Close

Son of 1956 Refugee verifying my own Hungarian Citizenship

Hello all!

My father fled from Hungary to Canada via Austria, over the bridge at Andau in November 1956.

About a decade ago, he got a new Hungarian passport. What is not absolutely clear (his memory fails him) is whether or not he simply VERIFIED his citizenship, or had it reinstated. He believes he simply verified it and that he did not have to "get it back." This makes sense as I have been unable to find anything at all that definitively suggests that all people who fled in 1956 lost their citizenship. There were exceptions, but these seem to be very specific, and not a blanket revocation.

The lack of information definitive act of parliament that specifically targets ALL Hungarians that departed in 1956 suggests that with only some exceptions, those born to such refugees abroad, such as myself, are Hungarians at birth.

As such, that would make me a Hungarian citizen by jus sanguinis ("right of blood") and I am about to submit all my paperwork to secure my certificate and/or HU passport.

Have any direct children of a Hungarian who fled in 1956 gone through this who can confirm that "1956" was not, in itself, an automatic disqualifier?

Thank you!

My  husband left Hungary in 1971 and never lost his Hungarian citizenship.
He said no one loses it unless they actually ask to be removed.
Once born a HU always a HU, at least that is our understanding.
My husband and I now live in Hungary and he just had to verify he had returned.
He had to restart his national health and get a few new cards, even his old driving paperwork was valid here after being gone for nearly 40 some years.
Our son is a HU citizen although he was born in Hawaii, his father took care of the paperwork for him through the HU embassy in S. Cal.

Hi Marilyn and thank you for your reply!

This information is helpful, though I am hoping someone who specifically left in the days directly following the revolution was can confirm that illegally departing at that time also did not affect their status.

On my birth certificate (which is from Toront, Ontario, Canada) my father's citizenship is stated as "Stateless" on his marriage certificate as "none." I don't think this means he revoked, but was rather, just common practice for people that were in fact refugees at that time. However, it's all so darn complicated!

Any reason you do not just contact the nearest Hungarian embassy or consulate in Canada? Seems a representative of the Hungarian government would have the best legal answer:

http://hungarianconsulate.com/hungarian … anada-2-2/

General information about paperwork you will need to process your application:

http://hungarianconsulate.com/citizenship/

Hi and thanks for the links.

I have already done that and I have an appointment next week and have employed a translator to help prep all the necessary forms.

However, the process is very, very long once the application is submitted. I may only find out after all the investigation in Hungary (which can take up to a year or so), before I know. The consulate can't always give a direct answer because they are not the arbitrators themselves.

I am simply wishing to know if anyone received their citizenship by blood even through their Hungarian parent fled as a refugee in 1956 (which at the time was illegal.)

I see references to some Act V in 1957 which could cause loss of citizenship, but I couldn't find out what Act V was. I was born in 1962 and in general international law I don't think a person can be stripped of citizenship unless they have acquired or possess another, and my father wasn't Canadian until 1965.

I'm not sure what "international law" you're referring to.

Remember that under the original 1873 Hungarian Citizenship Act, Hungarian citizenship could be automatically lost in certain cases if a citizen remained outside Hungary for more than 10 years. There was in fact concern about this in the U.S. Congress at the time -- the U.S. did not want to become home to stateless ex-Hungarian immigrants -- but that nonetheless remained the law for decades.

Thanks for your reply. The specific rule you mention hasn't been in effect since the 30s or 40s as far as I know. I don't believe there was any "blanket" revoking of refugees for that specific reason.

I am really asking for input from people who have specific experience of recently trying to obtain citizenship through a parent who left in the aftermath of the 1956 uprising and how that illegal departure affected that effort.

My conversation with the consulate suggests this is not a general issue and only affects specific and rare individuals but I wanted others who have already tried to enlighten me or verify their experiences.

Of course.

I'm just pointing out that so far as I know there's no "international law" preventing a country from making a person stateless, and that for some 60 or 70 years at least, Hungary did just that.

