Hungary Expat Forum - Retire in Hungary

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Petert8
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9/13/2010 15:15    
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Hi
I am new here and I need some help.I would like to retire in Hungary with my wife. I am US citizen my wife has a green card.Both of us are from hungary.Could some body
outline the steps we have to take to move back to Hungary.Do we have to pay property tax to US on the house we purchase in hungary?
Thanks so much
Peter

Grazka
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9/29/2010 20:05    
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Hi,
probably to make life more easy for yourself just make Hungarian passport (EU passport) specially if you want to retire in Hungary. If you are Hungarian you should have no problem with it.
Also I'll think being Hungarian citizen you will be able to take what ever belongs to you but check up if is some limitations on it.
As for tax I have no idea about US tax system but again logically speaking if you are Hung living in Hungary you will need to pay taxes (if any) in Hungary.But I'm not expert on US law.
Good luck for the future.Grazka

pogonofra
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10/14/2010 15:22    
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No you do not have to pay US property tax on realestate purchased in Hungary, but you have to pay 11% "illetek" in Hungary to the local APEH (tax office).
Good luck,
Pogonofra

tjd45
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10/18/2010 03:20    
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I am interested in the property market in Hungary. What is the "illetek"? Are you sure that it is 11%? This is on the purchase price of the property? Sounds outlandish. I am skeptical of this. People would be too reluctant to buy properties at this price.

petofi
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10/26/2010 00:29    
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Hi.
Retiring in Hungary is great.
It's inexpensive. And Budapest is one of the most
beautiful cities in the world.

By the way, if you're thinking
of renting for the first year, I have one central, furnished
apartment, perfect for a couple. Let me know if you
want to see pics.

borschelrh
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11/18/2010 05:59    
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My wife and I are both US citizens and we have retired in Hungary. I am retired military and it is one place we can live on a military pension well. I can tell you a lot about what we went through in getting established here. At the time we bought our house here in Balatonfured (2009) the sales tax was 6%. It dropped for a while to 3% which I believe (but am unsure as the rules change here like the weather) is what it is now. We pay no property tax on our place here in Hungary. They are still getting a lot from us as we still have 3 houses in Virginia. We shipped everything we own from the US including our car. Getting it registered was a nightmare (the rules changed 6 times during the process) and I am going through a second nightmare getting a driver's license. Everything else went smoothly enough. We completely renovated our house and were ripped off badly by the first builder which we fired about 30% of the way through the process. Then had 3 more builders along the way, various degrees of difficulties. The end result is fabulous. But, in general it looks to me like Hungarian contractors agree to a set price then after the first payment jack it up or quit. Very strange behavior in a bad economy. Three times it has happened after we paid a substantial bonus for good work which appears to freak them out. Now we have purchased the vacant land next door and have built a swimming pool and are landscaping it now. Again, it all went smoothly now that we know whom to trust and what prices to expect. If you need some help I have a lot of experience adapting to the way things are done here. One thing is they love beurocracy and everything takes time and patience and a lot of stamping of papers along the way. Nothing can be done quickly or in one visit. Most things are like a goat rope with multiple trips to various offices and getting things paid or stamped at various offices. Each office will have their own interpretation of the rules which may require appealing to higher authorities to get resolved. It is also as if they have not quite discovered computers yet or how to apply them to the working environment which is freaky. I do love it here though despite any issues we had so don't take what I say as strongly negative. We aren't likely to go back to the US unless things get crazy here (like a major revolution or something equally bad). We love the people, the environment, and the culture and don't regret moving here at all.

Murdock
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1/12/2011 16:06    
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borschelrh,
My husband and I are thinking about moving to Hungary. My husband more then I, actually. He is a US citizen, I'm Hungarian, came to the US 26 years ago. I'm trying to research health insurance costs in Hungary, moving cost from Illinois, shipping pets, (we have two cats) Hungarian tax law on bringing in investment gold we have purchased here. We have so many questions, we appriciate any help we can get.

westcoa
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1/12/2011 18:12    
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Hello, We moved to Hungary in 2007. I am American and my wife is Hungarian. Regarding the gold and the health Insurance. As long as you are an American Citizen and I don't see why you would lose it. Keep all American investments in the States. With Internet account access there is no need to move it to where you are living. My health Insurance in the States covered me in Hungary so make sure you learn about your Insurance carriers policy regarding International coverage. Otherwise you will need to get international coverage until you live in Hungary long enough (5 years) to qualify for their social coverage. Let me know if you happen to move to Szeged. I can help you with many things there to help your move. Good Luck!

