How to move to Budapest Hungary

by | Feb 9, 2018 | 1 | 🌏 Travel, Europe, Hungary, Living | Moving

How to move to Budapest Hungary? Our guide will help to make your transition easier and aims to answer all you “before moving” questions.

As you may know, – if you read our blog- we’re from Budapest, Hungary.  Our country doesn’t always get the best rep in the media (mainly because many of our politicians) but I’m proud that my country is opening up and that we have more and more tourists, students, and foreigners visiting and moving here every year. Hungary has a difficult past, it was only 26 years ago since the last Soviet soldiers (Hungary was under Soviet Occupation even after the “Fall of the Iron Curtain” in 1989) left the country (June 19, 1991) and our country improved and grown a lot during these years.

I really think these are the best years to visit or move to Budapest (or any other city, town, village) in the country either if you want to work or study here. Hungary is still considerably cheaper than most western European countries but now you get all the perks that come with those. As we improve and grow the prices are also changing and rising so it’s the best time to visit before they skyrocket!

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Liberty Bridge – Szabadság híd ( My personal favorite) 

Over the past couple of years, we have met many people who were interested in moving to Budapest.  And we’re very happy to hear this. As the years pass by there are more and more foreigners living, studying, and working in Budapest. Budapest was always a culturally diverse city, with friendly people, great food, and many opportunities. We’re both from Budapest and have great insights into this fascinating city. And before you say we’re biased (which we’re obviously) but all the blogs and travel sites have raving reviews from people who either visited our country or decided to move here.

We lived in 4 countries so far and on 2 different continents. Held jobs from waiting to higher management in Retail, Hospitality, and Marketing. We can say we have some experience on this subject and not only because we’re from Hungary but also because we had to deal with moving, registering in a new country, finding a new job, a place to live, and making all the big transitions that come with a decision like this. I’m a huge research geek and so happy that we’re living in an age where everything and anything can be found and learned online for free. So, if you put some effort in it you can gain all the information you need.

While you can find most or probably all these info online we decided to collect all of it together so you won’t have to do your research on hundreds of different sites. I also included a couple of good tips you may want to consider and/or implement after or before you move to Hungary.

Are you ready?

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Hotel President’s Intermezzo Roof Terrace is our go-to place if we want a beautiful view with our drink & food.

Before moving to Hungary ~ Are you sure about Budapest?

Most people only know Hungary’s capital but this small country has a lot more to offer. No matter if you are a student, single worker starting a career or a family of six, it is worth some extra digging on the net and read a little about other cities as well.

Hungary is a considerably small country, with about 9.5 million inhabitants, can be a good choice to try your luck. As a developing country of the European Union, Hungary welcomes foreigners wanting to start a business or find a job in the country.

Most citizens – about 50% – speak English or German, however, to get a job in most parts of the country you are required to speak at least basic Hungarian. It is worth to think about Pecs, Debrecen, Szeged, Eger, Szekesfehervar, Tokaj, and Sopron when considering to move to Hungary. It’s good to know that the younger generation (age under 40) are able to speak at least basic English.  If you want to start practicing here is our guide to the best places online where you can learn any language for free.

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Tokaj from above. It’s also a perfect place to learn more about Hungarian wines and to do some quality wine tasting on a budget.

~ Prepare for all the differences

First is the Hungarian weather. We have four seasons in Hungary; Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall. Winters could be as cold as minus 18 degrees and summers as hot as 40 degrees. While spring and autumn are quite unpredictable with rain, sunshine and sometimes even snow (fall).

Public transport differs from many countries as well. In many cities of the world automatic system is used to validate tickets, here it is still manned. That could occasionally cause a little inconvenience, but if you buy the proper ticket/pass, no trouble could come.

A single ticket in Budapest: 350 HUF ($1.30), buy ten for 3000 HUF ($11).  Monthly pass: 10500 HUF ($38). There are dozens of more types, feel free to check it out here!

