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Moving to Budapest: Getting Your Visa

October 27th, 2021

 

Welcome to the Getting Your Visa section of the Moving to Budapest Guide!

 

* Disclaimer * While we aim to help you familiarize yourself with the whole process, we are not immigration professionals. For legal advice, please reach out to an immigration professional. 

 

If you'd like to move to Budapest as a third-country (non-EU) citizen, you'll need to sort out a visa. There are a few all in particular that can help you on your way! (More info for EU citizens at the bottom!)

 

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Residence Permit for the Purpose of Employment

Residency: Yes

Right to work in Hungary: Yes

Let's look at the pros and cons of an employment visa

Pros: Companies that sponsor foreigners normally have departments that are familiar with the whole process. In many cases this means that you will simply have to provide your information and signatures while much of the process is taken care of for you. This help is indispensable when going through a visa application in a foreign language and country.

Cons: First of all, it can be difficult to find a company that will sponsor you, as it means extra paperwork and taxes for them. In many cases, it's much easier for them to go with an EU citizen. 

Secondly, as a third country citizen, your residency is bound to your employment visa. If you find that you'd like to switch jobs, you will need to get a new visa as well. This visa is inflexible, but if you're happy with your employment, then it shouldn't be a problem!

 

Residence Permit for Other Purposes

Residency: Yes

Right to work in Hungary: No

The Residence Permit for Other Purposes grants residency but does not give you the right to work in Hungary, so it is ideal for any of you digital nomads who make your income from remote sources.

A big portion of the application rests on your motivation letter. Many expats have found it helpful to mention your interest in learning about Hungarian culture / your Hungarian heritage, willingness to sign up for Hungarian language classes, the desire to stay with their Hungarian significant other, etc. Truth is the most important thing of course, but it doesn't hurt to show a little appreciation for Hungary as well.

 

Residence Permit for the Pursuit Gainful Activity

Residency: Yes

Right to work in Hungary: Yes

The Residence Permit for the Pursuit of Gainful Activity grants residency and does give you the right to work in Hungary.

You can work quite simply as a freelancer in Hungary under the KATA system. With KATA, you are merely required to pay 50,000huf (app. € 140) a month, which covers all of your taxes and grants you full access to Hungary's free healthcare system, along with biannual taxes. In order to do this, you must set yourself up as a Sole Entrepreneur by establishing your own business. 

 

Setting up Your Business

To get started on setting up your sole entrepreneurship you will need access to a government database called the Client Gate. For this you will need a special log in called an ügyfélkapu. In order to get one, you must make an appointment at your district’s Kormányablak (“Government Window”)  (bring all of your documents including your address card, residency card, tax card, and passport).

They will allow you to set up your ügyfélkapu, and then you can enter the Client Gate and set up your Sole Entrepreneurship. Setting up your Sole Entrepreneurship is complex and completely in Hungarian, so it’s suggested that you get an accountant to help.

 

To Review

Make an appointment at the Kormányablak

Register for the ügyfélkapu

Login to the Client Gate using your ügyfélkapu

Register as a Sole Entrepreneur

 

As a Sole Entrepreneur, you will need invoicing software:

people using laptops

OnlineSzamla: NAV is Hungary’s tax authority and OnlineSzamla is its own invoicing software. Many think this is the most straightforward method because NAV automatically receives your invoices, as opposed to having to transfer them from another platform. Other popular invoicing platforms include Szamlazz.hu and Billingo.

If you’re looking for an English speaking accountant in Budapest to help with your monthly financial needs, here’s a list of where to start:



Basic Application Requirements

Each visa has a unique application, but basic application requirements are:

  • Proof of health insurance (if you’re applying for the gainful activity visa, you will be working under the KATA system and will have Hungarian health insurance)

  • Proof of accommodation

  • Keep in mind that when applying for any visa the government will want to see that you have significant financial resources to support yourself. Prepare ahead by padding your savings and/or keeping your bank statements that show proof of income ($1000/month is a good rule of thumb).

  • Make sure you have a valid passport, as immigration won’t grant you a visa past the expiration date of your passport

 

EU Citizens

If you are an EU citizen, moving to Hungary is a bit easier. You do not need a residence permit. However, you do need an address card and registration card, and you need to apply for these things within 90 days of your arrival. In order to apply for these things you need to bring 

  • Proof of accommodation

  • Proof of employment or

  • Proof of enough financial means to support your stay in Hungary

 

Would you like to have someone support you through the whole process? Helpers is a company that specializes in immigration services, as well as Budapest Immigration Agency .

 

Whew! Getting your visa sorted is a huge weight off of your shoulders! Now you have time to check out the rest of our Moving to Budapest Guide!

 

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