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Hungary: National identity and resident identity cards, including formats and application procedures

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date 14 June 2010
Citation / Document Symbol HUN103463.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Hungary: National identity and resident identity cards, including formats and application procedures, 14 June 2010, HUN103463.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4dd23be32.html [accessed 24 November 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

In a 30 April 2010 telephone interview with the Research Directorate, an official, who is the head of the Consular Section of the Hungarian Embassy in Ottawa, stated that all Hungarian citizens living in Hungary must possess either a national identity card or a passport to identify themselves after the age of 14 years. In a separate previous telephone interview the Official stated that all Hungarian citizens living outside Hungary may continue to hold on to their passports (Hungary 23 Apr. 2010). He also stated that it was up to individuals to decide if they want to keep their identity cards if they live outside Hungary (ibid.).

In the 23 April 2010 telephone interview with the Research Directorate, the Official of the Consular Section provided details on three types of national identity cards in use in Hungary (Hungary 23 Apr. 2010). According to the Official, the most common type of identity card is the type that has been issued in recent years, which is similar in format to a credit card (ibid.). The two older types are booklet-style identification documents, principally distinguished by their difference in thickness due to different page counts (ibid.). He explained that the two booklet types are generally valid from ten to fifteen years (ibid.). However, he also stated that there were no expiry dates for identity cards for older individuals over a certain (unspecified) age (ibid.).

The Official explained that the oldest type of booklet-style identification card stopped being issued "over ten years ago" and that it was thicker than its successor as it contained more pages to hold more information (Hungary 23 Apr. 2010). He explained that this document holds details on the bearer's employment status and his or her family, including children under 18 years of age (ibid.). According to the Official, a booklet-style identity card that was issued after the above mentioned one has not been issued since 1 January 2001 (ibid.). It does not contain as much personal information as its predecessor, as information on the employment status and the family of the holder is not present (ibid.). In a subsequent telephone interview with the Research Directorate on 30 April 2010, the Official stated that holders had the option to exchange the older booklet-type identification cards for the new card if they so wished (Hungary 30 Apr. 2010)

Formats of national identity and resident cards

The Council of the European Union (Consilium) hosts the Public Register of Authentic Identity and Travel Documents Online (PRADO), a site for "disseminating information on security features of authentic identity and travel documents" (Consilium n.d.a). PRADO lists eleven valid types of identity cards issued by the Republic of Hungary in circulation although most are variations of the same types of documents (Consilium n.d.b).

PRADO provides a description of a 30-page booklet for which no first date of issue is given (Consilium 27 Nov. 2009a). PRADO also identifies three variations of a 12-page booklet identity card (Consilium 27 Nov. 2009b). Although no differences between them are noted, one version was first issued on 1 April 1991 (ibid.), one version was first issued on 15 August 1991 (ibid. 27 Nov. 2009c) and no date of issue is provided for the last version (ibid. 27 Nov. 2009d).

Out of six similar wallet-sized identity cards identified by PRADO (Consilium n.d.b), three are indicated to have first been issued on 1 January 2000 and three are indicated to have first been issued on 9 April 2001 (ibid.). Among the three types of cards first issued in 2000, two are described as documents establishing the identity of Hungarian nationals (ibid. 27 Nov. 2009e; ibid. 27 Nov. 2009f). The first of these has a space for the date of expiry at the bottom of the front of the card, below a space for the bearer's signature (ibid. 27 Nov. 2009e), while this is reversed on the second type of card (ibid. 27 Nov. 2009f). The third type of card is almost identical to the first type of card described above with the exception of a yellow, rather than blue, background (ibid. 27 Nov. 2009g; Keesing n.d.d). PRADO states that it is a "[d]ocument establishing identity and nationality and granting authorization to reside in [Hungary]" (ibid.). Keesing Reference Systems' document checker service for identity documents also describes this particular type of wallet-sized identity card, which it says is "issued to aliens (immigrants and refugees)" (Keesing n.d.d). The characteristics of this type of card are otherwise identical to those of the first wallet-sized card described above (ibid.; Consilium 27 Nov. 2009g).

