Moving to Budapest | Country Guides | I Love Moving

A Guide for Americans Moving to Budapest, Hungary

Posted Country Guides / November 23, 2021
Kaitlyn Bradley

Born in the US, Kaitlyn Bradley is an expert in all things packing and moving. She loves spending time with her family and writing engaging content.

On the beautiful blue Danube, there lies the spectacular and romantic capital of Hungary. Divided into two parts on both sides of the river that are connected by eight bridges, the city is known for its gorgeous castles, rich history, and great quality of life. Here is why moving to Budapest is a good idea, and how you can do it too.

Buda or Pest? Choose the Right Side of the Danube for a Home

One of the most prominent peculiarities of this metropolis is that it consists of two parts, Buda & Pest, separated by the Danube river. However, although those two areas are parts of the same metropolis, there are still some significant differences that create the atmosphere of both.

Pest Gives the City a Pulse, While Buda Is the Calmer One

Pest is a more central part of the metropolis and the place where everything happens. It is the perfect spot to explore since it is home to many of the city’s sights, best restaurants, parks, and universities. Vibrant nightlife, theaters, galleries, and museums are only a few more benefits of this area, perfect for all those who want to experience an active lifestyle and a lot of fun!

Buda is, on the other hand, more of a residential part, and it gets far fewer visitors than Pest. Automatically, this makes it quieter, which is important to know if you prefer such an atmosphere. But don’t worry – living in this part of the metropolis won’t deprive you of gorgeous historical sights, landscapes, and the vicinity of the Danube.

Can I Live in Budapest as an American Expat?

There are no limitations for US citizens to relocate to Hungary and eventually become citizens. Everything you have to do is meet their visa requirements. In general, all US citizens who have to stay in Hungary for a job or tourism are not obliged to acquire a visa for up to 180 days. In other words, all you need to enter the country is a valid passport.

If the Residence Permit Request Is Approved, You’ll Have to Collect the Papers Personally in Budapest, Hungary

When this six-month period passes and you decide to continue living in Hungary, it is necessary to regulate a fully legal stay. The best way to apply for residence is to check with the Embassy in the US or the Budapest immigration agency what exactly you should get to become a real expat. After your visa has been issued, you’re ready to join hundreds of other Americans in Budapest and their expat community.

Good to know: There are a couple of consulates all across the US. So if you live in New York, Houston, Miami, Los Angeles, or Chicago and need any additional information, the whole process will be much smoother.

Now It’s Time for Moving Abroad!

So the moment you get the papers required for a legal stay, the very next step is to dedicate yourself to the organization of the international move. Finding a reliable international moving company able to offer you all the international moving services you’ll need is the simplest way to keep everything under control. For example, you’ll be able to book overseas vehicle shipping and get all your other stuff, along with the car, delivered to your new home address without a fuss.

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Things to Know Before Moving to Budapest

The level of crime here is reported as low; in fact, this is one of the safest capital cities in the EU to live in. Here, all expats are welcome. However, Hungary and its capital are very different from what Americans are used to, so there are a few details you should be aware of before deciding to move abroad alone and find a home there.

Whatever your reason to move is – for a job, studies, or love, here are a couple of pieces of advice to help you adjust to the new country more easily.

Cold Winters and Pleasant Summers Are Something to Expect

Not only has the river affected the history and development of the city, but it has also affected the climate. The typical temperature to expect here ranges from 25°F to 80°F.

It’s true that winters are cold, but they’re fairy-like too. Christmas markets, hot wine served on the streets, ice skating downtown, and fabulous opera nights at the State Opera sound like a true winter idyll.

The Economic Climate Is Perfect for Those in the IT and Finance Sectors and Those Ready to Work Remotely

Jobs in the IT and finance sectors have been in high demand in recent years in Hungary. So if you’re a financial or accounting manager, web developer, or anything similar, chances you’ll get a job in Europe as an American are pretty high.

