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New bill on the entry and residence of third-country nationals in Hungary

On 14 November 2023, the Hungarian Government presented a new bill on the entry and residence of third-country nationals in Hungary. According to the Government's explanatory memorandum, the new regulation would tighten and clarify the legal titles and conditions of residence and employment of foreign nationals in Hungary. The new regulation would introduce various new residence permits and visa categories. A public consultation on the bill is currently ongoing. According to the proposal, the new rules would enter into force on 1 September 2024.

In particular, new visas and residence permits for visiting investors will also be established. These may be granted to  third-country nationals whose entry and stay in Hungary is of national economic interest. Such visitor investor visas will be available to  third-country nationals who hold or plan to hold one of the following investments: (a) acquisition of investment units issued by a real estate fund registered by the National Bank of Hungary in the amount of at least EUR 250,000, (b) acquiring ownership of a residential property of a value of at least EUR 500,000 situated in Hungary (c) making a financial donation of at least EUR 1,000,000 to a higher education institution maintained by a public trust with a public-service mission for the purpose of supporting educational, scientific research or artistic creation. The maximum period of validity of a visitor investor visa is 2 years. The visitor investor visa entitles the holder to stay for more than 90 days and to multiple entries within a period of 180 days. The holder of the visitor investor visa (subject to other conditions), may apply for a visitor investor residence permit which is valid for 10 years.

The rules on residence and work of third-country employees would also be changed/tightened. Guest workers will only be allowed to stay in Hungary for a limited period, after which they will have to leave the country. New types of residence permits will be available for guest workers (e.g. seasonal permit, permit issued for the purpose of carrying out an investment project etc.) A new type of residence permit is introduced for highly qualified employees (the Hungarian Card), which entitles its holder with a higher professional qualification to reside in Hungary and to work in Hungary requiring a higher professional qualification.