The three other identity cards noted by PRADO, including one which is used for residents, have the same characteristics as those described above apart from being described as having first been issued on 9 April 2001 (ibid. 27 Nov. 2009h; ibid. 27 Nov. 2009i; ibid. 27 Nov. 2009j). The Official explained that the types of cards issued after April 2001 were of better quality than those issued after January 2000, but that they were equally valid (Hungary 30 Apr. 2010).

PRADO also identifies an emergency or provisional wallet-sized card which has limited colouring and which does not display any English, contrary to the newer types of identity cards (Consilium 27 Nov. 2009k).

Keesing provides more information on the characteristics of a 12-page booklet type of identity card (Keesing n.d.a) and two variations of identity cards for Hungarian nationals (ibid. n.d.b; ibid. n.d.c). Keesing provides the following details on a booklet identity document, which it says was first issued in 1990: the booklet, which is valid for fifteen years, measures 114 x 81 mm (4.5 x 3.2 in.) and contains 12 pages, with page 1 not numbered (Keesing n.d.a). Page 1 has a sewn-in clear laminate (ibid.). A photo is glued, with an ink stamp (ibid.). Numbering consisting of 6 digits preceded by 2 letters is perforated from page 1 to the back cover and is printed on the back cover (ibid. n.d.a). Keesing also indicates that this document has been valid within the European Union since 2004 (ibid.). The writing in this type of identity document is solely in Hungarian (ibid.).

The Official provided the following details on the credit card type of identity card: it has the tricolours (red, white and green) of the Hungarian flag in the background and a picture of the bearer (Hungary 23 Apr. 2010). Personal information includes name, date and place of birth, and signature (ibid.). An identification number is also present, but the Official specified that this number identifies the document rather than the bearer (ibid.). Keesing also provides details on two variations of such wallet-sized cards (Keesing n.d.b; ibid. n.d.c). Of note, such cards have bilingual Hungarian-English language section descriptions (ibid. n.d.b; ibid. n.d.c). Keesing provides the following details on the first wallet-sized identity card, which is similar in format to a credit card (ibid. n.d.b). The identity card, which Keesing says was first issued on 1 January 2000, is generally valid for ten years, although it is valid for six years for bearers younger than 20 years of age and has unlimited validity for bearers over the age of 70 years (ibid.). The date of expiry is noted near the bottom of the front of the card, below a space for the bearer's signature (ibid.). The card, made out of polycarbonate, measures 86 x 54 mm (3.4 x 2.1 in) (ibid.). There is no laminate (ibid.). A photo is integrated and numbering consisting of 6 digits followed by 2 letters is laser engraved on the front and back (ibid.). This type of card has a predominantly blue background (ibid.).

Keesing also provides the same details for another wallet-sized card that was first issued on 1 January 2000 (Keesing n.d.c). However, the location of the spaces for the bearer's signature and the date of expiry are the reverse of the card described above, with the space for the bearer's signature situated at the bottom of the front of the card (ibid.). Keesing also notes that "on this card the name of the holder can be recorded in the language of his own nationality" (ibid.). This type of card also has a predominantly blue background (ibid.).

Application procedures

The Official stated that national identity cards can be obtained and replaced only within Hungary (Hungary 23 Apr. 2010). He explained that there are documentation centres across the country where individuals can go to obtain official government-issued documents such as identity cards (ibid.). He further stated that to obtain an identity card, applicants need to prove their citizenship (ibid.). They must also prove their identity by means of a birth or marriage certificate (ibid.). In 7 May 2010 correspondence, the Official stated that parents can apply for a national identity card (or passport) on behalf of their children who are under the age of 18 years (Hungary 7 May 2010). He explained that the minor's citizenship can be established either by a valid passport or by establishing the relationship between minors and their parents through a birth certificate and proving the citizenship of the parents (ibid.). He also stated that a birth certificate in itself does not constitute proof of citizenship (ibid.).