Murdock
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1/14/2011 13:48    
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Thanks for your advise westcoa. We will check if our health insurance here will cover us in Hungary also if not try to find one which would. Regarding the gold, these are gold coins and gold bars, we can't leave them here, we either have to sell here and take the money, or ship the gold which we would like to do if we can find a secure way and we don't have to pay Hungarian "ado" tax on them.

westcoa
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1/14/2011 16:53    
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You're welcome. Another suggestion in regards to your gold. You may want to open a brokerage account that is manageable online like TDAmeritrade or similar type discount broker. This way you can sell your Physical Gold while gold is high and then use the proceeds to buy a gold ETF such as GLD that you can buy or sell at the click of our computer. GLD is a Exchange traded Fund that trades like gold but as a share price. So if you feel you want to stay invested in gold you would be able to do it in a more simplified matter. Rather than moving your gold physically which is not cost effective due to sheer weight. Either way as long as you have a bank account in the US and a linkable account in hungary, you always have the ability to transfer funds when the currency value is right for you. We have several account in the states that link to our international accounts so that we can manage investments better from the states.

Ozziland
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5/24/2011 02:31    
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Hello, I am so pleased to read that the appreciation of the culture and lifestyle wins hands down. We are also preparing to retire there from Australia and we would dearly love to make friends with English speaking people as well. We will be visiting in the next three months to look for some property/home. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Bless

ustokos48
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5/24/2011 20:52    
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"illetek" is just like, application fee. Paid once, normally at the start of any project ..

ustokos48
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5/24/2011 21:22    
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Hi all..
Well, aproching my retiremnet age, I am thinking more and more, to 'go home'
My concerns though are tax, living cost, health cover, superannuation transfere, pensions -if any- and all in general.
I would like to hear first hand from somebody, who dared to make this move...

Ozziland
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5/25/2011 09:18    
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Opening a Citybank bank account could be useful for simple funds transfering and or a debit master card. I am told it costs 5000 forint per month for a full health cover, watch out for private super funds though. If anyone is planning to rely on an Aussi pension to live off be careful it gets dramatically reduced after 26 weeks unless you return. Google centerlink it will explain all. My best suggestion is don't close the door behind you.

Murdock
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6/20/2011 15:47    
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We are getting pretty close to move to hungary. I got answeres to most of my questions, but I still don't know who do we have to pay taxes. I lived in the USA for 27 years, I payied my taxes here up untilnow. My husband is a US citizen. When we retire in Hungary we are planing to live off of our investment income. I'm sure my husband will have rto pay taxes to the US, do I pay to the Hungarian goverment? What percentage? Does anybody know? Will the hungarian goverment tax us on our retirement savings we will bring with this summer? I'm sure some of you retired and can help us with these questions.

Murdock
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6/20/2011 16:21    
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Hi,

We are getting very close to move to Hungary. Our bank said they can't wire money to our account so I would like to find out which bank has a linkable account to a Hungarian OTP account? Do you or anybody else know if the Hungarian goverment will tax us on our retirement founds we are planing to move to Hungary? (as I said earlier I'm hungarian citizen, lived in the US for 27 years, my husband is american citizen.) We plan to live on the interest income of our money, perhaps later work part time. Does anybody know what kind of forms we have to fill out to bring our belongings into the country? Our mover said we have to fill out forms but he didn't say how do we get these forms?
Thanks for any help you can give.

Ozziland
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6/20/2011 20:20    
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Hello, we are also planning to retire in Hungary. We will be there at the end of July to look for properties. Our plan so far is when we get there to open up a CitiBank bank account there as we have one here and for about a year simply transfer funds between accounts until we find a better solution. We do not want to take the risk of investing too much funds until we know exactly what we are doing. Best of luck, maybe we'll meet you there one day. One never knows.

ustokos48
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6/20/2011 23:10    
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To Murdoch..
Well .. the simplest answer would be to your questions is to contact the Hungarian Embassy..
Also your tax questions could be answered there .. but logically, you pay tax on your income! Of course if your income is in America, you pay tax there .. after all, you have to declare your income to the Tax Office, don't you ?
I would say, that you do everything as a 'turist' first..
and than decide on advice in Hungary.
Hope this gave you a line of thoughts.. :)

Good Luck... and let us know if you learned 'something'..:)

Murdock
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6/23/2011 09:49    
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Hi,

Well, I have tried the Hungarian Embassy earlier and all I got as a responce is a bunch of website to go to. Not much help. I get more help from Expats. Perhaps we can find out information easier once we are there.
I know we have to file next year in the US still, I was interested after next year. I think you are correct, if we get our interest income in Hungary we will both have to file there. If you are interested in the website the Hungarian Embassy refered us to I can post it here.
Thanks for your responce.

