Hungary extends COVID-19 regulations - Business travel possible

Meanwhile in Hungary: Pandemic regulations will stay in place until March. What are the rules for travel? What regulations apply? Here’s everything you need to know.

A passport placed on top of a suitcase.
©Rudy and Peter Skitterians

Minister Gergely Gulyás of the Prime Minister’s Office announced at the end of last week that Hungary’s pandemic regulative measures will be extended until March 1. What does this mean to international businesses? Are trips to Hungary banned completely?

Travel to Hungary for non-Hungarian citizens, for business, family, and other justifiable reasons, is still possible. Here are the broad strokes:

  • The lockdown does not apply to freight traffic crossing the border.
  • Passenger travel for business/economic purposes: Can enter into Hungary without restriction with necessary documentation
  • Passenger travel into Hungary (private, cultural, family, etc): As a general rule, not permitted to non-Hungarian citizens. But, the Hungarian Police is authorized to grant exemptions to the passenger travel border lockdown on an individual basis, following the submission of an online application form.
  • Epidemiological measures: Persons entering into Hungary and not suspected of having been infected with the disease still have to undergo the compulsory quarantine procedure and be placed under "home quarantine" (self-quarantine) for ten days.
  • With the submission of two valid negative test results, individuals can apply for the waiving of the home quarantine measure. In this case, the authorities will lift the home quarantine.
  • General pandemic regulation rules in the country still apply.

Entry into Hungary – Exemptions for business, family and other trips

Per the Government Decree 408/2020 (VIII. 30.) (English), passenger traffic through the Hungarian border (for persons other than Hungarian citizens) is not permitted with the exception of various specific cases, which include participation in official proceedings, business trips, family events, etc. – and “other justifiable reasons”.

For business and economic purposes, passengers can enter the country without further restrictions. For this, documentation is neededas evidence of the nature of the economic/business trip.

The competent authority which can legally grant an exemption to the general passenger traffic lockdown is the Hungarian Police. Exemptions can be granted upon individual requests.

  • Planned travel on land: The processing of these requests fall within the jurisdiction of the police body located in the county in which the place of entry (border crossing) is located.
  • Planned travel by plane: The case falls within the jurisdiction of the XVIII. District Police Headquarters of Budapest (BRFK) in the case of airplane travel to the Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport.

Here is a detailed overview of the procedure on the website of the Hungarian Police with a list of possible justifications and other possible circumstances.

Border crossing exemption requests can only be submitted electronically via the website of the Hungarian Police. Here is a link to the online request forms (The COVID-02 request form applies in the case of persons without an electronic governmental system account). The Police will reply to the applicant with an answer letter.

Hotels are generally not allowed to host visiting tourists, however, staying at hotels on business, education or health-related travel is possible. This might require further documentation, for example, the written letter from the Hungarian Police granting the exemption to the border lockdown.

Waiving the self-quarantine requirement

Upon entering into Hungary, passengers may have to undergo an obligatory medical examination (body temperature measurement). Individuals not suspected of being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus are only required to be placed under home quarantine (self-quaraninte) by the competent epidemiological authority for a duration of ten days.

Upon the request of the quarantined person, the home quarantine can be lifted. The condition for this is for the person to undergo, within five days, two consecutive SARS-CoV-2 tests, with at least 48 hours between the two tests, and receive valid negative test results on both. On this condition, the home quarantine requirement can be waived and the home quarantine lifted.

The first of these tests can be any certified test taken within the Schengen area (Or the US and Canada), with the condition that the test result is certified in either Hungarian or English.

Since the first of the two required tests to forgo the home quarantine does not have to be taken in Hungary, it is a good approach to schedule a coronavirus test for a couple of days before the planned entry into the country – So that immediately upon arrival to Hungary, the second test can already be taken.

There are many test centers but testing can also be done at the Liszt Ferenc Airport. Here is a link to the info page of the coronavirus testing center at the airport. Testing at the airport test center requires online registration, which can be accessed through this link. The airport testing center will send the test results within 24-48 hours.

The test results can be submitted to the Police following this link (COVID-08 application form). The police processes test submissions and is required to answer within 24 hours.

Summary

The procedure might seem very complicated at first, so here is a recap of the necessary steps for traveling into the country.

  • For business/economic travel, no restrictions, conditional upon presenting documentation as evidence on the business/economic nature of travel.
  • Submit passenger travel border entry request electronically to the police (Online form COVID-02, police website). Explanation and links above.
  • If granted, travel into Hungary is possible. Upon arrival, medical examination (body temperature measurement) is taken. If no infection is suspected, only home quarantine (self-quarantine) applies.
  • Either wait in home quarantine (E.g. hotel stay) for ten days, or apply for the waiving of the home quarantine requirement.
  • For this, two negative test results are needed. It is advised to take one test in the Netherlands, 48 hours before the planned second test, then take the second test at the airport.
  • Upon receiving the second result, submit the test results to the police which can waive the home quarantine requirement. (Online form COVID-08, police website)

Pandemic rules apply

There are extensive restrictive measures still in place in Hungary.  These are the main rules that affect everyday life:

  • Curfew: There is a mandatory, general curfew in place every night between 8 pm and 5 am.
  • Shop closure: Shops, as well as the providers of other services (barbers, beauty salons, etc.) are required to close at 7 pm. Exception: Pharmacies, gas stations.
  • Hotels: Hotels are not allowed to host tourists. Only visitors on business trips, educational, health-related or traveling on official business, are allowed to stay.
  • Catering: Restaurants, coffee shops, catering venues are to be closed to guests. The home delivery of food and the selling of take-away food and beverages is allowed.
  • Assemblies and cultural events are prohibited.
  • Entertainment and other facilities (Theatres, movie theatres, museums, gyms, fitness studios, etc.) are closed. Individual, open-air sport activities are allowed.
  • Private and family events are allowed, with a maximum of ten attendees. Funerals are allowed with a maximum of 50 attendees. Wedding receptions are not allowed, but official wedding ceremonies can be held with the presence of immediate family.
  • Mask wearing: Facial masks are mandatory in public spaces in every settlement over 10 thousand inhabitants. Masks are also mandatory on public transport, in taxis, etc. Parks and green areas are an exception.

Embassy of the Netherlands in Hungary
Agriculture office
bdp-lnv@minbuza.nl