general : penalty from 30000 HUF (97.84 EUR) up to 10,000,000 HUF (32612.60 EUR)|
|With up to twenty (20) employees: maximum penalty up to 5,000,000 HUF (16306.30 EUR)|
|Self-employed person: maximum penalty up to 1,000,000 HUF (3261.26 EUR)|
|If labour irregularity happens again within three (3) years: The amount of penalty can be doubled as in the previously explained cases.|
|Any kind of labour irregularity||Labour Inspectorate may stop any further employment relation|
|Forces employer to stop irregular employment relation within certain period of time|
For more details, please contact your representative.
- European Union: Hungary is a member of the European Union (EU). Many EU member countries, European Economic Area (EEA) member countries, and European Free Trade Area (EFTA) countries maintain agreements that allow individuals from member states to travel and work freely within the region without prior authorization. Nationals of new EU member countries that are within the two (2) to seven (7) year transition period following accession may still be subject to work permit or other additional requirements. For detailed information on process and requirements for nationals of EU/EEA/EFTA countries traveling to Hungary, please contact Emigra Worldwide.
- Schengen: Hungary is a member of the Schengen agreement. Short term (type C) visas, long term (type D) visas and residence permits for Hungary will allow short term travel in the rest of the Schengen zone.
The material in this document is confidential and a protected trade secret of Emigra Worldwide. In the course of delivering service to our clients and channel partners, our organization may elect to share this material in accordance with confidentiality terms of its service agreements or other contracts with said clients and partners, or in accordance with general intellectual property laws of the nation in which the material is received. All rights are reserved. The reproduction, redistribution or any other promulgation of this material, in whole or in part, without the written permission of an authorized officer of Emigra Worldwide is prohibited. All copies of this material must be returned upon request. The information contained in this document is correct as of the date of issue noted above. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and completeness throughout this document, we cannot and will not be held responsible for damage caused by errors, and/or omissions or otherwise caused by using and/or relying solely on the information contained herein. Please note that immigration regulations and requirements can change without advance notice and as such we cannot guarantee that the information contained within this document is 100% error free.
Last review: March 2015