timtrump
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8/31/2011 01:18    
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Ozziland,

I'd like to know what you encountered as far as Citibank when you were there in July. My wife and I are about to move to Budapest at the end of this year and had the same idea. Unfortunately when I contacted them to ask a few questions it seems that the only link shared between the banking entities is the name. In no way is Citibank in the States associated with Citibank in Hungary as far as ability to transfer funds, use both banks with the same account, etc. In fact, there are not even any breaks on transfer fees. If you found anything different while asking them there I would love to know. Thanks!

KEG
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9/15/2011 04:31    
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I have lived in Hungary and had a Hungary Citibank account and a US Citibank Global Executive Bank account. With the Global Executive Account I received monthly wire transfers to my Hungarian Citibank account without any issues. Also, if you do have a US Citibank Global Executive Account there are no ATM fees anywhere in the world, so you really do not require the Hungary bank account.

Ham7431
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8/27/2012 06:57    
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Hello Sir, My name is Ham, nick name of course. I have lived here for about 16 years. I have a bank acount in US dollars in Hungary and have never had a problem with transfer or direct deposit in dollars. I am an American citizen. the bank is Volksbank. I bank in Kaposvár and they have banks in Budapest and other cities in and around Hungary. I will not go back to the states to live because I am very satified with the country and people. I built a house and too had to get rid of a first contractor. The price rises after work sarted or something. But we got over it and pressed on. My wife is also Hungarian, although not retired. Once again I am very satisfied altough I must file tax forms in the states. Tere are no taxes for money under I think at this time 85,000 US Dollars. My tax account is in the states and do many expat taxes yearly. If you more information email me at my home email address. Take care and i will hwlp with everything that I can.
:-)

ustokos48
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9/6/2012 18:01    
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Hi All ..

Not much happening here since my last visit ..!What's going on?
Does this mean that Hungary is not good anymore to retire ?
I am still planning to move back to Hungary -where I born- after 40 years .. So required as much information as possible on Banking, Health and the cost of settling down there ..

Cheers

ilonaandbill
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9/7/2012 12:02    
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My husband and I are retiring to Hungary where I was born. Current political policies are on the mend and either way this will not affect people who do not work for the government. So expats are fine. We are looking forward to spending many happy years there soon.

Ham7431
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9/8/2012 01:23    
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Hello, Living in Hungary is great. I do not work much nor am retired, but we are able to live on my wife's salary and part time work from teaching English. We own our home, and have three kids to support. If your husband can, try to take a course either online or at the university in teaching English as a second language. Native speakers of English are in demand here. I have been here for many years and do not regret any of it. Being retired is great also-

ustokos48
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9/10/2012 22:48    
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..:) what a lovely, positive coment ! Almost feel like packing up.... and go home:)
Not long!! One more year !

ilonaandbill
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9/11/2012 09:48    
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Me too, going back to Hungary soon. Just finalizing loose ends here. Can't wait.

ustokos48
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9/17/2012 21:16    
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:) Nice, cool talk! :)

Although I'm intending to go home from Australia, I guess the rules would be very similar..
I am not sure if we have Volksbank here.. So I just have to find out ..
Apart of this, your 'home email addres' doesn't show up here ..

Kind regards

Me

ustokos48
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9/17/2012 21:20    
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Hi ..

Where from? and what are the main things, that one should know of?
There must be a 'Must DO' and 'Must Not Do' list .. :)

Thanks for your input ..:)

Me

ustokos48
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9/17/2012 21:35    
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yes... 12 or 26 weeks are the limits to stay away and recieve pension.. Than must return to Oz.. I find this a bit strange.. But what is not strange from the governament of the 'Land of plenty".. ?
I guess they would like to stop pension alltogether.. Its hard to think about it, when you payed taxes for 40 years..

ustokos48
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9/17/2012 23:27    
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yes... 12 or 26 weeks are the limits to stay away and recieve pension.. Than must return to Oz.. I find this a bit strange.. But what is not strange from the governament of the 'Land of plenty".. ?
I guess they would like to stop pension alltogether.. Its hard to think about it, when you payed taxes for 40 years..
Baffled..

