Key government agencies
Key government agencies

Depending on their nationality and the purpose and length of their stay in Hungary, foreign nationals may need a specific visa or residence permit to enter the country. However, some foreign nationals do not need a visa or residence permit.

If the foreign national must obtain a visa, the application must be processed in accordance with the Visa Code adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in July 2009 ("Visa Code"). This regulation aims to unify all European legislation on visa matters into one document, therefore increasing transparency, enhancing the rule of law and the equal treatment of visa applicants, and harmonizing the rules and practice of Schengen countries where a common visa policy applies.

The Visa Code has all the currently effective provisions applicable to the Schengen visa. It defines the common rules on the conditions and procedure for issuing a visa, and the conditions for obtaining a visa. The Visa Code also harmonizes the rules on processing applications and orders.

Pursuant to the Visa Code, the visa application must generally be submitted to the Hungarian Embassy (Nagykövetség) or Consulate (Konzulátus) where the foreign national resides abroad. The visa application can also be processed by various forms of cooperation among member states, such as limited representation, colocation, common application centers, recourse to honorary consuls and cooperation with external service providers.

The application for a residence permit is forwarded to the regional office of the National Directorate-General for Aliens Policing (Országos Idegenrendészeti FĹ‘igazgatóság), which is authorized to issue these permits in Hungary.

The issuance of a visa or residence permit is only a preliminary requirement for entry and does not ensure automatic entry for foreign nationals. At the Hungarian border, foreign nationals must prove that they meet the specific requirements set out in Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council (i.e., they hold a valid passport and visa and can justify the purpose of their stay, the cost of them living in Hungary is covered by sufficient financial resources, no alert has been issued in the Schengen Information System (SIS) for the purposes of refusing entry for them, and they are not considered a threat to public policy, internal security, public health or the international relations of Hungary).

If the purpose of a foreign national's entry into Hungary is to work, a work permit or joint work and residence permit (joint permit) is required, provided that the performance of these activities is not exempted from work permit requirements.