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Residence Permit vs. Work Permit: Understanding the Difference

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Residence Permit vs. Work Permit: Understanding the Difference

Hungary is, in many ways, an ideal place to live and work. Located in the heart of Europe’s Schengen Zone, it is a thoroughly modern nation with a thriving arts and culture scene, a relatively low cost of living, and a very business-friendly climate. Hungary is also extremely welcoming to newcomers, but it is important to follow all of the regulations to the letter. Depending on the circumstances of your immigration, you might need a residence permit, a work permit, or both.

Residence Permit

A residence permit entitles you to live in Hungary beyond a normal visitor stay (90 days for U.S. citizens). A temporary residence permit is valid for up to five years, and can be renewed with approval. After three years of continuous lawful residency in Hungary, you can apply for a permanent residence permit. This allows you to live indefinitely in Hungary.

Work Permit

A work permit allows you to pursue gainful employment in Hungary. Since 2014, those who wish to live and work in Hungary have been able to apply for a combined residence and work permit. This eliminates the need to submit two separate applications and go through two separate processing procedures. Please note, though, that you must specifically apply for the combined permit. Some types of residence permits do not allow you to seek gainful employment.

Hungarian Investment Immigration Program

If you plan to immigrate to Hungary as an investor, you fall under special guidelines. In exchange for a five-year, 300,000 Euro investment in the Hungarian government, you will receive expedited permanent residency for yourself, your dependents, your parents over the age of 60, and your adult children. You must still obtain a work permit, though, if you plan to pursue employment in Hungary.

Business Directors

If you plan to open a business in Hungary and spend much time here, you should obtain a residence permit. In addition, all employees who will work for the company must obtain work permits. The only exception is for business directors whose sole role in the company is to act as a director. If you perform other job tasks for your business, you need a work permit.

Hungarian Citizenship

Residency is not the same as citizenship. Although permanent residency grants many of the same benefits as Hungarian citizenship, including Hungarian state health insurance and the ability to freely travel throughout Europe without limits on your stay, many people want to take the next step.

Becoming a naturalized citizen of Hungary typically means that you must have eight years of continuous lawful residency, the ability to pass a Hungarian constitutional studies test, and several other basic requirements. If you can prove that you descended from a Hungarian citizen and can speak the Hungarian language fluently, however, you can qualify for expedited naturalization. Some other categories of immigrants also qualify for a shorter waiting period, including dependents of Hungarian citizens and those who lost their Hungarian citizenship due to emigration during a designated time period.

Immigration to Hungary by business or investment does not currently provide for expedited naturalization. However, there is some evidence that those who participate in the Hungarian Investment Immigration Program might eventually be granted expedited naturalization. Still, since permanent residency provides most of the benefits of citizenship, the lengthy waiting period to become a naturalized citizen should not be a reason to avoid moving to Hungary.

Hungary is a welcoming, business-friendly nation with a low cost of living and a thriving cultural scene. If you have been looking for a place to relocate, Hungary may be an ideal choice. However, like anywhere else, Hungary has specific processes in place. To determine the best pathway to a new life in Hungary, it is best to consult with an expert in Hungarian immigration. HELPERS Hungary is happy to help you throughout your journey.

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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