The Official explained that an individual applying for a national identity card must fill out and sign an application form and provide a valid Hungarian national identity card or passport as well as a residency address card (ibid.). He added that in cases when a person's name had changed, such as after a marriage or divorce, a document proving this change would also need to be provided (ibid.).

The Official explained that for individuals already established in Hungary, the information they provide can be verified and vetted through the use of various electronic databases, which contain personal information (Hungary 23 Apr. 2010). As examples, he mentioned that such databases hold information such as birth and marriage records and personal data found in passports, driver's licenses and national identity documents (ibid.). The Official also explained that those coming from outside Hungary, whose personal data is therefore not found within the governmental information systems, need to establish their citizenship using a citizenship certificate issued one year before, or a passport (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

The Council of the European Union (Consilium). 27 November 2009a. Public Register of Authentic Identity and Travel Documents Online (PRADO). "HUN-BO-01001." [Accessed 28 Apr. 2010]

_____. 27 November 2009b. Public Register of Authentic Identity and Travel Documents Online (PRADO). "HUN-BO-02001." [Accessed 28 Apr. 2010]

_____. 27 November 2009c. Public Register of Authentic Identity and Travel Documents Online (PRADO). "HUN-BO-02002." [Accessed 29 Apr. 2010]

_____. 27 November 2009d. Public Register of Authentic Identity and Travel Documents Online (PRADO). "HUN-BO-02003." [Accessed 29 Apr. 2010]

_____. 27 November 2009e. Public Register of Authentic Identity and Travel Documents Online (PRADO). "HUN-BO-03001." [Accessed 29 Apr. 2010]

_____. 27 November 2009f. Public Register of Authentic Identity and Travel Documents Online (PRADO). "HUN-BO-03002." [Accessed 29 Apr. 2010]

_____. 27 November 2009g. Public Register of Authentic Identity and Travel Documents Online (PRADO). "HUN-BO-03003." [Accessed 29 Apr. 2010]

_____. 27 November 2009h. Public Register of Authentic Identity and Travel Documents Online (PRADO). "HUN-BO-03004." [Accessed 29 Apr. 2010]

_____. 27 November 2009i. Public Register of Authentic Identity and Travel Documents Online (PRADO). "HUN-BO-03005." [Accessed 28 Apr. 2010]

_____. 27 November 2009j. Public Register of Authentic Identity and Travel Documents Online (PRADO). "HUN-BO-03006." [Accessed 28 Apr. 2010]

_____. 27 November 2009k. Public Register of Authentic Identity and Travel Documents Online (PRADO). "HUN-BP-01001." [Accessed 28 Apr. 2010]

_____. N.d.a. Public Register of Authentic Identity and Travel Documents Online (PRADO). "About Us." [Accessed 29 Apr. 2010]

_____. N.d.b. Public Register of Authentic Identity and Travel Documents Online (PRADO). "Search by Issuing Country: HUN - Hungary." [Accessed 23 Apr. 2010]

Hungary. 7 May 2010. Embassy of the Republic of Hungary in Ottawa. Correspondence with the head of the Consular Section.

_____. 30 April 2010. Embassy of the Republic of Hungary in Ottawa. Telephone interview with the head of the Consular Section.

_____. 23 April 2010. Embassy of the Republic of Hungary in Ottawa. Telephone interview with the head of the Consular Section.

Keesing Reference Systems. N.d.a. "Hungary - HUN - Identity Cards: Front (I3)." [Accessed 20 Apr. 2010]

_____. N.d.b. "Hungary - HUN - Identity Cards: Front (I1)." [Accessed 20 Apr. 2010]

_____. N.d.c. "Hungary - HUN - Identity Cards: Front (I2)." [Accessed 20 Apr. 2010]

_____. N.d.d. "Hungary - HUN - Domestic Identity Documents: Front: B2." [Accessed 20 Apr. 2010]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sources, including: European Country of Origin Information Network (ecoi.net), Embassy of Hungary in Washington, DC, Embassy of the Republic of Hungary in Ottawa, The Honorary Consulate General of the Republic of Hungary in British Columbia, Hungary - Ministry of Foreign Affairs, United Nations (UN) Refworld.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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