The Local Lowdown for Non-EU Students Studying in Hungary

By Niel Casas

On March of 2020, the European Union banned all non-essential travel to non-EU visitors. Within the EU, internal border restrictions were enacted, suspending the once hassle-free Schengen area. In Hungary, only essential personnel such as doctors, diplomats, and Hungarian-based EU residents were allowed back in.

Of the McDaniel community who are non-EU citizens, this meant that leaving the EU for any reason meant a high probability you won’t be allowed to return for any reason. Andras Szübeck, a student at ELTE, was a fresh Serbian undergraduate who was caught in the crossroads.

“This whole virus thing really scared me and my family, so I thought it would be the best if I went back to my family. I literally didn’t take anything with me, thinking I can just go back. All my clothes, student materials, are all still in Budapest. I’m just happy that I can travel back in July!”

What Andras is referring to at the end is the lifting of a travel ban for 14 countries including Serbia, who’s infection rate has been verified, is trustworthy, and is similar or lower than the EU average. Below, is a conveniently summarized overview of current travel restrictions from Budapest, depending on your citizenship.

For all non-EU citizens with student residence permits

Even those with residence permits must fill out a form with the police, to gain approval being allowed to enter Hungary. Below is the website.


For many of us, who travel and use an American passport for visa purposes, the rapid spike in the number of cases in the US, means for the time being, Americans are not allowed to enter the EU for any reason.

How you, as a McDaniel student are impacted

Under the current agreement between EU member states, the finalized list of approved countries will be re-evaluated every two weeks. That means, that booking any flight out of the EU to any other country, including the ones currently approved, risks a sudden ban again on travel. Please keep in mind, that just having a residence permit does not guarantee your entry into Hungary.

The national border guards at the airport and border crossings, can use any reason to reject your entry including:

  1. Travel to any non-designated “safe” country.
  2. High body temperature

Right now, citizenship is critical for every country. As non-EU citizens, it is important to remember that we don’t have a “right” to live here, we only are “allowed” to live here. As such, it is important to consider the travel ban risks that we face, during this time. Before you travel outside the EU always ask, Is it worth it?


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