Country Guides October 6, 2020

Useful Things to Know If You’re Moving to Hungary as an American

Anastasia Hill

Apart from being the next fashion icon, Anastasia is also a freelance writer and expert on moving (and packing clothes).

If you’re thinking about moving to Hungary, know that this country is unique in many ways – from language and culture to tradition and breathtaking scenery. To be able to fully enjoy all it has to offer you should learn as much as you can about it, from the attractions of it’s capital Budapest, the Pearl of Danube, to the lovely countryside and unforgettable dishes, you should undertake thorough preparations. We’re here to help you prepare for your international moving adventure.

Hungary has plenty of amenities to boast. With its population of nearly 10 million and spanning an area of almost 36.000 square miles, Hungary is divided into 19 counties. It is considered the top tourist destination in Europe and one of the friendliest countries in the world at the same time. Though not a large country, Hungary prides itself on numerous world heritage sites, the largest lake in Central Europe – Lake Balaton, a plethora of thermal lakes, as well as the largest natural grassland in the Old Continent – Hortobágy. If you’re considering moving abroad and living overseas, Hungary might just be the place for you.

Visa Requirements for Expat

Since Hungary is a part of the Schengen Agreement, citizens of certain countries can travel there without a visa. The US residents are allowed to enter the land for up to 90 days as tourists or for business purposes without a visa. For a longer period or for moving internationally, the visa is obliged. If you want to find out what type of visa you should require, the best option is to contact the nearest Hungarian consulate or embassy.

Keep in mind that if you’re planning on moving overseas and living in Europe as an American, your work permit and residence visa must be secured before arrival. Do your homework and see what are the documents needed to travel abroad.

There are different types of visas, so find out what documents are required to get the one you need for moving internationally

Cost of Living

Although the cost of living in Hungary is on a par with, or just slightly below, that of other European countries, it is considerably cheaper than in the UK or France. The currency is the Hungarian Forint (HUF), and the conversion rate USD/HUF is 1 HUF = 0.0033100 USD.

Budapest is the most expensive city there, meaning that the cost of accommodation largely depends on the location, size, and condition of residence. Food, utilities, and transportation follow rental and property issues and depend on your monthly needs.

You can find more details about these costs on the Numbeo website, which enables users to share and compare data and information about the cost of living between countries and cities.

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Average Salary in Hungary

The average salary is about $27,000, but expats tend to earn higher wages than locals. Before you choose the place of living and your future job after moving across the world, learn more about earning by careers, based on Average Salary Survey:

  • Financial Analyst: about $27,000
  • Software Developer: about $34,000
  • IT Manager: about $50,000
  • Human Resources Manager: about $48,000
  • Marketing Manager: about $39,000
  • Engineer: about $25,000

For more in-depth statistics, you should visit websites like Salary Explorer and find out everything about salaries in your prospective new homeland before international relocation.

Cost of living depends on your salary and needs

Housing Options

The cost of housing varies from area to area, as well as the size of the apartment. The most popular is renting since it is cheaper than buying real estate. Also, renting an apartment in the center of Budapest is significantly lower than in the center of other European capitals, for example in Madrid. The best cities to live in Europe usually have a much higher rent.

Most expats live in Budapest in a rented apartment, family home or townhouse, depending on whether they plan on moving abroad alone or with someone. Here’s how much you should put aside for renting, according to Numbeo:

  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre: $440
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre: $330
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre: $810
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre: $585

It’s Easier to Rent an Apartment Than Buy Real Estate Property

Generally, foreigners can become owners of real estate as long as they apply for a purchase permit from the Administrative Authority Office. Purchasing property as your second home is allowed only to those residents living in Hungary at least five years. It might be the best move for those who would like to stay here long-term or for people with their families. Although owning your house is achievable, most people like renting because it’s a more straightforward process than buying a house abroad that requires dealing with tons of paperwork and administration.

Renting might be a more comfortable solution

Finding a Job

As an expat, you may find a job in different sectors, such as IT, engineering, or tourism. For EU or EEA citizens, the process for applying for jobs is not complicated since they don’t need to have a work permit. Americans should find an employer willing to provide them with a work permit, which usually takes a month. Besides, to get a job in Europe as an American there are several more documents you should obtain in the meantime, such as residential contracts and valid health insurance.