In most of the above-mentioned cities, public transport is very well linked, therefore owning a car is not necessary. Traveling between cities is also pretty easy, cheap, and convenient. There are regular and well-connected train and bus routes to every corner of the country.

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Vintage Train in Hungary. Don’t worry most of our trains are more modern I just like these ones. 
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Underground & suburban rails One unique fact is that UBER is banned from the country. That means you can only use regular taxis or the world’s biggest transportation company’s competitor, Taxify. There are also cheap taxi companies you can call for longer rides or airport rides. .

Learning the Hungarian language. This one is going to be quite a challenge! It has no resemblance to any other languages and you may find a bit over complicated with all the tough vowels and rules. Do not worry! You will get by with the basics, locals tend to forgive foreigners for not mastering their beloved mother tongue. As will be mentioned later, you can study and work with only English, takes a little more effort though.

~ Socializing

Hungarian people can be divided into three groups (roughly): there are the very friendly, sociable ones. The friendly but not speaking English ones and the less welcoming people, who don’t mind foreigners but feel better off, left alone. Either you come across, don’t be shy, it is very unlikely to meet someone hostile. Of course, the bigger the city is, the easier to meet more English speakers.

The reason we bring up socializing is making your settling in much easier. If looking for only company, or help with finding an apartment, job or gathering useful information, knowing a local will do the best for you. As always, befriending people is the easiest in bars and community hotspots. You can also check out Expat Exchange and Internations for more info and advice.

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For all the info and help about Immigration & Asylum to Hungary visit BMBAH.hu

Immigration

Visa requirements vary depending on the country. You can find out about your country here: BMBAH.hu Info for students about how to study in Hungary: CEU.EDU

It is always easier to get the visa if you agree on a job with an employer before obtaining a visa. The employer may be able to help with the procedure and immigration officers see your efforts so will accept your application easier. Also, you won’t have to stay at the job if you don’t like it. You can always change after you got the visa. So I highly recommend not just regarding to Hungary but to any other country, you may want to move. Get a job and then apply for a visa.

Depending on what field you would like to work, you better pick up the basics of Hungarian. Here a couple of great places where you can LEARN LANGUAGES QUICK & EASY.

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Job Hunt

Hospitality offers the greatest chance for foreigners to startup with little or no Hungarian spoken. Try one of the many ruin pubs in Budapest, which are mostly visited by tourists, or send your CV to hotels and hostels before your arrival to the country. Even if there is no opening advertised, feel free to get in touch with the bigger companies, it is very likely to get a job.

Probably the easiest to find a job for foreigners, are the bigger and university cities such as Budapest, Szeged, Miskolc, Sopron or touristy cities, Eger, Veszprem and around the Balaton Lake (seasonal).

It really depends on what sort of job you’re looking for. Go online and find big multinational companies. They required language is usually English no matter which country the candidate from.

You may look for lower level jobs as well since they will be more likely to hire someone as a cleaner or a kitchen porter with no Hungarian than a small Hungarian restaurant. Look for small places with foreigner owners. They may not speak Hungarian either and they communicate with their staff in English.

Since the number of tourists and expats is growing you can find jobs easily at banks, in entertainment, and schools open up as well.

Best websites to find jobs: CVonline.hu, Profession.hu, Jobsinbudapest.eu, Justlanded.com, Toplanguagejobs.com, Can you teach a language, Yoga or maybe playing the piano? You should utilize your talent.

You can also consider getting a remote job and work online. Here are the best sites where you can find REAL REMOTE JOBS.

And last but not least, you can open your own business.

We Hungarians LOVE to eat! And not just Hungarian food. We have a diverse restaurant scene and we are always waiting for hot, new places to open. But there are many other options out there you can choose from.

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Get some relax time in Budapest’s many fun & artsy RuinBars. Stone Soup Restaurant ( Kőleves vendéglő) is a perfect spot! 

