Golden Visa News

Hungary’s Immigration Law for 2024: A Comprehensive Overview

Hungary has long been a favored destination for those seeking EU residency or considering making the country their home. However, with significant changes to the immigration law taking effect on January 1st, 2024, the landscape for residency seekers is undergoing a transformation. In this article, Helpers Hungary provides an in-depth analysis of the key changes and their implications. Later we will publish detailed explanations for each subtopic.

Residency applications suspended January through February

A crucial point to note is the temporary suspension of all residency applications for January and February 2024. During this period, no new applications will be accepted, and the Immigration Office is expected to resume normal operations in March 2024. To facilitate the transition, residency cards expiring before March will be automatically renewed until the end of April 2024.

Golden visa applications open from July 2024

Starting July 1st, a new opportunity arises for those interested in the Golden Visa (guest investor residency) program. Detailed information on this program can be found here.

New residency types and categories

While the above mentioned Golden Visa is a new, significant addition to the array of Hungarian residency options, the existing permit types have undergone some restructuring. Work permits, for instance, will not constitute a single category anymore, but will be split into several categories based on factors such as employee qualification, employment duration, and company structure. These categories include guest worker, highly qualified employee (Hungarian card), intra-corporate transfer (ICT), corporate card, special permit for researchers, and the EU Blue Card. Additionally, a “National Card” will be available for Serbian and Ukrainian nationals, each with distinct conditions and rights.

The former “gainful activity” permit for owner/CEOs of companies now falls into two categories: guest self-employment and the Hungarian Card, with more favorable conditions for applicants with high-level education. The discontinued “Other Purpose” category is replaced by specific permit types like humanitarian activity and medical treatment, requiring individuals to align their purpose with a designated category.

While some permit names remain unchanged, such as those for study, internship, and job seeking, their conditions still change somewhat. If you are planning to apply for or renew such a permit, consult our experts well in advance.

D Visa validity period

The D visa, granted to applicants initiating their residency application process at a local Hungarian Consulate, now has a reduced validity period of three months, down from one year. This means applicants have a much shorter time to enter Hungary once their D visa is granted.

Changes to the renewal process

A notable change in the renewal process involves the timeframe for submission. Previously accepted 90 days before a permit’s expiry, renewal applications are now accepted only 40 days before expiration.

Family unification and status change

From now on, residence permit will also be differentiated based on whether they allow family unification or a status change within Hungary. The legislation clearly defines which permit holders can convert their permits to another residency type in Hungary without returning home and which permit types allow main applicants to bring their spouse and underage children.

Permanent residency

While the main requirements for permanent residency applications remain unchanged, the new law specifies which residency categories are eligible for consideration.

For current permit holders and applicants

Individuals with a valid residence permit can maintain their status until the expiration of their residency. For renewals, applicants must explore the new residency categories to match the new regulations.

Important Note: Applications submitted before January 1st, 2024, with completed government fee payments will be processed under the old law. What is more important, years spent in Hungary under employment or gainful activity permits before January 1st, 2024, may still contribute to a permanent residency application, providing an opportunity for individuals to leverage their existing status despite recent legal changes.

Stay tuned for additional insights and clarifications as we navigate these changes together.