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Residence Visa

I am preparing applications for visas for my wife and I. We are "retiring" to Hungary. The application has no classification for us. Is it appropriate to use "other?"

No retired or pensioner option?

No, but I think I found an answer to that question and now have a new question!
On the Hungarian Embassy website it lists reasons for requesting a residence permit, then says "if your stay doesn't fall in neither of the categories above,  fill out the form "residence permit for other reasons " and attach to it the documents of mentioned above...."

But it also says that a residence permit is only good for one year. I plan on buying a house. I'd like some assurance that I can stay.

Anyone?

Thanks!

jdatbs :

.....

But it also says that a residence permit is only good for one year. I plan on buying a house. I'd like some assurance that I can stay.

Anyone?

Thanks!

Buying a house does not give you any rights to stay whatsoever. 

You might be able to argue it's investment to support your visa BUT there's a minimum amount tied up for some years - might not be good value or a good vehicle to use.  I'm only dragging up that from memory (I'm EU so do not need any permits).   

If you are married to a Hungarian or have Hungarian kids, that would change your situation as well - for the better.

Others I am sure will comment more competently.

jdatbs :

But it also says that a residence permit is only good for one year.

Depends on the permit you are applying for (most are listed here: http://www.bmbah.hu/index.php?lang=en)

Some require yearly renewal, others last for up to 5 or 10 years.

jdatbs :

I plan on buying a house.

As already said, owning property does not give one any special rights to get a residency permit, but if you already own real estate in Hungary you can place it in your application as your intended residence in Hungary, which can be convenient.

jdatbs :

I'd like some assurance that I can stay.

No one can provide assurances, as life is uncertain, especially living as an expat immigrant. You are beholding to local laws.

But, if you are provided a residency permit, and you do not break that permit's rules (such as some permits do not allow you to work in Hungary), and keep up all the requirements of that permit (such as sufficient sources of income to remain in Hungary, properly reporting any significant movements as required by law, etc.), there are probably few reasons to suspect your permit should be revoked or not renewed.

If you really want assurance you can stay, then you need to look into the Residency Bond program, but it's not cheap.

zif :

... the Residency Bond program, but it's not cheap.

Yup,. that's the one I was thinking of.

Thank you both fir the info!

Well, the bond program is a little bit out of my price range....  :)

Both my wife and I have American passports. Our plan is to arrive and use the time to find a place, then after we have a place, we'll apply for the residence permit.

Does this sound workable?

Thanks

jdatbs :

Well, the bond program is a little bit out of my price range....  :)

Both my wife and I have American passports. Our plan is to arrive and use the time to find a place, then after we have a place, we'll apply for the residence permit.

Does this sound workable?

Thanks

I would suggest renting a place for 1 or 2 years before you buy. 

Once you are in the HU property market, you could be stuck there, possibly for years and years - it moves at a glacially slow pace outside of Budapest.   Large amounts of capital can be tied up. 

If you have property in the USA, rent it out so you have not burnt your bridges to return back if and when your circumstances have changed.   So long as the rent covers the running costs plus a bit, then it's a no loss event.

I read that Hungary is thinking of doing away with the residency bond program.
Owning property in HU is no guarantee that you can stay in Hungary.
I have posted my story on this site in the past.
It helps if you have a family claim to stay in HUngary but even so you might get a letter in the mail saying you must leave within 90 days.
Happened to me, now I have a 10 year  resident permit to stay. No direct answers for anyone, it is up to how you file and you looks at your papers.
Renting for a long while is the best way to see if HU is a long term fit for you.
It may not be so easy to sell out once you buy.

jdatbs :

Both my wife and I have American passports. Our plan is to arrive and use the time to find a place

It took us a year of looking over properties to find a house in Hungary that we liked. And we were living in Switzerland at the time, so we could come often to continue the search.

