Things to know
"Capital city of the Great Hungarian Plain"
Debrecen is the county seat and largest city of Hajdú-Bihar county in eastern Hungary.
It is the second largest city in the country with about 200,000 inhabitants and historically the most important city in Hungarian Protestantism.
Although Debrecen is the second largest city in the country, it is a way smaller place with about one-tenth the inhabitants, so do not expect as buzzing life as in Budapest.
Still, there are quite some attractions that reflect its former status as the main hub of the Great Plains, a cultural centre and once even the capital of Hungary.
The Nagytemplom is a must-see and easily accessible.
As for museums, the Déri Museum is definitely worth a trip, but all the others really depend on how much Hungarian art interests you.
Most of the major attractions are in the city park, or Nagyerdő, where you could easily spend a pleasant afternoon.
The Debrecen fairs, noted for horses and livestock, were a famous feature of the Middle Ages in Debrecen, and the city became one of the richest and most influential Hungarian cities.
It was long known as “the Calvinist Rome” because of its importance to the reformed creeds in east-central Europe.
The University of Debrecen now dominates a large portion of the City itself, with its student body of approximately 28,000 benefitting from the use of its incredible and historical buildings to complete one of more than 80 degree programs fully taught in English.
The Symbol of Debrecen, surrounded by vibrance.
The symbol of Debrecen, "The Great Church", is located right in the city square, where another famous landmark, the statue of "Lajos Kossuth" can be found.
This is a vibrant place where you can find shops and restaurants, as well as a wonderful Christmas market during the winter holidays.
If you are not afraid of heights, make your way to the top of the Church and admire Debrecen in all its splendour.
If you love modern and contemporary arts, the MODEM centre is definitely for you.
This is the place to discover marvellous works of art from Central and Eastern European artists. The beauty of the centre is that it has ever-changing exhibitions, thus you will never see the same thing twice!
The University of Debrecen is one of the best universities in the country, being renowned for its high-class medical school.
Although not specifically open to the public, you can go around and have a wander around. It is the oldest continuously operating institution of higher education in Hungary (since 1538). There are approximately 6,297 international students attending the University of Debrecen.
For your inner shopaholic, you will find all the brands you need to keep you occupied at the FORUM Mall, whilst you can also chill in some of the coffee shops scattered there too, before taking yourself off for some relaxation at the Aquaticum Spa to soothe your legs from exploring historical Debrecen.
How does Debrecen Compare?
The average cost of living in Debrecen is approximately €685, which is in the top 29% of the least expensive cities in the world, ranked 6602nd out of 9294 in a recent global list and 2nd out of 33 in Hungary.
The median after-tax salary is €719, which is enough to cover living expenses for 1 month.
Ranked 4360th (TOP 47%) in the list of best places to live in the world and 2nd best city to live in Hungary.
With an estimated population of 201K, Debrecen is the 2nd largest city in Hungary.
Debrecen is approximately 18.1% cheaper to live in than Greece, with savings to be made across the board.
For example, in direct comparison to Greece, you would pay:
23.2% less for restaurants
17.9% less for groceries
34.6% less for transport
33% less for housing
38.2% less for entertainment / sports
2.3% less for clothing!
A one-bed apartment in the downtown area would likely cost around €330 - €370 per month, however, moving outside the city centre would save you a little more at approximately €240 - €291 per month.
Monthly utilities are rather expensive, but of course, the sums in the bill would highly depend on the amount of consumption of water or gas or electricity.
The average bill is €140 per month.
The Internet and the mobile phone are cheap too: €13 per month for unlimited Internet and €0.12 per minute on the phone.
Cost of Living
In order to work in Hungary without problems you need to request your Tax card, this can be done by filling the T34 form, you can download it in Hungarian and in English but only submitted in Hungarian, this is the information about how to properly fill the T34 form.
After filling out the form, you have to print it and take it to the National Tax and Customs Administration (Nemzeti Adó- és Vámhivatal – NAV), where you will get a Tax identification number and then you must register that number into the Neptun system and you will receive the tax card by post later.
Once you have your tax card, you will be able to work and get paid without problems in Hungary.
Hungary's income tax is relatively low compared to other European countries, being only a flat rate of 15% is very attractive for many ex-pats, and as an additional tip, many investors like Hungary for its corporate tax rates and easy incorporation laws.
