Hungary

Hungary is one of few countries to have acceded to all four of the core statelessness conventions. Although this has translated into some positive law, policy and practice at national level, there remain some significant gaps and the stateless population has never been comprehensively mapped. A statelessness determination procedure is established in law, and access, assessment, procedural protections and appeal rights under the procedure are generally positive. However, the definition of a stateless person in national law is narrower than the 1954 Convention, an application may be refused on national security grounds, applicants under the procedure lack protection from detention and removal, and the law provides only limited rights to people recognised as stateless. Access to nationality, although provided for in law, is very difficult to acquire in practice leaving most stateless people in the country unable to acquire a nationality even in the long term.

There are limited protections against the arbitrary detention of stateless people in Hungary and what limited procedural safeguards are in place have been deemed insufficient by various national and international actors. Safeguards exist in nationality law to prevent statelessness in the case of foundlings and children born abroad to Hungarian nationals. However, there are only partial safeguards to prevent children from being born stateless on the territory, adopted children may be stateless unless and until they acquire nationality through naturalisation, and, although births will be registered regardless of parents’ residence status, officials will register a child as having ‘unknown nationality’ unless this can be proven otherwise, causing significant problems for children later in life. There are no safeguards preventing statelessness in cases of deprivation of nationality.

Posljednje ažuriranje: 
Jan 2024
Stručnjak/ci za zemlju: 

Gábor Gyulai & and Katalin Juhász, Hungarian Helsinki Committee

Dodatni izvori

SREDSTVA PROCJENE

++POZITIVNO
+ DJELOMIČNO POZITIVNO
+-POZITIVNO i NEGATIVNO
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Dodatne informacije

-NORME i DOBRA PRAKSA

 

Međunarodni i regionalni instrumenti

Assesses whether countries are State party to the relevant international and regional instruments, including whether reservations have an impact on statelessness, and whether instruments are incorporated into domestic law. The four core statelessness treaties (1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons; 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness; European Convention on Nationality; Council of Europe Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in Relation to State Succession) carry more weight than other relevant human rights instruments in the assessment.

Hungary has a strong record on accession to relevant regional and international human rights instruments. It is one of few countries party to all four of the core statelessness conventions, and these have full effect in national law. However, Hungary does retain significant reservations to the European Convention on Nationality, and it is not party to the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers.

  • Hungary is State Party to the 1954 Convention with no reservations, and the promulgating act gives it full effect in national law.
  • Hungary is State Party to the 1961 Convention with no reservations, and the promulgating act gives it full effect in national law.
  • Hungary is State Party to the European Convention on Nationality but retains significant reservations impacting on procedural safeguards relating to the acquisition of nationality (with a direct impact on stateless people’s access to Hungarian nationality).
  • Hungary is State Party to the European Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in Relation to State Succession.
  • Hungary is State Party to all other relevant regional and international instruments except for the Convention on the Rights of all Migrant Workers and their Families.

Podaci o stanovništvu bez državljanstva

Examines the availability and sources of disaggregated population data on statelessness. Provides recent figures and assesses reliability of measures countries have in place to count stateless persons, including in the census, population registries, and migration databases. Notes whether statelessness has been mapped in the country and whether there are sufficient measures in place to count stateless persons in detention.

Hungary does not publish reliable quantitative data on its stateless population. Although there is a category ‘stateless’ in the census, it relies on self-identification. The competent authority for the determination of statelessness holds data on the number of people who apply and are recognised as stateless in Hungary, as well as the number of stateless people residing on the territory by type of residence permit, and the number of stateless people who apply for naturalisation. However, this information is not routinely published. Statelessness has never been comprehensively mapped in the Hungarian context.

