Visas and Work Permits 11 min

Work permits and visas in Hungary: an employer’s guide

Written by Sally Flaxman
January 22, 2024
Sally Flaxman


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If you’ve found the ideal candidate in Hungary or would like to relocate an existing employee, you must secure the correct work permits and visas. Failure to follow immigration laws and secure the appropriate work permits could lead to legal issues or financial penalties. 

The best way to ensure compliance and avoid legal risks is to work with a reliable employer of record (EOR) like Remote. An EOR can help you efficiently manage all the requirements of global employment, including benefits, taxation, global payroll, onboarding, data security, and compliance with local employment laws and immigration regulations. 

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about compliance with the Hungary work visa requirements and work permits. We’ll also explain the types of visas available, how you can apply for a work visa, and how Remote's EOR services can make it easier to hire employees abroad.

The importance of immigration compliance in Hungary

As workplaces trend toward remote working and a global workforce, ensuring your employees have the legal right to work in the country of hiring is critical. 

In general, working on a tourist visa is illegal, but working on the wrong work permit or visa can also be detrimental to both the employer and the employee. Working without the correct visa can lead to employee deportation, and fines or legal issues for the employer. Further, as digital nomad work increases, governments are starting to monitor and constrain working travel and require visas. 

Compliance with these regulations is essential for businesses. Not only does it lower your legal risk, but it also helps you prevent unnecessary or extraordinary tax, labor, and legal costs. 

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Which workers need a right-to-work check in Hungary? 

While Hungarian citizens, and citizens of most European Union countries apart from the United Kingdom, generally don’t need a right-to-work check under local legislation, noncitizens do. All employers should perform a right-to-work check on permanent residents, temporary residents, and work permit holders. This will help ensure compliance with the exemptions and the Hungary work visa requirements. 

The process is relatively simple. You can manually check your new or existing employee’s original passport, work permit, residence permit, and work visa. These documents tell you what type of work your international worker is authorized for in Hungary and for how long. 

Do noncitizens need a work visa or work permit in Hungary?

Hungary recognizes three types of citizens: Hungarian citizens, European Union (EU) citizens, and European Economic Area (EEA) citizens. All three citizens can work and live in Hungary without a visa or permit. Everyone else needs a work and resident permit, with a few exceptions. 

How is the Schengen visa applicable? 

Some non-EU/EEA countries are exempt from Schengen visa requirements, while others must have a Schengen visa. The Schengen visa is a short-stay visa that allows you to travel through the area for up to 90 days over 180 days. You can transit to Hungary and perform limited business activities on this visa, but you can’t work. 

If you intend to work or live in Hungary after your 90 days are up, you need to switch from a Schengen visa to a Hungary work visa or work permit. 

How is the European Union Blue Card applicable? 

The European Union Blue Card allows highly skilled workers to live and work in Hungary. You can apply for the EU Blue Card if you are a non-EU citizen and have a job in Hungary with higher qualifications and advanced skills. The Hungarian government authorizes a limited number or may set a maximum number of EU Blue Card permits. 

The EU Blue Card lasts for one year and up to four years. To apply, you must submit proof of:

  • Higher education at a minimum of a three-year university degree or master’s degree

  • Employment contract with an organization in Hungary

  • Five years of relevant experience

  • Salary that is 1.5 times more than a local employee in the same position

What are the eligibility requirements for a work visa in Hungary?

The key requirement for a Hungary work visa is your citizenship. Generally, if you are an EU citizen, Hungarian citizen, or EEA citizen, you do not need a permit or visa to work in Hungary. 

Some business activities are also exempt from a work visa. For example, you can perform some business activities in the Schengen area and Hungary if you travel for work for up to 90 days over 180 days. These activities can include:

  • Running or attending job interviews

  • Attending business meetings or sales meetings

  • Meeting with recruitment agencies and talent

  • Meeting clients or customers

  • Negotiating, signing, or executing contracts

  • Acquisition trips

  • Attending board meetings

  • Fact-finding trips 

In most cases, you will need to prove you qualify for an exemption and provide documentation, including:

  • Assignment letter

  • Employment contract

  • Proof of return travel

However, almost everyone else will require permission. 

Short-term visas are required for work up to 90 days when you:

  • Provide short-term services to a client in Hungary

  • Work for a Hungarian company on a Hungarian contract

  • Transfer to a Hungary branch but stay on your home contract 

To be eligible for a long-term work visa, you must be working for 90 days or more in Hungary for:

  • Hungarian company on a Hungarian contract

  • Self-employment

  • Research work longer than 90 days

  • Transfer to a Hungarian branch 

What are the long-stay visa types in Hungary?

