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New restrictions on temporary protection for those fleeing Ukraine

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New restrictions on temporary protection for those fleeing Ukraine

Last updated on 13 March 2022.

After the European Council invoked the rule that lets makes every EU member state offer temporary protection to people fleeing Ukraine, there has been a change to Hungarian law. Third-country residents in Ukraine will no longer be eligible for temporary protection in Hungary, but they can still apply for a 30-day temporary residency with limited rights.

You can find the new decree in Hungarian here.

Who can ask for temporary protection?

According to the new decree, you can ask for the status called “temporary protection” in Hungary if you are fleeing Ukraine or have fled since 24 February 2022 as

  • a Ukrainian citizen,
  • a person who was a refugee in Ukraine,
  • a close family member of a Ukrainian citizen or refugee (meaning spouse, underage unmarried children, or other dependent relatives).

As you can see, third-country nationals who stayed legally in Ukraine (e.g. as residents) are no longer included in this list.

What about dual citizens of Ukraine and Hungary?

The status of dual citizens of Hungary and Ukraine remains unclear. On the one hand, Hungarian citizens are not supposed to be eligible for temporary protection. On the other hand, the new decree states that Hungarian citizens fleeing Ukraine should receive the benefits available under temporary protection, but it does not say how Hungarian citizens should receive these benefits. We will update this article as soon as we find out more.

Ukrainian residents in Hungary

If you are a legal resident of Ukraine, you will still be allowed to enter Hungary. However, you can no longer apply for temporary protection, and if you have already applied, your application will be rerouted.

According to information from the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, as a third-country resident coming from Ukraine, you can apply for a 30-day temporary residency. It gives you accommodation if you indicate that you do not have one, but it does not give you any other benefits, it does not let you enter employment in Hungary, and it does not grant rights to your family members. Neither does it let you to travel within the EU; it only allows you to stay in Hungary for 30 days.

This practice seems to encourage third-country nationals to return to their country of origin. However, it fails to consider third-country nationals who cannot do that for any reason.

Options for third-country nationals

1. Apply for the refugee status

You can decide to apply for a full refugee status. However, that procedure is quite complex, and it is currently possible only after a declaration of intent has been submitted either at the Kyiv or Belgrade embassy of Hungary. Until a change in regulations, this procedure is not exactly helpful.

2. Find another reason to stay in Hungary

As a third-country national, you can apply for Hungarian residency for various reasons, including employment, business operation, or student status (see a summary here). The main question is whether you can apply for that regular Hungarian residence permit from Hungary, or you have to travel back to your country of origin to submit your application.

Normally, you can apply for a residence permit from your country of origin, but you can apply for a “status change” from Hungary. This raises the question whether applying for regular residency when you have a 30-day temporary residency will be considered a new application or a status change. Currently it seems that the regular residency application will not be considered a status change, but submission in Hungary still might be possible with a leniency application.

Immigration Office

Starting from 11 March 2022, the Immigration Office at Harmat utca, Budapest is open every day, including weekends and holidays, for people coming from Ukraine, whether they are asking for temporary protection (available to Ukrainian citizens) or for temporary residency (available to third-country nationals).

Address: 1108 Budapest, Harmat utca 131.
Open: every day from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Stay up to date with us

We are working alongside the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and the Menedék – Hungarian Association for Migrants to provide up to date information to people fleeing Ukraine. Follow us on Facebook to keep track of new developments regarding legal options.

The post New restrictions on temporary protection for those fleeing Ukraine appeared first on HELPERS.

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