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Hungarian citizenship in the golden visa program

Hungarian citizenship in the golden visa program

Although Hungarian citizenship is not included in the golden visa program, you can still apply for it through the regular process. Let’s explore how that works.

Hungarian residency vs. citizenship

Being a Hungarian resident means you can stay in Hungary for a long time and travel to other Schengen countries without needing another visa for up to 90 days. If you live in Hungary, earn money, pay taxes, and have a permanent address there, you get additional rights.

If you become a Hungarian citizen, you can travel to even more countries without a visa (Hungarian passports are quite powerful globally, ranking 7th strongest). Plus, as a citizen of the European Union, you can live and work freely in any EU country.

However, it is important to note that the Hungarian golden visa program does not offer a shortcut to citizenship. Instead, it gives you residency, which still comes with several advantages compared to other residency options.

Guest investor residency vs. regular residency

The residency you get through the Hungarian golden visa program is called “guest investor residency.” Here are some benefits it offers compared to regular residence permits:

  1. It is valid for 10 years, while regular residency usually lasts 2-3 years.
  2. Guest investor residency is not tied to the expiration date of the holder’s passport; it stays valid for 10 years even if the passport expires sooner.
  3. There is no requirement to spend a minimum amount of time in Hungary to maintain residency.
  4. Spouse and underage children can join the investor through family unification, which is not always possible with other types of residence permits.

Like regular residence permits, you can use your Hungarian guest investor residency as a Schengen visa to enter any member states without needing a separate visa for as long as your permit is valid.

Qualifying for guest investor residency

To qualify for these benefits, you need to make an investment that is considered to be in Hungary’s national interest according to the latest immigration laws. Here are the investment options:

  • Invest EUR 250,000 in bonds issued by a real estate fund registered by the Hungarian National Bank (MNB).
  • Invest EUR 500,000 in Hungarian residential real estate.
  • Make a EUR 1 million donation to a designated educational or cultural institution.

The application process starts in July 2024, but you can sign up for more information now.

Qualifying for Hungarian citizenship

Although the guest investor residency program does not offer fast-track citizenship, you can still apply for Hungarian citizenship through the regular process.

This typically requires 8 years of continuous residency in Hungary, proven by an address card.

It is yet unclear if guest investors will be eligible for an address card, so until that is clarified, it is best to assume you can only apply for one if you apply for permanent residency, which is possible after three years of other residency. However, this might mean losing some perks of your guest investor residency, like the 10-year validity and no minimum stay requirement. So, consider your goals carefully. If you plan to spend most of your time in Hungary, switching to permanent residency might be an option for you.