HungaryOfficial Name: Republic of Hungary
Must be valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area.
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Not required for under 90 days within each 180 day period
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
10,000 euros (or equivalent)
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
10,000 euros (or equivalent)
Embassies and Consulates
Szabadság tér 12
Telephone: +(36) (1) 475-4400
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(36) (1) 475-4400
Fax: +(36) (1) 475-4188 or +(36) (1) 475-4113
Hungary is a constitutional state with a market economy. Budapest is a popular tourist destination with good facilities. Tourist facilities outside Budapest are widely available but may not be as developed as those found in Western Europe. Hungarian is the official language; English is not widely spoken outside Budapest. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Hungary for additional information on U.S.- Hungary relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
Hungary is a party to the Schengen Agreement. Your U.S passport should be valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure. U.S. citizens may enter Hungary for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. You need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries please see our Schengen fact sheet.
If you are officially assigned to Hungary (both Diplomatic and Administrative/Technical Staff) and hold a valid diplomatic or official passport, you are required to obtain the appropriate entry visa prior to arrival. The same applies to all Eligible Family Members who are on official assignment orders. The appropriate visa is required in order to be eligible for a residence permit and Identification Card upon arrival, which is obtained from the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
If you would like to visit Hungary for any reason other than those listed above, or if you would like to receive a residence or work permit, please contact the Embassy of Hungary at 3910 Shoemaker Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 362-6730. Visit the Embassy of Hungary’s website for the most current visa information. For residence permit information please visit the Hungarian Immigration Office’s website.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Hungary.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page or visit the National Tax and Customs Administration of Hungary website.
Safety and Security
Although Hungary is generally a safe place to visit, you should use caution and stay alert. Be especially careful in train stations, crowded tourist areas, crowded buses, trams, and metros. In addition, you should avoid demonstrations and political rallies. In a few instances where demonstrations have turned violent, authorities have used riot police and water cannons to control crowds.
In recent years, extreme ethnic nationalist groups have gained popularity in Hungary advocating intolerance towards Jews, Roma, and homosexuals. Although these groups are not explicitly anti-U.S., you should avoid public demonstrations and confrontations with their members. Be alert and aware of your surroundings, and pay attention to what the local news media have to say. Many demonstrations and large gatherings are announced on the Demonstration Notices page on the U.S. Embassy Budapest website.
To stay connected:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.
- Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.
- Bookmark the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Hungary on Twitter and visit the Embassy’s website.
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or via a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Take some time before traveling to consider your personal security and check for useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: Crime in Budapest is a concern. Be careful during your visit and exercise the same caution you would in any big city. Do not walk alone at night. Keep your belongings secure at all times. Passports, cash, and credit cards are favorite targets of thieves. Keep items in a safe place and be aware that pockets, purses, and backpacks are especially vulnerable, even if they close with a zipper. We recommend you use a travel money belt that keeps your cash and passport under your outer clothing and well out of view. Be sure to secure these items when you get back to your hotel or residence.
There has been increasing reports of pick-pocketing on the trains that run between Budapest and Vienna, as well as at the Vienna train station. Please be especially mindful of your belongings when traveling this route.
There also have been reports of both foreign males and females possibly being drugged for either robbery or sexual assault. Visit only reputable establishments and do not accept food or drink from anyone but a server. Be sure to watch anything you consume and do not allow anyone to put anything into your food or drink after you are served.
The U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section has a special web page with further details on common scams and crimes in Hungary.
Scams targeting motorists occur. Motorists are advised to be careful when stopped at gas stations and rest areas, or while fixing flat tires or other mechanical problems, especially at night. One scam involved an individual who attracts your attention by claiming there is something wrong with your car to get you to pull over and then robs you. Do not leave your luggage and valuables unattended inside any vehicle for any length of time, even to load or unload items or to check in to a hotel.
Another common scam involves young women asking foreign men to buy them drinks. When the bill arrives the drinks cost hundreds of dollars each. You should avoid bars and restaurants suggested by cab drivers or people on the street. Every bar and restaurant should provide a menu with prices on it. Look at the prices before you order anything, including drinks. U.S. citizens are advised to avoid the following places as they are known to engage in scams.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
- Replace a stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Hungary is 112. Operators can speak English.
Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Hungary, you are subject to its laws. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. Criminal penalties vary from country to country. Persons violating Hungarian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Hungary are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. You can be prosecuted in the United States for engaging in sexual conduct with children or for using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country regardless of the legality of these activities under that country’s laws. Counterfeit and pirated goods are illegal in the United States and if you purchase them in a foreign country, you may be breaking local law as well.
You should carry your passport with you at all times. Hungarian law requires all visitors to carry their passports; a photocopy of the passport is not a valid substitute. You may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. Since expert pickpockets frequent tourist areas and train stations, please keep your passport in a safe place. Hungary has a “zero tolerance” policy on drinking and driving. You should not drive after drinking, regardless of the amount of alcohol you have consumed. If you break local laws in Hungary, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution.
