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Working and living in Hungary after Brexit: what has changed for UK nationals?

Written by
CLV Partners, one of Hungary's best specialist firms.
From 1 January 2021 new rules apply to UK nationals living and working in and travelling to Hungary. This Q and A provides details.


1.1 Has any guidance been issued in relation to a ‘no deal’ Brexit from 1 January 2021? If so, what information does it provide on how UK nationals can obtain settled residence status and permission to work and what proof of residence is needed for current residents?

Yes, the Hungarian Parliament has adopted an Act [Act XV of 2019] on a potential no-deal Brexit. The act will enter into force from the date when UK leaves the EU without an agreement, if this happens.

The Act covers the following topics:

  • unemployment benefits;
  • health care;
  • pensions;
  • immigration status;
  • the legal status of lawyers working in Hungary.


No guidance has been issued regarding evidence of residence in Hungary or on the status of UK frontier workers.

Regarding the immigration status of UK citizens, the Act states the following:

UK citizens can continue to hold the same status as EU citizens for three years after leaving the EU if they have a Registration Certificate for EEA Nationals or a Permanent Residence Card prior to the date of the UK’s exit. Further, after three years uninterrupted stay in Hungary they may request a National Permanent Residence Permit, and after 5 years of uninterrupted stay in Hungary, UK citizens may also apply for EC residence permit.

UK citizens coming to Hungary after Brexit shall be considered as third-country nationals (i.e. they will have to request residence and a work permit according to the general rules applicable to any other third-country nationals).



2.1 Will UK employees need a business visa from 1 January 2021 in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit?        


Regulation (EU) 2019/592 of 10 April 2019 exempts UK citizens from the requirement for a Schengen visa. It applies from the day the UK is no longer subject to EU law. UK citizens can enter and stay in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days in any rolling 180-day period.

The Schengen exemption applies from 1 January 2021.

Third-country nationals coming to stay and work in Hungary for more than 90 days require a residence and work permit. The permit is obtained via a single application procedure encompassing both permissions to work and to reside in Hungary for more than 90 days. The type of the permit depends on the purpose of the residence in Hungary.

2.2 What documents will be needed on arrival for business travel from 1 January 2021 in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit?         

Travel documents (valid passport) with a validity of no more than ten years that is valid for at least three months after departure from Hungary.

Proof of duration and purpose of stay as border control may ask additional questions concerning duration and purpose of stay.

In additional, if they become third-country nationals, UK citizens will require a business visa. In this process the following documents have to be submitted:

  • invitation letter;
  • a certificate from the employer allowing the business travel;
  • proof of trade relations between the companies (if any);
  • business bank statements for the last six months;
  • memorandum of association;
  • declaration on how the applicant’s costs will be covered during their stay in Hungary/Schengen zone.


Unless they stay in a hotel or guest house, UK business travellers will need to notify the appropriate communal administration of their place of stay within three days if they stay for more than 30 days.

2.3 Will UK nationals need additional permission to work for business travel from 1 January 2021 in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit?   

No, if it does not exceed the 90-day period.



3.1 Do UK nationals need permission to work and stay in Hungary from 1 January 2021?            

UK citizens with a Registration Certificate for EEA Nationals or a Permanent Residence Card prior to the date of Brexit will not need to apply for a work permit.

In any other cases, UK citizens have to apply for a work permit, unless they can rely on an exemption such as:

  • family members of an EU national or a non-EU national who has authorisation to work (subject to conditions);
  • they work as a head of the branch and representative office of the third country company;
  • holders of an EU Blue Card.


3.2 If permission to work is needed after 1 January 2021, do any quotas apply to the employment of third-country nationals? 

Yes, the highest number of third country nationals that can be employed in Hungary is laid down in a ministerial decree [19/2015. (VII.3.) NGM decree, Section 2 (2)]. It provides that the number of third-country nationals employed simultaneously with a work permit in Hungary may not exceed the monthly average of employment demand notified in the year preceding the subject year (i.e. in 2019: 57,000 employees).

3.3 If permission to work is needed from 1 January 2021, what categories of permission are commonly granted?         

The most common categories are the following:

  • leading personnel;
  • trainees (subject to conditions);
  • highly qualified and special profiles (subject to conditions);
  • certain medium-skilled profiles (only for shortage professions listed in a dynamic shortage profession list);
  • profiles that fall into a residual category subject to a labour market test;
  • seasonal permits for works not exceeding six months (can be extended by a maximum of six additional months);
  • work permit for assignment purposes.


3.4 If permission to work or stay is needed from 1 January 2021, how long does the procedure take?    

The procedure may take up to 70 days.

3.5 If permission to work and stay is needed from 1 January 2021, what Government fees are payable?

EUR 60 / HUF 18,000

(Additional costs e.g. translation, photographs should be taken into consideration)



4.1 What formalities apply to UK frontier workers working in Hungary but living in another country from 1 January 2021?

A permit may be needed which proves the frontier worker’s status. However, the detailed provisions are not yet available.



5.1 From what date are third-country nationals entitled to apply for permanent residence?   

Five years of legal and uninterrupted stay in Hungary or in the EU (subject to conditions).



6.1 What steps could UK nationals take currently to secure their residence and work status?      

  • Applying for an EU residence card as soon as possible.
  • Applying for an EU permanent residence card if conditions are met.
  • Applying for Hungarian nationality if conditions are met, but individuals should consider consequences before doing so.
  • Preparing documents for family reunification with an EU national if relevant.
Henrietta Hanyu
Senior Associate - Hungary
CLV Partners