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How to Become a Hungarian Citizen

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How to Become a Hungarian Citizen

Hungary is a thoroughly modern, booming business hub located in the heart of Europe’s Schengen Zone. The nation boasts a vibrant arts culture, excellent universal healthcare, and easy transportation connections to the rest of Europe. The cost of living is relatively low, making Hungary an excellent choice for those who want to become part of Europe’s dynamic future.

Becoming a Hungarian citizen could be very easy or a bit more challenging, depending on your individual circumstances. Here’s what you need to know about the different pathways that are available.

Citizenship by Descent or Declaration

The easiest and most streamlined path to citizenship is reserved for those who can claim citizenship by descent. If you can trace your heritage to Hungary through an ancestor, no matter how distant, you can apply for Hungarian citizenship, even if you do not currently live in Hungary. The only caveat is that you must fluently speak the Hungarian language.

If one or both of your parents is a Hungarian citizen, you immediately gained Hungarian citizenship at birth, regardless of where you were born. However, Hungarian law does not automatically provide citizenship to babies who are born on Hungarian soil to foreign parents, except for children who would otherwise be stateless.

Those who were previously Hungarian citizens but lost their citizenship when they moved away may be eligible for a program known as citizenship by declaration. You must have left Hungary between 1947 and 1990 to be eligible.

Hungarian Investment Immigration Program

The Hungarian Investment Immigration Program is sometimes known as citizenship by investment, but this is a bit misleading. The program actually allows those who make an investment of 300,000 Euros in the Hungarian government to get almost-immediate permanent residency in Hungary.

This is a wonderful program that allows not only you, but also your dependents, your parents over age 60, and your adult children to take advantage of all of the benefits of living in Hungary. At the end of a five-year period of time, you will get your investment funds back, and keep your family’s permanent residency. However, it does not actually grant Hungarian citizenship, though there are some signs that in the future, those in this program might be granted an expedited pathway to citizenship.

UPDATE: the program is to be suspended from 1 April, 2017. Apply now, while you still can! You can also check out other European Investment Immigration options in the database of

Naturalization Options

For those who do not qualify for citizenship by descent or declaration, there are still several ways to become a Hungarian citizen. Naturalization generally requires 8 years of permanent residency in Hungary, along with a stable income, good character, no criminal background, fluency in the Hungarian language, and the ability to pass a Hungarian constitutional studies exam.

Certain groups of people, including those over age 65 and those of diminished capacity, are exempt from the exam. In addition, shorter waiting periods apply to spouses and dependents of Hungarian citizens, refugees, and those who were born in Hungary.

Becoming a Hungarian citizen is relatively easy for those who can prove that they have a Hungarian ancestor or that they, themselves, moved away during the qualifying period. For everyone else, naturalization is a time-consuming process. Still, permanent residency grants many of the same benefits as citizenship and is much easier to obtain. In fact, many people who meet the requirements choose not to apply for Hungarian citizenship at all.

If you are interested in exploring your options for residency or citizenship in Hungary, it is important to enlist the help of a professional. Regardless of which path you choose to pursue, there are quite a few forms that must be filed and regulations that must be met. Working with an expert who is located in Hungary and is deeply familiar with the requirements will ensure that your path to a new life in Hungary is smooth and trouble-free.

Since 2004, HELPERS Hungary has proudly provided business and immigration services to clients relocating to Hungary from all over the world. With a flexible, customized approach and intricate knowledge of all of the issues surrounding immigration to Hungary, we will help you through all stages of the process. For more information, or to start your journey toward Hungarian residency, we invite you to call us at +36-1-317-8570 or email us at today.

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