A long-stay visa allows you to enter, exit, and work in Hungary for over 90 days and up to a set amount of time. While a visa allows you to enter and exit, a work permit gives you legal authorization to work in the country. 

In most cases, your application for a long-stay visa is a single application procedure. The single application simultaneously authorizes a combined work and residence permit for employment with a local Hungarian company, for a highly skilled worker, or humanitarian reasons. Details of some relevant long-stay visas are listed below.

Employment visa

The employment visa is a combined work and residence permit. You need this visa when you work for a Hungarian company on a Hungarian contract. In this scenario, the employer must advertise the position for 15 days, unless it’s exempt. Then you must submit your application and show proof of advertisement. If it is approved, the employer must notify the immigration office online within five days of your start date. 

Gainful activity visa

Gainful activity is an income-generating activity during self-employment. You need a gainful activity visa if you are a freelancer, you operate a business, or you work as a C-suite executive for a for-profit or other organization in Hungary. You will also register as a self-employed entrepreneur at a government office. 

Intra-corporate transfer visa

The intra-corporate transfer (ICT) residence permit is for those who transfer to a corporate branch in Hungary. It’s valid for up to three years for a manager or specialist and one year for a trainee and doesn’t have an extension. You must work for your company for at least three months, stay on your home employment contract and payroll, and have the appropriate education and experience.  

How do you get a work visa for Hungary?

The Hungarian government often wants you to apply for your visa or permit in person at the Hungary embassy in your country. However, your employer can apply for you as long as you provide written consent. 

Each visa has different document requirements, but you need some general items. These include:

  • Employment contract

  • Proof of a place to live

  • Proof of health insurance

  • Proof of enough financial support until you receive your first salary payment 

  • Correct residence permit and appendix forms

  • Valid passport 

  • 1 current passport-size photo in color 

  • Proof of return travel reservations

The processing time varies depending on the visa. It ranges from eight weeks for a research visa to 60 or 70 days for employment, gainful activity, or others. 

What is the process for employee work visa sponsorship in Hungary?

Visa sponsorship is where you advocate for your employee to be in Hungary. To sponsor a visa, you must fill out the invitation letter. The form is a declaration that you will assume full responsibility for staff accommodations, financial support, medical care, and return travel fare.  

You’ll need to submit this document with the single application plus proof of accommodation, employment contract, and financial means. The approval process takes at least 70 days, so sponsorships and applications should be well-planned in advance. 

What are the visa requirements for digital nomads in Hungary?

Digital nomads and remote workers staying in Hungary for more than 90 days in 6 months while working must have a visa called the White Card. You need this visa if you have a job in another country but want to carry out your duties from Hungary via remote work. Or if you own shares in a company outside of Hungary and want to manage your business digitally in Hungary. 

While on the White Card, you cannot pursue gainful activity, which means you can’t engage in income-generating activity in the country as a self-employed person. You must be on your company payroll outside of Hungary and can’t hold shares in a Hungarian company. The White Card visa is valid for one year, but you can get an extension to a maximum of two years. 

The general application process is similar to others. If you don’t have a Schengen entry visa exemption, you can get a single entry Type D visa into Hungary. Once you enter Hungary, you have 30 days on this visa to apply for your White Card. 

The White Card only applies to noncitizen remote workers. EU and EEA citizens can work without a permit in Hungary. 

How Remote makes compliance in Hungary so much easier

Relocation can be a challenging process for both employees and employers, and navigating immigration rules, work permits, and visas can be stressful. Each country has specific immigration rules, and it’s essential to understand how those affect your staff so they can work without breaking the law. 

Additionally, international taxation is complex. In most cases, you pay taxes based on where your business operates, but it gets messy when your staff works remotely. They may live in one place, but their taxes may be due in another. Tax treaties between countries often govern these rules, which become even more complicated when digital nomads work in one country for a long time.

You may also face permanent establishment risks, where your business is forced to pay corporate taxes because you have an ongoing presence in the country. Hiring remote workers doesn’t necessarily trigger permanent establishment, but the type of role or activities an employee fulfills can. You must continually evaluate your activities to ensure compliance. 

Working with an EOR and global HR expert like Remote can make all the difference. Our team at Remote has already established an entity in Hungary and can handle the legal responsibility of hiring abroad for you. We’re employment experts who can help you maintain compliance with laws covering immigration, international payroll, benefits, and local labor laws. 

While relocation is a process, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Learn how to simplify your relocation plan with Remote’s Relocation Guide. For questions on international hiring and employee relocation, contact our Mobility team, who are happy to help.

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