ustokos48
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9/18/2012 00:54    
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Here we go again..!
I was brewing on this for a couple of hours and just couldn't swallow it ..
This 'red neck' ameriacn calls Hungary a 'poor country' and classifies it as 'third world', but he chooses to live there with his Russian wife ..
As I know, there are 20 million homeless in any given time, in his rich country, that he couldn't afford. If our country is poor, why he not chooses Japan.. or Kuwait?? Or if he really want to live in a poor country, why he doesn't go to live in Afganistan.. or those 'stan' countries?
As a Hungarian I am offended by his comments, just like I am offended about their betrayal of our '56 revolution..

expattpc
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1/7/2013 16:36    
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Hi all-
Just came back from a week visit to Hungary and absolutely loved it! Are there any retirement communities in Hungary?

ilonaandbill
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1/7/2013 22:08    
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I don't know of any in Budapest, but Heviz is a retirement community. A small tourist town of 5000, lots of small mom an pop shops and fruit and vegetable stands, 2 big supermarkets, lot of stores, restaurants, movie theater and churches. Bus to most anywhere, including Keszthely to catch the train and big box stores. English is spoken most places and by many of the populace. Plus the biggest hot spring lake in Europe, all year round.

expattpc
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1/8/2013 17:34    
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Thanks for the feedback ilonaandbill, I'll look into it. I really wasn't looking at Budapest, somewhere in a smaller city as you recommended. I believe living in Budapest would be too expensive plus too crowded.

westcoa
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1/9/2013 06:11    
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FWIW - There are many small towns just outside of Budapest that still offer the convenience of the bigger city when you need it. We just relocated from Szeged to Alsonemedi about 20 minutes outside of Budapest and like having the best of both worlds. Being from Los Angeles it's the perfect compromise for us. Good luck.

expattpc
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1/9/2013 11:22    
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Thanks westcoa. I actually was looking at Tata. I had a chance to go there recently and its on the M1 and rail line to Vienna, about 1 hr. outside of Budapest, as I remember. I like the option of motoring or rail in either direction. I didn't see anything like we have in the US as far as a gated community for independent retirees and wondered if something like that would go over in Hungary. I wonder if there are enough expats not only from the US but from other European countries looking to move into Hungary that would make something like that succeed.

csardas
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1/10/2013 06:13    
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I moved from the USA to Tata in 2004 and love it! There is a gated community here also! Not a retirement community though. I would have suggestions for you. I found my own place on the Internet at the time. I think an owner is selling in my own area -- but I see building along the Old Lake. Don't know your expectations or budget. You can write to me privately, SKYPE, or meet here --

expattpc
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1/12/2013 11:26    
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Thanks csardas for the reply and the invite to contact you.

westcoa
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1/12/2013 11:40    
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I believe your property taxes follow the country the property is in. We have never paid property taxes in the US for property we own in Hungary although we do identify the properties and document the taxes we pay in Hungary on our US tax returns. If you file in the US your accountant should know what to document. Hope this helps.

westcoa
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1/12/2013 11:48    
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I take that back. My wife said the illetek tax is now 4%

westcoa
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1/14/2013 07:52    
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Not sure if this will help but we use Chase bank in the States and K&H bank here in Hungary. No problems with transfers to and from and the Atm/check card/visa works at OTP and many other banks with ATM's. There is an international atm usage fee though. We get around it using the new American Express cash card. This card allows us to pull out as much as $800 cash with no fee and then only $2.00 per atm transaction there after if more than 2 times a month. Saves a lot of money as regular banks charge international transfer fees and atm fees that are astronomical. Better to transfer from checking account to Amex cash card and then use the cash card for cash and free transactions everywhere they are accepted.

KEG
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3/8/2013 23:07    
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Need some help. If I was to work for 10 years in Hungary, then retire, would I have access to the Hungarian national health insurance program? If not, could someone let me know what I could expect to pay for health insurance in Hungary.

Thank you.........

ilonaandbill
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3/9/2013 12:30    
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You do not have to work in Hungary to receive their health insurance, if you are a citizen (apply for it, well worth it), you can receive it for a very low cost. Like under $300 a year, including everything. If you want it completely free, then you do have to work there, I don't know what the rules are for that. For non-citizens, out of pocket costs are reasonable, a fraction of what it is in the US. This is with no insurance. I don't know exact amounts. I do know it's doable.

