Moving to Hungary from the US

Considering swapping the States for the heart of Europe? If you’ve already set your sights on the thousands of spas and thermal springs, the traditional cuisine, and the various natural wonders Hungary has to offer, you probably don’t need much more convincing.

But whether you’re moving to Hungary alone, with your family, or a furry friend, there’s a lot to research you need to do beforehand. Luckily for you, we’re here to make the whole process easier.

If you’re already up to date with all things Hungarian, head to the form at the top of the page and get started on your journey.

To get free shipping quotes, all you have to do is answer a few short questions about your trip and let us do the rest. We’ll pass this information onto our trusted suppliers, who will then be in touch with you with quotes to compare.

A view of Budapest at sunset

A glimpse at some of Budapest's impressive architecture in the warm sunset glow

Cost of shipping to Hungary from the US

Although Hungary has a handful of shipping terminals, it doesn’t have any major container ports, which can make shipping your belongings to Hungary quite challenging. In fact, you’ll probably have to ship your belongings to Croatia or Romania, and then use truck freight from there.

Below, we’ve calculated the average international shipping rates for some of our most sought-after journeys from major US cities to popular destinations near Hungary. The rates are sourced from WorldFreightRates.com, and are based on the port-to-port transportation of a 20ft container of used furniture worth $40,000 – the typical value of the contents of a three-bedroom house (according to Admiral Insurance). The durations are sourced from Searates.com.

This information was last updated in May 2021.

Bear in mind these are estimates only. If you’d like a more accurate idea of how much shipping to Hungary will cost you, just pop your details into this form, and our suppliers will get back to you.

RouteCostDuration
New York to Split, Croatia$1,139.04 – $1,258.9415 days
New York to Rijeka, Croatia$1,149.57 – $1,270.5815 days
New York to Constanta, Romania$1,249.49 – $1,381.0116 days
Los Angeles to Split, Croatia$2,797.46 – $3,091.9328 days
Los Angeles to Rijeka, Croatia$2,823.36 – $3,120.5528 days
Los Angeles to Constanta, Romania$2,498.89 – $2,761.9429 days

Please note: these container shipping costs exclude typical add-ons such as door-to-door delivery, professional packing/unpacking, and basic insurance cover. Our shipping suppliers normally incorporate these services into their prices, so expect some discrepancy between the rates given here and the quotes you receive. These estimates should be used as an indication only.

Select the size of your move to get free quotes

Cost of flying goods to Hungary from the US

If you’re in a rush, flying your goods to Hungary might be a better option. Although, you should bear in mind that, despite air freight having its speed advantages, container shipping can be cheaper.

Below, we’ve outlined the prices you can expect to see if you’re flying goods from the US to Hungary.

These rates are also sourced from WorldFreightRates.com, and are based on the airport-to-airport transportation of much lighter goods – 250kg of household goods, to be precise, worth $40,000, from a major origin city to Budapest, Hungary.

RouteCostDuration
New York to Budapest$2,394.60 - $2,646.6610 hours
Los Angeles to Budapest$2,394.60 - $2,646.6614 hours
Houston to Budapest$2,394.60 - $2,646.6613 hours

Healthcare in Hungary

The Hungarian state healthcare system is mostly free for all residents who make social security contributions. Some items (such as medicines, and some medical equipment), however, will need a small co-payment fee.

This highly regarded system is funded by the National Health Insurance Fund (Országos Egészségbiztosítási Pénztár (OEP). All employed residents pay local and federal income taxes, which are automatically deducted from their salary and go straight to the OEP.

Plus – good news for American expats – any foreigner coming to Hungary is usually covered for emergency treatment. Expats who either study or work in Hungary have to contribute towards the Health Insurance Fund and must apply for a health insurance card to receive support.

Before your big move to Hungary, it’s worth considering whether you’ll need private medical cover.

We’ve partnered with Cigna who provide medical insurance in Hungary (and worldwide). With four levels of annual cover to choose from and extra add-ons for more flexibility, Cigna will sort you out with a plan that suits your needs.

Start building a customized plan with a free quote to protect your most important assets – you and your family.

Cost of living in Hungary

The cost of living in Hungary will vary, depending on where you move to. For example, rent in the center of Budapest will cost far more than it will in the small town of Szentendre.

To give you a general idea of how much you’ll be spending in Hungary, we’ve listed a few prices for everyday items below:

Goods/servicesAverage cost
1 bedroom flat in a city center (monthly rent)163,490 Ft ($571.20)
Meal for two12,000 Ft ($41.93)
A monthly pass for public transport9,500 Ft ($33.19)
A pint452 Ft ($1.58)
A loaf of bread152 Ft ($0.53)
1 liter of milk241.13 Ft ($0.84)
12 eggs624 Ft ($2.18)
A monthly gym subscription10,463 Ft ($36.56)
1 liter of gas395 Ft ($1.38)
A bottle of red wine 1,686 Ft ($5.89)

Data from Wise and Expatistan

Transferring money to Hungary from the US

If you’re about to move to Hungary, you’ll probably need to convert some of your savings into Hungarian forints.

However, it’s best to avoid using high street banks for this process, as you’ll usually have to pay high fees, and you won’t get the best exchange rate.

We’ve done extensive research and compared all the major money transfer services on the market – check out our expert ratings and find the best money transfer provider here.

Working in Hungary 

Generally, you’ll find that the larger cities in Hungary, such as Budapest, Miskolc, and Debrecen, offer more job opportunities than the rural parts of the country. Budapest is certainly the epicenter of Hungary’s economy, with its flourishing financial and tech sectors.

One thing that attracts a lot of American expats to Hungary is the excellent work-life balance. Typically, a standard working week will be eight hours a day, five days a week. Although office hours will vary between businesses, Friday is often taken as a short day, with workers leaving the office at about 4pm or earlier.

