Guidance

Living in Hungary

Advice for British people living in Hungary, including information on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more.

Overview

This guide sets out essential information for British nationals residing in Hungary, including advice on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more. We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below. See our information on what consulates can and cannot do for British nationals.

Health

The UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is valid for holidaymakers and temporary visitors who need to use the state health system while in another EU country. If you are not normally a resident of the UK, and therefore do not have entitlement to a UK-issued EHIC, the Hungarian authorities may decide to treat you as a private patient.

If you are a resident in the UK, you should apply for your EHIC before travelling to other European Union Member States. A UK EHIC is usually valid for three to five years – but if you stop being a UK resident, you need to return your EHIC to the Department of Health immediately.

If you are a UK state pensioner living in Hungary and registered for healthcare with an S1 form (the application for health care covering the European Economic Area), the UK is responsible for issuing your EHIC to use on a temporary stay in the UK and a third EU country. For more information, telephone the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 (0) 191 218 1999.

Healthcare in Hungary

The state insurance dealt with by OEP (Országos Egészség Pénztár). Your employer should apply for your NI number and card called “TAJ kártya”. The processing times from the time of application are 8 to 15 days. The card can be sent by post to your address or can be collected from the OEP office. If you are self-employed, you will have to do this yourself.

If you are employed then the insurance contribution will be deducted from your wages monthly. If you are self employed you will have to contribute monthly. The amounts you have to pay are set by the Hungarian government. For state healthcare, this is currently approximately 7% of your monthly salary.

There are also private insurance companies, which you can contribute to but that is additional to the state insurance.

When you visit a doctor, you will have to show your Health Insurance card.

Please note there are special rules on health insurance if you are seconded to Hungary by your company. For more information, please contact your company’s HR department in Hungary. The major health insurance companies to which you can subscribe are:

Healthcare entitlement

If you are in receipt of a UK old age state pension, request an S1 form (previously E121) from the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 191 218 1999. If you are in receipt of an exportable DWP benefit you can request an S1 form the office which pays your exportable benefit. It is your responsibility to keep the Overseas Healthcare Team or office which pays your exportable DWP benefit up to date with any changes in circumstances which may affect your entitlement to an S1 (E121). When received, register the S1 form with your local social security office, before you register with your local GP surgery and obtain a medical card.

Health cover while studying abroad

If you are going to Hungary to study as part of your UK degree, your UK EHIC card will cover you for the duration of your course. If you are going to study in Hungary, and your course is not part of a UK degree (for example, postgraduate studies), your EHIC will be valid for 12 months. For more information on healthcare in Hungary while studying, please visit the Studying abroad as part of a UK recognised course website.

Education

Hungary has a good standard of education for all ages. The schooling system in Hungary is different to the system in the UK.

Tuition fees are far lower than in the UK, if universities charge at all. Many Hungarian universities also offer a wide range of programmes in English.

Entry and residence requirements

If you are a British citizen or British subject with right of abode in the UK, you do not require a visa to enter Hungary. Other British nationals should confirm the current entry requirements with their nearest Hungarian Embassy.

A valid British passport must be held for entry to and exit from Hungary as a visitor. There is no minimum passport validity requirement but you should ensure that your passport is valid for the duration of your visit.

You must carry proof of identity on you at all times. For British nationals, this is a valid original British passport. This is a legal requirement. Copies of passports are not sufficient.

Moving to Hungary

It is mandatory to register at your local registration office if you are staying in Hungary for more than 3 months.

When you go along to the registration office, you will need your British Passport, reason for residency (work contract, student acceptance letter), bank statements, EHIC card, proof of your address (leasing contract etc). It costs HUF1000 payable by fiscal stamp available at Post offices. Provided your documents are in order you will receive a residency card and an address card at the time of application.

Ensure that your name is on the post box where you live. By not having your name on the post box could result in post not being delivered.

If you move to a different town in Hungary, you must register your address again at the local registry office. If you leave Hungary, you must de-register.

Driving licences

Importing your UK-registered vehicle from the UK to Hungary

If you decide to settle in Hungary with your UK-registered car, Hungarian law says you must register your vehicle with the Hungarian authorities within 2 years of your arrival to Hungary. You will also need to apply for a locally issued Driving Licence. You will need to produce full documentation for your car and Driving licence, as well as your latest MOT certificate. It might also be necessary for you to switch certain lights (for example the fog light) to the other side of the car. For information on the complete process, please call 1818 (if you are calling from outside of Hungary +36 1 452 3622 English speaking operators are available.)

UK-registered vehicles being driven in Hungary must comply with all UK requirements for road tax, MOT and third party insurance covering the full time period the vehicle is used in Hungary, up to the 24 month limit. Once the car is registered in Hungary, it must pass the required Hungarian MOT (called Műszaki Vizsga).

Driving in Hungary

The minimum age required to drive is 18 years. If you need proof of your entitlement to drive, you will need to apply for a ‘Certificate of Entitlement’ from the DVLA.

For general regulations on driving in Hungary, visit the AA website.

Tyres in Hungary

There is an obligation in Hungary that you have tyres which match to the weather that you are driving through. For example, it is an obligation to have winter tyres if you are driving on ice, snow, slush, frost or any other winter-type weather.

It is also an obligation that you have anti-freeze in your windscreen wiper system at all times.

Hungary motor insurance regulations

Hungarian insurance regulations differ from those in the UK. It is important to check carefully what cover your policy provides.