~ Opening a Bank Account

There are many banks we could recommend. On the basis of current accounts, there isn’t much of a difference. At almost all branches you will meet an English speaker to help you. We think OTP, Raiffeisen, Erste, Budapest Bank and K&H Banks are reliable and will be fairly easy to find an English speaking employee.

What you need to open a bank account: -Id card or Passport -Proof of address, which is an address card issued by the government -Immigration paperwork (if applicable) -In some cases proof of income, you get better rates on usage fees if you have a job already

The best if you contact (via email) a couple of branches before moving to Budapest. Ask them your questions so you can be ready and open your account with no problem when the time comes.

~ Getting Medical Care In Hungary, jobs come with a medical care that covers everything (G.P., Dentist, E.R., etc). Children get free medical care as long as they study. However, you can also pay for your Medical care that currently (2017) costs 7100 FT – $23 a month.

You can also visit private practices. Hungary has a booming Medical tourism. For a considerably low price you can easily get a good doctor. Many people travel to Hungary (regularly even) to go to a dentist, plastic surgeon and many other med centers to get quality treatment on a budget.

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Don’t worry we have plenty of yummy comfort food to help reduce the stress. My personal favorite: Chimney Cake (Kürtőskalács) with cinnamon. 

Finding your new HoMe

Always important to consider what kind of area you’re interested in. And of course it is also important because the prices differ a lot. For example, district 8 in Budapest is central & nice but way cheaper than district 5. They are right next to each other. Still, while you can find a 1 bedroom apartment for 50.000Ft – $170 in district 8 it’s going to cost you 90.000 Ft – $300 (add bills $100). Rent for a room is around $80-150 a month and flats depending on the area.

Renting apartments or rooms are usually cheaper if you try in Hungarian instead of English. It is helpful if you have friends who speak Hungarian and will help you out for a beer or two. The cheapest will be to stay in hostels at the beginning, (starting from $3 a night) or rent a room or an apartment on Airbnb.

Renting an apartment usually doesn’t take much time. A couple of days. You have to pay first-month’s rent and 1-3 months deposit.

You need of course some sort of ID, Passport etc.
And immigration papers of course.
Bank Account

A couple of places to look around (most of these are Hungarian but you can start getting used to google translator): Ingatlanrobot.hu, DH.hu, Ingatlantajolo.hu, Ingatlan.com, Alberlet.hu, Jofogas.hu

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Vaci street ( Váci utca) in the is one of Budapest’s most touristy but beautiful walking street. Go early if you want some nice shot for your Insta. Don’t miss the St. Stephen’s Basilica (Szent Istvan Bazilika) while you’re there!

Settling in – A few basic points that are inevitable for a comfortable life.

Phone

Without a mobile phone, you will hardly survive. Hungarians have an old-time fear of foreign numbers so do not expect incoming calls if your number doesn’t begin with +36 (Hungarian area code). The three major providers, Vodafone, Telenor, and T-mobile are competing for your loyalty with pretty good offers.
Pay monthly options are from 3.000 Ft – $10.

Where to shop

Shopping for groceries is much more affordable if you visit the local market. There is a quite large number of them scattered even in the capital.

If lazy to take that walk, there is most probably a CBA (Hungarian competitor of Tesco) where you get all the necessities for a reasonable price. Tesco and Auchan are the biggest supermarkets, which you will not find in city centers, but there are free buses for customers.

People go out to restaurants occasionally, but most households cook for themselves in the everyday.

Enjoy walking and have an active life! Every city has its charm and there are many activities you can enjoy. By exploring you will get new hobbies, friends and may find your favorite restaurant, bar, theater, or gallery. This way you make the new city not just a place where you live, but your new home!

Final thoughts

Don’t expect everything to go in your way and always be perfect. As everywhere, there are setbacks, minors, and big ones. There are going to be bad days or even weeks. Settling in a new country is always hard but with a little extra energy, you’ll see it worth all the trouble! Give yourself time and patience! 

Sok szerencsét! ~ Good luck!