Hungary’s employment rate rose to an all-time high in February 2018, which – like most economies around the world – took a hit in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Getting a work visa for Hungary

All non-EU citizens need to have both a work visa and a work permit to live in Hungary. Some of the visas available to Americans include:

  • Seasonal employment visa – Anyone working in agriculture, animal management, or fishing must have a work permit and a seasonal employment visa
  • Schengen business visa – Non-European citizens traveling to a Schengen country for short-term business purposes can get this visa for single or multiple entries
  • Working Schengen visa – Anyone traveling to Hungary for short-term employment opportunities should apply for this visa
  • Residence Permit for the Pursuit of Gainful Activity – Available to non-EEA nationals intending to live and work in Hungary. The permit will be valid for three years, and is renewable for three more years, provided the resident is still working in Hungary

 

Average salary in Hungary

The average salary in Hungary is $25,000 – although, of course, this will vary between industries.

Below, we’ve provided a few examples of average salaries you’ll find in the capital.

JobsAverage salary in Budapest
Software engineer5,956,905 Ft ($20,785)
Content marketing3,964,796 Ft ($13,834)
Chef10,566,426 Ft ($36,869)
Physician9,652,921 Ft ($33,681)
Web developer5,464,628 Ft ($19,067)
Copywriter3,729,614 Ft ($13,013)
Waiter2,501,056 Ft ($8,726)
Architect4,954,705 Ft ($17,288)

Data from Wise

Compared to the average American salary of $31,133, these salaries might seem a bit underwhelming – but remember that the cost of living in Hungary is also low, so it balances out.

 

Income tax in Hungary

Hungary has a flat tax rate of 15% for both residents and non-residents. Compared to America’s seven tax rates – ranging from 10% to 37% – Hungary’s tax system might either be a pleasant, or a not-so-welcome surprise.

 

Job-hunting in Hungary

Finding any job can be daunting, let alone when it’s in an unfamiliar country. Thankfully, there are a few websites that can give you a helping hand along the way, including:

Hungarian vineyards

Hungarian vineyards, with Balaton Lake – the largest lake in Central Europe – sitting in the background

Climate in Hungary

Hungary’s climate follows a regular pattern of cold winters and warm summers, with mild spring and autumn months in between. You’ll rarely experience the extreme weather often found in some corners of America here.

Plus, unlike the US, Hungary is a relatively small country, which means the climatic differences between the different regions are pretty small.

 

Does it snow in Hungary?

Yes – but it’ll seem like just a dusting if you’re moving from the likes of Alaska.

January is the coldest month in Hungary, with daytime temperatures usually hovering around zero – so expect some snowfall around then. And if you’re near some of the more mountainous areas, temperatures will drop even lower around this time of year.

The average number of days with snow each year in Hungary is less than 40 in the low-land regions, and up to 120 days in the Hungarian mountains.

The best places to live in Hungary

Hungary is a breathtaking country, with rural views of rolling hills and streets etched with history. Each area offers something different for its visitors, but let’s take a look at the top spots for expats.

 

Budapest: best for work opportunities

As the capital of Hungary, there’s something for everyone in Budapest. The nightlife is electric, the food is divine, and there’s a total of nine thermal baths and 123 hot springs to relax in.

But, more than anything, this city is perfect for people trying to build their careers.

Traditionally, most expats settling down in Budapest worked as language teachers. However, since Hungary joined the EU in 2004, various international companies have opened new offices in Budapest, welcoming a plethora of new job opportunities for expats.

 

Esztergom: best for retirement

What better way to spend retirement than to spend day after day exploring the rich history of Hungary?

Sitting roughly an hour away from Budapest is Esztergom – the historic capital of Hungary, before Budapest took over. The city is jam-packed with historical spots, including the impressive Basilica, the Hungarian National Museum, and the Statue of King Saint Stephen.

What’s more, you can man your way through the various traditional Hungarian restaurants, which line Esztergom’s streets.

 

Szentendre: best for families

Do you picture your family growing up together in a quaint Hungarian town? It’s a niche dream, but we hear you.

Szentendre is the perfect town to raise children in. This picture-postcard town is adorned with gorgeous buildings and cobbled streets. You can find a handful of schools and museums tucked away in the center of town, and explore the wide-open nature spots around the outskirts.

Plus, you won’t have to sacrifice a flourishing career for the quiet life – Budapest is just over half an hour away by train!

7 quick facts about Hungary

  1. Hungary is one of the oldest countries in Europe – it was founded in 897
  2. It’s home to Hungarian inventor Erno Rubik, who created the Rubik’s cube in 1974
  3. There are roughly 1,500 thermal springs and over 400 public baths in Hungary
  4. In Hungary, it’s considered rude to clink your beer glasses. This goes way back to 1848, when Hungarian generals were executed after defeat in the Hungarian revolution. Austrians clinked their beer glasses after each execution – so think before you clink
  5. The government needs to approve your child’s name before it can be official
  6. Hungary’s Balaton Lake is the largest lake in Central Europe
  7. The mummified right hand of Saint Stephen, the first king of Hungary, is displayed in the Saint Stephen Basilica in Budapest

Next steps

And there you have it – everything you need to know before moving to Hungary from the US. Hopefully moving across the world to this wonderful country seems less daunting now.

If you’re feeling more sussed on Hungary, the next step is to get organized and look into getting your stuff over there.

To make this step a whole lot easier, simply answer a few quick questions on this short form, and let us do the hard work. Once we have the information about your trip, we’ll pass this onto our suppliers, who will then be in touch with quotes for you to compare. Egyszerűen (simple)!