I don't know if Hungary did this in some cases after 1956, but there'd be historical and legal precedent if they did.

marklivesinla :

I am simply wishing to know if anyone received their citizenship by blood even through their Hungarian parent fled as a refugee in 1956 (which at the time was illegal.)

I see references to some Act V in 1957 which could cause loss of citizenship

Section 5/A of Act LV of 1993 on Hungarian citizenship nullified loss of citizenship by laws enacted during the communist period. If your father has a passport (which you said he has), then he has reacquire his citizenship probably due to this law. Whether he thinks he just verified his citizenship or if he actually had to reacquire it is a detail without any relevance. All that matters is if he has a valid passport now. If so, that is all the proof needed of his Hungarian citizenship.

Which makes sense. Especially given that the current Fundamental Law of Hungary (i.e. the Constitution - I assume you have read it if you want to be a citizen) expressly states "that our current liberty was born of our 1956 Revolution" and invalidates the entire Communist constitution. In other words, why do you think Hungary would ignore 200,000 Hungarians who immigrated in 1956 because they fought for this same Hungarian National liberty?

marklivesinla :

However, the process is very, very long once the application is submitted. I may only find out after all the investigation in Hungary (which can take up to a year or so)

Curious? Did the consulate tell you it would take a year? Simplified nationalization I have heard can take that long with the interviews and language tests, but I seriously question why it would take a year if your father can provide a valid passport and your Canadian sourced paperwork (marriage and birth certificates) are in order. And there are laws in Hungary mandating how long (often 1 to 3 months) a government office has to reply to you with a decision or tell you it will take more time (I admit that requirement is commonly not followed exactly here, but normally "close enough").

You say he law was  "invalidated" but if that was the case, it would have been unnecessary to "reinstate" citizenship. I believe in practice they do NOT consider 1956 refugees as having lost their citizenship en masse, except in specific cases which is why I am asking if anyone has been through the precise scenario I discuss.

I was born in 1962 so theoretically, if my father was NOT a citizen at that time then I too would not be a citizen, regardless of subsequent overturning of the laws.  Even if he was given his citizenship back, what matters is his status at the time of my birth.  This is why knowing if his citizenship persisted is so critical.

On the surface, the consulate does not think it is an issue. They do not know of any blanket rejection of citizenship Simply for having fled the country. With that said, I'm still looking for somebody who has been through the process.

marklivesinla :

....  Even if he was given his citizenship back, what matters is his status at the time of my birth.  This is why knowing if his citizenship persisted is so critical.

On the surface, the consulate does not think it is an issue. They do not know of any blanket rejection of citizenship Simply for having fled the country..../.

I wouldn't worry about it.  No need to get twisted up in knots.

I know people who had parents who fled in 1956 and they had no trouble whatsoever obtaining their HU citizenship. They simply applied for passports and received them.

The fact that at that instant in time your father could have been a non-Hungarian, it doesn't mean that you aren't, regardless of where you were born.  If it was the case you were a non-citizen because your father left then that would amount to something like collective punishment.

Here's a clue (although not specific to your case, maybe you can see how the principle might apply even to you):  Citizenship Restored

In other words, it wasn't your fault.

marklivesinla :

I was born in 1962 so theoretically, if my father was NOT a citizen at that time then I too would not be a citizen, regardless of subsequent overturning of the laws.  Even if he was given his citizenship back, what matters is his status at the time of my birth.  This is why knowing if his citizenship persisted is so critical.

Of course, IANAL. But basically I agree with what fluffy2560 said.

In the end, you are still going to have to just submit the paperwork, take your chances and see what happens. And I would not worry. The 1956 revolution is a big issue in Hungary. And the fundamental law rejects the entire communist government period as invalid. And the 1993 law disavows the 1957 law and specifically "promotes the unity of citizenship within a family". Your father is a Hungarian. You can interpret the Fundamental Law and the 1993 law to mean he always was a Hungarian (because the communist party government was not a valid government -- ergo neither were its laws). And I would be very surprised if the government rejected a child of a 1956 diaspora Hungarian. I don't really see anything "critical" here. That is, even if you are rejected jus sanguinis, you have every right to a simplified naturalization.

