Entry to Hungary starting from 1 September 2020

August 31, 2020

Last updated on 20 May 2021.

From 1 September 2020 until (at least) 1 October 23 May, border control is reinstated at all entry points to Hungary, and new regulations govern who can enter the country and on what conditions. Once you are in Hungary, you must observe the coronavirus related rules explained here.

The main changes are as follows:

  • As a rule of thumb, everyone entering Hungary will be required to spend 10 days in quarantine after entry.* At the border you can expect a brief medical examination, but whether or not you show any symptoms, you will be required to stay in quarantine for 10 days regardless of your nationality or where you are coming from. According to the regulation, if you show symptoms of COVID-19, entry can be denied.
  • From 1 March 2021: Business travels are permitted without restriction for a verifiable “economic activity” for travellers coming from certain countries. Read more here.
  • From 29 April 2021: people with a Hungarian immunity card or with an immunity card issued in a country that accepts the Hungarian immunity card (listed here) may enter Hungary without observing the 10-day quarantine. However, if you are not a citizen or resident of Hungary, you will still need a police clearance unless you belong to an exempted group (see below).

*Time to be spent in quarantine was reduced from 14 to 10 days starting from 21 September.

Entry for Hungarian citizens and residents

Just like before, Hungarian citizens and residents are treated the same, and you can enter Hungary without a police clearance if you belong to the following groups:

  • Hungarian citizens,
  • permanent residency holders in Hungary
  • EU citizens holding a registration card AND an address card
  • close family members (spouse and underage children) of the above
  • valid Hungarian residence permit holders where the permit was issued for a stay of more than 90 days,* regardless of the type of the residence permit
  • athletes who are enlisted by a Hungarian sports association and are returning to Hungary from an international sports event, or other related personnel if they went to the event with an invitation letter addressed specifically to them
  • (from 5 September): employees of Hungarian cultural institutions if they are returning to Hungary after a cultural event held abroad.

*Visas with a total validity of less than 90 days e.g. C-type visas do not qualify.

NOTE: This category again does NOT automatically include EU citizens and their families unless they have residency in Hungary or are close family members of a Hungarian citizen.

Entry for foreigners without Hungarian papers

Just like before, people who are not resident of Hungary may still enter the country with a police clearance. Various reasons may be accepted, but you can find a detailed list of possible reasons here.

If you enter Hungary with a police clearance, the procedures listed above in Section 3 related to COVID-19 testing on the border will be relevant for you.

Click here to start the application process for police clearance.

You can fill in the form in Hungarian or in English (the page is also available in English). Go to the tile: “Submissions related to the epidemic control measures”. On the next screen, choose option 4: “On lodging an equity request to cross the border or an appeal against a decision taken in this subject”. On the next screen, you have the following options:

  • COVID-01: entry application with logging in to “ügyfélkapu” (the Hungarian electronic administration system)
  • COVID-02: entry application without logging in to “ügyfélkapu”
  • COVID-03: appeal if your previous application was refused, with logging in to “ügyfélkapu”
  • COVID-04: appeal if your previous application was refused, without logging in to “ügyfélkapu”

You will most probably need the option COVID-02, especially if you are not registered to “Ügyfélkapu”. If you need our assistance with the police clearance, you can contact us via the form at the bottom of this article.

NOTE: You will have to indicate your point of entry in the police form. If you are coming through the international airport in Budapest, start typing “Liszt Ferenc Nemzetközi Repülőtér” to select it.

Escaping the quarantine

Just like before, you can get out of  quarantine with 2 negative coronavirus tests.

(From 1 September, updated on 5 September): The only change is that from 5 September, if you are carrying a negative PCR test prepared in a Schengen country, Croatia, the USA, or Canada (in Hungarian or in English), you will still need to get a second test done in Hungary (after being assigned to quarantine). If you do not have a negative test when you arrive or the test(s) you have were done in a country other than the above, you will need to get both tests done in Hungary after arrival. This means that in every case, you will be assigned to mandatory quarantine until you present the required number of negative tests to the authorities (link to the procedure below).

For those arriving by plane to the international airport in Budapest: some testing centers offer an option where you can indicate your expected time of arrival, and they will perform a test on you already at the airport. This way, if you already have one test from abroad, and get the second test done at the airport, you can shorten the time you will spend in quarantine significantly.

If you cannot arrange for the above, please keep in mind that since you will be in quarantine, you will not be allowed to leave your home even to get tested. Either you find a testing center that can deliver the test kit to your home or get a permission from your local police station to leave your home for getting tested.

The procedure is described in detail here.

NEW (from 1 November): If you are a Hungarian citizen sent to quarantine and you have a smartphone, upon entry the Police might ask you to install a quarantine tracking app that will automatize checking up on you. Instead of police officers visiting you at random times, your phone will prompt you to take a selfie and confirm that you are still at your quarantine location. You can learn more about this here or download the app here.

Other exemptions

1. Similarly to as before, the following people can enter Hungary without restrictions:

  • service or diplomatic passport holders
  • drivers for freight traffic vehicles
  • those who can verify that they have recovered from COVID-19 over the last 6 months before entering Hungary

2. You can also enter Hungary in transit, if you are only passing through, if you have all the necessary documents as per usual, and you are leaving Hungary within 24 hours. In that case, you will still be examined at the border, and you will be granted entry if you do not show any symptoms.

3. Update as of 1 March 2021: Business travel is permitted without restrictions (without a police clearance or a quarantine) from a list of countries indicated here for a verifiable “economic activity” if the business traveler is a citizen or resident of Hungary or the country of departure.

The Hungarian Police confirmed that to verify the business purpose, you will need at least a company extract and a business invitation letter. If you have any further documents that may support your claim, make sure to present these too.

There may be a medical examination at the border, and if you show any symptoms or COVID-19, you will be either turned away or ordered to quarantine for 10 days. However, if you have no symptoms, you do not need to quarantine, which means you will not need the PCR tests either.

4. Commuters who live and work within 30 km of the Hungarian border can pass the border freely.

  • If a commuter lives in a neighboring country but works in Hungary, they can enter Hungary but must leave Hungary within 24 hours and must stay within 30 km of the border.
  • If a commuter lives in Hungary but works in a neighboring country, they can enter Hungary without restrictions if they spent less than 24 hours in the neighboring country and they did not go more than 30 km away from the border.

5. Inbound traffic from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Poland:

  • If Hungarian citizens and their close family members enter Hungary from one of the above countries, and they had accommodation there for at least the night before their arrival to Hungary, they need only one negative SARS-CoV-2 PCR test after arrival for leaving quarantine (with the permission of the local Public Health Department).
  • Citizens of the above countries may enter Hungary without a police clearance and quarantining if they have a negative SARS-CoV-2 PCR test in English or Hungarian, performed withing the last 5 days before their arrival AND they have accommodation reserved in Hungary for at least one night, reserved before 1 September.

6. (from 5 September): the audience of an international sports event or a cultural event if

  • they posses a negative SARS-CoV-2 PCR test prepared over the preceding 3 days in English or Hungarian,
  • they do not show any symptoms upon entry,
  • have a ticket to the event in question,
  • and will leave Hungary within 72 hours.

Any questions? Let us know!

If you have any questions regarding the new regulations for entry to Hungary, let us know, and we will do our best to find you a reliable answer. Our expert colleagues are also happy to assist you with the police clearance application, or with any other procedure related to Hungarian immigration.

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