What is the change? Hungary’s implementation of a single work-and-residence permit puts new obligations on employers and employees.

What does the change mean? Employees who enter Hungary without a visa must be present at the Immigration Office at the time of application and collection of the permits. In addition, processing times are longer than before.

  • Implementation timeframe: Jan. 1, 2014.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work and residence permits.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals applying for the new residence permit or applying to renew a residence permit for work; employees who change employers.
  • Impact on processing times: Processing times are longer than normal.
  • Business impact: The processing delays and more complicated process may impact business.
  • Next steps: Employers should plan for the longer processing time and new requirements.

Background: As of Jan. 1, Hungary implemented a single work-and-residence permit as mandated by recent European Union regulations. Under the new rules, a foreign national must apply for both a work and a residence permit at the Immigration Office, even though the work permit application is decided by the Labor Office. Once the work permit has been approved, the Immigration Office starts the residence permit procedure. The whole process takes approximately two and one-half to three months.

One of the major practical changes is that visa-exempt employees must now be present to apply for the permits and pick them up. (Note that foreign nationals who require a visa to enter can process at the Hungarian Consulate in their home country.) In the past, the work permit application could be processed first, before an employee entered Hungary, and the residence permit was processed after entry. The employee may not begin working until the Immigration Office issues the combined permit, now called a “residence permit,” which displays the name of the employer and workplace. If the employee changes jobs, he or she must apply to change the residence permit as well as the work permit.

BAL Analysis: Sponsoring employers should prepare for a longer process that requires more attention and the presence of visa-exempt employees. Additionally, employees will not be able to start work until both the work and residence applications are adjudicated and the single permit is issued.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Hungary. For additional information, please contact

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