Expat visa and insurance in Hungary

I have finally been granted my permanent residency here in Hungary!

I started renewing this visa with my immigration lawyer in November of 2022 and after 7 months, I finally have my physical card in hand.

We submitted the paperwork to the government office at the end of January, and as my visa expires the next week, I was given a temporary permit. I was told that with the increased case count of immigrants over the past few years, this could take up to 4 months to have the process completed. I was unhappy with myself for letting it get this close to the expiry date as I should have started the process a few months earlier.

For anyone in this situation, don’t wait for your documents to come close to expiry before addressing these. Keeping your finger on the pulse of these offices will help you to avoid similar issues.

After I was provided the temporary permit, I found out the hard way that my TAJ card (insurance card) had expired along with my visa. Something I should have noticed as the date was stated on the card. But, I was not the only one to miss this as the doctor who advised me of “a problem” did not see this either. I then had to go to the NEAK office here which is the health insurance office for foreigners. Here is where I was shown that my card had expired and that I needed to get a paper from my employer stating that I have been paying into the system and was still employed.

I got this all sorted and returned to the office on my next trip into town. I was then met by a kind lady who told me that the papers were good, but they could not apply the health card to a paper permit and could only do this with the physical card. I then had to go without health coverage until I got the card. Not knowing how long that could be, I was not very happy about this condition.

This last week, after nearly 4 months of waiting, I got my physical card! I then set a time to go back to the NEAK office and deal with my insurance. My friend the doctor, had told me that it could take up to 6 months for the office to issue a new card once I have submitted for it.

So going into this office once again, my expectations for a good resolution were not very high. The guy at the desk took all of the documents I had previously gotten for this and he said that the paper that I had been given by my employer was no longer valid as it needed to be within 30 days of today’s date to be considered valid. (This was never advised previously so how was I to know?)

He then asked for my address card and so with this, as I was able to prove that I live here, he was able to get around that condition. He then pulled out this tiny piece of paper and put this in a printer and out came my new TAJ card! After a few minutes of verification and an expiration stamp, he handed me my new card! God had somehow expedited this and I walked to work with a valid (from tomorrow) health insurance card.

I have learned a few new lessons and was reminded of a few through this. I was reminded that Hungary’s government offices are not designed for the influx of people and they are still living in the 90s with 80% of everything still being put on paper. I was also reminded that God is faithful in ways that you can’t imagine and he is not bound to work within our timelines.