  • Hungary does not collect reliable quantitative data on the stateless population. 
  • The 2022 census in Hungary included a category of ‘stateless’ which recorded 116 people. The previous census conducted in 2011 recorded 113 stateless people recorded, 53 men and 60 women; however, the data relied on self-identification.
  • The competent authority for the statelessness determination procedure holds (but does not routinely publish) data on the number of applications and people recognised as stateless under the SDP since it was established in 2008 (307 applications and 156 people recognised until 31 December 2022). Information is also held by the relevant competent authority on stateless people residing in Hungary by type of residence permit held, and the number of people who applied for and were naturalised.
  • Information received on request from the competent authorities states that in 2022, nine people applied under the SDP. 43 were recognised as stateless, and one was refused. On 31 December 2022, there were nine stateless people residing in Hungary with humanitarian residence permits, 10 with any other non-permanent residence permit, 17 with refugee and subsidiary protection status, 51 with 'national' permanent residence permits, and five with 'EC' permanent residence permits (which permits free movement in the EU). Eight stateless people acquired permanent residence between 2016 and 2022.
  • In 2022, 16 stateless people and 27 people of unknown nationality applied for naturalisation, three were naturalised, and one application for naturalisation was refused. 12 people of unknown nationality were naturalised, while 10 applications were rejected.
  • Immigration, asylum and naturalisation statistics use the category 'unknown nationality'. The 2022 census did not report any data on people of unknown nationality and reported 295 ‘Palestinian nationals’, while the Central Statistical Office reported 194 people of unknown nationality and 353 ‘Palestinian nationals’ living in the country on 1 January 2023. The reason for the discrepancy between the two statistics regarding people of unknown nationality is unclear.
  • UNHCR reports 143 stateless people and 62 stateless people under its refugee mandate in Hungary as of mid-2023.
  • Stateless populations have not been mapped in the national context.
  • According to information received from the National Police Headquarters, no stateless or allegedly stateless people were expelled in 2022 and one stateless person was deported to Latvia based on a court-issued expulsion order. The competent authority ordered the immigration detention of one stateless person, who spent 15 days in immigration detention prior to deportation.
  • According to the information received from the Police, one stateless person and seven people of unknown nationality were held in immigration detention in 2022.

Utvrđivanje bezdržavljanstva i statusa

Identifies whether countries have a definition of a stateless person in national law that aligns with the 1954 Convention, and whether they have a dedicated statelessness determination procedure (SDP) leading to a dedicated stateless status. If an SDP is not place, it assesses whether there are other procedures in which statelessness can be identified or other routes through which stateless people could regularise their stay or access their rights. Countries are subdivided in three groups to enable comparison between those with an SDP leading to protection, those with other procedures, and those with a statelessness status but no clear mechanism to access protection. The existing procedures and rights granted to stateless persons are examined and assessed against international norms and good practice. Assesses whether stateless people fleeing war have access to temporary protection.

Hungarian law and policy on the determination of statelessness is generally positive, but there are gaps when it comes to the assessment of applications from certain groups, in particular stateless Palestinians and stateless people considered to be a threat to national security. There are also gaps regarding the protection status for people recognised as stateless in the country. Hungary has established a statelessness determination procedure (SDP) and a definition of a stateless person in law, although the latter is narrower than the 1954 Convention definition. Access to the procedure, the assessment process, procedural protections and appeal rights in the SDP are generally good. However, a key issue is the lack of protection for applicants, who may be subject to detention and return, and the content of Hungary’s stateless ‘protection’ status, which does not provide an automatic right to work, nor adequate access to nationality in practice.

