Hungarian Registration Certificate, Address Card and Residence
Visiting Hungary is generally straightforward, especially for those in within the EU, but the next step of registering your stay and eventually applying for permanent residence can be a little more confusing.
This is not a comprehensive guide, but a collection of information that I gathered while going through the same process. At the time the UK is in a Brexit transition period and still a member of the EEA, which does make life easier.
So, here’s how to go about getting your Hungarian Registration Certificate, Address Card and Residence Permit.
Registration Certificate / Regisztrációs Igazolás
According to the National Directorate-General for Aliens Policing, , in order to remain in Hungary, for more than 90 days within a 180 day period, it is necessary to register by at least the 93rd day of your stay.
You really just have to prove your identity, show that you have somewhere to stay, sufficient means to support yourself and that you have access to healthcare. As of January 2019, the majority of the application can be carried out online, albeit with a bit of printing and scanning involved. The cost of the application is 1000HUF, so don’t fall for any “experts” offering expensive assistance!
From the BMBAH website, you can find a link to the Enter Hungary application portal (or just click here). I found there were some confusing translations between the Hungarian and English versions of the site compared with a Google translate of the Hungarian version, but they do offer a helpful pdf guide once you get into the application.
The links and buttons at the bottom of the pages take you to a lot of information about the requirements for registering, but to actually get started you need to create an account by clicking sign-in at the top of the homepage. From there you enter your details and begin the process.
- Create a new case and fill in the personal details, this is the same information as you will see on a paper version of the application form.
- You then need to upload your supporting documents. There are several options for each category, and it seems that the section remains red even if you have supplied a document for each one, but this doesn’t cause a problem. I uploaded copies of my Passport, European Health Insurance Card, my Contract of Employment, a notarised copy of my apartment lease agreement, and a short, signed statement explaining my personal situation.
- Once everything is uploaded, you can submit your application, and you will be presented with an option to pay the 1000HUF processing fee,
- The system then generates a pdf version of the paper Application Form, filled with the details you provided. This needs to be printed and signed, before being scanned and uploaded back to the portal. I honestly couldn’t figure out if or when I should attach a photo to the form, so I uploaded to scanned versions – one with a passport photo attached to the corner, and one without.
- You should eventually receive a confirmation, followed by an invitation to book an appointment at the relevant Regional-Directorate office.
- Finally you just have to go to the appointment and collect your registration certificate!
Regional-Directorate Office Appointment
Until this point, everything had seemed very straightforward and well-organised. It was a slightly different story at the office. Although everybody had appointment times, it was still a case of waiting in turn outside. I noticed some people were arriving in groups with an assistant / translator and managing to jump the queue, but some people have recommended allowing an entire day to get everything done!
Once inside you’re assigned a ticket number, then proceed to the appropriate desk. I was told I over-achieved with my application, and gave them more information than they needed! I signed a couple of extra papers, including one stating when and how I originally arrived in Hungary.
I then had to wait for a senior person to review my application, and then receive and sign the Registration Card itself. The time inside the office was only around 30 minutes.
Address Card / Lakcímkártya
This one is very straightforward! Once you have completed your application for the Registration Certificate, the Address Card follows in the mail. Mine arrived exactly two weeks after the appointment, by priority mail. I’ll be honest that I got a little worried about it because I’d read (somewhere) that the Address Card follows “immediately” after the appointment.
I contacted the Immigration Office just to check on the status of mine and received the following reply:
I hereby inform you that after the registration card it takes 3-4 weeks for the address card mailing. If you need the address card as soon as possible go to the nearby government office and request it.
If you subsequently change your address, I believe you update your address card by completing the relevant form (Lakcímbejelentő Lap) at a Government Office (Kormányablak).
Permanent Residence Card / Állandó Tartózkodási Kártya
This one is still a work in progress for me, but essentially you must be legally resident in Hungary for 5 years in order to apply for permanent residence. The first website I will be visiting when I get there will be the BMBAH page on the subject!