You should carry these documents with you in case you are stopped by the police:

  • driving licence
  • car papers
  • insurance paper
  • MOT or local equivalent
  • high visibility vest
  • warning triangle
  • first aid kit
  • your ID document (ie passport) and those of your passengers; this is a general Hungarian obligation

Traffic fines

If you receive a traffic fine while driving in Hungary (for example for speeding/parking incorrectly/tailgating) you might be asked to pay on the spot. Be completely sure of the identity of the person before you hand the money over.

Finance

UK State Pensions

  • the UK basic state pension is payable in Hungary
  • the state pension changed in April 2010. More people now qualify for a full basic state pension. Find out about the most important changes and what they mean to you
  • to find out when you reach State Pension age, use the State Pension Age Calculator
  • if you live but have not worked in Hungary, you should claim your UK state pension by contacting the International Pension Centre (IPC) in the UK by telephone: +44 (0)191 218 7777

Please contact the International Pension Centre (IPC) for more information on getting your pension in Hungary.

The British Embassy in Budapest is no longer signing “Life Certificates” for NHS pensions. Check the list of people who can witness a life certificate. People receiving pension from the UK NHS should approach their local GP or another qualified person for the signature.

Hungarian pensions

There are two different types of Hungarian pension systems: private and state. Pension contributions are deducted from your monthly salary. Currently, the contribution rate for state pension is 10%. For all private pensions the payments will need to be made individually.

If you wish to claim a Hungarian retirement pension when you have left Hungary, but still plan to live in Europe, visit your local pension office where they will tell you what you are able to claim back when you leave Hungary.

For more information on the Hungarian Pension system, visit The Hungarian Pension Service website.

For more information on living, working and claiming pensions in Europe, please view the DWP website.

Moving to Hungary once in receipt of a UK state pension

If you are moving to Hungary from the UK you should inform the IPC of the changes to your circumstances. This will prevent any problems with your pension payments. It will also help you to get the right access to healthcare in Hungary.

UK pension credit is not payable in Hungary. If you decide to move to Hungary permanently you must inform the office that pays your benefits before you leave.

Voluntary contributions

You may also be thinking about paying voluntary contributions to top up your pension entitlement in either country. For further information on paying voluntary contributions in the UK, contact HM Revenues & Customs. For Hungary, contact the company who is providing your social security/health cover.

Life certificates

If you have received a life certificate from the UK Pension Service it is important that you reply as quickly as possible otherwise your benefit may be stopped. Call the IPC on +44 (0) 191 218 7777 for any queries you might have. The British Embassy in Budapest cannot sign the certificates any longer. Check the list of people who can witness a life certificate. This is now the same as the list of people who can ‘countersign’ a passport photo, although they don’t need to live in the UK, or have a British or Irish passport.

Taxation

Britain has a double taxation agreement with Hungary to ensure people do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. In accordance with Hungarian and international law, all residents in Hungary (nationals and non-nationals alike) are required to declare assets or groups of assets held outside Hungary. Assets may include bank accounts, securities, rights, insurance, annuities, property, etc. The declaration is a separate exercise to the annual tax return.

Severe penalties for incorrect, incomplete or late reporting can be incurred and the legislation also means that criminal charges can be brought in the case of non-compliance. The requirement and potential penalties are in line with standard international tax practice.

Taxation is a complex issue and it is strongly recommended that professional advice is sought. On arriving Hungary, it is important you obtain a Adóigazolvány (income tax card) which states your Adószám (Tax Number). This can be obtained at your local NAV office. They will give you a tax classification depending on your family status. Your employer will need this.

Benefits in Hungary

If you have retired and you live in Hungary, you could claim your pension from the UK. To find out what UK benefits you might be able to get while abroad and how to claim them please visit Benefits if you’re abroad and Moving and retiring abroad web pages.

Non-exportable UK benefits

The following benefits are for people who are ordinarily resident in the UK and under no circumstances are they available in Hungary:

Remember, if you are in receipt of benefits, it is an offence not to tell the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) if your circumstances change, for example:

  • you are going to live or are currently living in Hungary
  • you get married, or if you separate, divorce or are widowed
  • you start work, increase your earnings or your savings

If you do not tell the DWP it could mean prosecution, imprisonment and even the confiscation of your home and possessions.

For more details visit the benefit theft website.

Hungarian contribution-based benefits

Working and paying contributions in Hungary gives you entitlement to a number of Hungarian social security benefits. These benefits include unemployment benefit, and permanent and temporary incapacity benefit.

Make sure that, as for any benefit application, you apply in writing.

For more information on social security, please visit the NAV website.

Hungarian unemployment benefit

You are eligible to apply for unemployment benefit in Hungary if you have been working there and paying contributions for at least 360 days in the last 3 years. Ask at your local Munkaügyi Hivatal for further information.

You should also state any previous periods of contributions in the UK. You can prove previous periods of contribution in the UK by filling out a CA3916 and applying for a statement of National Insurance contributions from HM Revenue & Customs to assist unemployment benefit claims.

Hungarian disability benefit

For information on applying for the equivalent of a disability benefit, contact your local doctor for the local procedure. You might have to pass certain tests in order to qualify.

You should also state any previous periods of contributions in the UK. You can prove previous periods of contribution in the UK by filling out a CA3916 and applying for a statement of National Insurance contributions from HM Revenue & Customs to assist sickness benefit claims.

Disclaimer

This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the British embassy will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.

Published 27 November 2013
Last updated 12 April 2017 + show all updates
  1. Amended April 2017
  2. First published.