Implementation decree published for the new immigration law

مارس 1, 2024

The new immigration law of Hungary has been in force since 1 January 2024, and finally the implementation decree (basically specific regulations governing the implementation of the law) was also published on 29 February. It resolves several concerns that were raised over the last couple of months. The immigration office and the consulates are now ready to receive applications once again. Read on the learn more.

Clarifying details of the new immigration law

While the new immigration law has been in force since 1 January, it had several points which needed clarification before the law could be implemented. The Immigration Office closed for two months in January and February, and no new applications or renewals could be submitted until details very clarified in the implementation decree (available online in Hungarian here).

The relevant section is more than 100 pages long, and our expert colleagues and partners are still working on interpreting it. Again, we are planning a series of articles focusing on each subset of questions. For now, here is an overview of what’s new.

No cultural exam is required for residency renewals

Over the last few weeks, one of the main concerns of expats was the suggestion that residency renewals should include an exam in Hungarian about Hungarian culture, similar to the citizenship exam. According to the new implementation decree, the exam will be required

  • only from 2025
  • only for permanent residency applications (for the National Residency Card and for the EU Residency Card)

If you are renewing your existing permit, you can do that without passing such an exam, same as before.

If you are considering application for the Hungarian permanent residency, it might make sense to do it still in 2024, while the exam is not a requirement.

Helpers was one of the big market players who voiced an objection to the earlier suggestion, so we are very happy that the final version is a lot more reasonable and realistic.

Requirements for the Hungarian Card

Under the new regulations, the Hungarian Card is the best option for third-country nationals who want to live and work in Hungary because it allows family unification and it can be renewed when it expires (after 3 years). It was meant to be available only for people with “high qualifications”, but the meaning of the term was not specified until now.

Now the list of eligible qualifications has also been published in Hungarian, but complete with FEOR codes, so you can check if it includes fields relevant to you even if you do not speak Hungarian. The list includes various fields that are often relevant to those who applied for work permits in the past, such as IT, engineering, and natural sciences.

List of occupations off limits to guest workers

Another reason for concerns among expats was the announcement that there would be a list of 300 jobs that would not be available to foreigners working in Hungary anymore. Now with the publication of the implementation decree it is clear that there is no reason to worry.

Yes, there is a list of 300 forbidden positions, but it is only relevant for the guest worker residence permit, which is issued to workers brought to Hungary by labor rental agencies or bigger foreign investors, typically for blue-collar jobs. This means that the list does not apply to regular work permits, so even if your (planned or current) job is on the list, you will still be able to reply for Hungarian residency through the regular employment residence permit or the Hungarian Card.

Immigration Office open to the public

As of 1 March 2024, the Immigration Office accepts new applications again. They have updated both their website and EnterHungary, so all the requirements and forms are available in English.

Follow us to learn more

The Helpers Team is working hard on making the new regulations accessible and easy to understand in English. We are working on interpreting the implementation order in order to optimize our workflows and make residency application easier for our clients and our readers. In order to achieve that, we are going to post answers to specific questions, similar to what we did in January.

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