  • There is a definition of a stateless person in national law, but this is narrower than the 1954 Convention definition, in that it translates as a person who is not considered a national by any State 'based on its law' or 'in accordance with its law' rather than 'under the operation of its law'.
  • However, a 2022 judgment from the Hungarian Supreme Court confirmed that statelessness can also be rooted in the practice of the country concerned, rather than its law. There are also exclusion provisions in the definition that go beyond the 1954 Convention, though it is not clear whether they have ever been used in practice. In 2019 an exclusion clause was added, ordering automatic exclusion from stateless status if the applicant's stay ‘violates or endangers the national security of Hungary'.
  • UNHCR organises annual information provision days for the competent authority responsible for the statelessness determination procedure, but this does not constitute formalised training. There is no formal training for the competent authority nor judges.
  • The Hungarian Helsinki Committee has provided statelessness training for lawyers, NGOs, UNHCR and relevant competent authorities on an ad hoc basis, but not since the mid-2010s.
  • There is a dedicated SDP in Hungary, which is established in law.
  • The ‘National Directorate-General for Alien Policing’ (formerly the Immigration and Asylum Office, renamed in 2019 to incorporate the pejorative term ‘Alien Policing’ or ‘idegenrendészet’ in Hungarian) is the competent authority and its seven regional directorates (not the international protection directorate) are appointed to determine statelessness.
  • Applications can be made in writing or orally in any language, and there are no further formal requirements, for example, there is no fee for the procedure, nor any time limit on access.
  • Since a constitutional court judgement in 2015, there can be no requirement for legal stay as a condition for accessing the SDP.
  • There is an obligation in law on the authorities to consider an application.
  • The law states that an interpreter may be provided if the applicant and authority do not share a language, but it is not known how this is implemented in practice.
  • Applications cannot be made ex officio, but by law, the authorities can inform someone about the SDP, giving the immigration authorities an active role in promoting access to protection for stateless people. There is no information about how this is implemented in practice, however.
  • There is no provision in law nor any information about cooperation between agencies, but statelessness and asylum determination are conducted by the same overarching authority, which may facilitate cooperation.
  • There is no specific guidance on how to make a claim for statelessness status.
  • By law, the burden of proof lies principally with the applicant, but under procedural rules the authorities should also actively contribute to establishing the facts and do so in practice. In recent case law, the Supreme Court confirmed that the burden of proof is shared, and the lack of identity documents, as well as the impossibility of obtaining such documents due to reasonable circumstances, cannot be automatically considered a violation of the applicant’s duty to cooperate. The standard of proof is lower for statelessness determination - the applicant must 'substantiate' their statelessness - reflecting the standard of proof in asylum procedures and in line with UNHCR guidance.
  • There are some safeguards for certain groups including those who are illiterate, unaccompanied minors, and those with limited legal capacity, but it is not known how these are implemented in practice.
  • There is clear guidance for decision makers in law and practice.
  • Until recently, the competent authority had been rejecting applications by stateless Palestinians on the grounds that Palestine is recognised as a State by the United Nations, but the Hungarian Helsinki Committee successfully challenged this practice through litigation. The Supreme Court held that only the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has competence on this matter, and the Ministry declared in March 2020 that Hungary did not recognise Palestine as a State, in particular because of Israel’s control over the issuance of identity documents. The Ministry now stated that, people with a Palestinian travel document issued under Israeli control can be regarded as Palestinian nationals, while others can be recognised as stateless people. This policy was reflected in a decision from the National Directorate-General for Alien Policing in 2023, which rejected the application made by a stateless Palestinian on the ground that he held a Palestinian travel document, was ‘domiciled’ in Gaza and the Palestinian Embassy in Hungary confirmed that he could return to Gaza with his document. The decision also distinguished the term ‘citizenship’ from ‘nationality’ to further justify its reasoning. This decision reflects major errors in the interpretation of statelessness in the Palestinian context and raises concerns about the lack of statelessness-related expertise in the Hungarian public administration and judicial system.
  • In a judgment from 2021, the Hungarian Constitutional Court found that it is not unconstitutional to reject applications for statelessness status from applicants who are considered to be a threat to national security, despite litigation efforts which argued that such exclusion goes beyond the 1954 Convention.
  • Free legal aid is available in law and practice with no need to meet a financial eligibility requirement, and legal representatives can be present and comment in interviews.
  • An interview is mandatory in all cases.
  • The applicant can conduct the interview in a language they understand, and interpretation is provided by the authorities. Documents can be submitted in any language without a certified translation.
  • Decisions are given in writing with reasons.
  • Quality assurance audits of the SDP are conducted on a yearly basis and in cooperation with UNHCR. UNHCR has the right to be present during the interview, provide administrative assistance, access the official documents of any SDP, and automatically receive a copy of all administrative and judicial decisions made on statelessness determination.
