The Hungarian government is relaxing border crossing requirements and issuing people fleeing the war in Ukraine with temporary protection. This isn’t the same as being issued refugee status, which is decided on a case by case basis.
At this point, the temporary protection will last until 1 June 2022, but this will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Temporary protection is granted for Ukrainian residents, and non-residents who are in Ukraine with a legal visa.
People who have applied for temporary protection will be able to stay in Hungary at a reception centre for refugees, and get accommodation, food and medical care.
If you hold a Ukrainian passport you can enter Hungary visa free for 90 days. However, if you do this you won’t be able to access the full services offered to people who arrive and apply for protection. If you choose to enter on a visa free basis you can apply for protection in Hungary at a later state.
Apply for protection in Hungary at a designated assembly point at any time of day, or at any of the customer service offices of the National Directorate-General for Aliens Policing, during business hours. Customer Service locations, contact details and directions are available here.
Refugee Reception Centres and Community Accommodation are at sites in Vámosszabadi and Balassagyarmat although The Hungarian Helsinki Committee anticipates more sites being opened. The Helsinki Committee is also offering updates in a range of languages, as well as legal and practical support to refugees arriving in Hungary.
In addition to the government run reception centres there are other initiatives to provide accommodation for people fleeing Ukraine. These include universities offering dorm accommodation, holiday rental companies offering free stays, and local hotels offering rooms for refugees.
Refugees can choose not to live in the reception centres, but will need to have a registered address. If you choose not to stay in the reception centres, you may receive a financial allowance, but if you don’t live in the government run centre, you won’t be able to benefit from the facilities there.
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Ukrainian refugees can access free healthcare through providers contracted to the social security system upon presentation of a passport.
Local volunteers at border crossing points and reception centres can also offer advice about where to look for medical care. Here are some major hospitals in key locations in Hungary:
The Ukrainian State Border Guard website gives details of the border crossing points with Hungary, including the types of traffic allowed to cross, and whether the crossing is fully open.
You can also access the Ukrainian State Border Guard interactive map of border crossing points to learn more.
Border crossing wait times can be long. Updates are available on the Hungarian Police website. At the Luzanka crossing, the Hungarian Interchurch Aid group is actively supporting arriving refugees with food and information, as well as a warm place to rest.
The Order of Malta are also present here and at key train stations in Budapest, to offer support and advice.
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Wizz Air is offering free short haul flights for Ukrainian refugees
MAV is providing free train travel for Ukrainian refugees, upon presentation of a passport or ID card
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