The Hungary Residency Bond program offers permanent Hungarian residency under specific conditions for non-EU nationals willing to invest €300,000 into in government bonds. This program was first created in February of 2012 and finally implemented in the May of 2013 in order to attract potential business interest as well as foreign investment in the country.
What are the main benefits?
- The requirements are easy and personal guidance is offered throughout the duration of the program.
- The rate of processing is fast and one can receive their residence permit within 1-2 months.
- Physical residence is not required.
- There is no language requirement.
- The applicant can include both their minor children and spouse into the program completely free of charge.
- The applicant won’t need a visa or border control to travel to other Schengen countries.
- The investment of €300,000 is returned after 5 years. And the cost of residency for the whole family is only €60,000.
- Residency in Hungary also guarantees personal safety of the applicant and their family, as Hungary is a safe country.
- Hungary is also the springboard when it comes to business in Europe.
Why choose Hungary?
Hungary is currently among the top 30 most-visited places on earth, not to mention, it is also a member of the Schengen zone and the EU. Additionally, its diverse and rich culture as well as universal healthcare and the fact that it is at the heart of Europe, make it an extremely attractive location. The program, known as Investor Residency Bond, was established in 2012 and also offers a whole range of advantages to the applicants.
The cost of living in Hungary is a lot less than the cost of living in any other country in Western Europe. An approximate cost per month would be start from €600, while the cost of renting an apartment would start from as low as €500 a month without the utilities, the cost of which could be approximately €100 per month. In other words, life in Hungary is rather affordable.
Not only that, but this scheme is considered to be one of the best in the EU, as the threshold is attractive compared to other EU countries. For instance, both Portugal and Spain expect investors to invest in real estate worth more than €500,000. Similarly, Ireland expects investments worth more than €1,000,000, while the UK expects £2,000,000.
The popularity of the Hungarian Residency Bond
This program is becoming quite popular, as the number of issued resident permits keep increasing constantly. In 2014, for instance, over 2210 bonds were sold. The authorities hope that this trend will continue even until the end of 2015 as well, since over 2886 Residency Bonds had been sold until the end of September 2015.
The original prices of the Hungarian Residency Bonds were lower before and cost €250,000 initially. However, due to its success and popularity, the price was raised to €300,000. On top of that, the administration fee, which was initially €40,000, was later raised to €60,000, and despite this increase in prices, this scheme is still the cheapest in the whole of Europe.
The difference between permanent and temporary residency
Individuals with a temporary residency may reside in Hungary. However, their residence permit is limited, from 1 to 5 years, while the permanent residency is lifelong. With a residence permit, it becomes much easier to travel throughout Europe. One can also obtain visas of other countries, such as of the UK or the US.
On the other hand, individuals with a permanent residency have all the benefits and rights that citizens of Hungary have, with certain exceptions, such as holding a Hungarian passport or voting in national government elections. However, permanent residents may work, stay, and live in Hungary indefinitely. They can also attend any Hungarian public school. Individuals with a permanent residency may also upgrade their residency status to that of a citizen after they have lived in the country for 8 years or more.
Both permanent and temporary residents are expected to pay taxes only after they have lived in Hungary for over 182 days over a period of 12 months.
Benefits for investors with permanent residency:
- The application process is fast and facilitated for investors that want a permanent residency. Investors that have a TR card, as well as their family members, can easily apply for their permanent residency only 6 months after they have received the card.
- One doesn’t need to visit Hungary in order to apply for permanent residency. There is only one application process for both the applicant and his/her qualifying family members.
- Free movement is allowed all throughout the entire Schengen zone.
- Those dependents under the age of 18 are included with approval of the PR application.
Benefits for investors with temporary residency (annually renewable permit):
- The special exemption of physical residence extends to not only the main applicant, but also all of his/her qualifying family members.
- Bond investment is government-approved.
- The application process is fast. Once the applicants are qualified, they all receive a temporary resident Hungarian ID (TR) within 3 months or less, which allows them to travel throughout the entire Schengen zone just like a permanent resident.
There aren’t any specific requirements in terms of personal management experience or the net worth of a person. That stated, the applicants can be subjected to random interview meetings with the officers of the Hungarian administration.
During the application stage as well as the initial due-diligence stage, Hungarian authorities and the financial intermediary will follow the standard anti-money and know-your-clients’ (KYC) procedures. That is why standard documents containing information about the applicant’s accumulation of net worth and source of income will be necessary.
Investors that are temporary residents need to maintain a Hungarian residential address for the period of time that they hold their temporary residence permit. This will require an additional fee.
The process of investment includes purchasing a special Hungarian governmental bond which costs €300,000 with a 5-year period of maturity. When this amount matures, the original amount is returned back to the investor. The amount does not include the interest.
According to the Hungarian legislation, the amount should be invested in bonds, which are approved by the authorities of Hungary and issued by an agent of Residency Bond. The agent is the one that invests this amount into the governmental bonds. The Subscription Agreement that this transaction is subjected to, must be licensed according to the applicant’s geographic region. The bonds by the government are only used in this program and are not present in the public or the secondary trading market.
The security will be issued to the investor before the declaration is provided to the investor by the agent of Residence Bond. This declaration certifies that the treasury bond for a value of €300,000, which has a maturity of 5 years, will be purchased using the funds that have been received from the investor during the period of 45 days while the investor’s residence permit is being issued. The applicant is also expected to cover the visa application and the processing fees aside from just the investment costs. The administration fee will cost €60,000.
In order to further ensure the success of the investment, the applicant can issue the bank and receive a Bank Guarantee Letter for an extra cost.
The process of application
- The applicant will need to deposit €300,000 into the designated account and then apply for immigration to Hungary.
- After it has been processed, he/she will receive a residency permit for 5 years.
- The applicant will receive a residency permit which will be valid for 6 months at first. This residency permit extends to the applicant’s spouse and minor children as well.
- They can then register for an address in Hungary, after which, they can then apply for a Permanent Residency Permit, which, although valid for 5 years, renews automatically.
The possibility of receiving a residence permit
The applicant will have to meet certain requirements, which are:
- He/she will have to have a valid passport and also be a citizen of a non-EU country.
- The applicant needs to have the ability to invest €300,000. This can be either afforded via a business as a majority shareholder or as an individual.
- The applicant will need to pass the authority’s national security check.
- The applicant will need to provide all the required documents.
If one manages to successfully pass through all the steps mentioned above, there is a very high possibility of the applicant receiving a residence permit.