The Business culture in Hungary is one of the most sought ones around Europe, since EU citizens don’t need any permits to work in Hungary, there are many ex-pats interested in finding a job in Hungary for its low unemployment rate and their work and living standards, between their work benefits there are include holiday pay, maternity pay and paid sick leave and with its economical grow there is ever-improving health and educational system.
The working hours in Hungary are the traditional 40 hours weekly, with 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
Eligibility to Work in Debrecen
With an attractive balance of labour costs and work quality, advantageous business incentives, a competitive tax system, and investment-friendly economic policies, Hungary is a notable business expansion option that is ripe with opportunities for foreign companies and entrepreneurs.
Hungarian visa and permit regulations vary according to the zones foreign nationals reside in – The European Union, the European Economic Area, and outside zones are all affected by these regulations.
What types of Work Visas and Permits in Hungary are there?
For a foreign national to enter Hungary in order to work, there are a few work permits and visas one can apply for:
Types of Permits
Individual work permit – For foreign nationals who want to work in Hungary for not more than 90 days over a 180-day period.
Joint work permit – For foreign nationals who wish to work in Hungary for more than 90 days within a 180-day period.
Residence permits – permits residency in Hungary for up to 90 days.
Single application procedure – For non-EEA nationals who wish to reside in Hungary for more than 90 days within a 180-day period. This permit type can only be applied for through an employment relationship with a Hungarian employer.
Types of Visas
Long Stay Visa (D) – For those who wish to stay in Hungary long-term, and also acts as a pre-approved residency permit.
Working Schengen Visa – This visa type is used for short-term employment opportunities.
Schengen Business Visa – For foreign, non-EEA nationals who wish to travel to a Schengen area for temporary purposes. This visa can be used for single or multiple entries. It allows holders to stay for 90 days within six months.
Seasonal Employment Visa – foreign nationals who wish to work in agriculture, animal husbandry, or fishing are eligible for this visa. This allows the applicant to work for no more than 180 days.
EU Blue Card – a highly-skilled non-EU worker residing in an EU-member country can apply for this card as long as a residence permit is also acquired. To be eligible for this card, the foreign national will need to prove 18 months of lawful stay in a member state.
How to obtain a Hungarian Work Visa?
For non-EEA employees to work in Hungary, they will need a Long-Stay Visa, a work permit, and a residence permit. A common process is to get these done through the single application procedure of the work permit.
The documentation for the application of a work permit depends on the type of permit being applied for, but the process involves the collaboration of the employer and the national immigration authorities, as well as the foreign national.
The single application procedure is specific to applications made by non-EEA nationals, who want to apply to work in Hungary and are in an employment relationship with a Hungarian employer for more than 90 days within a 180-day period.
For the visa/residence permit application, the following documents must be translated to Hungarian or English and legalized (although documentation requirements may vary according to the country of the non-EEA employee):
The application form: can be submitted electronically or by hand
A valid passport: Your passport must be issued within the last 10 years, contain at least two blank pages, and be valid at least 3 months after the visa’s duration
Photos: Passport photos that have been taken around the time of application, in colour
Reference letter from prospective employer (original and copy from government e-portal)
Proof of sufficient funds and means
Proof of accommodation
Plane ticket reservations
Proof of health insurance
A certified copy of a valid employment contract
Proof of employee’s qualifications and experience
Any relevant certifications, licenses, references, or authorization
How to Apply for a work visa/work permit in Hungary
Before the application of a visa/residence permit, a work permit must be applied for by the employer, which follows this process:
Advertise the job in the Hungarian Labour Office for 15 days to allow sufficient time for an unemployed Hungarian national to compete for the position.
Submit a manpower request to the applicable regional branch of the Labor Centre – this request must be done with the following requirements: a valid workforce requirement for the overseas individual, an absence of local workers to fill the position, and the foreign national satisfying the employment conditions.
Requests for a work permit must be made within 60 days of making the labour demand request, which requires the following documents: certificate of vocational qualification required to perform job activities, employment conditions certificate/contract, a document certifying the employer’s title of operation, and a medical certificate.
There are two types of procedures when applying for a work permit: General and Simplified. They vary according to the position the foreign national will have in the company, as well as possible exemptions.
The Labor Centre will 10-30 days to process the work permit application. Once approved, a resolution must be issued which specifies the information of the employer who is engaging the foreign national, workplace details, job description, work activities, and the employment term.
Once the work permit is acquired, the long-stay visa, which acts as a pre-approved residence permit, may be applied for, which follows these steps (although this can vary according to the country you are applying from):
Fill in the visa application form
Present documents: You need to present/attach the required documents you have collected to your application.