Of course, online options are always welcome, so take into consideration these websites to find a job in Land of the Magyars:

Getting your desired job after moving internationally requires additional paperwork

Important Things to Know when Moving to Hungary

Situated in the Carpathian Basin, Hungary takes a lot of pride in the beautiful scenery and dry continental climate. So, if you’re moving here, keep in mind that four different seasons might be the greatest surprise for you with really chilly winter and hot summers. That’s something to think about when it comes to packing – get your lighter and thicker pieces into your boxes before your relocation day. Knowing the climate conditions in the place you’re relocating to is also important if you plan on getting overseas vehicle shipping. If you know how to drive when it’s raining or snowing, then shipping a car overseas shouldn’t be a dilemma for you.

If you are moving with your child and considering Hungary as one of the best places to live abroad with family, you should learn more about school and health systems in order to make your new life more comfortable. Needless to say, one of the most specific things about this nation is the language, so make sure to get some basic language skills ahead of time.

Learn Some Useful Phrases and Language Expressions Beforehand

If you are not familiar with the Hungarian language, finding the proper job only with knowledge of English might be tricky. Hungarian, or Magyar, belongs to the Finno-Ugrian language family and is considered one of the most difficult languages in the world.

So, before hitting the road, take some classes in your homeland and try to gain fluency in speaking and understanding this language in order to overcome the language barrier, especially if you’re moving to another country for love.

The Best Schooling is In and Around Budapest

Some of the Hungarian universities date back from the 14th century, so education has a rich history here. Generally, schooling boasts a high standard, but church-funded public schools have been on the rise lately, too.

Public schools are free and attended by most of the Hungarian children, yet those in rural areas are not well-equipped as schools in bigger cities. Besides, private schools are free from government regulation and offer more modern and specialized teaching methods.

For expats, the most suitable solution is an international education with institutions located in Budapest or its vicinity. These centers of learning will provide your kids with comprehensive facilities and excellent conditions, but they are also the most expensive for expats.

Helpful Hints About Healthcare in Hungary

When it comes to health issues, you can have peace of mind. The quality of healthcare is up to Western standards, and the relatively low cost of medical treatments has made this country very attractive to people from all over the world.

Public healthcare is financed by the Health Insurance Fund (HIF), but still has some disadvantages compared to private medical care – longer waiting times and lower quality. So, many expats are choosing to have private health insurance and treatment, which allows them more efficient processing and healing.

If you need more information about healthcare in Hungary, visit the website related to this topic and expats in The Capital of Freedom.

Foreigners who are moving overseas are usually satisfied with healthcare here

Interesting Facts About Hungarian Culture

If you would like to feel the vibes of this amazing land, you need to know some of the impressive facts before hiring an international moving company, learning what to pack when moving abroad, and coming to your new home.

Founded in 897, this Central European country is one of the oldest in Europe. Whether you’re a business person, family-oriented type, or young professional, it has something for everyone – it is a tranquil area with a modern feel. So, let’s take a glimpse of some of the most exciting and worldwide known facts about Hungary:

  • It boasts about 1,500 spas and has one of the most important spa cultures in the Old Continent
  • It has a long classical music tradition
  • The country’s oldest university, University of Pécs, was founded in 1367, and today Hungarian higher education consists of the dual system – colleges and universities
  • One of Budapest’s nicknames is the Capital of Festivals. It was not given for no reason – it hosts plenty of festivals, such as Sziget Festival or Budapest Spring Festival
  • Some of the most famous world inventors were Hungarians – János Irinyi invented noiseless matches, Erno Rubik created the famous Rubik’s cube, and Imre Bródy made the first krypton electric bulb.
The country is home to a large number of historical sites

Even Christmas Starts Earlier Here

Hungary is unique in many ways, so why would it be different when it comes to Christmas? The Christmas and gift-giving seasons start already on the night of the 5th of December, since the eve of Saint Nicholas Feast Day takes place on 6th December. Also, people here do not decorate the Christmas Tree until Christmas Eve (24th December), and some families ornament it before the kids get home and claim that it was done by an angel.

So, if you’re moving to Hungary during the holidays, you should avoid December crowds. Still, whatever season or time of year you choose to move in, keep in mind that you can find your own peace and lifestyle here. This land will provide you with the best values around the world, considering the cost of living and living standards and adjusting to a new country will be a piece of cake.

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