  • As there has not been a functional asylum procedure in Hungary for the past few years, statelessness is not identified in asylum procedures. There is no guidance for officials relating to identification or determination of statelessness within asylum procedures, and there is no formal referral mechanism to the SDP for an individual refused asylum or whose expulsion could not be carried out for a longer period, and who may be stateless.
  • There is a time limit for decision-making set out in law (45 days), but this can be extended where there is a delay on the part of a foreign authority, which means that in practice, the delay can amount to months or even years for the applicant.
  • By law, the state should issue an applicant for stateless status a renewable temporary residence certificate for six months, but in practice this is not issued to people in removal or detention proceedings.
  • In practice, expulsion and detention are possible during the procedure, and an application for stateless status does not constitute automatic grounds for release from detention.
  • Applicants do not have a right to work and there are no provisions regarding accommodation and social security.
  • The law provides for an automatic right to appeal a negative decision to the Budapest Regional Court within 15 days. Further appeal to the Supreme Court is possible.
  • There is free legal aid available during the whole process and no fee for the appeal procedures.
  • Stateless people recognised under the procedure are granted a humanitarian residence permit with maximum validity of three years, which can then be renewed each year for one-year periods.
  • Travel documents are issued.
  • Stateless people are only entitled to family reunification on the same basis as other holders of humanitarian residence permits, which is restrictive and there is no preferential treatment.
  • Stateless status can be revoked under certain conditions. No information is available about revocations cases and whether a proportionality assessment is undertaken.
  • A stateless person has only very limited access to the labour market and needs to obtain a work permit prior to accessing employment, which is a very burdensome barrier in practice to accessing the labour market.
  • Stateless people have access to pre-school care, primary, secondary and higher education on the same basis as Hungarian nationals.
  • Access to social security is linked to employment contributions, so a person recognised as stateless does not have an automatic right to social security, only to basic emergency public healthcare services. This does not include maternity care, for example, which is only available to those who can establish 'domicile' i.e. usually after three years’ legal residence and/or on acquiring permanent residence.
  • People recognised as stateless and other holders of humanitarian residence permits do not have the right to vote in any elections. Only Hungarian nationals may vote in national elections. Stateless people granted refugee status or subsidiary protection, or who obtain a permanent residence permit, are entitled to vote in local (municipal) elections.
  • In 2022, stateless people, as other people, were allowed to enter Hungary at the Ukrainian-Hungarian border section, even if not holding a travel document. However, some cases have been reported since January 2023 where non-Ukrainian nationals, even with a valid Ukrainian residence permit, were refused entry to Hungary from Ukraine. In response to a freedom of information request, the National Police Headquarters indicated that entry was granted to people with valid travel documents or, in the absence of necessary travel documents, people without an entry ban and third-country nationals who did not enter Ukraine after 24 February 2022. According to the Police, where non-refoulement applies, the person is transferred to the Nyírbátor collection point and the asylum authority conducts a further procedure. The outcome is uncertain as the National Directorate-General for Alien Policing – and not the border police – decides whether the status is granted or the person is returned to Ukraine. If non- refoulement does not apply, the person must be directed to the Kyiv Embassy of Hungary. Thus, it is unlikely that non-Ukrainians, including stateless people, can enter Hungary. The Hungarian Helsinki Committee is challenging this practice in court and so far, three judgments have quashed decisions refusing entry to third-country nationals with Ukrainian family members, due to an inadequate non-refoulement assessment.
  • Hungary grants temporary protection only to stateless people who were beneficiaries of international protection or recognised as stateless in Ukraine prior to 24 February 2022.
  • Contrary to the EU Temporary Protection Directive and Council Implementing Decision, Hungary does not extend temporary protection or adequate protection to stateless people and third-country nationals who were residing in Ukraine on the basis of a valid permanent residence permit and are unable to return to their country of origin in a safe and durable manner. For those people, the National Directorate-General for Alien Policing shall proceed in line with the general rules, which means that they would be eligible either for a residence permit procedure or an aliens policing procedure for the purpose of removal (which may result in granting tolerated status). Neither the residence permit procedure, for which the applicant has to fulfil strict requirements, nor tolerated stay may qualify as ‘adequate protection’ within the meaning of the EU Temporary Protection Council Implementing Decision. In principle, stateless people fleeing Ukraine can apply for statelessness status in Hungary, but no such case has yet been reported. Also, people recognised as stateless are not eligible to any of the support services that are available to beneficiaries of temporary protection.
  • Since May 2020, it is not possible to apply for asylum from within Hungary. Anyone wishing to apply must first travel to a Hungarian embassy in Kyiv or Belgrade, submit a so-called statement of intent, and wait approval from the Hungarian authorities to travel to Hungary to submit the application.