yomper123
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5/16/2013 16:20    
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You said you have a green card well if you do not return to the USA approx every 6 months you could lose it
i have stayed, almost a year and everything was ok Your tax situation depends on if you are working or retired I have pensions payed into a U.S. Bank and use cards at the banks or cash machines

borschelrh
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9/4/2013 07:18    
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ustokos48,
I am sorry if what I said offended you. I am not saying the US is better at all. I was trying to point out some of the realities of living here. Hungary is poor, very poor. There are a lot of countries richer and many poorer even in Europe. Hungary has had a very difficult time transitioning to capitalism and this had had long term effects on the economy. Many of the decisions made by the government since 1992 have destroyed the economy but I can see it gradually improving. As I said we love it here and enjoy the lifestyle and the people who are hard working and generally very honest. There is a lot of racism here which is undeniable. The same is true for the resurgence of nationalism since the Fidez Party returned to power. Both of these attitudes will be a long term problem for Hungary. As for your '56 revolution if that had been attempted in West Germany in 1956 it would have been put down a lot harder so I have no sympathy for Hungary on this issue. Hungary willingly joined the Germans in yet another attempt to get back the land taken away during the treaty of Trianon. The main forces attacking Stalingrad were from Hungary so expecting any sympathy from the Soviets so soon after the war was too optimistic and Hungary paid the price again for this mistake. I am not faulting anyone on this but this is the way it went and it should not come as any surprise that the US yet again betrayed a country in the Cold War. US history is full of such betrayals and anyone that trusts American Foreign Policy is foolish. American politicians cannot see any further than the next election and we have constant changes in policy depending on which party is running things. I actually think Democracy in Hungary is far more reliable and honest than in the US. That is saying a lot.

peddington
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11/28/2013 12:10    
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Not sure about your return to Hungary as i'm not a Hungarian citizen and I didn't go that route even though I'm etnically Hungarian. Far as the property tax i believe you won't have to pay US tax. The property taxes are a little weird in Hungary. As far as I know each locality decides if they charge taxes or not. Many charge taxes on vacation homes but if you are a permanent resident then they don't. You do have to pay a 4% inital tax on the value of the home you are purchasing. I hope this is helpful! Good luck dealing with the burocracy which you not accustomed to!

peddington
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11/28/2013 12:12    
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My attorney told me that the initial purchase tax on real estate is 4%. They didn't bill me yet although the property has been on my name for 2 months now. You think they want their money but the burocracy is grinding slow in Hungary!

peddington
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12/20/2013 16:32    
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Visiting is one thing but living there...well let me tell you it can drive one CRAZY!

Anyim
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12/21/2013 14:14    
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It has been useful to read about all the racism in Hungary -- I will strike it off my list of countries to consider when I retire. There are enough bigots to deal with in the USA --don't want to have to deal with them in a foreign country when you are trying to adjust to an entirely different culture. Thanks for the warning! I'll take my retirement dollars elsewhere.

borschelrh
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12/25/2013 06:04    
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Anyim, I wouldn't react so strongly about the racism. Racism exists everytwhere whether we like it or not and at least here it is more or less an "innocent" form of racism, mostly from ignorance of other cultures. One of the strengths of Hungary (and possibly a weakness as well) is their very strong, and deservedly so, national pride. Remember this country was invaded and occupied by the Turks and Mongols evven earlier, which had a devastating effect. It also had the largest Jewish population in Europe and still does today. Gypsies are a problem but this is true in every country of Europe and not unique to Hungary. At least Hungary made a sincere and honest effort to effect changes in the Roma community all of which were ignored or abused. The Hungarian people are really excellent and hard working. They value culture and have a high work ethic. I can't say anything bad about Hungarians at all and am proud to live here. Yes, there are some strange bureaucratic nightmares but this is true everywhere. I have met several black men here and none have experienced any racism so perhaps this racist concept is more theoretical than real. However, I think it is more racist in the Eastern half of the country than out here in the West.

For those thinking of coming here, we live on Lake Balaton and love it. There is a lot to see and do here. We do not regret moving here ever and it was the best decision we ever made.

I can speak a bit about the National Health Care insurance. Anyone can buy it but the price depends on your status. You do have to register with the taxation office and get a tax id number which we haven't done as we don't work here or file taxes in Hungary. As we are on a 5 year renewable retirement visa we would be required to pay the full fee which is roughly $500 a person per month. If we get permanent resident status or citizenship then we qualify for the same rate as Hungarians which is roughly $25 a month. But, in terms of actual usage it is far better to pay cash. You get premium and immediate service and it isn't expensive. I have military Tricare insurance which is horrible and re-imburses roughly 65% after deductibles but has an error rate over 400% and takes a long time to get processed if in fact it gets processed at all. Still, we don't spend more than $5000 a year even requiring multiple surgeries. Compared to costs in the US it is trivial in comparison and not unique to Hungary. The Health Insurance might be handy for something catastrophic but otherwise not particularly useful for us.

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