The Hungarian government has published regulations for Guest investor (golden) visa program for 2024 available for property buyers. The Immigration Regulations XC of 2023 on the entry and residence of third country nationals were published in official gazette on Jan 1, 2024, thus becoming a law.  Hungary ran older version of golden residence bond program from 2013 until 2017, but restarted the golden visa scheme in 2024. Authorities will accept investment applications for guest investors from July 1, 2024.

The guest investor visa is a special type of visa that can be issued with a validity period of up to two years, and also entitles the holder to stay in Hungary for more than 90 days within 180 days, and allows the holder to enter multiple times. In addition to these, third-country nationals holding a guest investor visa can apply for a guest investor residence permit in Hungary.

Hungary can grant a Guest investor visa to a third-country national who fulfills the special conditions set out in the law, such as acquiring at least 250,000 euros in investment units (shares) linked to a specific, registered real estate fund, or buying residential property in Hungary worth at least 500,000 euros, or if provides a monetary donation of at least 1,000,000 euros in the range listed by law.

The Immigration enforcement authority (OIF) decides on the application, taking into account the opinions of the authorities specified in the law. If the third-country national receives a guest investor residence permit, the guest investor visa will be invalidated by law.

A guest investor residence permit can be obtained by a third-country national who fulfills the special conditions defined by law and holds a valid guest investor visa or – based on the relevant European Union legal norm – enjoys a visa exemption.  In possession of a residence permit, a third-country national is entitled to work in Hungary as a senior official of a business company, cooperative or other legal entity created for the purpose of earning income. In addition, in view of the fact that a family member can apply for a residence permit with reference to the third-country national in order to ensure family coexistence, both the guest investor and his family member are entitled to work in Hungary with the residence permit issued to them, which according to the law has no limits, i.e. the third-country national can take up work under the same conditions as Hungarian citizens.

The residence permit must be applied for within 93 days of entry with a guest investor visa or, in the case of a visa exemption, the first legal entry into the territory of Hungary, at the applicant’s choice, at the competent immigration police customer service or electronically through the Enter Hungary system.

After the third-country national has entered Hungary – if he submits an application for a residence permit as a guest investor – he must certify within 3 months through Enter Hungary that he has completed the investment he undertook in the declaration defined by law. The certificate is examined by the immigration enforcement authority. If the data of a third-country national with a guest investor residence permit changes, he must report it via Enter Hungary within 5 days.

With regard to investment certificates and real estate investment, the law lays down additional detailed rules. In this context, for at least five years, in order to fulfill the provisions of § 16, paragraph (3), point a), the third-country national must hold an investment certificate issued by a real estate fund, which

a) at least 40% of the net asset value is made up of investments in residential real estate in Hungary, and

b) its real estate fund manager has at least a simplified site security certificate or the XXX of 2016 on acquisitions for defense and security purposes. listed under the Act (hereinafter: Vbt.) . The real estate fund manager of the latter is Vbt. In the framework of the preliminary qualification according to § 118 , it undergoes the appropriate inspection, which is carried out by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

The residence permit is valid for a maximum of 10 years and can only be extended once, for a maximum of 10 years, for the same purpose. When granting the extension of the guest investor residence permit, it is necessary to differentiate between the individual investment types. On the one hand, this means that the promise of investment is only relevant when a guest investor residence permit is issued.

On the other hand, in the case of extending the guest investor residence permit, if the investment is the basis for issuing the residence permit

a) it was an investment certificate shares, then the condition for the extension is the acquisition of the specified amount of investment certificate,

b) there was ownership in real estate, then if the foreigner no longer has ownership of the property (e.g. sold it after 5 years), or the extent of his ownership does not reach the specified amount, real estate investment must be made again, and if all the legal requirements are met conditions, the residence permit can be extended without a new investment,

c) was the provision of a specified monetary donation, then the residence permit can be extended without any additional investment.