Savva & Associates Cyprus

Assessing Hungary’s Latest Residency Scheme: A Subpar Addition to EU’s Golden Visa Programs

In 2024, Hungary is poised to launch its Guest Investor Program (GIP), marking a new chapter in EU residency options. This program, different from Hungary’s halted 2017 golden visa initiative, deserves close scrutiny, particularly when compared with established EU golden visas from Greece and Cyprus.

Regrettably, it seems Hungary chose not to create a highly competitive EU golden visa program to draw applicants. The program’s title, “Guest” Investor Program, implies a less permanent arrangement, unlike other EU countries that offer genuine permanent residency leading to citizenship in exchange for foreign investment.

Hungary’s GIP: A Bold Yet Limited Step Hungary’s entry into the investment-based residency field with the GIP is noteworthy. However, the program’s structure has significant restrictions. It offers a two-year guest investor visa, followed by a renewable ten-year residency, conditional on maintaining the investment. This raises questions about the long-term stability for investors and expatriates who might prefer more permanent options.

The Transient Aspect of Hungary’s GIP The GIP’s title – “Guest” Investor – hints at a temporary arrangement, contrasting with the more enduring residency options of other EU countries. This is a critical point, as many investors seek not just residency but a lasting foothold in Europe.

Greece and Cyprus: EU Golden Visa Benchmarks Greece and Cyprus are frontrunners in the EU golden visa sector. Their programs provide lifetime residency permits, offering a stable, predictable setting for personal and business endeavors. This consistency is crucial for individuals and families planning their future, enhancing the appeal of these programs.

Comparing Investment Criteria and Advantages It’s important to compare the investment requirements and benefits of these programs. Hungary’s GIP demands significant financial investment, including options like investing €250,000 in real estate funds or €500,000 in residential property. Conversely, Greece and Cyprus present more flexible and secure investment choices, often leading to simpler routes to permanent residency and citizenship.

Direct real estate investment tends to be more appealing to clients compared to real estate fund options. Additionally, recent scandals in the Citizenship and Residency by Investment industry involving such funds have caused distrust among potential applicants and agents.

Hungary’s GIP in the EU Landscape The launch of Hungary’s GIP occurs amid rapid changes in the EU residency landscape. While Hungary’s initiative is praiseworthy, it’s essential to view it in the context of the broader EU golden visa spectrum. Investors now have varied choices, and Hungary’s program adds a distinct element to this diverse landscape.

Future Outlook and Effects With the GIP set to start in September 2024, its impact on Hungary’s economy and appeal to global investors is yet to be determined. The program’s success will hinge on its competitiveness with more established EU residency programs and its responsiveness to the evolving needs of international investors.

Conclusion: While Hungary’s introduction of the GIP into the EU residency by investment sector is a positive move, it falls short of the more appealing and established options in Greece and Cyprus. For those seeking stability, long-term presence, and a more permanent base in Europe, the latter choices remain more attractive.

For more information, please contact Charles Savva at [email protected] or [email protected].