From January 2023, you need to carry fewer documents when driving in Hungary

November 23, 2022

Starting from 1 January 2023, you do not need to have your driver’s license and the vehicle registration on you when driving in Hungary if both documents were issued here. You will still be required to have valid ID documents on you, but the police can pull your data relevant for driving from an online database.

Being pulled over in Hungary

When you are driving in Hungary, you can be pulled over for a roadside inspection for a number of reasons. If that happens, you will be required to prove that you are allowed to drive a car, and that the car you are driving is allowed to be on the road. Currently, this is done by presenting your driver’s license and the registration document of the vehicle. The vehicle you are driving must match the type(s) of vehicles you are licensed to drive (whether it is a passenger car, a motorbike, a van, or a truck, etc.).

If you cannot present either of these documents, you can expect a penalty. The penalty will depend on why you cannot present your documents.

  • If you have valid documents but you have left them at home, that is an offence, and you can be fined.
  • If you do not have valid documents, because e.g. your license has expired, it was revoked after DUI (driving while not sober), or you never had one in the first place (or at least not for the type of vehicle you are driving), that is a misdemeanor, which is also punishable by hefty fines or even imprisonment, depending on the circumstances.

The police can decide which one is the case by checking your data online.

Fewer things to worry about starting from January

The police already uses online devices to check on the validity of your driving license and vehicle registration. Thanks to the new regulation, this online check will be sufficient to verify your data when you are driving in Hungary, and starting from 1 January 2023 you do not need to present the physical copies of these documents when you are pulled over.

This is especially good news e.g. for families where members share a car and frequently use it on their own. If each of them has a separate key, they do not have to worry about who has the vehicle registration and how it can be handed over before another family member can pick up the car.

Only for Hungarian documents in Hungary

The new regulation is relevant to you only if you are driving in Hungary and you have a driving license and a vehicle registration issued in Hungary. This is because the online tool used by the Hungarian police checks only the Hungarian database.

  • If either your driver’s license or the vehicle registration was not issued in Hungary, the police cannot check it online, so you need to present the physical copy.
  • If you are driving abroad, the foreign police cannot check the Hungarian database, so you need to present the physical copies of both documents.

If you originally had a foreign driver’s license, but you have localized it in Hungary, that counts as a driver’s license issued in Hungary, so you are allowed to leave it at home.

Valid documents still required

While you are not required to present your Hungarian driver’s license anymore when driving in Hungary, you still need to be able to identify yourself in front of the police when you are pulled over. You will need to present an ID document that includes a photo from which you can be recognized. This can either be your Hungarian or EU ID card or your passport. If you are a resident in Hungary, you are normally required to have your residence permit or EU registration card on you too – this is not specific to driving, but a general rule that applies wherever you go in Hungary.

Even if you do not have your valid driver’s license and vehicle registration on you when pulled over, you still need these documents to be valid. If the online check finds that your documents are not valid, you can be fined, or even arrested.

Under specific circumstances, the police can revoke your license. If you have the hard copy on you, they will take it away. At the same time, they will cancel your license in the online tool. From then on, even if you have the hard copy on you, officers will see that you are not supposed to be driving in Hungary.

Helpers Hungary at your service

The Helpers Team provides business and immigration assistance to foreigner moving to Hungary. If you need help with setting up your business or getting a residence permit for yourself and your family members, our expert colleagues are ready to answer your questions.

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