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Visa Requirements for Budapest

Have you ever given a move to Budapest a thought? The Hungarian metropolis is the up-and-coming expat hot spot in Eastern Europe. Start a new life in this historic city with our help. We have information on the most important districts, visa applications, and public transportation.
Budapest is a popular expat destination, but applying for a visa can be a drag.

Visa Waiver Agreements

Hungary has signed visa waiver agreements with various countries that allow citizens of these nations to travel to Budapest without a visa. If this applies to you, all you need to enter the country is a valid passport. Most member states of the EU/EEA as well as various other countries are part of these agreements, such as Argentina, the Bahamas, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Africa, Singapore, Turkey, Tunisia, Venezuela, and many more.

If you are originally from outside of Europe, please make sure to check with the nearest Hungarian consulate or embassy to find out if you require a visa to travel to Budapest or if there are any restrictions you should know of. Please keep in mind that, even if you hail from one of the countries with a visa waiver agreement, you are only allowed to stay in Budapest without a visa for a limited amount of time as a visitor or tourist. If you wish to live and work in Budapest for a longer period of time, you need a work visa and a residence permit.

Work and Residence Permit

Prior to 2014, expats moving to Hungary from outside of the EU had to apply for a work permit and residence visa separately. However, recent legislation has merged these two processes into a single procedure. The application is now filed to the Immigration authorities at your closest Hungarian Embassy. They will then submit it to the Labor Center for authorization. Once the application is validated by the Labor Center, it refers back to the Immigration office who decides if the residency requirements have been met and will decide if the joint permit will be issued. Officials state that this process should take up to 21 days.

 Comparatively, the new process is more disadvantageous to employer and employee alike. While in the old system, employees with a work permit (issued before arrival) could work for their company for up to ninety days without having to wait until a residence permit was issued, employees must now secure the joint permit before arrival in Hungary. Moreover, in the old system, it was the employer’s prerogative to collect the relevant information and submit it to the Labor Center, while now employees must gather this information from the employer and submit it themselves. Application forms can be downloaded from the Office of Immigration and Nationality. To complete your application you will need the following:

  • signed and completed application form
  • a passport which is valid for at least three months after your intended departure date
  • two passport sized photos, no more than six months old
  • the residence handling fee of 60 EUR
  • a copy of the employment contract or a letter of intent from the prospective employer
  • proof of professional qualifications and education
  • confirmation of accommodation
  • travel insurance for at least the first thirty days of your stay
  • proof of financial ability to live in Hungary



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