The Szeged Land Registry WebsiteLand Registry Office were very kind and helpful in stamping my final property contract.
Their stamp proved to the immigration officials that I had a property in my name.
UK Citizens going abroad can apply for the FREE EU Health Insurance CardEU Health Insurance Card that covers many of the common Healthcare treatments when in Hungary and other EU Countries.
The Immigration department likes it when you have an EHIC because it means you are not burdening the Hungarian Health system financially.
When applying for a Residence Permit you need to download and fill out the Application Form for EEA Nationals.
The application form is for those wanting to stay in Hungary for more than 90 Days, such as a worker or new property owner.
When applying for a Residence Permit you will automatically receive an address card from Budapest within two weeks.
The address card allows you to take driving lessons, rent your apartment, join a university course, open a bank account, get discounts and much more.
You need to buy a 1,000 HUF Duty Stamp from the post office before the immigration office can help you.
The Duty Stamp (illetékbélyeg) is payment for administration fees. Payment with Cash, Cheque or Card cannot be accepted.
After purchasing a property in Hungary and receiving its land registry document (title deed), from your property lawyer's office, the next step is to make an appointment with the local immigration office in your town/city to inform them of your recent property purchase and more importantly to apply for a Residence Permit and Address Card.
The Hungarian Immigration Office WebsiteImmigration Office in Budapest is located at - GPS: N 47 27.593 E 19 03.1701117 Budapest, Budafoki Út 60, Hungary - Tel: +36 1 463 9100 - Fax: +36 1 463 9108 - E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org@bah.b-m.hu
The Szeged Immigration Office is located at - 6724 Szeged, Londoni Körút 15, Hungary. Tel: +36 62 549 140 - close to the land registry office and one block away from the Árkad Shopping Centre.
Your Budapest Land Registry WebsiteLand Registry document (title deed) is required by the immigration office as evidence that you currently own a property in Hungary. Well, technically. In my case I went to the immigration office with all my papers, but no land registry document simply because it was not ready yet. I was applying at that time because I had to travel back to the UK for work reasons. The immigration official told me not to worry because I did not need a Residence Permit or Visa to stay in Hungary and that being an EU Citizen meant I could stay as long as I wanted.
It was explained to me, by the immigration officials in the immigration office, that border checks are not made of someone's comings and goings between the UK and Hungary; which surprised me. I would of thought that was classified information! Anyway, I had this checked out later by contacting the visa department who told me exactly the same story - No visa or residence permit is needed. Regardless of this I still wanted a Residence Permit because I was thinking of the future when these rules/laws might not be so relaxed. Glad I did now because of Brexit!
Tünde, my Hungarian girlfriend, asked if there was any way around the land registry problem, even though I had brought along my property contract and so on as evidence. Luckily the official said if I could get the land registry office to stamp my property contract that would be good enough for them to proceed with my application.
Luckily again the land registry office was able to stamp my property contract with their official stamp and then added my case number to it. Evidence that they were indeed working on my apartment's title deed. When I went back to the immigration office they proceeded with my application.
When you visit your local immigration office, after booking an appointment with them online, make sure you bring ALL your lifetime documents with you - Birth Certificate, Previous Passports, Current Passport, Name Change Deed-Poll, Notary, NHS and EU Health Insurance Card (EHIC), Driving License, Current Bank Statement and Proof Of UK Address but to name a few!
When you know you are serious about buying a property in Hungary or elsewhere in Europe make sure you apply for a FREE EU Health Insurance WebsiteEU Health Insurance Card (EHIC Card) because when you visit the immigration office and fill out the application form it looks better to answer YES - I Have Health Insurance rather than NO - I Will Pay For My Treatment. Why? Because they do NOT want you to be a financial burden to Hungary and questions may be asked about your finances in terms of how you are going to pay your own big health bills.
A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows you to receive Hungarian healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes free. It will cover you for treatment that is needed to allow you to continue your stay in Hungary until your planned return to the UK. It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care, as long as you are not going abroad to give birth. More information about specific EHIC rules in relation to Hungary can be found on the NHS EHIC Country By Country Web PageCountry By Country web page.
