First Steps

First Steps

When moving to a new place there are certain things you are legally obliged to do, things you need to do to be able to carry on with your everyday life and things you can choose to do to live a more enjoyable and comfortable life. Here is a list about your obligations and needs that you should keep in mind when arriving in Debrecen:


Residence permit

If you intend to stay and live in Hungary for more than 90 days, you are required to register your residence. You must do so within 93 days of arrival. In case you are an EU national, you need to apply for a registration certificate, while if you are a third-country national you must apply for a residence permit for the purpose of study or a residence permit for the purpose of employment, depending on the purpose of your stay.

Health insurance

Expats who are working or studying in Hungary are covered under the National Health Insurance Fund of Hungary (Nemzeti Egészségbiztosítási Alapkezelő or NEAK) through mandatory contributions, usually paid by the individual’s employer or educational institution. You need either a valid health insurance card (TAJ kártya) or private health insurance to access health care services.

Taxation & Tax card

If you are staying in Hungary for the purpose of employment, you need to apply for a tax card that shows your tax identification number. You can do this either yourself or your employer can also submit the application.

Driving licence &

Car registration

If you have a valid driving licence or an additional international driving licence issued by a foreign country, you can drive in Hungary and, under certain conditions, register your vehicle.


Medical services

It is advisable to find your local General Practitioner / Dentist / Paediatrician / Gynaecologist before you might need them urgently. You can register with these doctors as their patient and when you need them you will know where to go and what to expect. Also take a note of the emergency number 112 and familiarise yourself where to go in need of serious life-threatening situations for both medical and dental problems, and check where to find the closest non-stop 24/7 emergency pharmacies to your place.

Phone card

To buy a Hungarian SIM card and phone number you have the option to buy prepaid credit or to sign a contract for a monthly plan with one of the telecommunication providers.

Bank account

To open a bank account, you must present a residence permit, have a permanent address and be working/studying. You must also present a rental contract, one month’s rent paid in advance and a zero utility bill. If you are an EU citizen, you must apply for a residence permit after 90 days.

Public transport

If you are planning to use the public transport system on a regular basis during your stay in Debrecen, it is advisable to purchase monthly or yearly transport pass valid for all city transport (tram, bus and trolleybus) instead of buying individual tickets for each ride.