Arrest notifications in host country: While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in that country, others may not. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Traveler’s checks are not universally accepted in Hungary. ATMs are readily-available. Western Union is the most prevalent international money transfer company and has hundreds of locations throughout Hungary.
Hungary’s custom authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Hungary of firearms, antiquities, prescription medications, and other items. You should contact the Hungarian Embassy in Washington or one of Hungary’s consulates in either New York or Los Angeles for specific information regarding customs. You can also visit National Tax and Customs Administration of Hungary website.
WOMEN TRAVELER INFORMATION: If you are a woman traveling abroad please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
LGBT RIGHTS: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBT events in Hungary. Provisions of a new criminal code prohibit certain forms of hate speech and prescribe increased punishments for violence committed against members of the LGBT community when anti-LGBT bias is a motivating factor. Societal pressures however continue to make association with an LGBT identity difficult, but the government has stated its commitment to protecting LGBT rights and does recognize same sex partnerships, although not same sex marriages. For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Hungary you may review the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page.
ACCESSIBILITY: Individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from the United States. Although Hungarian law requires all government buildings to be accessible to persons with disabilities, these regulations have only been in force during the last decade and many older buildings and areas are still not accessible. The accessibility of private buildings, restaurants, and hotels varies widely.
Buses, trams, subways, and railroads provide reliable transportation in cities and throughout the country, but lack the most basic facilities and equipment for disabled access. Although there are plans to upgrade municipal bus fleets, currently most buses, trams, and metro stations are not equipped with lifts for travelers with disabilities. Taxis are a good means of transportation.
Medical treatment in Hungary is adequate, but hospitals and other medical facilities are not always comparable to what you may find in the United States. Doctors are generally well trained, but there is a lack of adequate emergency services. Some doctors speak English. Prescription and over-the-counter medicines are widely available at pharmacies. However, customers may have difficulty finding English-speaking staff at pharmacies. The Embassy maintains a website with more details about specific medical care providers.
In Hungary, doctors and hospitals expect payment in cash at the time of service and usually cannot bill your insurer directly, even if you have coverage overseas. This means you may have to pay bills from your own funds and claim reimbursement from your insurer later. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctor and hospital visits abroad. If your policy isn’t valid when you travel, it is a good idea to get another policy for your trip. For more information, please see our Health Abroad page.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Hungary, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Roadside assistance, including medical and other services, is generally available. English is usually spoken at the emergency numbers listed below. If you call and the operator does not speak English, dial 112.
24-hour English language emergency assistance: 112
Hungarian highways are generally in good condition. Urban road maintenance is also good, although areas under construction are not always adequately marked or blockaded. In Budapest, many roads are often under construction. Outside the city, roads are often narrow, poorly lit, and can be in a poor state of repair in some areas. Train crossings are not always well-signed. Pedestrians, tractors, and farm animals often use these small rural roads, so stay alert. Additional information on road conditions is available from “Útinform” at (36)(1)336-2400.
Hungary has zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol. Police often conducts routine roadside checks and administers breath-analysis tests. If you are caught driving after drinking, you will face jail and fines. Penalties for a car accident involving injury or death are one to five years in prison. Police stops vehicles regularly to check documents. It is against the law to use a hand-held cell phone while driving anywhere in Hungary.
You can drive in Hungary with a valid U.S. driver’s license for one year as long as you have a certified Hungarian translation of the license attached to it. Hungary also recognizes international driver’s permits (IDP) issued by the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance, when used along with a valid state driver’s license. If you have an IDP, you do not need to have the license translated, but must carry the IDP and state driver’s license together. After one year in Hungary, U.S. citizens must obtain a Hungarian driver’s license. For further information on this procedure visit the U.S. Embassy’s website.
The speed limit for cars and motorcycles on the freeways is 130 km/h; on rural expressways it is 110 km /h; and in towns and villages it is 50 km/h. Many drivers do not observe the speed limits, and you should be extra careful on two-way roads with aggressive local drivers and less space for passing. Car seats are required for infants. Children under age 12 may not sit in the front seat. Seat belts are mandatory for everyone in the car. You may not turn right on a red light. The police issues tickets for traffic violations and charges fines on the spot. The police will issue you a postal check (money order) that reflects the amount of the fine. You may pay the fine at any Hungarian post office. When dispute about fines or offence is involved the police will confiscate your passport and issue “invitation letter” to appear at the police station the next day or day after to resolve the dispute. Your passport is returned after resolution and/or the payment of the fine.
As in most European countries, you must pay to use Hungary’s highways. Payments must be made either at a gas station or online.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Hungary’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Hungary’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.