However, if you’re tired of the traditional way work is done, then working remotely will be a perfect match for you, especially if you’d be ready to teach English. Some websites that can help you find work are:


Although Hungary Is an EU Member, It Still Uses the National Currency – Forints

Euro is a common currency across the European Union, which makes trading and traveling a lot easier, but Hungarians don’t always go with the flow. Forints are still used as a currency, so if you want to pay for something in cash, remember to exchange your money.

The current value of $1 is a bit over 300 HUF, and when exchanging money, make sure to do it in a bank or an authorized exchange office that does not have too high a commission. While adjusting to the value of the new currency, always have a calculator by your side and calculate how much something would cost you in dollars before making the purchase.

The Healthcare System Is Free, But for Residents Only

The public healthcare system is funded through the National Health Insurance Fund, and all expats have the right to free first-aid interventions. However, if the patient is still not part of the public healthcare system, they’ll be obliged to pay for any other type of service or treatment. The good news is that all expats who legally work have the right to use the healthcare system just like the locals since contributions for social security are deducted from salaries.

Is Budapest a Good Place to Live? Moving Here Will Give You Endless Options to Travel the Whole Europe!

One of the greatest advantages of the Queen of the Danube is the location. That’s why it is one of the best cities to live in in Europe. Living in this Central European city will give you wide and affordable opportunities to travel the whole continent. Great connections with every capital in the EU, which includes trains, buses, and planes, and many low-cost companies will make many of the most beautiful European capitals such as Vienna, Bratislava, or Prague even closer. So, don’t miss this chance once you move across the world.

Local Food Is Delicious and Something All Expats Love

Hungarians are known for their delicious cuisine. It is so good that even some neighboring countries have accepted and adapted certain dishes. Paprika is the secret ingredient that gives that special effect to even the simplest dish. The local specialties you must try are goulash and paprikás – which are considered national dishes.

Aside from delicious main courses, Hungarians are also famous confectioners. Dobosh cake, marzipan, and chimney cake sprinkled with sugar are sweets that will, undeniably, make your life better.

Is it Expensive to Live in Budapest? A Quick Guide on the Living Costs in the Capital of Hungary

Despite all the perks, this metropolis is still considered one of the most affordable European capitals. Compared to Paris, London, or Vienna, the prices are 30-60% lower, and the same goes for some of the most expensive US cities.

How Much Do You Need to Set Aside on Average to Cover All the Living Costs?

According to the latest data, the median monthly cost of living, without rent, equals $600 for a single person, while a family of four should set aside around $2,100 monthly.

When it comes to home rental prices, the metropolis is considerably more affordable than other European capitals. For a flat with one bedroom, you should set aside around $480 a month, while a three-bedroom apartment costs $900 on average. Of course, if you don’t mind living outside of the downtown area, these expenses will be even lower.

For an American Moving to Budapest, the Language Barrier Will Be the Greatest Obstacle

Since the Hungarian language is not similar to any other European language, mastering it and breaking the language barrier will be pretty demanding for every expat. However, this is not mission impossible – you’ll just need a little bit more patience and time.

If your long-term goal is to move here, then starting to learn Hungarian in advance is highly recommended. Although English is relatively broadly spoken by Hungarians, especially among young generations, knowing some basics will definitely be more than useful. And, believe it or not, finding a Hungarian language teacher will be easier than you could possibly imagine.

Take Online or In-Person Language Lessons and Master Hungarian Before Moving Overseas

According to the US Census Bureau’s latest report, there are almost 1.4 million people of Hungarian ancestry living in the United States, and Cleveland is their largest community. So, if you’re searching for in-person or online language lessons, this is the first address you should check out. Also, there are many free online resources, and if you’d like to try this option, make sure to check the video below!

Is it Worth Moving to Budapest?

Moving internationally to other parts of the world is not an easy decision to make. However, when it comes to relocation to the Queen of the Danube, we’re sure that after reading our guide, future expats won’t have any doubts about whether they should do it. Perfect location, high quality of life, affordability, gorgeous architecture, and a true European and metropolitan spirit sound like more than enough reasons to give this city a chance and let it be the place you call home.

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