That being said, and FWIIW: my wife's parents escaped Hungary in the 1970's (really, quite a story there), became stateless refugees in Switzerland with my to be eventual wife, and were tried and convicted back in Hungary in absentia to many years in prison. And yet, when the wall fell, they got new passports from the Hungarian Embassy in Switzerland, and using those passports her brother, my brother in-law, who was born in Switzerland before the wall fell and while his parents and my wife were all "stateless", could then also get his Hungarian passport. Getting the Hungarian passport was actually easier for both him and my wife than getting their Swiss passports.

Thanks both of you.  All my papers are in order so hoping this will be straightforward. Of course the issue is that if I become Hungarian by blood I don't have to worry about a language test. Unfortunately my Hungarian is nonexistent so simple naturalization while possible for sure would be a lot more work and I'm in my 50s so learning the lingo will prove a challenge! :)

(Deleted, issue resolved by intervening post.)

marklivesinla :

.....Unfortunately my Hungarian is nonexistent so simple naturalization while possible for sure would be a lot more work and I'm in my 50s so learning the lingo will prove a challenge! :)

You are lucky to be able to get it through your father.  My Hungarian is non-existent as well but I have no Hungarian roots either - I just have a Hungarian wife and kids.  If you face naturalisation through the "harder route" - e.g just by living there, there's that other hill to climb - the Hungarian constitution exam.  Over 60 and no need for the exam.  But then there's the language test.....probably impossible for me.  You won't need to do that.  :top:

I know. Very fortunate. But I can tell you that for all those years when it was behind the iron curtain, I didn't feel so fortunate! :) I actually visited in 1985 when it was still under the Soviet thumb. Looking forward to seeing it back in blossom.

Come to think of it, my husbands former Hungarian employer in Cal. was a refugee from 1956 as well as another guy who worked in the same machine shop.
His bosses 2 children got HU citizenship through him perhaps 25 years ago though. ( both kids speak Hungarian)
No problems he even came back to Hungary many times for visits.
The other guy who left in 56 was still way too shocked to return to Hungary, not sure what they had on him.
I am 99.9 % sure you are in a good situation to get your citizenship without too many hassles. Good luck.

Thanks for the sunny optimism Marilyn, which I also share.  The more I learn, the more confident I am of a smooth application.

Hello,

My parents fled Hungary in 1956.

I recently became a Hungarian citizen by jus sanguinis "right of blood".

I did have all my paperwork in order...My long form Birth certificate,my Marriage license,Parents Marriage license, both of their Birth certificates as well as my grandmother's passport. I had very little issues with my application, I did have all my paperwork translated and certified. All in all the whole process took less then 6 months. Mind you......I did have to go in to the counsellors offices multiple times for one reason or another, but that was just part and parcel of receiving my citizenship. Not sure about not speaking Hungarian as I do speak the language fairly fluently which helped immensely. I did cheat a bit as I took my cousin with me the first couple of times, just to make sure that there where no misunderstanding on my part.

At times it may seem frustrating but all I can say is "Go with the flow". Smile and nod and eventually you will receive your citizenship.

Thank you! My applications were submitted recently with all my paperwork and the consul general were very helpful. I was told it should be pretty simple given my supporting evidence.

Regarding Hungarian language, can you confirm that you were not asked to take a test specifically? My understanding is that if it is by blood then there is no language test. While it might be a matter of convenience, it is not a requirement.

Hi:
Related question:

My father was also a refugee from 1956. He didn't become a US citizen until years after I was born, so I assume he was a Hungarian citizen at the time I was born. I applied for citizenship last September at the consulate in Chicago, and everything was done properly, with supporting documents, such as my father's birth certificate in Hungarian, baptismal certificate, 1956 Freedom Fighter's ID card, US citizenship papers, etc. I do speak some Hungarian too, but was told I didn't need to take any test by the counselor.

My question is: How long does the process take? I haven't gotten my passport yet and I applied almost 11 months ago. I asked the Chicago consulate after about 8 months and they told me to be patient and wait as many factors determine how long it takes, such as the number of people applying and so on.
What are other people's experiences in this regard?

