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Arrived. What to do next?

Hello all,

Arrived as 90 day tourists. Applications for residence cards still pending, but consul in Los Angeles said if we needed to go, it wouldn't be a problem. So we packed up and left. We leased a flat in District XIII. Here are my questions.

1. When we arrived at the airport we were met by the person who helped us find the flat, and helped us with a few other things. In baggage claim she asked if we had anything to declare. We didn't, as we'd shipped all of our belongings with an international moving company. So she said just go to the line that says "Nothing to Declare." We did. And we wound up outside on the sidewalk. No passport lines. No nothing. Just out the door. Our flight came in from Copenhagen. Just about everyone went out the same way.

2. I am reading that we are supposed to apply for an address card at the local city hall. But I'm seeing conflicting versions, that first I have to get a residence permit before I apply for an address card, then others say no, the two aren't connected, just go get the address card.

I asked our friend about the apparent lack of control and she just said "welcome to Hungary."

Thank you all!!!!!

Denmark and Hungary are both members of the Schengen zone, so there wouldn't be passport control upon arrival.  Don't be concerned about that.  I'm sure you went through passport control upon arrival in CPH from LAX :)

Romaniac
Expat.com Experts Team

romaniac :

Denmark and Hungary are both members of the Schengen zone, so there wouldn't be passport control upon arrival.  Don't be concerned about that.  I'm sure you went through passport control upon arrival in CPH from LAX :)

The OP said he was already in baggage claim. That is after passport control. And passport control can certainly different for EEA nationals and third party nationals: I have to show my passport on flights even between EU countries, as I watch EEA nationals in another line just walk quickly past the checkpoint flashing their national id card (I can not use my permanent resident card -- I asked once). Of course, I only fly in and out of Vienna; what happens at the Budapest airports, I do not know.

jdatbs :

I am reading that we are supposed to apply for an address card at the local city hall. But I'm seeing conflicting versions, that first I have to get a residence permit before I apply for an address card, then others say no, the two aren't connected, just go get the address card.

You get two different answers because there are two different protocols which differ for EEA nationals and non EEA nationals. So EEA nationals will telly you their experience, which will differ for someone from outside the EEA.

Also do consider the address card is not legally mandated. The paperwork you filed for your residency is your official residence paperwork, and you do need to keep a copy for residency confirmation and update it as needed by law. EEA nationals normally get their address card automatically when they apply for residence. Non EEA nationals do not, and they have to apply for the address card separately.

You of course "need" an address card to do any official office business in Hungary as a resident - such as setup water or power to your house, get a resident bank account, etc. If you do not need to do any of that yet, you do not need an address card. And since you do not have residency yet officially, you are still legally a tourist anyway. As a tourist, you can still, for example, setup a bank account in Hungary without being a resident with an address card, but that account just comes with different rights and obligations.

Personally, I only applied for my address card after I got confirmation for residency. No point in dealing with more offices in case my application was rejected, was my way of thinking.

jdatbs :

Applications for residence cards still pending, but consul in Los Angeles said if we needed to go, it wouldn't be a problem.

FWIIW: Too many times in Hungary someone said to me "it wouldn't be a problem" and it later most certainly was. Long ago I learned not to trust that statement here, mainly because there is no consequence for the person who says, but maybe a lot of consequences for the person being told.

klsallee :
romaniac :

Denmark and Hungary are both members of the Schengen zone, so there wouldn't be passport control upon arrival.  Don't be concerned about that.  I'm sure you went through passport control upon arrival in CPH from LAX :)

The OP said he was already in baggage claim. That is after passport control. And passport control can certainly different for EEA nationals and third party nationals: I have to show my passport on flights even between EU countries, as I watch EEA nationals in another line just walk quickly past the checkpoint flashing their national id card (I can not use my permanent resident card -- I asked once). Of course, I only fly in and out of Vienna; what happens at the Budapest airports, I do not know.

Depends where you are going. 

If you are exiting or entering the Schengen area (EU external border), then passports are required for everyone but if you are Schengen to Schengen on a flight, then the only places they normally check your passport is at check in and boarding.  In Budapest, you walk straight out after getting off an inbound Schengen plane and out through the blue lane.   They can also tell that you've not come inter-EU from your bag labels.  Inter-EU has green stripe up the sides.  Should be a blue (EU) stripe to keep the EU colours.   They can still stop you at Customs as they want even inter-EU.

