The business of getting legal residence in Hungary is, in simple terms, easy if you’re a European Union, European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or Swiss citizen and not necessarily so easy if you’re not. Let’s see what non-residents of the old continent have to deal with.
First of all engaging in work requires a work permit in most situations, and that’s a process your employer must complete before you can apply for a residence permit. Again you can apply for residence based on full-time study at a recognised college or university; you could be the managing director of a corporation, in which case a work permit is not required, so long as your company has other employees doing the actual work, or indeed you could declare that you just love it here and can live off retirement income or savings. By the way, the level of savings generally accepted as being sufficient is around USD 1,000 a month.
If the purpose of stay is work then you’ll produce a valid work permit and work contract or letter of assignment if you’re being sent to work for the Hungarian office of a multi-national firm and will remain on home payroll. If you plan to live in Hungary and finance yourself, you’ll need to show recent bank statements with a healthy cash balance or proof of retirement income.
You’ll need to prove where you live and that the person who states they own the home you live in actually does so. You’ll also need to show proof of international health insurance if you’re not working.
Theoretically the residence permit application for a non-EU citizen should take place at the Hungarian Embassy in their country of origin or current legal residence. However, certain nationalities we find are viewed upon more favourably by the authorities and an application to be allowed to apply for a residence permit in-country is often accepted, so long as the applicant has been in the country well under the 90-day limit for a stay in the Schengen Zone.
The process overall is not extraordinarily complicated, it just requires that you get all your paperwork in order and present it in the right format. There’s nothing worse than queuing for a couple of hours, only to find one of your documents is not up to scratch and you have to come back another day. It may be wise therefore to engage an immigration service provider, both to ensure the application goes right first time and so that you may not have to queue quite so much.
Stuart McAlister owns and manages Inter Relocation and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org