Travel restrictions and confusion in Hungary under COVID-19 emergency 

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TAX NUMBER: 19013983-1-42

19 March 2020

Are you a foreign citizen having trouble returning to Hungary from abroad now? Here’s some advice.

The Hungarian government’s confusing communication about who are and who are not allowed to enter Hungary now as borders are closing has left many people confused and worried. We are hearing about many foreigners who live in Hungary and who are now stuck in another country trying to get back to their home and families in Hungary. 

Here is what we know and how we see this situation. 

(Obviously, usual disclaimers apply and you shouldn’t take this as legal advice.)

The government decrees 41/2020 and 46/2020 on emergency measures, which entered into force on 12 and 17 March, make it clear that “those EEA-nationals who are entitled to permanent residence and are holders of permanent residence cards shall be treated the same way as Hungarian citizens” (Article 8 of gov. decree 41/2020). This should mean that

 – Hungarian citizens are not facing travel restrictions and are allowed to return to Hungary.

– all EEA-nationals in possession of a permanent residence card should be allowed to enter Hungary.

However, many foreigners have a different status in Hungary and it seems they can be denied entry at the border, or even at an airport trying to board a Budapest-bound flight. 

You may be encountering difficulties if you are 

  1. an EU (EEA) citizen who resides in Hungary and has a simple EU registration card,
  2. a third-country national who has residence or who is a permanent resident in Hungary.

For example, you may be having trouble entering Hungary if you are:

  • A US-citizen CEO of a large multinational company;
  • A German-citizen business owner with EU registration card;
  • A freelancing EU-national who is self-employed in Hungary;
  • A university student from Brasil;
  • An employee at an international organisation’s or company’s global service center.

There seems to be a lot of confusion creating very difficult situations. We’ve been asked to assist people who have permanent residence in Hungary (even with Hungarian family members) who had been denied to board a flight to Budapest yesterday after the entry restriction has set in.

Apparently misleading information is found in articles that say that as a foreigner you can only enter Hungary if you’re travelling together with your Hungarian citizen family members. There is no such thing in the rules.

If you’re having trouble returning to Hungary, here’s what you can do now:

  • Contact the Hungarian Consulate in the country you wish to board the plane. You can find all contact details on the website of the Hungarian Foreign Ministry: 
  • Contact the consular department or on-duty consular officer at the Hungarian Foreign Ministry 
    • MFAT Consular Service
    • Phone: +36 1 458 1000
    • Fax: +36 1 201 7323
    • E-mail:;
    • Consular Services 24/7 hotline — free call from Hungary: 06 80 36 80 36 
  • Contact your embassy in Budapest and inform them about your difficulties. Obviously, they cannot grant you entry or change the law but can inform and raise concerns with the Hungarian authorities. 

We will monitor all the legislative developments and the practice of the competent (border) authorities concerning the newly introduced travel restrictions and will continuously provide you with relevant updates!


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