Hungary became a member of the Schengen Area on 1 January 2008, since when the Schengen legislation governs entry into the territory, including Hungary.
These are the significant changes consequent to Hungary's Schengen membership:
Citizens of the EU/EEA member states and of the following countries may travel to Hungary without a visa:
Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Hong Kong (the exemption applies only to holders of a "Hong Kong Special Administrative Region"), Iceland, Israel, Japan, Macao (the exemption applies only to holders of a "Regio Administrativa Especial de Macau" passport), Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Romania, Salvador, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela.
Foreigners in possession of a valid residence permit issued by Switzerland or Liechtenstein may transit through Hungary without having a Hungarian transit visa or airport transit visa. The same rules apply for holders of a valid visa issued before 31 December 2007 by one of those countries that joined the Schengen Area as of 1 January 2008. The duration of visa free transit cannot exceed 5 days.
A visa only gives preliminary permission for entry and does not authorise its bearer to automatically enter the country. The traveller may be requested to provide proof of the existence of the conditions of his/her entry and stay in Hungary and if not able to comply may be prevented from entering Hungary.
Please note: Foreigners under visa obligation who have to transfer between Ferihegy 1 and Ferihegy 2 airports will need a transit visa.
Schengen visa applications have to be submitted at the representation of the country which is the main destination of the visit. (In case of visiting several states with stays of approximately the same duration, it is the country of first entry into the Schengen area.)
If Hungary is the main destination, or the country of first entry in a trip covering several Schengen member states, visa applications are to be submitted in person at the applicant's nearest Hungarian representation.
According to the Schengen rules, border posts do not issue visas except for family members of EEA citizens and under extraordinary circumstances for other third country nationals (e.g. entry with a purpose of attending the funeral service of a deceased family member, when it can be proven that there was no possibility to apply for a visa beforehand).
For tourist visits, certification by the travel agency is required, or in case of an individual, prepaid reservation of accommodation.
For educational or other scientific or professional training purposes evidence is required from the receiving institution, and the envisaged place of accommodation in Hungary.
In the case of visiting friends or acquaintances a letter of invitation issued and endorsed by the Office of Immigration and Nationality or notarised by a notary public and a photocopy of the personal identification document/passport of the inviting party in Hungary is required.
In the case of visiting friends or acquaintances a letter of invitation issued and endorsed by the Office of Immigration and Nationality notarised by a notary public and a photocopy of the personal identification document/passport of the inviting party in Hungary is required.
For the purpose of cultivation of family relationships a similar invitation letter is required as described above, or a letter signed by the applicant in full awareness of his/her criminal liability describing the degree of the family relationship, giving the name, address and phone number of the family member and the purpose of the entry and stay.
Entry for business purposes where a business partner in Hungary already exists requires a letter of invitation from the business partner, proof of the existence of a commercial-business relationship or certification from the local Chamber of Commerce of the existence of business relations, and certification of the address of the envisaged place of accommodation in Hungary.
In the case of an entry for the purpose of medical treatment a certificate is required from the receiving health institution, with reference to the expected coverage of the medical treatment both in duration and nature, as well as the specifying the address of the expected place of accommodation in Hungary.
Carriers require the certification or request of the carrier firm.
Those wanting to visit the grave of a deceased relative buried in Hungary require a document certifying the existence of the grave and the degree of relationship.
Participation in cultural or sporting activities requires accreditation proving the intended participation in the event or contract with the Hungarian club, or the certificate issued by the delegating club / Olympic committee / Ministry of Sport, etc. and an invitation letter issued by the host organisation.
For the purpose of attending a conference an invitation letter issued by the host organisation is required together with confirmation of participation issued by the host organisation, and/or a certification issued by the delegating organisation is required as well as a receipt on payment of the registration fee (if applicable).
In the case of other purposes of entry (e.g. regular shopping, entertainment, etc.) not listed in any of the above categories, a declaration presenting the purpose of the entry and stay, made in full awareness of the applicant's criminal liability is required.
Please note: Visa applications can be submitted at the earliest 3 months before the beginning of the planned visit.
Applications will be decided within 30 days, or 15 days in the case of student and research permit applications. Applicants from within New Zealand need to allow an extra two weeks as the visas are issued in Sydney, Australia.
An entry ban or doubts concerning the application, (e.g. presentation of forged documents) will result in the visa application being declined. In such cases the visa fee will not be reimbursed.
The EU Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders sets out the conditions for entry into the territory of the member states. Holding a valid passport and visa (in the case of citizens of third countries where a visa is needed) are only two of the conditions of entry.
The conditions of entry are initially checked by the consulates which examine visa applications. The issuing of a visa presupposes that the Consulate considered that the conditions of entry were fulfilled at the time the visa was granted.
The conditions of entry are checked again when the person presents themselves at the external border (land, sea or airport) of the member states. If the border police decide that a person holding a visa does not fulfil the conditions of entry (for example: the person does not have the necessary means of subsistence for the duration of their stay), they will be refused entry, even if they have a visa in their passport.
Important: Visa holders should carry with them their supporting documents to demonstrate that they fulfil the conditions of entry, so that they can present them if needed during the checks at the Schengen border.
Regulations on a stay exceeding 90 days fall within the competence of national authorities, so there is no uniform routine among the Schengen member states.
In the case of Hungary the following guidelines apply:
Family members of EU/EEA nationals with the right of free movement may enter Hungary with a short-stay (C) visa, or with no visa in the case of citizens of countries (such as New Zealand) with visa waiver agreements, even if they intend to stay in Hungary more than 90 days. In such cases the family member must apply for a residence card from the regional directorate of the Office of Immigration and Nationality within 90 days of entry. (For a list of these directorates see http://www.bmbah.hu/teruleti_szervek.php?city=1&specialization=6&function=0®ion=0.)
Foreigners already in Hungary can submit their application for a residence permit directly at the regional directorate of the Office of Immigration and Nationality, if:
In the case of a residence permit for the purpose of income earning activity: (Application form for Income Earning Activity (PDF), 6pp 69KB)
Please note that further documentation may be requested in addition to those outlined above, and that documents need to be submitted in the original. If the applicant needs back the original document, then a photocopy of the said document also needs to be attached to the application.
The Hungarian authority may disclose data from its register to law enforcement and criminal investigation agencies, the national security agencies and the refugee authority, to agencies specified by law or international agreement within the type of specific information defined therein, furthermore to Schengen / EU consulates in the jurisdiction.
If requested by the applicant, the Office of Immigration and Nationality and the consulate within its jurisdiction shall provide information regarding personal data on record, unless the Aliens Act prohibits the disclosure of such data. If the consulate determines, whether at the initiative of the applicant or ex officio, that any particular data on record is incorrect or has changed, prompt measures will be taken to have such incorrect data corrected or removed from the records, whichever is appropriate.
Glasses are permitted, provided that the eyes remain clearly visible and there is no reflection in the lenses. Head-dresses are only permitted for religious reasons, but all facial details must still be clearly visible and the head-dress must not cast any shadows over the face.