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Hungary to Restart Golden Visa Program


The government of Hungary plans to relaunch its Golden Visa Program, which has been closed since 2017.

The framework for the new Residency by Investment scheme has been presented by the government of Hungary to parliament within a draft bill that oversees immigration for third-country nationals coming to Hungary.

The bill also introduces the category “guest-investor visa” for those coming to Hungary affiliated with projects considered “strategically important investment” by the government, according to a Reuters report.

The “guest-investor visa” is a prerequisite to apply for residence in this territory. It gives the visa holders the opportunity to remain in Hungary for a period of ten years, which can be further extended by ten years, according to the draft.

The Residency by Investment Schemes offered by authorities in Hungary gave foreign nationals the opportunity to acquire residency if they made financial investments in this country and met the needed requirements.

Hungary introduced its Golden Visa program on January 1, 2013, and it remained open until March 31, 2017. In order to benefit from this program, wealthy foreigners were required to invest at least €250,000; then, the government decided to increase the minimum amount of investment required for this program to €300,000.

The scheme brought €1.4 billion from 2013 until 2017, with a total of 3,649 approved temporary residence permits based on the figures from the EU Commission on investor residence programs.

For a period from 2013 until 2017, a total of 6,621 requests for residence by investors were received by authorities in Hungary. Of the total, 4,794 applicants were granted permanent residence permits, and 1,827 applications were refused or turned down.

The program was put to an end following the government’s estimation that it didn’t have any economic impact.

Under the new proposal, the “strategically important project” label could be acquired by an investor buying a Hungarian real-estate fund share of €250,000 or real estate worth €500,000 in Hungary.

European investment programs such as the Golden Visa and Golden Passport programs make significant contributions to the economies of the countries that operate them. However, they often raise security concerns following reports of their involvement in several irregular acts, including money laundering and corruption.

At present, several European countries permit internationals to acquire residency and citizenship through these schemes, with Spain, Montenegro, Portugal and Greece being the most famous countries in Europe for such programs, according to a report from Henley and Partners provided last year.

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