Introducing The New Hungary Golden Visa Program

Harvey Law Group


Harvey Law Group (HLG) is a leading multinational law firm headquartered in Hong Kong with over 20 offices worldwide. Founded in 1992 by Jean-François Harvey, HLG has an extensive track record and deep sector expertise in immigration law. The HLG team provides legal and advisory services to individuals and families on immigration, residency and citizenship, as well as a comprehensive range of business services for international corporations across multiple jurisdictions in Asia, North and South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. HLG is a Foreign Law Firm registered with the Law Society of Hong Kong Its lawyers are qualified and registered in various jurisdictions including, Québec and Ontario Bars in Canada, England & Wales, France, Thailand, Vietnam and Grenada.
Immigration options for EU countries continue to enjoy significant popularity, largely due to the high quality of life, strong education, and healthcare systems that EU countries offer.
Hungary Immigration
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Immigration options for EU countries continue to enjoy significant popularity, largely due to the high quality of life, strong education, and healthcare systems that EU countries offer. These immigration programs have been modelled as tools to fuel local economies and to attract foreign wealth. Accordingly, they constantly evolve as Governments reevaluate their needs. Given the recent changes to the long-established Golden Visas, it is with great excitement and expectations that we welcome the very promising new Hungary Golden Visa that will come into effect on 1 July 2024.

EU Context

In recent years, mounting pressure from the European institutions has led to the shutdown of almost all citizenship by investment programs that gave investors an EU citizenship in exchange for a local investment. The days for Golden Passports may be (almost) gone but Golden Visas keep going strong. They are available to investors (and their family) looking for the right to travel through the Schengen Area and to live, work and study in a local EU country. They are also a realistic pathway to permanent residency and citizenship of an EU country.

The great success of European Golden Visas is giving leverage to Governments to tighten the screws and require more from potential investors. For example, in 2023, Portugal modified the Portugal Golden Visa program by removing the option to invest in real estate entirely, thereby favoring investors investing in local investment funds nearly twice the amount that those investors would have spent to purchase a property prior to that. Another blatant example: the Greece Golden Visa program has more than tripled the minimum real estate investment amount to EUR 800,000. Certain programs have simply shut down, such as the Ireland program offering permanent residency closing after ten long years of operation and having fulfilled its purpose. The UK Tier 1 (Investor) program also shut down, telling the world that financial investment alone is no longer enough for the UK, thereby favoring investors that would create value and jobs locally, through the Innovator Founder visa and the Expansion Worker visa.

The New Hungarian Golden Visa Program – A Breath of Fresh Air

Amidst this changing landscape for EU immigration options emerges a new and exciting option for residency by investment in Hungary (also known as the Hungary Golden Visa Program). Hungary is an EU Member State within the Schengen Area known for its high quality of life. Hungary is also known for its more affordable costs of living compared to other European countries, even in its beautiful and prosperous capital city Budapest.

This new program comes as a breath of fresh air for those looking at EU Golden Visas. The qualifying investment starts from EUR 250,000 (if investing in investment funds), and alternatively permits investors who prefer to invest in real estate to purchase a local residential property of their choice (of at least EUR 500,000) to constitute their qualifying investment. We foresee that this will attract many investors looking at Hungary's real estate property market as an investment opportunity. For reference, property prices per square meters in the city center of European capitals vary greatly and Hungary is (for now at least) within the most affordable options: London: EUR 18,000 / Paris: EUR 13,000 / Amsterdam – Berlin – Stockholm – Vienna: EUR 10,000 / Copenhagen - Oslo – Rome: EUR 8,000 / Dublin – Prague: EUR 7,500 / Lisbon: EUR 6,000 / Brussels - Krakow – Madrid: EUR 5,000 – Budapest: EUR 4,000 – Athens: EUR 3,000.

The investment holding period is merely 5 years, although the same or a new similar investment must be in place at the time of renewing the Golden visa after 10 years.

The Hungary Golden Visa will give investors and their dependents the right to travel within the Schengen area without a visa for 90 days in every 180-day period, and the right to live, work and study without restriction in Hungary. There are no language, education, or physical residency requirements, meaning that the program would be accessible to a wide range of individuals.

The Hungary Golden Visa will be valid 10 years, and renewable for an additional 10 years. During this time, the investors and their family will have the option to work towards meeting requirements that could lead to permanent residence and citizenship if this is ultimately their goal (including physical residency and language requirements for instance). This tells us that this program has been considered thoroughly. It has been tailored to give comfort to European institutions, and to last.

All in all, the new Hungarian Golden Visa program is an exciting new program that may be suitable for a wide range of people and presents a realistic plan for those looking to have the right to reside in the EU in the long term and potentially gain permanent residency and or citizenship further down the line. As the program has only recently been announced, it is expected that the Hungarian Government will release further information about the program soon.

It is always recommended that investors work hand in hand with experienced lawyers to secure the right immigration option(s) and protect their interests, even more so when dealing with a new program. We are actively navigating through the details of the program and intricacies of the application process to ensure that investors have clear answers to all questions and can focus on their families, their work, their business, whilst we focus on achieving their immigration goals smoothly.

If you are retiring abroad, starting a business, looking to obtain a second citizenship, or would like the request for more information, please contact your local HLG office here for more details. Founded in 1992, Harvey Law Group (HLG) is a leading multinational law firm with offices across Asia, North and South America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to cater to your specific needs for immigration and beyond.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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