Business Immigration to Hungary
The European country of Hungary is one of the 15 most popular tourist destinations, and its capital city of Budapest is widely viewed as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Hungary has many geographic wonders including the world’s second largest thermal lake, the largest European medicinal bath, and Europe’s largest lake. Hungary’s majestic architectural feats including the largest synagogue in Europe, the third largest church in Europe, and the second largest Baroque castle in the world draw hundreds of thousands a visitors each year.
Along with these tourist attractions, Hungary has a unique culture, stable political climate, relatively low crime rate, and booming economic industries. Because of everything Hungary has to offer, many investors are looking to this nation as a viable option for financial gain.
The Hungarian Entrepreneur Residency Program (HER Program)
Hungary’s HER program allows foreign nationals to establish new commercial enterprises in the country in order to obtain temporary Hungarian residence. Participation in the program is reserved for nationals of non European Union member states (nationals of EU member states are eligible to pursue special avenues of entrepreneurship in Hungary). The HER program is particularly attractive to potential investors because Hungary’s commercial enterprise registration process is simple and quick as compared to similar programs administered by other countries. Additionally, the required minimum investment amount under the HER program is relatively modest.
To qualify for the HER program, the foreign entrepreneur must first establish a Hungarian commercial enterprise. There are many different types of company structures to choose from, but the most popular option is the limited liability company (LLC). The LLC option is popular because the required investment amount is merely 10,500 Euros and because the registration procedure takes only one to two business days.
The foreign entrepreneur must personally come to Hungary in order to establish the commercial enterprise. Additionally, the entrepreneur must draft and submit a very detailed business plan as part of the HER program application. Among other pieces of information, the business plan must explain why the entrepreneur’s residence in Hungary is necessary for the successful operation of the commercial enterprise, and the plan must illustrate how the enterprise will generate income or profits sufficient to support the entrepreneur and family during the residency in Hungary.
Applying for Temporary Residence
Once the entrepreneur has established the commercial enterprise and finalized the business plan, the foreign national may apply for Hungarian temporary residence. The foreign national’s spouse and children may also receive temporary permits. The residence permits are valid for three years and can be extended upon request. Moreover, the permits allow the foreign national and family to travel throughout several countries in Europe without the need of a visa or other authorization document.
Applying for Permanent Residence
After the entrepreneur and family have been temporary residents for three years, they may apply for Hungarian permanent residence, provided the entrepreneur can prove that the commercial enterprise continues to be profitable and provides sufficient income to support the entrepreneur and family. In addition to these requirements, to qualify for permanent residence the applicants must have clean criminal records and be proficient in writing, reading, speaking, and comprehending the Hungarian language.
Becoming a Hungarian Citizen
Once the foreign entrepreneur and family have been continuous Hungarian residents for eight years, the individuals may apply for citizenship through a legal process called naturalization. The requirements for naturalization are the eight years continuous Hungarian residence, a clean criminal record, a stable and verifiable livelihood, demonstrable good moral character, and passage of an examination that tests the applicant’s knowledge of the Hungarian Constitution and its principles.
Benefits of Hungarian Citizenship
Hungarian citizenship confers great benefits on individuals. Citizens are empowered to vote in national elections and are eligible for the country’s social programs and benefits. Moreover, because of Hungary’s membership in the EU, its country’s passport is valid for travel and entry into the other EU member states including Bulgaria, Italy, France, Germany, and Spain.
Notably, Hungarian nationality law permits dual citizenship, so foreign entrepreneurs are not required to renounce their former citizenship upon receiving their Hungarian passport.