Comprehensive Guide to Hungary’s New Golden Visa: The Guest Investor Program 

Hungary’s announcement of its new golden visa, the Guest Investor Program, has sparked significant interest in the market. As details of the program unfold, it’s crucial to understand the regulations that will govern it. This blog provides a detailed guide to the program’s rules, effective dates, and application procedures. 

Phased Implementation of the Program 

The provisions of the new legislation, focusing on the entry and residence of third-country nationals, are implemented in phases. Most provisions took effect on January 1st, 2024, distinguishing between short-term and long-term stays. A permanent stay is defined as any stay in Hungary exceeding 90 days within a 180-day period. Third-country nationals can stay permanently for business or investment purposes either as self-employed guests or as guest investors. 

Notably, the rules specifically for guest investor residence permits, often referred to as golden visas in international jargon, will not come into effect until July 1st, 2024. The Hungarian government has the authority to set procedural rules and conditions for applying for a guest investor visa by decree, which is yet to be adopted. 

Regulations for the Guest Investor Visa 

Initial Application Process 

The first step to obtaining a guest investor residence permit is applying for a guest investor visa, a two-step process. The visa allows stays of more than 90 days and multiple entries within a 180-day period, valid for up to two years. This visa becomes invalid once a residence permit is obtained. 

Eligible Investments 

Guest investor visas are issued to third-country nationals making investments considered to be of national economic interest. Eligible Investments include: 

  1. Real Estate Fund Investment: Acquisition of investment certificates issued by a real estate fund registered with the National Bank of Hungary, with a minimum value of EUR 250,000. 
  1. Direct Real Estate Investment: Ownership of residential property in Hungary, valued at a minimum of EUR 500,000. 
  1. Monetary Donation: A donation of at least EUR 1 million to an institution of higher education operated by a public trust performing public functions. 

Specific Conditions for Investments 

  • Real Estate Fund Investment 
  • The investment certificate must be held for at least five years. 
  • The real estate fund must be managed by a licensed fund manager registered with the Constitution Protection Office. 
  • At least 40% of the fund’s net asset value must be invested in Hungarian residential real estate projects. 
  • Direct Real Estate Investment 
  • The property must be residential and free from encumbrances. 
  • A prohibition on alienation and encumbrance must be registered in the land register for five years from the date of purchase. 
  • The property must be owned by the applicant or jointly with immediate family members for at least five years. 
  • A 4% property transfer tax is payable on the purchase price. 
  • Rental income is subject to a 15% personal income tax. 

Visa Application Requirements 

Applicants must declare their intent to make one of the eligible investments, with three months to fulfill this commitment after entering Hungary. Proof of legitimate funds for the investment must be provided, along with evidence of health care and financial coverage. Applicants must not be subject to any Schengen Information System alerts, expulsion orders, or bans, and must not pose a threat to public order, security, or health in Hungary. 

The application process takes 21 days from the receipt of the application by the authorities. 

Regulations for the Guest Investor Residence Permit 

Application Process

Only holders of a valid guest investor visa can apply for the residence permit, which is valid for ten years and renewable for an additional ten years. The application must be submitted within 93 days of entering Hungary and proof of the completed investment must be provided within three months. 

Benefits of the Residence Permit 

Holders can: 

  • Stay in Hungary. 
  • Conduct business activities. 
  • Serve as executive officers of companies. 
  • Take up local employment. 

Family Inclusion 

The main applicant can extend the residence permit to immediate family members (spouses and minor children). Dependent parents, siblings, and direct-line relatives can obtain residence permits through separate procedures if they cannot care for themselves due to health reasons, valid for up to three years. 

Tax Implications 

Holders of the guest investor residence permit are not considered Hungarian tax residents if they spend less than 183 days in Hungary within a 12-month period. 

Renewal of the Guest Investor Residence Permit 

Extensions can be granted if the applicant maintains the required investment: 

  • Real Estate Fund: Holding EUR 250,000 worth of investment certificates. 
  • Direct Real Estate Investment: Maintaining an investment of at least EUR 500,000 in the initial real estate, or demonstrating a new investment of equivalent value if the property has been sold after the five-year holding period. 
  • Monetary Donation: Automatic extension upon request. 

Proof of residence in Hungary is not required for the extension, which can be granted for up to ten years. 

Permanent Residence and Citizenship 

Holders of a guest investor residence permit can obtain permanent residence through a national residence card, issued after three years of continuous residence in Hungary. The process includes demonstrating guaranteed accommodation, livelihood, and health insurance coverage. 

For citizenship, an eight-year residency period is required, along with proof of permanent residence, a clean criminal record, and passing a Hungarian constitutional knowledge exam. Naturalization must not pose any risks to public security or national security. 


By June 30, 2024, the minimum investment for all Caribbean Citizenship by Investment programs, will increase to $200,000 USD. Take advantage of this limited window to apply before the price increase is effective


Hungary’s Guest Investor Program offers a structured pathway for third-country nationals to obtain long-term residence through significant economic contributions. Understanding the phased implementation and specific requirements for eligible investments is crucial for prospective applicants. With the potential for business opportunities, family inclusion, and eventual citizenship, Hungary’s golden visa program presents a compelling option for international investors. 

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