Hungary restores border controls on 1 September, business travel impacted but still possible


Similar to measures introduced during the pandemic’s first wave, the Hungarian government has ordered the restoration of border controls and the closure of borders to non-residents beginning 1 September 2020. Underscoring the strictness of these measures, even Hungarian residents returning from abroad from 1 September will be quarantined for 14 days, which may be reduced to five days if two PCR tests taken at least 48 hours apart result in negative results. Business travel, however, is still possible under certain conditions, including the following situations:

Business travel between related undertakings

In case of Hungarian undertakings belonging to an international group of companies, managing directors and employees of the group may enter Hungary for business purposes if this purpose is proven with sufficient documentation. The main advantage of this exemption is that managing directors and employees of these undertakings do not have to undergo quarantine and testing. This also applies to managing directors and employees of the Hungarian company returning from a business trip abroad. Based on our previous experience with this type of business travel, CMS Budapest is able to assist with the required documentation.

Business travel between unrelated undertakings

Business travel between unrelated undertakings is possible based on the approval of the competent police department. The approval may be applied for electronically and needs to contain an acceptable (e.g. business) purpose, documentary proof of this purpose, and the type and number of the individual's travel document. If the health check conducted at the border reveals a suspicion of infection, entry will be denied. Otherwise, the person entering Hungary is subject to a 14-days quarantine or testing. CMS Budapest also has experience obtaining these types of travel approvals.

Remaining questions

Hungary's new border control provisions have left open several practical questions, such as how business travel between unrelated undertakings can be accomplished. Given the mandatory quarantine requirements of the approval mechanism, foreign-service providers and sub-contractors of Hungarian undertakings are prevented from providing services in Hungary unless a related undertaking in Hungary employs them and they fit into the other regime. However, we expect that a decision or legislation will be passed soon to solve these issues.

For more information on how Hungary's border controls could affect your business, contact your regular CMS advisor or local CMS experts.