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01 March 2024

Hungary: New immigration law affects residence permits

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A new immigration law entered into force on 1 January 2024 in Hungary, introducing major changes and stricter conditions to existing regulations for third-country nationals (TCNs).

The application of the new regulations was planned to begin on 1 March 2024, but the implementation rules (executive decrees and detailed provisions) have not yet been announced. The submission of new applications from TCNs has therefore been suspended, except those involving residence permits 'of national interest' based on ministerial approval. In cases where an application was submitted before 31 December 2023, the old regulations will still apply but the National Directorate-General for Aliens Policing will not make a decision before 1 March 2024. The validity of residence permits and permanent residence permits expiring between 1 January 2024 and 29 February 2024 will be automatically extended until 30 April 2024.

The previous immigration law in Hungary specified 18 types of residence permits. The new regulation outlines 24 types, including 8 for the purpose of employment. The residence permit for other purposes, which was a rather flexible category, has been abolished. One of the biggest changes is that the new law introduces separate categories of work permits for highly-skilled workers and low-skilled guest workers, and a new permit for investors.

The guest worker residence permit will only be granted, by law, to those employed by specified employers, from specified countries, and in specified occupations. Moreover, the guest worker permit can now only be extended for a limited period, up to a total of 3 years. After this period the permit cannot be extended, and a new application must be submitted. Guest workers, therefore, are not entitled to permanent residence in Hungary, or to family reunification.

The new law also introduces a so-called “golden visa”. From 1 July 2024, the guest-investor visa and residence permit will be available, allowing a residence of 10+10 years for a minimum real estate fund investment of 250 000 EUR. The detailed provisions for this have not yet been published.

Certain residence permits can only be extended if the relevant applicant fulfils the conditions of 'social coexistence', which must be proved by taking an exam about Hungarian culture.


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Posted by
Boglárka Budai
Country Coordinator

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