I will let you know of any developments in my case although I applied literally only a couple weeks ago. Please keep me apprised of your own progress!

It is a waiting game.
Our son got his HU citizenship 20 years ago with the HU embassy in S. Ca. His father handled it for him as his gift to our boy.
It didn't take very long from what I remember but 20 years ago people were not trying to move to Hungary in waves like now.

Helloo...

I was not asked to do any verbal/language test at all. I will however say....With all the visits to the Councellors office they would have been able to assess my language skills. According to the different people that I have spoken with in the last 6 months, my vocabulary and understanding of the language is fairly good (unless you speak lawyer, well then forget it). Lol! I might get every 4th  word but that is still a work in progress :). I apparently have an accent????

Reading? That's a whole other story.

Best of luck to you. Enjoy this beautiful country...be patient with yourself and with others, and all will be good.

Hi my father can out of Hungary in 1956 and ended up in England via Austria,  he never went back till 1972 when he became a nationalised british citizen, as a son of an Hungarian we now go back 2 / 3 times a year and I am currently looking to buy a house as I have a big family in Hungary. There seems to be no barrier.

Hi Andy. Did you naturalize as a Hungarian?

Hi Mark no I am still a  british citizen.

OK. Thanks for your input. Useful, though my principal interest is around the impact of 1956 on my own application for a Hungarian citizenship/passport. I suspect you might want to get it too now that the UK is exiting the EU. (Ugh!)

I was born in Hungary 1953 came out to Australia 1957 after living a year in Munich I had a Hungarian passport but lost it. 8 years ago I applied for my Hungarian passport I recieved it in 2015 in 2016 I went back to Europe with my new Hungarian 10 year passport and loved it I could not pick up the language very well and I was sad about that I would love to live in Hungary if I could find expat Australians  to learn with oh well hope this has helped. In Australia I went through the Hungarian Embassy to start the process.

HI

My Family has been looking at the same problem.   Please Please understand the Hungarian  tax on World income.  Like the United States, they apply income tax to citizens, not just residents.

Cheers

Yecats :

HI

My Family has been looking at the same problem.   Please Please understand the Hungarian  tax on World income.  Like the United States, they apply income tax to citizens, not just residents.

Cheers

I don't think that's correct. 

You have to be a resident to be taxed in Hungary - applies to foreigners and Hungarians - and that if you are a resident then you are taxed on your worldwide income (in Hungary).

That's not the same as the USA where being a citizen means you pay Uncle Sam regardless of where you actually live.  If you are a US citizen and also pay taxes in the country where you live, then you can use the tax certificate against your US tax according to the tax treaty between those countries.

So if I receive a pension from the US at my US address, and I am a Hungarian and American citizen, then which taxes do I pay; Hungarian, US or both?

Chikagoan :

So if I receive a pension from the US at my US address, and I am a Hungarian and American citizen, then which taxes do I pay; Hungarian, US or both?

Probably doesn't actually matter really because wherever you pay you can offset using the tax certificate from the other country. 

There are usually provisions normally in the tax treaty to make sure you cannot reduce your tax by electing in which country you will be taxed.   

This sort of thing only applies to those countries with tax treaties between them which of course, Hungary and the USA do.

But don't take my word for it -  other US citizen posters here would have a better informed view.

Hi everyone:
I just received word that my citizenship verification is approved and my docs are on the way from Hungary. The consulate has scheduled a passport procedure meeting for me on 10/31. How long does it take to get the passport?
The staff are great in the consulate.

No real info for you but a big Congrats!!

Thank you! It was no big surprise, but it was good to hear. By the way, I've read here that you can buy into the national health insurance program. Can you also buy into a pension program?
Thanks again

New topic

Expatriate health insurance in Hungary

Free advice and quotation service to choose an expat health insurance in Hungary

Moving to Hungary

Find tips from professionals about moving to Hungary

International Wealth Management

Get advice from well-reputed and experienced international wealth managers regarding your financial affairs

Travel insurance in Hungary

Enjoy stress-free travel to Hungary