NOTE WELL - An EHIC Card is FREE. Furthermore, it is free to renew and free to have the address details associated with it updated; so ignore any website that is charging for an EHIC Card and EHIC Services. ALWAYS use the NHS website only or call their EHIC Hotline on 0300 3301350. When you have your address changed you will not receive a new EHIC Card simply because an EHIC Card does not have your address printed on it.
Although you can submit a current UK bank statement I think it is better to submit a Hungarian bank statement because it shows you are serious about staying in Hungary, helping the Hungarian economy, and is therefore another good reason for the immigration office to grant you a Residence Permit. I opened a bank account with UniCredit and deposited £1,200. Their bank statement was good enough for the immigration official dealing with my application.
TIP - Ask your bank if they can make you a few copies (printouts) of your current bank statement as the immigration office might want a copy for themselves. They kept my bank statement.
As a common sense rule; make sure you current passport is valid for at least 4 Years. It just makes you look more serious about wanting to stay in Hungary for more than 6 Months for example. In other words, I cannot see an immigration official granting anyone a residence permit with only 10 Months remaining on their passport. 3 to 5 Years looks better, but a full 10 Years looks a bit suss. Remember, they are not looking to grant permanent residency (5 years or more in the country).
Previous passports are useful when verifying previous names you may of used and may help to back up your identification in cases where you do not have a Notary document for your deed poll and/or birth certificate for example; but nothing is guaranteed of course. It depends on the immigration official and more importantly their supervisor. Hence why a notary document gives more weight.
As mentioned in the previous section: Your mother's maiden name is only needed for formality, to identify you as a unique person; especially when you have the same name as someone else in Hungary. It would be your mother's maiden name that distinguishes you. It is put on your Address Card and on other official documents. In Hungary the first name László (male: Leslie) is very common, like John in the UK. So someone could easily have the same Hungarian names.
If a Hungarian woman marries a Hungarian man whose first name is László she then becomes Lászlóne (female: Lesley). The NE is added to her new, married, first name of László to denote she is married. Furthermore, if the husband’s last name is Szántó she then becomes Mrs Lászlóne Szántó. So if her birth names were Tünde Gabor she would then declare on paperwork her birth names of Tünde Gabor alongside her new married names of Lászlóne Szántó and then declare her mother's maiden name of Shelia Smith for example.
If you think about it; the husband's father's name could also be László Szántó whereby his wife is also Mrs Lászlóne Szántó. Hence two Mrs Lászlóne Szántó's within the same family, each distinguished by their own mother's maiden names. Furthermore, in Hungary they always write down the last name first (i.e. Szántó László or Szántó Lászlóne). The reason I have pointed out these things is because in the UK we never ever use the mother's maiden name in this way. It is on our birth certificate only, which we might not have possession of.
This is another common sense law! Always bring along a UK Driving License or at least two other forms of 'Proof Of UK Address', such as an HMRC Tax letter (proving you are self-employed or LTD company for example), NHS letter or Health Certificate (to show you are in good health) and TV License or other Utility Bill (to prove you are still living at that UK address). I always carried these with me, but was never asked to show any of them. Do not be complacent though. You could be asked for any one of them somewhere along the line, so better to be safe than sorry.
When you are at the interview, which is very relaxed and informal, JUST BE YOURSELF. If you have nothing to hide, why fear immigration? At the end of the day they can only look at your case on its merits and either issue you a Residence Permit, tell you "You do NOT need a Residence Permit" or totally refuse you for whatever reason(s). Either way, you have a property that entitles you to stay in the country for at least 90 days. The Residence Permit is only needed, technically, to extend that right of stay.
In my case I filled out and signed all the necessary forms, showed my property contract and passport (which were photocopied by the immigration officer), submitted a Hungarian bank statement (which immigration kept) and spoke normally!
The Szeged Immigration Office on the corner of Londoni Körút and Kálvária Sugárút
In fact, there was a point where I was asked to make and sign a self-declaration as to why I wanted to stay in Hungary whereby I wrote "because I want to renovate my new flat". The immigration official looked at the declaration and joked "So you want to renovate a Fiat Car"! This was because I put the L as a small l which then looked like a small i. As said, I found immigration officials to be relaxed and friendly but at the same time very professional. They cannot be too friendly of course, but at least they are not strict.