Passport checks are only for security and possibly visas - e.g. you are the person who checked the bag in and your name matches the boarding card so you've boarded with your checked bags.  They also check you've got the correct visa if required. On the other hand one should not be in the Schengen area without the right visa (or not need one etc).

If you check in online (and also if not), your passport will be scanned and used in the API (Advanced Passenger Information) system so they know who you are anyway.   They can also follow you around on security cameras using facial recognition.

I know exactly what you are going threw!

My father and i are USA people also and we flew In Dec 2015 from Oslo to Budapest. In Oslo we went to Immigration and they stamped our passports. In Oslo to board the plane to Budapest there was no checks at all, there was no verification that we got on the plane at all. We could of given our tickets to who ever they would not of even checked. Then at Budapest airport we asked the woman there if we needed to do something. She said she was busy. I said well i think you need to stamp or do something showing we arrived in Budapest, Norway is Schengen but NOT EU. Her response was "leave me alone i am busy".

Ok fine first person i dealt with in  Hungary and i get that. Yea this going to go great.

Ok finding a flat, finding health insurance, etc well within our 90 days but not till early Feb we go to apply for our residence permit. Guess what the guy processing our papers asked both me and my dad? "When did you get to Hungary? I see you have a stamp for Norway but when did you enter the EU?" We told him that we attempted to take care of this when we at the airport and they flat out refused so what could we do? He called in 2 mgrs. One said that once we entered Hungary and entered the EU they should of stamped our passports to document this as we are Usa people. Since that did not happen there was nothing they could do now as to stamp it in Feb would cause serious issues. They said we did not "look" like "threats" so they just let it go and figured we were good English speaking Germans or from Australia! Then i said really? 2 of the 3 immigration workers said that we did not "look like Americans since we are not white, ghetto race or taco people so no one would know". Crazy! But whatever.

About the address card! Ugh. That was the 1 serious issue we had the first time with our permit. We could NOT get our residence permit approved without the address card! So at for us it was extremely important! The office we went had stacks of those blank ones they just did not tell us who should sign it. Long story short you fill it out and have your landlord sign it. They did not explain that to us so we did not know in fact they lied and told us that the rental company has to sign it which we did then they refused that, then they told us the owner, once gain that was a lie so that was refused, then we had the landlord sign it which was correct but when we turned it in the woman working there was not stamping it. By this time it was the 3rd visit so i knew how it was supposed to work so i had get a different worker force her to stamp it which he did and finelly it was done. But you get it from immigration and only immigration can stamp it and make it legal. And they would not approve the residence permit without that being done.

It is just a piece of paper. The only time since living here it has been asked for is last month to register my mobile with T mobile. Our first bank account with OTP just asked for some mail with our name on it, and then our 2nd bank account with MKB same thing just asked for mail, our residence permit and just to write who moms single name was.

Address card is very important legal thing. But i have not had anyone ask for it. That said our flat the energies and all that we pay in one payment so i do not know if we had to get gas, electric, water etc in our name if it would be needed.

Now one thing if you do not move on future residence permits you do not need a new address card or property sheet, only if you move.

Most places will or do in our case ask for our passport which we do not carry around we show our residence permit. 99% of the time people apologize and just say they did not think we lived here but since we do residence permit works. I would always carry your permit as it shows you are legal to live in Hungary. I had a cop question me when there was some issue going on at the mall, and the cop said that passport is good and of course important thing and shows where i am from and that i am legal and have no usa issues, but does not show where i legally live. Especially since my passport shows Norway in dec 2015 which is way beyond tourist time so why am i here? That is why i would have to show my residence permit to show i am legal for Hungary.

In general just know your legal requirements and make sure people do their job. Good luck it will work.

fluffy2560 :

If you are exiting or entering the Schengen area (EU external border), then passports are required for everyone but if you are Schengen to Schengen on a flight, then the only places they normally check your passport is at check in and boarding.  In Budapest, you walk straight out after getting off an inbound Schengen plane and out through the blue lane.

