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Hungary - Exercise normal security precautions
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Hungary. Exercise normal security precautions.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.
Petty crime (pickpocketing, bag snatching) occurs, particularly at markets, on public transport, in railway stations, in shopping centres and in other areas frequented by tourists.
Theft of passports also occurs. Safeguard personal belongings on overnight trains and lock your compartment door from the inside.
Car thefts and highway robberies also occur. Drivers should be cautious when stopping at gas stations and highway parking areas, especially after dark.
Another reported practice involves individuals staging roadside emergencies (for example, a smoking engine or flat tire) to persuade drivers to pull over. Thieves then remove personal belongings from the distracted driver's car.
Demonstrations occur periodically in larger urban centres and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
Extremist groups have used national holidays, such as August 20 (St. Stephen’s Day), March 15 (date of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution) and October 23 (Republic Day) to stage demonstrations during commemorative events.
Highways are generally in good condition. Rural roads may be narrow, badly lit and poorly maintained.
Traffic congestion and parking in large cities can be a problem.
The bus and the metro are a reliable means of transportation. Fare payment on public transit is mandatory. Violators are subject to fines or arrest and prosecution.
Only use officially marked taxis. Whenever possible, call a taxi through a dispatcher rather than hailing one on the street. Ensure that the meter is on and charging the appropriate rate, which should be displayed in the taxi. If you think you have been wrongly charged, take note of the taxi information, ask for a receipt and contact the taxi company to report the incident.
Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Some restaurants and clubs do not list prices, particularly in the business district of central Pest. Ask to see a menu with prices clearly listed. Avoid discussions regarding overcharging, as they could lead to violence.
Some scams involve surcharges on final bills for drinks or meals. Travellers unable to pay the bill have been accompanied by the establishment’s security guard to a cash machine and forced to withdraw funds while being threatened. Do not ask taxi drivers to recommend bars or clubs, as they are sometimes accomplices in these scams.
Male travellers have been approached by young women in public areas with invitations to socialize. Some have fallen victim to criminal activity and been presented with very large bills for drinks and entertainment.
See Overseas Fraud for more information on scams abroad.
General safety information
Exercise normal security precautions. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times, especially on public transportation. Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash.
Carry adequate identification, such as your passport, at all times. Photocopies are not accepted. Keep a photocopy of your passport in case of loss or seizure.
Dial 112 for emergency assistance. The Hungarian Tourinform office offers tourism information and assistance 24 hours a day in English and German. They can be reached at +36 1 438 8080 and collect at +800 36 000 000.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Hungarian authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Republic of Hungary and its consulates, for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians travelling to Hungary must present a passport, which must be valid for at least three months beyond the date of their expected departure from the Schengen area. Before you leave, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days*
Business visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days*
Student visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days
* The 90 days begin upon initial entry into any country of the Schengen area.
The following 26 countries comprise the Schengen Area: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The Schengen area has common rules regarding visas and controls at external borders.
You do not need visas for short-term visits of up to 90 days within a six-month period. Your stays are cumulative, and include visits to any country within the Schengen area. Some countries require that you register with local authorities within three working days of your arrival.
It is important to get your passport stamped when entering the Schengen area. The absence of an entry stamp from the initial Schengen port of entry could create difficulties during subsequent encounters with local police or other authorities throughout the Schengen area.
After 90 days of stay in the Schengen area, you must leave for another 90 days before you can re-enter.
If you overstay the permitted 90 days in the Schengen area, you may be fined or deported. To visit for longer than 90 days, you must obtain a long-stay national visa.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. Please consult our Children page for more information.
Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination before allowing entry. Consult the World Health Organization’s country list to obtain information on this country’s requirements.
- Measles: Global Update - May 7, 2014 10:20 EDT
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Tick-borne encephalitis is a viral disease that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread to humans by the bite of an infected tick. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to tick bites (e.g., those spending time outdoors in wooded areas) while travelling in regions with risk of tick-borne encephalitis.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Eastern Europe, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Eastern Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in Eastern Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & Culture
Laws & Culture
You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and detention page for more information.
Canada and Hungary are signatories to the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Hungary to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Hungarian authorities.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences or heavy fines.
An International Driving Permit is recommended.
Traffic regulations are strictly enforced.
The use of seat belts is mandatory. Turning right at a red light is prohibited. Headlights must be on at all times outside of inhabited areas. The use of cellular telephones while driving is prohibited, unless they are fitted with a hands-free device. Radar-detection systems are also prohibited.
A reflective vest, a first-aid kit and a warning triangle are mandatory in all vehicles. Snow tires are mandatory in the winter. There is zero tolerance for drinking and driving. Penalties for drinking and driving are strict. Police often conduct routine road checks in which breathalyser tests are administered. Breathalyser tests are systematically administered following an accident. Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines and jail sentences.
A motorway vignette (permit) is required when travelling on highways. You may purchase these electronic vignettes at a gas station. You must keep receipts for one year if the gas station does not issue stickers as proof of payment.
Police do not collect fines on the spot for traffic violations, but they do issue a ticket indicating the amount of the fine, which can be paid at any post office. Police may retain the passport of a traveller who disputes a fine or offence. They will then issue a receipt and letter requesting that the traveller report to a police station. The passport is returned once the dispute is settled.
The currency is the forint.
The economy is cash-based. Credit cards and euros are accepted in Budapest and in some other major cities. Most stores prefer cash, although credit cards are widely accepted at bigger stores and are becoming more and more common. Traveller’s cheques are not widely accepted. Do not use unofficial moneychangers.
For information on valid Hungarian banknotes, consult the Central Bank of Hungary.
When crossing one of the external border control points of the European Union, you must make a declaration to customs upon entry or exit if you have at least €10,000 or the equivalent in other currencies. The sum can be in cash, cheques, money orders, traveller’s cheques or any other convertible assets. This does not apply if you are travelling within the European Union or in transit to a non-EU country. For more information on EU currency legislation and links to EU member sites, visit the web page of the European Commission on cash controls.
Natural Disasters & Climate
Natural Disasters & Climate
Floods and snowstorms may have widespread impacts, as Hungarian cities and villages may not be well equipped to deal with severe weather.
Every year, flooding occurs in the spring in the northeast region of Hungary, along the watershed of the upper Tisza River, causing severe damage to housing and displacing families. Hungary experienced severe flooding along the Danube River in early June 2013.
During snowstorms, parts of the country may close down and be isolated for several days.
Exercise caution, monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.
Budapest - Embassy of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Canada in Budapest and follow the instructions. You may also make a collect call to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.
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