Electricity

Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are standard.

Language

Hungarian (Magyar) is the official language, but German is widely spoken, especially in the areas close to the Austrian border. English is spoken in tourist areas and most hotels.

Money

Although Hungary is part of the EU it does not use the Euro; the official currency is the Hungarian Forint (HUF). It is divided into 100 fillér. Most international credit cards are accepted at shops, restaurants and hotels. Banks usually open between 8am and 3pm on weekdays and some are open on Saturdays, while ATMs are available in towns and cities throughout the country.

Tipping

Taxi drivers, waiters and other professions in the service industry expect a tip of 10 to 15 percent in Hungary. Waiters should be handed the cash, rather than have it left on the table.

Health

A reciprocal health agreement with countries in the EU provides nationals with free emergency healthcare on presentation of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). After Brexit, the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) replaced the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for UK citizens. The GHIC allows UK citizens access to state healthcare during visits to the EU. The GHIC is not valid in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, nor is it an alternative to travel insurance. All big towns have pharmacies, but anyone requiring specific medication should bring a supply with them as local medicines may be unfamiliar. Tourists should make sure that if they're travelling with prescribed medications they bring along a letter from their doctor stating conditions and prescribed medication. Public health facilities are good but comprehensive travel insurance is still recommended.

Safety

Most visits to Hungary are trouble free, but normal precautions against petty crime should be taken. Pick pocketing and bag snatching is a risk on crowded public transport and other places frequented by tourists. Visitors should make use of hotel safes to store valuables and not display conspicuous wealth. It is also always a good idea to carry copies of important documents such as passports.

Local customs

Hungarians are generally open and friendly, readily striking up conversation. Men and women greet each other by shaking hands, and close friends kiss each other lightly on each cheek. Older men may bow to women and kiss them on the hand.

Doing business

A handshake is the standard form of greeting when doing business in Hungary and in mixed company it's usually women who initiate. Conservative suits and ties are standard business dress and businesspeople should be addressed by their title and surname.

Business cards are often exchanged; Hungarians usually list their surnames first. It is useful to have a local representative when doing business in Hungary, acting as an interpreter and go-between. It is important to invest time in building relationships; socialising is a key element and face-to-face meetings are vital.

Punctuality is important on all occasions and cancelling a meeting at the last minute may be detrimental to a business relationship. There may be plenty of red tape to get through too so negotiations can be slow-moving. Business hours are usually from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

Duty free

Travellers over the age of 17 arriving by air from countries outside of the EU can import the following duty-free: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250g of tobacco; 4 litres of wine, 16 litres of beer and either 1 litre of spirits containing more than 22% alcohol or 2 litres of alcoholic beverages containing less than 22% alcohol; and other goods up to a value of €430.

Communications

The international access code for Hungary is +36, and the area code for Budapest is 1. Most contracts enjoy cheap roaming charges, while WiFi is available in most cafes, hotels and restaurants.

Passport & Visa

The borderless region known as the Schengen Area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option, and which allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all the aforementioned countries. All visitors to Hungary, other than EEA members, should ensure that their passports are valid for at least six months beyond the expiry date of their visa. Foreign passengers must be in possession of a return/onward ticket (or sufficient funds to buy one), and the necessary travel documentation for their next destination. Additionally, visitors must hold the equivalent of HUF 1,000 per day of stay, in hard currency, although the following documents are also accepted: a major credit card, a letter of invitation, proof of accommodation (reserved and paid for), or a document authorising the visitor to withdraw cash from a bank in Hungary. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Entry requirements

US citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Hungary. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

Passports endorsed 'British Citizen', 'British Subject' (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), and 'British Overseas Territories Citizen' issued by Gibraltar, must be valid on arrival. British passports with other endorsements must be valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Hungary.

A visa is not required for British passports endorsed 'British Citizen' or 'British Subject' (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), nor for holders of identity cards issued by Gibraltar authorities, and endorsed 'Validated for EU travel purposes under the authority of the United Kingdom'. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period for holders of British passports with other endorsements.

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Hungary. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Hungary. A visa is required.

South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay, and a valid Schengen visa, to enter Hungary. Passports issued more than 10 years prior to the arrival date will not be accepted.

Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid upon their arrival in Hungary. No visa is required.

New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months after the period of intended stay in Hungary. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

Useful contacts

Official Hungarian Tourism Portal: gotohungary.com

112 (General in Europe), 104 (ambulance and medical emergencies), 105 (fire-brigade and rescue services), 107 (police)

Embassies / consulates in other countries

Hungarian Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 362 6730.

Hungarian Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7201 3440.

Hungarian Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 230-2717.

Hungarian Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)2 6282 3226.

Hungarian Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 430 3030.

Hungarian Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 (0)1 661 2902.

Hungarian Consulate-General, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 (0)4 260 3175.

Embassies / consulates in Hungary

United States Embassy, Budapest: +36 1 475 4400.

British Embassy, Budapest: +36 1 266 2888.

Canadian Embassy, Budapest: +36 1 392 3360.

Australian Embassy, Budapest: +36 1 457 9777.

South African Embassy, Budapest: +36 1 392 0999.

Irish Embassy, Budapest: +36 1 301 4960.

Closest New Zealand Embassy is in Germany: +49 (0)30 206 210

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