Landlocked in Central Europe and bordering Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, and Serbia, Hungary is rapidly growing as a well-located base for digital nomads.
The country's capital, Budapest, has long been a popular travel and tourism destination with the city famously bisected by the Danube River. The west bank of the river is the region known as “Buda” and on the East, “Pest”. The combination of the two creates the thriving city that we know and love.
From the rich history and stunning architecture to the ruin bars and thermal baths that give the city it’s unique cozy feel—there’s plenty to see, do, eat and drink in Budapest. But there’s more to the country than the main nomad hub. From Lake Balaton, Europe’s largest freshwater lake, to the second city of Eger and Hortobagy National Park Hungary offers plenty of pros for remote workers and workcationers alike.
Now, with the announcement of the Hungary digital nomad visa, known as the White Card, visitors can now spend up to one year living and working remotely in the country. Find out everything you need to know about the Hungary digital nomad visa in our guide to remote working in the country.
READ MORE: Budapest Digital Nomad Travel Guide
What is the Hungary Digital Nomad Visa?
The Hungarian digital nomad visa follows much of the same patterns that we’re seeing the majority of European remote working visas adopt.
The Hungary remote working visa, known as the White Card, allows visitors to live and work in the country for up to one year with the option of renewing for a further year. The digital nomad visa is reserved for non-EU nationals only, meaning those already in the Schengen Zone cannot benefit from the visa.
One of the main differences between the Hungary digital nomad visa and other European remote work options lies in the option of bringing family along. Unlike the majority, the Hungarian nomad visa does not permit a spouse or dependents from traveling with a sole nomad visa holder, resulting in applications for individual White Cards.
Why is the Hungary Digital Nomad Visa Better Than a Tourist Visa?
As the Hungarian digital nomad visa is only available to non-EU residents, it’s the time permitted in the country that is the biggest benefit to remote workers.
Hungary is one of the 26 countries that makes up the Schengen Zone, a list of nations where visitors are only permitted to spend 90 out of every 180 days without a dedicated visa. The new digital nomad visa solves this issue, permitting visitors to stay in the country for up to one year with the option of further one-year renewal.
But it’s not just Hungary that successful applicants are able to spend their time in freely and the White Card opens the door to the entire Schengen Zone. All 26 countries (including Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, Germany, Greece, etc.) can be traveled to without the Schengen constraints with a Hungarian digital nomad visa.
Hungary Digital Nomad Visa Requirements
The Hungary remote working visa may sound too good to be true—but there’s a short list of requirements that applicants must meet to qualify for the White Card.
- Valid Passport: The applicant's passport must be valid for six months after the visa end date.
- Proof of Remote Work: All applicants must be able to provide proof of remote work with clients as either a freelancer or business owner, or proof of employment from a company outside of Hungary.
- €2,000 Minimum Monthly Income: Applicants must prove a minimum income of at least €2,000 per month. This must be proven with bank statements covering the last six months.
- Health Insurance: All successful applicants must provide evidence of health insurance with coverage in Hungary for the entire visa duration.
- Proof of Address: Applicants must be able to present either a lease or sale agreement for their duration in Hungary.
How to Apply
The application process can prove to be a little bit tricky when applying for a digital nomad visa, but with the right information, it can be quickly completed. Check out our step-by-step guide on exactly how to apply (and be accepted for) for the Hungary digital nomad visa.
Step 1: Collect All Necessary Documents
Before jumping the gun in the process, it’s always best to first collect all of the necessary documents ready for application submission. Digital nomads should prepare the following documents before completing the application form:
- Valid Passport (6 Months Validity After Visa Period)
- Two Passport Size Photos
- Proof of Income (Bank Statements of Last 6 Months)
- Proof of Remote Work (Freelancer, Business Owner, Employed Outside of Hungary)
- Proof of Accommodation (Lease of Sale Document)
- A Letter Agreeing to Leave Hungary Following Visa Expiration
Step 2: Complete the Application Form
Once all documents have been acquired, the application form can be printed and completed. Currently, it’s important to check “Other” and to write “Remote Work” when completing the Purpose of Stay section of the form. This will ensure that the application is processed for the White Card.
