I. General Information
Before going into details, you should take into consideration the following principles:
- The Hungarian citizenship law is based on the principles of jus sanguinis ("right of blood" in Latin), meaning that a person acquires Hungarian citizenship by birth from a parent who is a Hungarian citizen.
- Therefore, a Hungarian birth certificate proves only the fact of birth but NOT the Hungarian citizenship.
- As citizenship laws don't have retroactive effect (except in some very special cases), one always have to refer to the law which was in force at the date of his/her birth.
- Dual citizenship is permitted under Hungarian Law.
According to the present regulation in force - Act LV of 1993 - Hungarian citizenship can originate under two principles: the most significant one being the principle of origin : the child of every Hungarian citizen becomes a Hungarian citizen by birth (whether the mother or the father is a [or both are] Hungarian citizen [s]).
Prior to this date, rules for acquisition and loss of Hungarian citizenship may have been different. As a short - and by no means exhaustive - resumé concerning Hungarian citizenship, before applying, please consider the following:
Between October 1st , 1957– October 1st,1993:
if one of the parents was a Hungarian citizen at the moment of birth, the child became Hungarian citizen.
Before October 1st , 1957:
- a child became a Hungarian citizen only if his legitimate father was a Hungarian citizen. The child of a Hungarian mother and a non-Hungarian father didn’t become Hungarian citizen by birth.
- If the child was born out of wedlock (extramarital birth) and the mother had Hungarian citizenship, the child became Hungarian citizen. But if later on the child was recognized by a non-Hungarian father, he/she could have lost her/his citizenship.
- The non-Hungarian wife of a Hungarian citizen husband became automatically Hungarian citizen after the marriage.
- If a Hungarian citizen wife acquired by marriage the citizenship of her non-Hungarian husband, then she automatically lost her Hungarian citizenship.
- Those, who left Hungary before September 1st, 1929 could lose their citizenship by living continuously abroad for a period exceeding 10 years. This 10 year period began after the expiry date in the person's last Hungarian passport. Therefore, in this case, a Hungarian official document (e.g. a passport, a written declaration made in a Hungarian Consulate, etc.) must be produced which would prove that the person kept his/her citizenship.
- Effects of the Trianon treaty: in general those living outside of the present Hungarian borders lost their Hungarian citizenship and became citizens of the country which received the given territory (with some minor exceptions) after 1921.
- From those who left Hungary before February 1st, 1949, a Hungarian document (any Hungarian identity document, school certificate, work certificate, diploma, etc.) proving that they lived in Hungary after September 1st, 1929 - especially for those who left in the 1930s, early 1940s - is required.
- In some cases, the Acts of 1879 and 1939 entitled the Hungarian State to deprive Hungarians from their citizenship.
As you may see, the assessment of the citizenship of a person might be a very complicated task, due to the historical changes of borders and citizenships in Central Europe during the 20th century. It is exclusively done by experts of the Nationality Verification Division of the Office of Immigration and Nationality in Budapest. It could last 6-9 months.
The assessment is made by completing the form "Állampolgárság igazolása iránti kérelem" in Hungarian (the form is only available in Hungarian).
- To the form you have to attach original birth and marriage (and if the case, divorce) certificates tracing back to the person who you think had Hungarian citizenship. e.g.: if you think your grandfather might have been a Hungarian citizen, then you need to attach: - the marriage certificate of your grandfather's parents - the birth and marriage certificate of your grandfather - the birth certificate of your grandfather's child (your parent) - your parents marriage certificate - your birth certificate and your marriage certificate - if you were married multiple times, you must send in all your marriage certificates and final divorce court orders (If the judgment doesn't contain indication on the exact date when it entered in force, then a separate stamp must be obtained from the court on the document, indicating e.g.: "Time within which to file appeal has expired")
- If any of the document was not issued by a Hungarian authority, it must be translated into Hungarian.
- For non-US or non-Canadian certificates: additional authentication (Apostille) is needed (e.g. when providing documents from Central- and South America):
Procedures to follow:
A. If the certificate was issued in a country participating in the Apostille Convention:
1. Check it here: list of Apostille countries
2. Check which authority delivers the Apostille: list of authorities
3. After obtaining the Apostille on the document, you need to certify the translation by a professional Hungarian consulate (and NOT a honorary consul) Check here: list of Hungarian representations
B. If the certificate was issued in a country not participating in the Apostille Convention, then Check with the local Hungarian representation, or, if there isn't any, then with the Hungarian representation accredited to that Country.
When in possession of these documents you have to appear in person at the diplomatic or consular representation whose area of responsibility includes the State you live in (see the consular districts of Hungarian missions in the U.S).
When the Hungarian citizenship is determined, a Hungarian Citizenship Certificate is issued on request which is valid for three years from its issuance date.
When the Hungarian citizenship is determined, the foreign certificates (birth, marriage, divorce) must be registered in Hungary by completing the forms to be downloaded from our website.
The original certificates will be kept in the archives in Hungary and a Hungarian certificate will be issued instead. So, if you don't want to send the original documents, you can order certified copies at the vital records officewhere the event was registered, or we can prepare a certified copy at no charge (copies certified by a notary public cannot be accepted, we will need to see the original documents).
In possession of the Hungarian Citizenship Certificate (within its 3 year validity period), and birth certificate (and if the case, marriage certificate), a demand for a Hungarian passport can be initiated in person in Budapest, at the Central Passport Office or at a Hungarian Diplomatic representation (in the US: in Washington DC, New York or Los Angeles).
See Consular Fees for more information.