Status and rights of family members


Country Report: Status and rights of family members Last updated: 19/04/23


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When granted residence permission and a visa, family members of the sponsor have 30 days from entering Hungary to either take the residence permit or to apply for asylum. In the asylum procedure, family members of recognised refugees are automatically granted the same status as the sponsor, as stated in the Asylum Act.[1] However, according to the definition of family members provided by the Asylum Act,[2] only the sponsor’s minor children, spouse if married before the sponsor’s arrival to Hungary, and parents of a minor sponsor are considered family members. Adult children, siblings and parents of adult sponsors are not automatically granted refugee status. Regardless of the connection, all family members are required to apply and start the procedure.

After a successful family reunification procedure, not all the newly arrived family members have the right to apply for asylum according to the Transitional Act. The asylum application may be submitted only by a spouse or a child who is still a minor at the time of submission. Other family members joining a refugee or beneficiary of subsidiary protection must choose between the uncertain declaration of intent procedure with the costly travel to Belgrade and the uncertainty of residence permits by trying to find every time a purpose and to fulfil the rest of the residence permit application criteria.

Family members with a residence permit have access to education and vocational training however, they are excluded from health care, employment and self-employment, social security and assistance.[3]

Family members of beneficiaries of subsidiary protection are not automatically granted subsidiary protection, they have to apply for asylum and prove their cases.

During the asylum procedure, family members of the sponsor have the same rights as asylum seekers. This practically means that before applying for asylum, the grantees of family reunification actually obtain their residence permits. In case they decide not to apply for asylum but take their residence permit, they will not have the same rights and entitlements of the sponsor but highly reduced ones.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic the NDGAP suspended family reunification procedures in the spring of 2020. Moreover, the Hungarian embassies in the countries of origin were closed preventing family members from submitting their applications. There were applicants whose procedure was halted for half a year. Since autumn 2020, family members can again enter Hungary with a visa enabling them to obtain their residence permit for the purposes of family reunification upon their arrival. HHC is not aware of any pandemic-related obstacles from 2022.




[1] Section 7(2) Asylum Act.

[2] Section 2(j) Asylum Act.

[3] Wolffhardt et al., The European benchmark for refugee reintegration: A comparative analysis of the National Integration Evaluation Mechanism in 14 EU countries, 2019,, 74.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation