Status and rights of family members


Country Report: Status and rights of family members Last updated: 15/04/21


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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.

Family members with a residence permit have access to education and vocational training however, they are excluded from integration and language programmes, 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. Under Hungarian law, asylum seekers who obtain legal residence in Hungary, do not have to move into the transit zones and are able to apply for a designated place of residence in private accommodation. 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 the family reunification procedures in the spring. 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.




[1]        Section 7(2) Asylum Act.

[2]        Section 2(j) Asylum Act.

[3]        Wolffhardt et al., 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