There are many pitfalls in buying property here, especially if you plan to live the house that you purchase. Not is all how it seems. Even a new looking structure may just have a new coat of paint hiding multiple problems. Even something built just 15 years ago may need to be renovated because sub standard materials were used during construction. It really is buyer beware.

jdatbs :

then after we have a place, we'll apply for the residence permit.

Does this sound workable?

Recommend you at least start the process in the USA. If asked for additional information to process your application, it will be easier to get the needed paperwork there.

fluffy2560 :

I would suggest renting a place for 1 or 2 years before you buy.

And if what one buys needs renovating (and many do), there are certain benefits to not to live in a house undergoing renovation.

"I read that Hungary is thinking of doing away with the residency bond program."

I suspect they'll increase the amount of the bond or the filing fee next year.

It's a bad deal for singles and older couples, but for young families who can amortize the €60,000 filing fee over a lot of people over a lot of years -- remember that parents can be included -- it's not bad. (The filing fee is non-refundable, while you can ultimately get back the €300,000 cost of the bond.)

I think the program's done well in Mainland China.

It's not clear to me where that €60,000 fee ends up, but I doubt they'll kill the program entirely and sacrifice this income stream, wherever it's going.

Shame there's not a cheaper program for retired folk.

zif :

"I read that Hungary is thinking of doing away with the residency bond program."

I suspect they'll increase the amount of the bond or the filing fee next year.

News from October 27 of this year:

Hungary to end sales of residency bonds

Thanks! I'd seen an earlier report which was more optimistic.

But as I said, it's surprising they'd kill this Golden Calf.

This later report suggests cancellation may not yet be a done deal:

http://bbj.hu/politics/hungary-should-k … rga_124163

zif :

But as I said, it's surprising they'd kill this Golden Calf.

Bond residents are "immigrants" and "immigrants" are now a political issue in Hungary. The above article I think indicates the political pressure some parties are applying on this issue, in their own way and reflecting their own social/political issues. That is, this is an example of spill over of an issue regarding one group in a topic, overflowing into a larger and broader social/political discussion and enveloping other sub groups in that topic.

Meanwhile, the government is playing it all down, saying the bond are not a Golden Calf, and they do not need the money from this source.

zif :

This later report suggests cancellation may not yet be a done deal:

Which just shows politics in action. The Economy Minister has at times differed in opinion from the general government. And the government usually then plows ahead with their plans anyway.

But of course, "usually" is a qualifier. Nothing is a done deal until the the ink is dry.

Good luck then getting your bond funds back.
Think they were to hold onto them for 5 years.
Wonder if anyone has gotten their money back from buying a bond?
Would be interesting to know.
I do wonder what the "attraction" is to moving to Hungary if not for family ties or for business.
Moving anywhere just because property is cheap is not a good idea for just picking up stakes and moving.
Cheap property also means "cheap" everything else, medical care as retired people,that is important as one ages.
As Americans moving to HUngary you must pay for your own health care, can not even think of getting on National Health until living in HU for over a year.
The health system here has it's good and bad points.
Not knowing the language always puts one at a disadvantage if you should find yourself at the mercy of hospital staff.
Personally we are thinking of returning home as we get older, even though we own property in HU and my husband is Hungarian by birth.
It isn't always great to be an Outsider in a foreign country.
When someone is young they can face the difficulties much better.
My husband came to the US at age 23 full of fire and drive.
He didn't speak more then a few words of English when he found himself in the middle of NYC.
Was working within 2 weeks of arrival in the states and never stopped driving himself.
At retirement age most people just do not have the fire and drive to fit into a new culture.
We used to go to senior events here in HU but found we didn't really fit in, even my HU husband is seen as an outsider because he lived in the US for so long.
My opinion of course.

Marilyn Tassy :

Moving anywhere just because property is cheap is not a good idea for just picking up stakes and moving.