Step 3: Submit the Visa Application
To submit the Hungary digital nomad visa application, all applicants are required to make an appointment with their local Hungarian embassy or consulate.
All of the previously gathered documents must be brought to this appointment. A short interview process with questions concerning your stay in Hungary must also be answered.
Step 4: Await Visa Approval
The current estimated wait time is 30 days from the appointment with the local Hungarian embassy or consulate. Once the visa has been approved, nomads can book their flights and head out to Hungary.
Step 5: Apply for Residency
Once the digital nomad visa has been approved, applicants have one final step to complete the process—application for residency in Hungary.
New visa holders must visit the closest local Directorate General for Aliens Policing within 30 days of arrival in Hungary to apply for a residence permit. When receiving the official White Card it may be beneficial to carry copies of the original required documents for the visa. This is to allow for any necessary copies or additional information to be supplied on request.
Why Choose Hungary for Your Next Remote Working Trip?
Hungary currently ranks 44th from a total of 167 different nations in the 2021 Legatum Prosperity Index, an annual independent study utilizing more than 100 different indexes. This positions Hungary between Greece (43rd) and Mauritius (45th) in the ranked study. Ultimately this recognizes Hungary as a fantastic location to visit for digital nomads.
But there’s much more to the country than rankings and statistics. A rich history in the capital, the smaller and lesser-known cities, and the national parks that make up Hungary offer countless ways to spend the visa duration.
Hortobagy and Aggtelek National Park, the second city of Eger, and Europe’s largest freshwater lake (Lake Balaton), all make for must-visits during the year-long visa period.
Remote Work Culture in Hungary
Hungary’s much-adored capital, Budapest, has long been a fan-favorite for tourism, but a rise of digital nomads visiting the city has forced the hand of businesses in the city. There are now countless top-tier coworking spaces and work-friendly cafes with spaces including KAPTÁR coworking, MYCOlive, and KUBIK Coworking all catering to the nomadic way of life.
In addition to the strong digital nomad community, accommodation in the city is incredibly affordable. Platforms such as Airbnb and Vrbo offer a fantastic selection of monthly stays for a fraction of the price of nearby European cousins.
Cost of Living and Quality of Life in Hungary
A low cost of living is one of the most attractive benefits found by remote workers visiting Hungary on their workcation.
The cost of living in Hungary is approximately 51.5% lower than in the United States with an approximate estimated monthly cost of $495 for a single nomad without rent, increasing to an estimated total of $1,720 for a family of four without rent. The estimated rental prices in the country are also low with an average rental price 77.2% lower than equivalent properties in the States.
The quality of life in Hungary is rated as moderate with an overall score of 136 out of a possible total of 240 points. The country performs well with a high safety index, climate index, and cost of living index but shows poor performance in the purchasing power index and the property price-to-income ratio.
Healthcare in Hungary
Again, using the 2021 Legatum Prosperity IndeHungary, Hungary is listed as the 51st position out of 167 different countries included in the study. This health pillar focused on everything from mortality rates and risk factors to health systems and illness outcomes to create a well-painted picture of the health services in the country.
Regardless of the requirements of the Hungary digital nomad visa, we would always recommend that every digital nomad, tourist, or traveler invests in health insurance before traveling to the country.
- 30 Best Places in Budapest for Digital Nomads
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- How to Get a Digital Nomad Visa
Hungary is fast becoming an exciting destination for global nomads to call their European base.
With a low minimum monthly income requirement (just €2,000 per month), great links to central Europe, and the freedom to travel throughout the Schengen Zone, it’s clear why the country is proving popular.
There, however, one or two drawbacks—namely for those traveling with a spouse or dependents. Unlike some other European digital nomad visas, every individual traveling to the country is required to apply for their own visa.
Budapest forms just the tip of the iceberg as to what Hungary has to offer, and although the majority of coworking spaces and working cafes are found here, the entire country proves to be a fantastic place to work. We really are expecting the remote working visa to soar in popularity here in the coming months/years.
This article was originally published in November 2022.