New Hungarian regime of granting residence permits for non-EU citizens

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By Dr. Attila Kovács, Kovács Réti Szegheõ Attorneys-at-Law

From 27 December 2012 onwards, non-EU citizens are entitled to buy special state securities based on which national permanent residence permits (Hungarian: nemzeti letelepedési engedély) may be acquired.

The benefits of the national permanent residence permit:

Those with permanent resident status shall be authorised to reside in the territory of Hungary for an indefinite period of time. This national residence permit ensures resident status, which grants almost the same entitlements as those of Hungarian citizens. Since Hungary is an EU member state, even travelling around the EU is possible, with certain restrictions, for those in possession of this permit.

The national permanent residence permit grants the following:

  • permission to work in Hungary,
  • to travel to other EU countries,
  • to claim certain financial aids (e.g.: for the purpose of building a home),
  • and a university education and the acquisition of scholarships.

Please note that the regulations for the issuance of these state securities have not yet been officially published.

Preconditions for acquiring the national permanent residence permit:

1. According to the relevant act, a residence permit (Hungarian: tartózkodási engedély) may first be acquired by a citizen of a non-EU country who certifies that he/she, or the business association under his/her majority ownership, owns securities issued for a definite term of at least five years that amount to the value of at least EUR 250,000 and are issued by a business association prescribed by law.

In order to obtain this first residence permit, the non-EU citizen is required to fulfil some general requirements. For example, the non EU-citizen needs to be in possession of a valid travel document, he/she needs to have accommodation or a place of residence in the territory of Hungary, he/she needs to have full healthcare insurance or sufficient financial resources for healthcare services, etc.

In this procedure the legal representation of the applicant is required.

Those who possess this first residence permit are allowed to reside in the territory of Hungary. They may also travel to EU countries which adhere to all the regulations of the Schengen Agreement, and may stay in a particular such country for a maximum of three months. However, working in Hungary is only possible with the permission of the relevant labour authority.

2. Those who have been in possession of (i) this residence permit for at least six months or (ii) any other residence permit for at least six months, shall be entitled to obtain a national permanent residence permit (in the case of (ii), only if it is in the national economic interest of Hungary that they settle there),

Other issues

A residence permit may be issued to a family member of a third-country national who is in possession of the national permanent residence permit. The validity period for the residence permit granted for the purpose of family reunification shall be up to three years, and it may be extended by a maximum of three additional years at a time.




Kovács Attila 121x160pxDr. Attila Kovács, Managing Partner
Kovács Réti Szegheõ Attorneys at Law
Budapest, Hungary
Tl: +361 275 27 85
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Dr. Attila Kovács graduated from the Faculty of Law at Eötvös Loránd University in 1996. After gaining professional experience in Hungarian and German law offices, he is a member of Kovács Réti Szegheő Attorneys at Law, and has been Managing Partners since 2004. He is an arbitrator at the Arbitration Court that is attached to Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture, he is Chairman of the Geneva Group International's Insolvency Practice Group, and Chairman of the Zugliget Voluntary Pension Fund's Supervisory Board. Attila speaks Hungarian, English and German and his primary areas of practice are bankruptcy law, real estate law and corporate law.

Kovács Réti Szegheő Attorneys at Law was established in 1992 and is one of the oldest independent Hungarian law firms. It is active in Hungarian, English, German and Italian and operates over a wide spectrum within the fields of civil and business law, for both domestic and international clients. Kovács Réti Szegheő Attorneys at Law has gained immersive experience in the fields of corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, construction law, real estate law, securities law, bankruptcy law, labour and employment (also including health & safety), competition law and intellectual property law. It also advises clients in matters related to the internet such as e-business and data protection, as well as advising on environmental protection, public procurement law and energy law.

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