Zadržavanje

Analyses law, policy and practice relating to immigration detention generally, but focusing on protections in place to prevent the arbitrary detention of stateless people during removal and deportation procedures. Subthemes examine areas such as the identification of statelessness and assessment of whether there is a reasonable prospect of removal, procedural safeguards such as time limits, judicial oversight, and effective remedies, as well as the rights granted to stateless people upon release from detention and protection against re-detention.

There are limited protections against the arbitrary detention of stateless people in Hungary. Statelessness is not considered juridically relevant in decisions to detain, which are generic rather than individualised, and a country of removal does not need to be identified prior to detention for removal. Authorities must terminate detention when it becomes evident that the expulsion cannot be executed, but in practice safeguards are often dysfunctional. Alternatives are provided for in law, but they are rarely applied, and only when detention would be a disproportionate detriment to the person. What limited procedural protections are in place have been deemed insufficient by the Supreme Court (Kúria), as well as national and international civil society and monitoring bodies. Positively, a temporary residence permit and protection from re-detention (unless on new grounds) are granted to people released from detention, and a humanitarian residence permit may be granted by law to people who cannot be removed.

  • The law states that immigration detention should only be considered after less coercive measures have been explored. Alternatives to immigration detention are provided for in law and include seizing travel documents, financial restrictions, and designating a place of stay. However, the test for applying alternatives is lower than the 'last resort/least coercive /exhaust all alternatives' standard. The test in Hungary is that alternatives should be applied if detention would result in a 'disproportionate detriment' to the person concerned.
  • Alternatives are applied in practice but are not consistently considered, nor subject to a proportionality test nor time limit. Detention orders are generic, and do not take into account individual circumstances.
  • A proposed country of removal does not need to be identified prior to detention.
  • There is a clear obligation on authorities to terminate detention when it becomes evident that the expulsion cannot be executed. However, safeguards in practice are often dysfunctional as cases are reported where after release, the person is immediately arrested and detained based on another legal basis, such as illegal stay.
  • Statelessness is not considered a juridically relevant fact in relation to detention.
  • The competent authority ordered the immigration detention of one stateless person in 2022, who spent 15 days in immigration detention prior to their deportation. Seven people of unknown nationality were held in immigration detention in 2022.
  • There is no legal requirement to conduct a vulnerability assessment prior to detention, though factors such as health and age of the person are supposed to be taken into account. Statelessness is not considered a factor increasing vulnerability.
  • Hungarian law establishes time limits on how long a person may be detained for, which vary depending on the circumstances of the detainee and the purpose of detention (but in some cases may be ordered for up to 12 months). 
  • There is no legal requirement for detainees to be provided with information on reasons for detention, but in practice, detainees are informed in writing of the reasons for detention, rights and responsibilities, which are translated to them if necessary. However, it is unclear if the information is sufficient, and detainees are not routinely informed of the possibility to apply for statelessness status.
  • There is an automatic court review procedure. A request for extension of detention must be submitted to the court within 24 hours, a judicial decision issued within 72 hours and then an automatic court review takes place every 60 days after that. However, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, UNHCR and the Supreme Court have all reported these safeguards to be ineffective in practice.
  • There is no judicial remedy for a detainee to challenge the detention order or prolongation, though they may submit a 'complaint' against violation of certain specified rights relating to immigration detention.
  • No information about rules governing the process of redocumentation and ascertaining nationality is publicly available. 
  • Hungarian law provides detainees with the right to an allocated representative ad litem or case guardian. However, this practice has been criticised for, for example, courts failing to appoint them, representatives not being informed about their clients’ cases, and rarely presenting arguments in their clients’ favour. NGOs may provide free legal assistance, but access is restricted following termination of an agreement between the Government and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, which has been offering this type of assistance for decades.
  • People released from detention are issued with a temporary residence certificate for a maximum of three months or six months if a designated place of stay is ordered.
  • On release from detention after expiry of the 12-month time limit, detention can only be ordered again if the authorities issue a new expulsion order based on new facts. In such cases, cumulative time spent in detention under a previous order is not counted. Detention in preparation for expulsion (up to 30 days) is included in the maximum time limit of 12 months, but ‘asylum detention’ (up to six months) is not.
  • If an expulsion order has been revoked or if expulsion cannot be carried out after expiry of the 12-month maximum detention period, the immigration authorities may issue a humanitarian residence permit, but it is not clear how this is implemented in practice.
    While there is a safeguard to terminate detention when it becomes evident that expulsion cannot be executed, there are cases reported of people being immediately arrested upon release and detained on another legal basis, such as illegal stay.
  • There is no information on whether statelessness is considered juridically relevant in return and readmission agreements, but in one known case, a stateless person was returned under a readmission agreement, despite it being known they did not possess the nationality of the country of return and had a pending statelessness status application in Hungary. The National Directorate-General for Alien Policing did not expel any stateless people in 2022, while it deported one stateless person to Latvia based on an expulsion order issued by a court.

