Why seek to obtain residency in Hungary?
- An absolutely gorgeous country in the heart of the EU and Europe.
- Low cost of living; Hungary is competitively ranked in the Numbeo Cost of Living Index.
- Affordable, quality real estate.
- Geographic location – in Europe. Short flight away from Paris, London, Moscow, and Istanbul. Short drive away from Croatia, Prague and Vienna.
- 9% corporate income tax, 15% personal income flat tax – amongst the lowest in Europe.
- Multiple international schools.
- Affordable healthcare.
- Extremely safe.
- Visa-free travel across the EU.
What are the Residency options in Hungary?
- EU people can easily become residents as long as they own property or sign a lease agreement in Hungary
- For non-EU people these are the residency options in Hungary:
- Student visa
- Through marriage to a Hungarian citizen
- Work permit – getting an employer to sponsor you
- The little-known residency-by-investment programme in Hungary
How to obtain residency in Hungary through Residency-by-Investment for non EU-people
Laszlo and his team, more on them below, specialize in helping non-EU people obtain residency in Hungary. Here is the process:
- A local company gets created for you. Hungary has the lowest corporate income tax rate in the EU (9%) and does not tax corporate capital gains and dividends.
- You then buy for a minimum of 180,000 euros of real estate in Hungary which must then be rented out. The point is that it must be income generating to be able to qualify for the residency-by-investment scheme in Hungary.
- You must appoint yourself director of the company, and pay local payroll taxes.
- Your spouse and underage children can be linked to your visa, and thus benefit from free local healthcare and schooling
- The visa is valid for 2 years, after which you must renew it. Generally the immigration authorities just check that the accounts of the company are in order and that you did indeed generate income from the real estate investment.
Does it lead to citizenship?
On paper it can. In practice, it is very hard. You’d have to live about 10 years in Hungary, and the requirements are extremely stringent. I wouldn’t do this for the citizenship, but would see it as an added bonus if it materialized.
What are some specific advantages of the Hungary residency-by-investment programme for non-EU people versus other Golden Visa programmes?
Hungary offers the same benefits (EU travel, local healthcare, local schooling, etc) but has some competitive advantages:
- Real estate is actually great value in Budapest. It has amongst the cheapest per square meter prices in the EU, yet is a gorgeous city right in the center of Europe. I wrote a long article on real estate in Hungary here, and an update on how the current Situation impacted prices heavily in downtown Budapest with drops of up to 30% (here).
- The company you will create in Hungary is much more attractive than anything you can create in Portugal, Spain, and Greece for example. The corporate income tax rate is 9%, the lowest in the EU, and dividends and capital gains are not taxed. So you can use this company not only for the real estate, but for other matters too. Hungary is a great base for entrepreneurs and people who work online.
- Hungary is in a much better fiscal position than Southern EU countries and has much lower debt to GDP levels.
- It’s an incredibly safe place for your family. Unlike most Western European countries, there are very few personal safety risks. You can let your children and teenagers do their own thing and they will be fine.
I interviewed Laszlo, an immigration expert, when I spent time in Budapest last month. You can watch this insightful video here. It was filmed in front of a true architectural wonder – the Hungarian parliament.
If you have any questions for Laszlo, feel free to get in touch with him by sending him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can help you from A to Z.
There are many little-known residency options worldwide
There are affordable options out there where you can move to and live in peace. Hungary is an EU option, but Montenegro (more details here), and Georgia (more details here) are also very viable options and are both seeing an influx of South Africans. I list quite a few on my residency and citizenship page here.
This is why you follow The Wandering Investor – to find out about unique investment, residency, and citizenship options across the world.
To a World of Opportunities,
The Wandering Investor
Articles on Hungary:
Available services in Hungary:
If you want to read more such articles on other real estate markets in the world, go to the bottom of my International Real Estate Services page.
If you want to discuss your internationalization and diversification plans, book a consulting session* or send me an email.
*a consulting session is a discussion about your portfolio and objectives. It does not constitute legal, financial, tax or investment advice.