At the end of the interview the senior immigration official came over, checked my immigration official's work (my application and declaration), and then signed their part of the paperwork. My immigration official then stamped it and said "Welcome to Hungary”, gave me a Residence Permit and then sent all the paperwork to Budapest, Hungary.
The residence permit and address card have separate uses, but usually work as one.
A Residence Permit allows you to stay in Hungary for more than the standard 90 Days. Normally you can only stay in Hungary for up to 90 Days before you need a residence permit to extend your stay. The application must be made before the 90 Days is finished. Ideally one or two weeks before, if not immediately.
Depending on your particular situation, and possible work type, you might only be granted a residence permit for the duration of your work or studies. On the other hand, you might be granted an indefinite residence permit, like me, if you own an apartment in Hungary. Each situation and each application is unique, and more importantly NOTHING IS GUARANTEED; so expect nothing.
After being granted a residence permit, two weeks later I received a note from the post office that something needed collecting at the sorting office. It was my address card. If you are a "Foreigner" your address card has to be issued by the immigration office (National Identity) in Budapest. Hungarians have theirs issued in their local city/town, such as Szeged.
The address card, with residence permit, allows you to rent your apartment.
You will only receive a note from the postman if they are unable to visit you AT YOUR DOOR - All address card post must be signed for at your door, which means the postman cannot leave it inside your downstairs letterbox or with a neighbour for example. Do not worry if you do miss the postman, and therefore receive a note in your letterbox instead, because they will try again. Furthermore, the sorting office will keep your address card for 30 Days before returning it to Budapest as “Undelivered Post”.
The address card is like an identity card, without a photo, that has your Full Name, Full Address and Full Mother's Maiden Name on it together with other ofﬁcial numbers that include your D.O.B (Date Of Birth). It allows you to buy a car, take educational lesson, rent out your property and get discounts among other things. You do not necessarily need one as a private (not renting) property owner but if it comes free, as part of the residence permit process, why complain!
If you rent out your property to a Hungarian, you will have to sign their Address Card application form so that their new or existing address card can be updated with your property's address on it. In rare cases you might have to accompany them to the Hungarian Documents Office (National Identity Office) to sign additional paperwork, for whatever reason(s).
Before you visit the immigration office for any kind of help you need to buy a 1,000 HUF Duty Stamp from the Post Office WebsitePost Office. It acts as payment for Administration Fees.
The immigration office cannot accept payment with Cash, Cheque or Card. They will tell you to buy the 1,000 HUF Duty Stamp (illetékbélyeg) from the post office before continuing to help you. This is very important as they glue the duty stamp to your paperwork before rubber stamping over it.
If you come to Hungary purely for student purposes the above immigration process is slightly different, as outlined in this university article: Student Residence Permit RequirementsStudent Residence Permit Requirements. That website also has other useful information on it (look down its left-side column).
As you may of gathered from the sections within this Property category, buying a property in Hungary is quite straight forward. You find a property, communicate with the estate agent, owner(s) of the property and lawyer. Make payment and sign the final contract. Wait for the land registry documentation and then visit the immigration office. At the end you have an affordable property abroad. A dream come true for some people. However, what can be a nightmare and something that many people do not fully digest is the language barrier.
Finding a Hungarian interpreter/translator, learning a new language and speaking a few sentences should not be a problem, but finding an English speaker when you want one might be a problem. Asking "Where is the bacon?" in a supermarket or asking "Can I have one ticket for...." may be a slight challenge at first but the most important parts of living in Hungary (off/on) are going to be reading official letters in Hungarian only, communicating exactly what you require with renovation builders and making phone calls in Hungarian when you have problems with the central heating for example.
These are the things you really need to consider before buying a property in Hungary in general, even if you are going to rent that property in the future. Renting means more paperwork in Hungarian only. And these problems are not just restricted to remote places of Hungary either. You will have them, to a lesser degree, in cities such Budapest, Szeged, Debrecen and Pécs too. If you can get past these obstacles, by having a Hungarian partner for example, 90 Percent of these problems go away! Hence why I am indebted to Tünde and her son for all their free interpretation and translation help.