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What’s new in Hungary’s 2024 immigration law?

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What’s new in Hungary’s 2024 immigration law?

Hungary has always been a popular destination for foreigners seeking EU residency and individuals aspiring to make the country their home. However, as of January 1st, 2024, significant changes to the immigration law are set to reshape the landscape for residency seekers. In this blog post, we at Helpers Hungary break down the key changes and their implications.

Immigration Office Closed Jan-Feb

One of the most important points is the temporary suspension of all residency applications for January and February 2024. During this interim period, no new application can be submitted. The Immigration Office is expected to resume decision-making operations in March 2024. To ease the transition, all residency cards expiring before March will be automatically renewed until the end of April 2024.

Golden Visa Applications from July 2024

As of July 1st, a new window of opportunity opens for those interested in the golden visa (guest investor residency) program. Please find the details here.

New Residency Types and New Categories

The most important new type of resident permit will be the guest investor permit (also known as the Golden Visa). You can read more about this new opportunity here.

Some major permit types have been restructured as well. Work permits now belong to several categories depending on the qualification of the employee, the length of employment, and the structure of the company. These categories are guest worker for seasonal employment, for a particular investment project, or for long-term employment; highly qualified employee (the permit is officially called the “Hungarian card”); intra-corporate transfer (ICT); corporate card; a special permit for researchers; and the EU Blue Card. In addition, a special permit called “National Card” will exist for Serbian and Ukrainian nationals. Since all these permit types have different conditions, and also assign different rights to the applicant, we will discuss these in detail in a separate post.

The former “gainful activity” permit (also known as business immigration) assigned to owner/CEOs of companies, will now also fall into two separate categories, depending on the qualifications and involvement of the owner/CEO. The basic permit for this type of activity will be called guest self-employment but applicants with high-level, relevant education can also apply for the Hungarian Card (see above) with more favorable conditions. Since this latter is a new type of permit, please consult us on your questions.

The former category of “Other Purpose” will be discontinued and replaced by a number of specific permit types, such as humanitarian activity, medical treatment, and so on. Unlike previously, a person who does not fit into the main categories will need to find a category that fits their purpose, rather than choosing “other” in a generic way.

Some permits will run under the same name as before, such as study, internship, job seeking, etc. but even these permits have changed conditions in some cases. We will discuss all these in separate posts but if you are a holder of such a permit or are planning to apply, make sure you talk to our consultants to understand how the changes affect you.

Validity of the D visa

This single-entry visa is granted to applicants who initiate their residency application process at their local Hungarian Consulate. The most significant change lies in the validity period of the D visa, which has been reduced to 3 months (from 1 year). This means that applicants now have a 3-month window to enter Hungary using the D visa.

Renewal process

Another significant shift involves the renewal process for residence permits. Previously, applicants could submit renewal applications 90 days before the current permit expires, but under the new regulations, this timeframe has been adjusted to 40 days.

Family Unification and Status Change

The once uniform processes for family unification and status change (converting your residence permit to another type of residency) are now differentiated by type of permit. The new legislation clearly outlines who has the right to convert their permits to another residency type in Hungary (without having to travel back home) and which permit types enable main applicants to bring along family members. Stay tuned for an in-depth analysis in our upcoming blog articles.

Permanent residency

When it comes to permanent residency applications, the main requirements have remained unchanged. However, the new law has brought about clear definitions of which residency categories are accepted for such applications. For an exhaustive list of affected categories and detailed requirements, stay tuned for our upcoming article.

For current permit holders or those with pending applications

Crucially, individuals who have already obtained residency under the current regulations can retain their status until its validity period expires. When it comes to renewal, applicants will need to explore the new residency categories to align their status with the evolving regulations.

An essential note for those in the application pipeline: If you submitted your application before January 1st, 2024, and completed the necessary government fee payments, your application will be processed under the old law, in accordance with the regulations in effect at the time of your application.

Here’s an intriguing aspect for those currently holding residence permits for employment and/or gainful activity: Even after January 1st, 2024, our understanding is that the years spent in Hungary under these permits can still be applied toward a permanent residency application. This offers a valuable opportunity for individuals to use their existing residency status in pursuing permanent residency, despite the recent changes in the law.

Stay tuned for further insights and clarifications as we navigate these shifts together.

The post What’s new in Hungary’s 2024 immigration law? appeared first on HELPERS.

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