Agree. Especially for Americans. There are really cheap places where one can buy and retire in the USA. Of course, most of those are very rural, but the really cheap places in Hungary are also mostly rural. But there is a difference in having to drive 3 hours to Budapest or Vienna versus living in South Dakota.....


Marilyn Tassy :

Cheap property also means "cheap" everything else, medical care as retired people,that is important as one ages.

If one has chronic medical conditions, Hungary may not be a good choice, in my humble opinion. Even when I broke my hand I went abroad to have surgery (required metal pins in the bone).

Marilyn Tassy :

We used to go to senior events here in HU but found we didn't really fit in, even my HU husband is seen as an outsider because he lived in the US for so long.

Where I live, I know Hungarians who moved here but are still considered "outsiders" simply because they were not born in the region.

I find the expat bubble particularly common in Hungary. Very few expats seem to move outside the bubble and tend to interact mostly with other expats. And the more one moves from Budapest, the less likely one will find other expats to socialize with. Especially English speaking expats. There is quite a German speaking expat colony near where I live, but few speak English. My wife speaks fluent German and I "decently" but my German could really stand a lot of improvement.

I should have been clearer. I wasn't referring so much to the bond as a Golden Calf -- it's just not a significant amount in terms of national finance -- but to the  €60,000 fee, some of which probably ends up benefitting a few with political influence. (The fee doesn't go to the government, but to private firms which manage the program.)

As to participants, I don't think the program is really designed for Westerners, though they can use it. It's largely for Mainland Chinese who want a bolthole in Europe for their families, if not for current immigration then as a fallback if the political situation in Beijing ever collapses. For mom, dad, two kids and four grandparents, it's a pretty cheap deal at less than €8,000/head for the non-refundable element.

zif :

I should have been clearer.

Ah. Yes, I did not get it earlier. Got it now. Good point.  ;)

zif :

I......but to the  €60,000 fee, some of which probably ends up benefitting a few with political influence. (The fee doesn't go to the government, but to private firms which manage the program.....

Some great points there but 60K EUR top the private firms!!! That's absolutely outrageous.

You could move to New Zealand or Australia for that kind of money and have a safer life style with less hassle and no winters to speak of.

Why would anyone want to come to Hungary? It just ain't that special.

Exactly Mr. Fluffy.
Hungary is interesting etc. but if not for having family here I would rather live in Italy or France, maybe even Spain!
At least those languages would be allot easier to learn and I love the foods from those countries.
I do love Hungarian food, too but how much paprika can one little old lady take at once?!

fluffy2560 :

Why would anyone want to come to Hungary? It just ain't that special.

Getting residency in any EU country provides a gateway to the entire EU.

So it is not necessarily only about "Hungary" per se.

Lots of good info. Thanks. Our situation is like this : my mother-in-law lives in Ukraine. My wife needs to be closer to her than we are now, as mom refuses to come to the U.S. We found Hungary to be a better choice yet still close. And we'll be able to travel around Europe in the meantime. Of course we'll be keeping our place in the U.S. We have to deal with the insurance and property issues no matter what country we end up in, but as of right now Hungary seems at least one of the top 3 choices.

Hot off the press (note 300K EUR visas mentioned):

300K Visas for Immigrants Remains

Yes, it's $300,000 US bucks for a resident bond not 60,000.
Dang, one can live high on the hog in Timbuktu rather then cold,dreary  Hungary for that much "cabbage".
Not sure but I believe it is $300,000 a head not per family.

Marilyn Tassy :

Yes, it's $300,000 US bucks for a resident bond not 60,000.
Dang, one can live high on the hog in Timbuktu rather then cold,dreary  Hungary for that much "cabbage".
Not sure but I believe it is $300,000 a head not per family.

Unless I misunderstood, it's 300K EUR bond plus EUR 60K in fees.  That's per family.

Yes, it's per family, including dependent grandparents: purchase of a €300,000 bond to be repaid after five years and payment of a €50,000 non-refundable fee.

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