The current Hungarian Citizenship Act was accepted in 2010, and it grants citizenship to everyone with Hungarian descendants. Since the new Act came into force, more than 1 million people received Hungarian citizenship, and there are many more eligible.
Hungarians around the world
Hungary is a relatively small country in the heart of Europe, with a population just below 10 million. However, for historic reasons, there are more than 5 million more ethnic Hungarians living outside Hungary. Around half of them live in neighboring countries (Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia), in territories that used to belong to Hungary before the Trianon treaty of 1920, a consequence of World War I. The rest live in various other countries around the globe (most of them in the U.S.A., Canada, Germany, Israel, or the UK), due to the emigration waves over the last century.
The Hungarian Citizenship Act of 2010
In 2010, a major modification was accepted to the law governing who can become a Hungarian citizen. Since then, everyone with a Hungarian heritage is eligible for Hungarian citizenship. If someone can trace back to their lineage to ethnic Hungarians who lived in the territory of Hungary (or in Hungarian territories of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy), they can become Hungarian citizens without a Hungarian address, and with limited or even without any grasp of the Hungarian language.
All this is possible with dual citizenship, meaning that Hungarian law does not require anyone to renounce their existing citizenship. (If your country of origin does not allow dual citizenship, that is a different question, not affected by Hungarian law.)
More than 1 million applications so far
The new Hungarian Citizenship Act made it possible for the more than 5 million people around the world to apply for Hungarian citizenship. Over the last twelve years, more than 1 million people have applied for Hungarian citizenship based on their heritage, most of which application have been granted (the application procedure usually takes a year or so).
The most obvious beneficiaries are the ethnic Hungarians who live in the countries neighboring Hungary, usually in actually Hungarian communities, who are well aware of their Hungarian roots, and who speak Hungarian and are familiar with Hungarian traditions. At the same time, even those can apply who are not living in Hungarian communities abroad and have lost touch with their Hungarian roots. In their cases, proving Hungarian ancestry often requires the help of an expert genealogy researcher who has access to the archives of birth and marriage certificates, but in possession of the right evidence, their application is also quite straightforward.
There are various procedures available, depending on when the Hungarian ancestors in question left Hungary, and where they used to live. Learn more here.
Are you also eligible?
Hungarian people are all over the world, so there is a chance you have Hungarian ancestors somewhere along your family tree. Do you remember stories of a Hungarian grandparent or great-grandparent? Or do you know for a fact that one ore more of your ancestors were Hungarian? And do you want to become a citizen of an EU member state in the heart of Europe? Then go for it. Take advantage of the Hungarian Citizenship Act of 2010 – and take our free eligibility test to if you have everything for your Hungarian citizenship application, and contact us to learn more about your options.