Hungary has recorded a total of 960,844 cases of COVID-19 and 32,171 deaths since the start of the pandemic, based on official data provided by the World Health Organization (WHO).
However, despite these numbers, the authorities in the central European country have begun to ease their preventive measures imposed to stop the spread of the virus and its new strains, especially for immunized travelers, and allow them to enter its territory even for tourism purposes.
Who can travel to Hungary?
Similar to other countries around the world, the authorities in Hungary imposed entry bans and other restrictions, at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, as part of their efforts to prevent an increase in the number of infections. However, despite the limitations, there are some general exceptions that apply.
According to the official website of the European Union, citizens who fall into the following categories are not required to follow the entry requirements, regardless of their nationality;
Persons who have recovered from the virus in the past months from the date of entry Persons who have obtained a Hungarian immunity document and their accompanying minor children, if traveling together holders of immunity documents approved by the authorities in Hungary based on unilateral or bilateral agreements, and minor children accompanying them, if their travel together, persons arriving in Hungary via the land border with Serbia, except for entry by civil aircraft crossing the border for freight traffic or with a diplomatic, service and sailor passport
“Travelers who meet one of the above criteria do not need any permission, no previous PCR tests to enter Hungary, they do not need to go into isolation, and their length of stay is unlimited,” the statement states.
Earlier this month, the Hungarian Gazette announced that since August 7, travelers from several territories around the world will be eligible to travel to Hungary, provided they submit a negative PCR test result when traveling in the country.
The same source revealed that travelers arriving in Hungary from the following countries are allowed to enter if they meet the test requirements:
Member States of the European Union and the Schengen Area All territories mentioned in the decree of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in agreement with the Ministry of Public Security Israel Albania Azerbaijan Bahrain Canada Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Montenegro North Macedonia Russia Serbia United Kingdom United States of America Turkey Uzbekistan Ukraine United Arab Emirates China
Other exemptions may apply for business travelers in addition to some other categories.
What about travelers who do not fall under the exemption category?
Passengers who do not meet the above requirements must follow the special procedures imposed by the Hungarian government, taking into account the nationality of the travelers and the purpose of their stay.
According to the EU recommendation, citizens of Hungary are currently allowed to enter their territory, without an entry permit or the result of a PCR test, regardless of the purpose of their stay, if they follow the rule of mandatory quarantine for ten days or until they show the results of two negative PCR tests separated by two days.
For non-Hungarian citizens, they are allowed to enter Hungary only in specific cases, based on the purpose of their stay.
“Non-Hungarian travelers who do not fall into the General Exemption Categories (see above), or the Basic and Special Purpose of Entry categories (listed below) are currently not permitted to enter. Tourism is considered a non-essential purpose of entry,” the statement explained.
Travelers from other countries can enter Hungary for any of the purposes listed below if they hold an entry permit issued by the Hungarian Police without having to submit a COVID-19 PCR test result:
Attending a court hearing for the purposes of medical treatment to pursue studies or other reasons justified by the competent authorities.
However, travelers who are allowed to enter must stay isolated for ten days upon arrival in the central European country. However, the quarantine period can be shortened by performing two PCR tests in Hungary.
What vaccines do the Hungarian authorities accept?
Hungary introduced the COVID EU vaccine passport on June 30 to facilitate travel for vaccinated passengers, although it expected this certificate to be ready by June 15.
The European Commission has allowed EU member states to release such documents for travelers who have been vaccinated against the virus with any of the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). However, each member state can decide whether it wants to allow entry to passengers who have been vaccinated with vaccines not approved by the EMA.
At present, the vaccines recognized by the EMA are Comirnaty (BioNTech, Pfizer), Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), and Moderna, Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca, Oxford).
While the vaccines approved by Hungary are Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, Sinopharm (Beijing), Sinovac (CoronaVac), CanSinoBio, Janssen and CoviShield.
However, Hungary and Russia are currently discussing the possibility of licensing the production of the Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine in Hungary, which could start from the end of 2022, according to the country’s Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, as reported by Reuters.
In addition, the authorities in Hungary also announced that all people who have been vaccinated against the virus with any of the vaccines approved by the World Health Organization will also be exempted from additional requirements such as testing or quarantine upon their arrival in Hungary.
Currently, the following vaccines are approved by the World Health Organization:
Pfizer / BioNTech (Comirnaty) AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) Moderna (Spikevax) AstraZeneca-SK Bio (Vaxzevria) AstraZeneca-Serum Institute of India (Covishield) Sinopharm BIBP CoronaVac by Sinovac Life Sciences
Passengers who have completed immunization against coronavirus and hold an immunity certificate issued by one of the following countries are allowed to enter Hungary without being subject to additional requirements: Andorra, Albania, Bahrain, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Faroe Island. India, Georgia, Israel, Kazakhstan.
Those who have been vaccinated against the virus and have a valid proof of vaccination issued by the following countries, will also be allowed to enter Hungary; Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Mongolia, North Macedonia, Morocco, Panama, Russia, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Ukraine, Turkey, Uzbekistan or Vatican City (the Holy See) as well as minors under the age of 18 .
Hungary travel insurance
Passengers are strongly encouraged to purchase travel insurance to help them save their money, especially in light of the ongoing pandemic, if a flight is canceled or postponed due to the COVID-19 situation or for other purposes.
At the same time, travelers are very likely to encounter unexpected medical emergencies due to the spread of the virus or even accidents and other health issues. Being covered by health insurance while traveling to Hungary means receiving proper care while spending very little money.
Travel insurance in Hungary can be purchased from AXA Assistance, MondialCare or Europ Assistance.
What to expect when heading to Hungary?
As the country is currently being severely affected by the spread of the Coronavirus, there is not much that travelers can do at the moment.
“Only persons with immunity certificates can attend indoor sporting and cultural events or outdoor events in which more than 500 people participate. Persons under the age of 18 can only attend these events with an immunity certificate or be accompanied by a person holding an immunity card, As stated in the statement posted by the Wego Travel blog.
Although the epidemiological situation in the country this summer was considered relatively stable, the rapid spread of the delta variant has led to an increase in the number of infections recently; Therefore, the Hungarian Medical Chamber (MOK) has issued a new statement calling on citizens to be extra vigilant.
The current situation of the Corona virus in Hungary
According to figures published by the World Health Organization, a total of 345 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Hungary during the past 24 hours, while three patients died of the virus.
While data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control shows that Hungary has so far vaccinated 68 percent of its population with at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while a total of 65.3 percent have already been fully vaccinated.
Note: This article was originally published on September 9. Since then, it has been constantly updated with the latest changes. The last changes to the article were made on November 17, in line with the latest updates from the Hungarian authorities.