White card: residency for digital nomads in Hungary

December 17, 2021

Last updated on 6 January 2022.

Starting from 2022, a new purpose of stay may become available to those who want to live and work in Hungary. Digital nomads will be able to apply for a “white card”, which is a special type of residency designed specifically for them. Find out how it will work once introduced.

Digital nomads around the world

Thanks to modern technology, there are various kinds of jobs where you do not have to be present at a given workplace to perform your work. Whether you are an IT developer, a marketing specialist, an engineer, or even a psychologist, there is a chance you can do your job regardless of where you are. People who chose to travel the world while working online are usually referred to as “digital nomads”, and Hungary has now decided to create a new type of residency just for them.

The “white card” can be requested by third country nationals who want to live and work in Hungary, but in fact they are employed by a company outside Hungary or they are running such a company, and who perform their work with the help of advanced, digital technology.

White card for digital nomads in Hungary

If you are interested in the white card, you should keep in mind the following:

1. Only third country nationals can apply.

This is because if you are an EEA national, you are subject to different regulations (e.g. EU nationals can simply apply for an EU registration card).

2. You cannot work for a Hungarian company.

Whether you are an employee or have a company of your own, the company you perform the work for cannot be a Hungarian entity. Moreover, you cannot have any shares in a profitable company in Hungary. The technical term is that you cannot “perform gainful activity” in Hungary; of course, working for a foreign company or for your own foreign company is fine. If you want to work for a Hungarian company, you will need to apply for a different kind of residence permit (a work permit if you want to work for a Hungarian employer, or business immigration if you want to set up a Hungarian company of your own).

3. You need sufficient resources

UPDATE: The Immigration Office will check if you have sufficient resources to sustain yourself in Hungary. This means you are expected to have a monthly income equivalent to at least EUR 2,000. You must prove that you have had this income for at least 6 months before your entry to Hungary, and you must continue to have it throughout your residency if you want to renew it.

4. The white card will be valid for one year.

When it expires, the white card can be renewed once for another year. If you want to stay longer, you will probably need another type of residence permit.

5. No family unification

Contrary to how other types of Hungarian residence permits work, where the spouse and underage children can apply for family unification as soon as the main applicant has received their permit, the white card does not make the spouse and underage children of the main applicant eligible for Hungarian residency. This is both in line with the perceived characteristics of the target group (“singles under 40”), and with EU law.

6. Stay does not count for permanent residency

When you apply for the national permanent residence permit, it is considered how much time you have been a resident of Hungary. However, the years spent in Hungary with the white card will not count.

Why is it worth choosing Hungary?

Hungary is an ideal destination for digital nomads. It has a central location within the EU with great infrastructure (including excellent internet coverage all over the country) and low living costs compared to Western Europe. Receiving western salary and spending it in a low living cost environment is a cost-effective way of raising your standard of living. Moreover, the Hungarian residence permit also grants you visa-free access to other Schengen countries, and you can stay in any country of the Schengen zone for up to 90 days without registration. This can come in handy if you want to travel Europe as a true digital nomad.

While the white card can be renewed only once, you can continue to stay in Hungary even after two years. However, you will need another type of residency, depending on your plans that time. You may even remain a digital nomad; you just need to mark “other” as the reason of your application.

Need help? Helpers is here!

Helpers has provided business and relocation services to foreigners in Hungary for more than 15 years. If you need help with your residency application, whether as a digital nomad or with any other purposed, we can find the solutions right for you. Fill in the form below, and ask for assistance from the best.

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