A little about Hungary…
A country that covers around 93,000 square kilometers and borders 7 countries, Hungary is at the very center of continental Europe. With the world’s 58th largest economy according to PPP, Hungary definitely punches above its' weight in terms of size. This is even more impressive considering it lost 71% of its territory, 58% of its population and 32% of its ethnic Hungarians at the Treaty of Trianon after World War 1 in the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire. On top of this, they only became a democratic parliamentary republic at the end of 1989, having been a part of the Soviet Union before that. A country with an amazing history and even more incredible resilience, Hungary is hungry for more success.
Now that you know a bit more about the country, let’s give you a run through on how their healthcare system works.
Cheers to that!It is considered rude to clink your beer glasses in Hungary. This dates back to 1848, when the Austrians quashed the Hungarian Revolution and 13 major officials were executed, the Austrians clinked their beers after each one. Since then it was banned for 150 years, and still to this day is frowned upon.
The Wild East?Forget the Wild West in the USA, Hungary has its own version of cowboys called Csikos. They wear predominantly blue and roam the plains of Puszta on horseback.
Name please!In Hungary, if you want to name your child something that is not on the official list of names, then you have to get permission from the government at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences of all places.
The Healthcare System
The healthcare system in Hungary is mainly given by the government, however since the collapse of the Soviet Union, private healthcare has become increasingly chosen by the people as their preferred route of access to medical services. The level of medical services is very high (as one would expect from most members of the EU), it is relatively affordable and thus is becoming an increasingly popular destination for medical tourism. Anyone who is employed in Hungary must pay a small part of their salary to the Health Insurance Fund (HIF), this is so that the HIF covers those that are unemployed, disabled or retired.
In this system, you must first see a resident doctor who is contracted under the HIF, before being referred to a hospital or specialist if need be. Hospital services are free, so long as you go to the hospital suggested by the doctor, if you decide to go to a different one then you will get charged. Also, you will be charged extra if you request a private room, or extra medication than the amount/type that they prescribe. If you are an EU/EEA citizen, or part of the Schengen Area, then you will have access to health services equivalent to a Hungarian national, as long as you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Also, all expats regardless of where they are from have access to free emergency medical services.
There are some major concerns with the Public system however. One such concern is that Hungarians have the lowest average life expectancy in Europe, mainly because of the inconsistent medical coverage throughout the country. Furthermore, ‘free’ government health insurance doesn’t cover dental treatment or pharmaceuticals and unofficial ‘gratitude’ payments are expected to be given whenever one visits a physician. On account of this and other reasons such as: long lines, ludicrous numbers of forms and a lack of English speaking doctors, many have opted to go for private insurance. The cost of the Private care is on the same level as top European countries and the US and therefore insurance is essential to not have to fork out a small fortune on medical bills. Now let’s explore which VISA option best suits your needs. All Hungarian VISAs cover the Schengen Area, however they have different limitations. Below, we have provided a few of the VISAs that people tend to use:
Work and Residence Permit
All non-EU citizens need a work visa and a residence permit to enter and then work in Hungary. In order to obtain a work visa, you will first need to have a valid residence permit. In order to apply for a residence permit, you must get a job offer from an employer in Hungary. Then the hiring company needs to advertise the job at the Hungarian Labour Office for a period of 15 days, to give a chance for Hungarian citizens to apply for the job. Once fifteen days have passed, the employer can apply for your residence permit. Then, in addition to the residence permit, you will need to provide a Labour agreement and Proof of accommodation to apply for a work visa. The visa and permit are issued for two years and can be renewed if needed.
If you are a non-EU citizen and plan to stay in Hungary for more than 90 days, you will need to apply for a long-term student visa. You can only apply for your student visa prior to your departure at the Hungarian consulate in your country of residence, and you will have to provide the following: An acceptance letter from the university, proof of sufficient funds to cover your tuition fee & living expenses, and also proof of a valid medical insurance. If you are an EU/EEA citizen, you will have to register at the regional directorate of the Office of Immigration and Nationality, within ninety days from the time of your arrival and present a certificate of admission issued by the university. The registration certificate has no expiry date.