The first steps towards Hungarian citizenship - permanent residence
Obtaining an EC or a National Permanent Residence Permit provides significant advantages over holding a normal residence permit. Learn the main eligibility criteria and advantages of these immigration documents, as well as the differences between them.
The two most popular permanent residence permit types for third-country nationals in Hungary are the EC Permanent Residence Permit and the National Permanent Residence Permit. We summarised below the main eligibility criteria and advantages of these immigration documents, as well as the differences between them.
EC Permanent Residence Permit:
You are entitled to apply for an EC Permanent Residence Permit if you have been resided continuously and legally in Hungary for at least five years preceding the application date. Continuous stay means that you did not spend more than 300 days in total and/or more than six months per occasion outside of Hungary in the mentioned five-year period. Legal stay means that in this five-year period, you always had a valid Hungarian residence permit or other immigration document proving the legal basis of your Hungarian stay. If you hold an EU Blue Card, you have to stay only two years in Hungary, but five years in the EU preceding the time of the application.
As a special rule when counting the above-mentioned five-year stay, the time-period of holding a residence permit for the purpose of study because of pursuing higher education studies is counted half.
National Permanent Residence Permit:
As a main rule, you can apply for a National Permanent Residence Permit, if you have stayed continuously and legally in Hungary in the last three years. Here, the continuous stay means that during this three-year period you did not spend more than 270 days in total and/or four months per occasion outside of Hungary. If you spent more time abroad, the Immigration Office might waive the overstay if it was due to a reasonable cause. The legal stay criterion is the same as for the National Permanent Residence Permit. In addition to these, you have to have a valid Hungarian residence permit at the time of the application.
A further popular way to acquire a National Permanent Residence Permit if you have been married for more than two years to a Hungarian citizen or a third-country national who holds a permanent residence permit. In this case, you do not have to have a three-year continuous and legal stay in Hungary.
- stay in Hungary for an indefinite period of time,
- have a Hungarian ID Card and address card,
- get or change your job freely, without the need for any further immigration or working authorisation formalities,
- apply for a Hungarian higher education program, sponsored by the Hungarian government.
- acquire a settled status (as a main rule, you are entitled to apply for Hungarian citizenship after an eight-year Hungarian stay with having a settled status).
Applying for a National instead of an EC Permanent Residence Permit requires a shorter prior stay duration in total (three years instead of five). Furthermore, if the number of days spent abroad exceeds the prescribed limit, the Immigration Office might waive them, which possibility is not given at the EC alternative. However, an EC Permanent Residence Permit might be a better decision if you plan to change your permanent residency in the territory of EU because with having an EC Permanent Residence Permit issued by the Hungarian authorities, you might be entitled to get stronger immigration status in another EU country and thereby easier access to its labour market.