Like I said, I do not know about Budapest. It is a rather small airport. Last fully intra-EU flight I took from Brussels to Vienna was last summer. And the arrival gate is quite a long walk to baggage claim. And there was indeed a passport check between the two locations, and below the sign "Non EU Passport Holders" (that includes me). Maybe the hub also serviced non-EU flights. I do not know. But in any case, I have never been to any airport where baggage claim was before passport control, if passport control is done. Of course, I have not been to all the airports on the planet either.

FeliciaOni :

About the address card! Ugh. That was the 1 serious issue we had the first time with our permit. We could NOT get our residence permit approved without the address card! So at for us it was extremely important! The office we went had stacks of those blank ones they just did not tell us who should sign it. Long story short you fill it out and have your landlord sign it. They did not explain that to us so we did not know in fact they lied and told us that the rental company has to sign it which we did then they refused that, then they told us the owner, once gain that was a lie so that was refused, then we had the landlord sign it which was correct but when we turned it in the woman working there was not stamping it. By this time it was the 3rd visit so i knew how it was supposed to work so i had get a different worker force her to stamp it which he did and finelly it was done. But you get it from immigration and only immigration can stamp it and make it legal. And they would not approve the residence permit without that being done.

It is just a piece of paper.

That sounds rather like the official document for proof of housing. And, yes you need that to get residency. The address card is laminated and looks like this:

https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fstolenchild66.files.wordpress.com%2F2013%2F08%2Faddress-card.jpg&f=1

Ok that plastic colored card like that, i have no idea how or where to get that! I asked at immigration they told me for EU people only. I asked at city call they told me same thing. So we just gave up.

I talked to a usa woman i know that moved to hungary a few years ago and her and her husband have been living in Hungary for 5 or 6 yrs as of 2016 and they said they still have the paper one just like we do. She and her husband are usa people also with no work or family in hungary or EU like us and she said was told the same thing.

I have no idea as i said i asked at immigration and they told us only EU citizens or those married to them get the plastic card, so i do not know. If they do not tell me and city hall says same thing then i honestly do not know, i could not force them to do it so i just gave up.

FeliciaOni :

i asked at immigration and they told us only EU citizens or those married to them get the plastic card

That is possible. I have one. But my wife is Hungarian, so my having one may also be biased by that.

Sorry OP, I might have given you yet a third answer.  :(

Side note: I am frequently asked for my address card at government offices and at the bank. Go figure.

klsallee :
fluffy2560 :

If you are exiting or entering the Schengen area (EU external border), then passports are required for everyone but if you are Schengen to Schengen on a flight, then the only places they normally check your passport is at check in and boarding.  In Budapest, you walk straight out after getting off an inbound Schengen plane and out through the blue lane.

Like I said, I do not know about Budapest. It is a rather small airport. Last fully intra-EU flight I took from Brussels to Vienna was last summer. And the arrival gate is quite a long walk to baggage claim. And there was indeed a passport check between the two locations, and below the sign "Non EU Passport Holders" (that includes me).

Been a long time since I was at Vienna Airport - at least 8 years - but I never saw anything like that way back then. Never seen anything like that anywhere in the Schengen'ised EU.  Maybe you were just unlucky your plane arrived the non-Schengen area.  In any case, you could probably have just walked through, no-one would have asked you (probably).  In Budapest, there are just some transit gates that open automatically.  Never seen any immigration police there but I have seen Customs agents - checking on the bags very occasionally.

BTW, you think Budapest is a small airport! Vienna Airport way back in the 1990s was dreadful.  You could not even use a credit card there.

fluffy2560 :

Never seen anything like that anywhere in the Schengen'ised EU.  Maybe you were just unlucky your plane arrived the non-Schengen area.

I am always asked for my passport. But I also normally fly in from outside the EU, and connecting flights may have different rules. My only intra-EU flight was the one last summer which is my only fully within EU example, and I had to flash my passport.

fluffy2560 :

In any case, you could probably have just walked through, no-one would have asked you (probably)

Oh.... I don't think so. EEA passengers on my flight were in the other line flashing their ID cards.

If that is not normal, than maybe the flight was routed to an outside EU international terminal for some reason.

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