Is it back!? The Hungarian Golden Visa program is back in force

On 12 December, the Hungarian Parliament passed a law to re-regulate the residence of third-country nationals in Hungary. One of the most exciting new features is the introduction of the guest investor visa and residence permit, which is already known as the “Hungarian Golden Visa”. In this article we briefly look at what it is all about.

Does the name Hungarian Residency Bond Program sound familiar? True, this program ended in 2017, but since then it has been advertised and marketed, even though the conditions and benefits are far from being the same. It did not take long, just 7 years, for another opportunity to come along: the guest investor residence permit. The detailed rules are still being worked out, but there is already a lot of interest in this new option, so it is no wonder that the industry is really waiting for it to see where, when and how to apply. In the meantime, let us look at the information available today.

Guest investor visa and residence permit

Let us now look at the details of the guest investor visa and permit.

A. The zeroth step on the path to a guest investor residence permit, the guest investor visa.

This is a visa for a stay of more than ninety days and multiple entry within one hundred and eighty days, entitling the holder to apply for a Guest Investor Residence Permit in Hungary.

A guest investor visa is granted to a third-country national,

– whose entry and stay in Hungary is of national economic interest in view of his/her investment in Hungary (it means the mentioned investment opportunities in this article),

– who fulfils the following conditions:

  • holds a valid travel document,
  • has the necessary authorization for return or onward travel,
  • proof of the purpose of his/her entry and stay,
  • have sufficient resources to cover their accommodation and subsistence expenses for the entire duration of their stay, as well as the cost of their departure,
  • is not subject to an SIS alert,

A SIS alert contains information about a specific person or object and instructions to the competent authorities on what to do if the person or object is found.

– who declares that he/she has or intends to have at least one of the investments described in this article,

– who certifies that he or she holds an amount of money of legal origin equivalent to at least one of the investments described in the article, which must be available or transferable within the territory of Hungary,

– who submits a written undertaking to make at least one of the investments of the amount and type specified in the paragraph described in this article within three months of entering the territory of Hungary on the basis of a guest investor visa.

A third-country national who undertakes to carry out one of the investments defined in the legislation may therefore be granted a residence permit as a guest investor:

1. The acquisition of investment bonds of at least EUR 250,000 issued by a real estate fund registered by the Hungarian National Bank.

The applicant must have held for at least five years an investment bond issued by a real estate fund which

– at least 40 % of the net asset value of the fund consists of investments in residential real estate in Hungary, and

– its real estate fund manager holds at least a simplified site security certificate or is listed in accordance with the legislation specified in the law.

2. The acquisition of residential real estate in Hungary, registered in the Real Estate Register by parcel number, free of legal title, encumbrances and claims, with a value of at least EUR 500,000.

For real estate investment, the requirement is that

– at the time of acquisition of ownership of the residential property by a third-country national, a prohibition of alienation and encumbrance of the residential property shall be registered in the Land Register for a period of 5 years from the date of conclusion of the sale and purchase contract, under the conditions specified by law,

– for a period of five years, the immovable property may only be

  • by a third-country national, or
  • jointly owned by one or more family members, as defined by law, of the third-country national who has submitted the application for a residence permit as a guest investor.
3. To make a financial donation of at least EUR 1 million to a higher education institution maintained by a public trust with a public-service mission, for the purpose of supporting educational, scientific research or artistic creation.

The validity period of the guest investor visa is up to two years, so it allows for stays of more than ninety days in any one hundred and eighty days and multiple entries within two years.

B. Our next stop is the Guest Investor Residence Permit.

This is a residence permit which entitles the holder to reside in Hungary and to

  • to engage in an activity as an independent person for remuneration in accordance with the law, or
  • to act as a managing director of a company, cooperative or other legal person established for gainful purposes.

The period of validity of the permit is a maximum of ten years, which may be extended by a maximum of ten years for the same purpose only, and the period of validity of the permit may exceed the period of validity of the applicant’s travel document.

Family members who base their application on the same investment may also be granted a residence permit for 10 years. The legally defined family member of a third-country national holding a residence permit for a guest investor may enter and reside in Hungary in accordance with the law under discussion.

Applications for the new residence permit for guest investors can be submitted from 1 July 2024.

The above does not constitute legal advice, if you have any questions regarding the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.