Sprječavanje i smanjenje pojave bezdržavljanstva

Assesses the adequacy of safeguards in nationality laws to prevent and reduce statelessness, including facilitated routes to naturalisation for stateless people, and protections for otherwise stateless children born on the territory or to nationals abroad, foundlings and adopted children. Examines law, policy, and practice on birth registration, including access to late birth registration, and reduction measures taken by States to prevent and reduce in situ statelessness. Analyses provisions on deprivation of nationality and whether there are safeguards related to renunciation and deprivation of nationality to prevent statelessness from occurring.

Hungary’s performance on the prevention and reduction of statelessness is mixed. Stateless people can apply for naturalisation after three years’ residence, but this must be ‘domiciled’ residence (significantly prolonging the three-year period in reality) and they must meet other stringent requirements, which makes it very difficult to acquire nationality and ultimately resolve their statelessness. Safeguards exist in Hungarian nationality law to prevent statelessness in the case of foundlings and children born abroad to Hungarian nationals. Births are entered in the registry regardless of the status of parents and birth certificates are issued to all children. However, there are significant gaps in the prevention and reduction of statelessness in Hungary. There are only partial safeguards to prevent children from being born stateless on the territory, children adopted by Hungarian nationals may be stateless until and unless they can acquire nationality through naturalisation, and birth registry officials will register a child as having ‘unknown nationality’ unless this can be proven otherwise, which causes significant problems for children later in life as there is no later procedure for them to establish their nationality and rectify the record of ‘unknown nationality’. There is no safeguard to prevent statelessness in cases of deprivation of nationality and, since February 2020, the time during which Hungarian nationality may not be withdrawn has increased from 10 to 20 years from the date that nationality was granted.