Schedule an appointment with your embassy/consulate: Once the application is done, you must make an appointment at your local Hungarian embassy or consulate. This process may vary according to the regulation in your country of residence and might include an interview.
Go to the embassy/consulate & give your biometrics: Your fingerprints need to be scanned and your facial image taken (if you have not travelled to the Schengen Area in the last 5 years) at the Hungarian embassy/consulate.
Pay the visa fee: The payment process/requirements may also vary according to the country of residence.
It takes up to 60 days to approve a Long-Stay visa.
How much is a Hungary Work Visa?
Visa applicants are subject to a visa fee of EUR 60. If submitted in Hungary, the administrative fee is HUF 18,000.
Working Visa / Permit for Hungary
To legally work in Hungary, members of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) do not require a work visa or work permit. Non-EEA nationals, however, require both.
A Long-Stay Visa acts as a pre-approved permit, so the foreign national is only entitled to a stay of 30 days under this visa. Therefore, they must visit the regional office of the National Directorate-General for Aliens Policing which is responsible for the area in which their accommodation is located as soon as possible after entering Hungary, in order to apply for receive a resident permit and register their accommodation.
Non-EEA nationals will also need to apply for a Social Insurance Identification Number from the National Health Insurance Fund Administration, as well as a Tax Identification Number from the Tax Authority.
A residence permit is valid for up to 3 years. A work permit is valid for two years, whilst the visa can be valid for a year.
Non-EU and non-EEA nationals may also apply for an EU Blue Card – this works both as a work and residence permit for highly-qualified non-EU workers who wish to work and live in the EU. To meet the qualifications, you will need:
Proof of your higher education qualification (university degree, transcripts, etc.), or in some cases, proof of at least 5 years of relevant professional experience.
An employment contract of at least a year (does not apply for self-employed work or entrepreneurs).
A higher-than-average salary compared to the average salary of Hungary (except when the lower salary threshold applies).
Long-Stay Visa application.
The necessary travel documents – passport, health insurance, travel itinerary, etc.
Proof you completed the legal requirements to practice your profession, where this is regulated.
Business Visa Hungary
To engage in business-related activities in Hungary, any non-EEA national will need to apply for a Business Visa. The type of Visa needed is a Short-Stay Visa C. The application for this visa requires the following documents:
An invitation letter from the Hungarian company you will be visiting, which includes their address and the dates of your visit.
A certificate from your employer stating your business travel.
A business bank statement for the last 6 months.
Proof of previous trade relations between the two companies (if applicable)
An original certified copy of the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association (registered with joint stock companies), their trade license (first issue and most recent renewal), as well as any proprietorship or partnership documents.
Expenses: the employer or partner company must state expense coverage on the letter or invitation.
The maximum validity of a Short Stay Visa C is 3 months within a 6-month period and costs EUR 80. However, the time validity of this visa may vary, according to what your embassy grants you.
Hungary Visa for EU citizens
Work visas and permits for Hungary are not required for EU and EEA nationals, regardless of the purpose or length of stay. However, EU nationals must have a National ID Card or passport that is valid for the duration of their stay.
EU/EEA nationals and their family members are entitled to stay in Hungary for more than 3 months if they are in active and paid employment, studying, or supporting themselves with their own funds (which includes full healthcare coverage).
However, a stay exceeding 3 months must be notified to the regional National Directorate-General for Aliens Policing office of the person’s residence and apply for residence documentation.
The Directorate will issue a registration certificate, as well as a residence card which is valid for a maximum of 5 years for family members who are non-EU Nationals that taking up residence in Hungary. Any changes in residence must be notified to the Directorate.
If an EU national wishes to stay in Hungary to work, they must also register with the local tax authority for a Tax Identification Number and a Social Security Identification Number to make payments to the National Health Insurance Fund Administration.
Hungary Visa for UK Citizens
In January 2021, the rules for travelling to the Schengen Area changed, due to Brexit. UK citizens can travel to the Schengen Area without a visa for up to 90 days within any 180-day period, regardless of the purpose of their visit.
However, to stay longer than 90 days (for work or study), they will have to apply for a visa and the relevant permits.
UK Nationals must have at least 6 months validity after the departure date on their passport, and you may have to show proof of travel (itinerary, accommodation, etc.), health insurance, and funds at border control.
More information on Visas and Work Permits for Hungary can be found here.