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What is the Hungarian Card?

Those arriving in Hungary for long-term employment (more than 90 days) must have the appropriate permit to start the employment relationship. One form of this is the Hungarian Card, which is a type of permit that can be applied for by highly qualified employees, athletes, performers and film production workers. The permit type is one of the types of permits subject to the merged permit procedure, which provides the right to reside and work at the same time.

The permit type was introduced by the Immigration Act valid from 2024 as one of the new types of permits for those with high competence.

Who can apply for this type of permit?

Non-EEA nationals who meet the following special requirements:

  • They work in highly skilled jobs
  • One of the following conditions applies to them
    • Have a higher education degree in the field of information technology, technology or natural sciences or a teacher degree in music or folk culture (both a degree obtained abroad and in Hungary is acceptable), or
    • professional athletes, coaches, performers, film production workers

For which employment cases can the Hungarian Card be applied?

The Hungarian Card can be requested in the following cases:

  • Local employment contract with a domestic employer
  • By the manager or owner of the company, if in addition to this position he actually performs work in the company
  • Whose employment in Hungary is based on their employment relationship with an employer established in a third country in order to fulfil an agreement concluded with a domestic employer

What does the Hungarian Card entitle to?

The Hungarian Card entitles its holder to work at a specific employer, place of work and position, as well as to stay in Hungary during the validity period of the permit.

How long is the Hungarian Card valid?

The Hungarian Card can be requested for a maximum of 3 years and can be extended for up to 3 years at a time. The validity of the permit issued shall be determined by the authority on the basis of the planned length of employment.

In addition to the above, the validity of the permit is also influenced by the applicant’s passport: the validity of the Hungarian Card must be determined in such a way that the passport remains valid for at least three months after the expiry of the permit.

When considering the application for a permit, the authority is entitled to limit the permit to a shorter period than the requested time, if it considers it justified on the basis of any circumstances (e.g. health insurance, housing).

Situation of family members

The holder of the Hungarian Card may also be joined by their family members in Hungary, and the authority issues them a residence permit for family reunification purposes based on the employee’s (the family’s supporter) Hungarian Card.

In Hungary, a family member of the holder of the Hungarian Card can only work with a valid work permit.

Special requirements related to applying for a Hungarian Card

When applying for the Hungarian Card, the job defined by the employer must comply with the legal requirements in every detail:

  • The Hungarian Card can only be applied for in FEOR Main Group 1 and 2 jobs.
  • The employee must have a higher professional qualification in the field of information technology, technology or natural sciences or a teacher in music or folk culture.
  • It is not mandatory that the job is also related to these professional areas, it is an optional job from FEOR Groups 1 and 2.
  • If special professional qualifications are required for the job, the employee must also have them.

The legislation provides for exemptions from the above restrictions in certain occupational areas. Accordingly, you can apply for a Hungarian Card for:

  • professional athlete or professional coach,
  • performer
  • who works for a registered film production company

In these cases, the Hungarian Card can be applied for in positions in FEOR Main Group 3.

In addition to the above, the salary must comply with the generally applicable minimum wage (based on FEOR number) for the job.

Application process

The application for the Hungarian Card may be submitted in possession of a specific job offer, subject to prior agreement on a specific employer, place of work and position.

The first application for a citizen of a country subject to visa requirements shall be submitted in person at the Hungarian consulate located in the country of origin or residence.

If you are a citizen of a non-visa country and entered Hungary as a tourist, you can apply for your first application online, through the EnterHungary website of the immigration office.

If the applicant is already in Hungary and renews his/her permit, he/she must submit his/her application for extension online. The request for extension shall be submitted no later than 40 days before the expiry of the period of validity.

The evaluation period for the Hungarian Card application is 70 days.

Change of jobs

If there is a change in employment data (position, place of work) or a change of job, the employee must apply for a new permit, which can be any type of work permit. Only after the immigration office approval decision has been issued can the work start under the new terms and conditions of employment or with a new employer.

The holder of the Hungarian Card is entitled to switch to another type of permit in Hungary.

Possibility of permanent residence

Hungarian Card holders and their family members may apply for long-term residence rights in Hungary if the related conditions are met.

If you need help applying for Hungarian Card, please contact our office using the contact details on the website.

Official information about the application process and the necessary forms can be found on the website of the National Directorate-General for Aliens Policing.

Information on the processing fees for licence applications can be found here.

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