  • By law, stateless people become eligible for naturalisation after a reduced three years as opposed to five or eight years for other groups. However, they face barriers to acquiring 'domiciled' residence, which can only be requested after a minimum three years’ residence with humanitarian protection status and only if granted permanent residence at the discretion of the Government, which may only be granted if considered being ‘in the national interest’.
  • In practice, stateless people must wait many years before they can naturalise, and then only in a completely discretionary and non-transparent procedure.
  • Stateless people must meet all other general requirements for naturalisation such as passing a ‘basic constitutional studies’ exam, income and language requirements, costly translation and certification of documents.
  • An applicant for naturalisation must not have a criminal record, nor any pending criminal proceedings and should not violate Hungarian law or pose a threat to public security.
  • While there is no overt discrimination, research conducted in 2016 showed that stateless people and refugees are less likely to acquire Hungarian nationality through naturalisation than foreigners with no Hungarian origin.
  • There are two partial safeguards in law to prevent statelessness in the case of children born in Hungary who would otherwise be stateless.
  • There is an automatic safeguard at birth for children born in Hungary whose both parents are stateless and ‘domiciled’ in Hungary, or whose parents are unknown (foundlings). However, this does not prevent statelessness in the case of children whose parents cannot confer a nationality to their child, or who are stateless but do not possess a 'domicile' (lakóhely) in Hungary. Refugees, beneficiaries of subsidiary protection and those holding a permanent residence permit have a ‘domicile’ in Hungary, while those who hold standard, non-permanent residence permits do not. The latter category includes recognised stateless people who hold a humanitarian residence permit but cannot have a ‘domicile’, which excludes their children born in Hungary from the scope of the legal safeguard aimed at preventing statelessness at birth.
  • There is also a non-automatic provision for children born in Hungary who do not obtain the nationality of either of their parents at birth. For these children, there is a legal option to acquire Hungarian nationality by declaration prior to their 19th birthday, free of charge. In this case too, parents must be ‘domiciled’, and the child must have resided in Hungary for five years or more. However, this provision is not used in practice, as official statistics demonstrate.
  • There are no specific provisions to protect the right to a nationality of children born to refugees in Hungary.
  • There are no specific provisions nor any report indicating that parents are provided with information about their child’s nationality rights and relevant procedures.
  • Foundlings are granted nationality at birth by law. Children born to an unknown father and a mother who is known but whose identity is not proven and has abandoned the child at the hospital are also treated as foundlings.
  • Nationality cannot be withdrawn until it is proven that the child has another, though it's not clear how this is determined in practice.
  • There is no age limit other than the legal definition of a child (under 18 years-old).
  • Adoption does not change the nationality of the child.
  • A foreign child can apply for Hungarian nationality up to the age of 14 with the consent of the adoptive parents in the case of full adoption and will be exempted from the general requirements for naturalisation. The child can apply on their own behalf if aged 14-18.
  • There is a risk of statelessness in the procedure if the child or parents do not apply or consent to apply for naturalisation, or there is a delay on the part of the authorities, and the child loses their former nationality or is stateless on adoption.
  • Children born to at least one Hungarian parent are Hungarian by birth without conditions, irrespective of where the child is born.
  • The births of all children born in Hungary must be notified within one day of birth to the civil registrar by the head of the hospital or the respective lead medical professional assisting during the birth if born outside a hospital. There are no registration deadlines stipulated in Hungarian law aside from that the birth should be notified to the registrar within one day of birth by the hospital or medical practitioner in attendance.
  • All children are provided with documentary proof of birth registration.
  • The civil registrar will examine the child's nationality upon registration. If the child's nationality or statelessness is not proven, they will be registered as 'unknown nationality' on the birth certificate, which causes significant problems for the child later in life as there is no later procedure for them to establish their nationality and to rectify the record of ‘unknown nationality’. This is a particular issue for the children of refugees born in Hungary, who are unable to obtain proof of the child’s nationality from their competent consular authorities. The Hungarian Helsinki Committee has reported several cases where refugee children born in Hungary have remained registered as having unknown nationality for several years or even decades.
  • There is no evidence of other groups at high risk of not being registered and no available research on this issue.
  • There is no mandatory requirement on registry officials to report people without residence status to the immigration authorities.
  • There is no evidence of any campaigns to promote birth registration, but also no evidence of groups at high risk of not being registered.
  • The Hungarian Helsinki Committee has identified groups of children born in Hungary who may be at risk of statelessness due to gaps in nationality law safeguards.
  • An amendment was introduced in 2011 to the foundlings provision to enable children born to unknown fathers and abandoned by known mothers, whose identity could not be proven, to acquire Hungarian nationality (see above).
  • The only grounds for deprivation of nationality provided for in Hungarian law relates to acquisition of nationality by fraud, and there is no safeguard to prevent statelessness.
  • The Budapest Regional Government Office is the competent authority in nationality matters, though decisions on deprivation are meant to be taken by the President.
  • There is a right to appeal a decision to deprive nationality unlike in other nationality-related matters, but there is no publicly available information on practice.
  • Since February 2020, the time during which Hungarian nationality may not be withdrawn has increased from 10 to 20 years from the date that nationality was granted.
  • There is a safeguard to prevent voluntary renunciation of nationality from resulting in statelessness.
  • There are no specific provisions in Hungarian law to prevent derivative loss of nationality.

Izvori

Library of resources, legal instruments, publications and training materials on statelessness, specifically relevant to this country. More regional and international materials, as well as resources from other countries, are available on the Resources library. Domestic case law can be consulted in the Statelessness Case Law Database (with summaries available in English).

Please note that we are in the process of adding new resources, so check back soon.

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New Index Thematic Briefing: Statelessness determination and Protection in Europe

This briefing summarises how countries perform on stateless determination procedures.
15 Sep 2021 / Albania / Austria / Belgium / Bulgaria / Croatia / Cyprus / Czechia / France / Germany / Greece / Hungary / Ireland / Italy / Latvia / Malta / Moldova / Netherlands / North Macedonia / Norway / Poland / Portugal / Serbia / Slovenia / Spain / Statelessness determination and status / Switzerland / Ukraine / United Kingdom

Project funded by: