In this article you will find out
- why the social security card is important in Hungary;
- how you can use it and apply for it;
- how long it is valid.
What is a Social Security Number (in Hungarian: TAJ) card and what can I do with it?
The social security number is the unique number that you use to access health and social services in Hungary. This number is printed on your social security card. You need a social security card to see a doctor, go to a hospital or get other health or social care.
The social security card, if valid, enables you to receive state-funded healthcare. It means that you can visit your family doctor, get prescription, visit clinics without additional cost. You are also entitled to various surgeries as well as sick pay without any additional cost. Without a social security card, you must pay for your treatment.
Who can apply for a social security card?
Insured and eligible persons can apply for a social security card.
- insured person: a person who is entitled to all state-funded health care services and also receives cash benefits (e.g. sick pay or childcare). If you are an employee or self-employed, you belong to this group because it is mandatory to pay contributions for this fund for employees
- eligible person: if you are an eligible person, you can use health services in the same way, i.e. you can go to the doctor or have an operation without additional cost, but you cannot claim cash benefits such as sick pay. Eligibe people are, for example, full-time pupils and students, pensioners, the homeless and children under 18. Someone who pays contributions for himself/herself individually or has acquired entitlement by an indivdual agreement, is also eligible.
How do foreign nationals most often obtain a social security card?
The easiest way to obtain a social security card for foreign nationals is being employed. That is, if you have a job, your employer can ask for your social security number at the government office where you are based. Once your employer has done the process, you or your authorised representative can collect the card from any government office with health insurance responsibilities.
You can also have a social security card based on being in a Hungarian educational system or family reunification. These are all connected to the residence permit. Your status defines whether you must pay for the social security card or you can get it free.
For further clarification on Residence permit, see our article: Residence permit in Hungary.
What rights do dual nationals have, and what can they do if they are not employed?
If you are a dual national, and do not have a regular job, you can only apply for a social security card if you have had a permanent address for at least 1 year before applying.
Do people with asylum status need a social security card?
If you have an asylum card and you have a health problem, the doctor must see you without a social security card.
What documents are required to apply for a social security card or to replace it?
The following are required for all applications:
- Identity card [ID card (including temporary ID card), valid passport, card format driving licence]
- proof of address and/or residence (address card)
The following should be attached on a case-by-case basis, as appropriate:
- if you need to replace your social security card because it has been damaged or lost, you will have to pay a surcharge and show proof of your payment. The form can be found here;
- if you appoint a proxy to handle your social security card, he or she must have an authentic certification;
- if you are a minor, your legal representative will be asked for his/her identity card and your birth certificate or his/her identity card and address card;
- if you are an EEA citizen (Ukraine is not an EEA state!) or an EEA-citizens third-country relatives, you must present proof of residence and address; settled citizens need an ID card;
- if you have a personal contract with the National Health Insurance Fund you must present proof of payment of twenty-four months’ contributions (e.g. in the case of family reunification for children under 18!)
- if you are an immigrant or settled person, an immigration or settlement permit or residence card is required;
- if you are a stateless person, you must present a document establishing statelessness and a residence permit;
- a document proving that you are insured (e.g. employment contract, employer’s certificate) might be required;
- if you pay the health contribution yourself, a certificate issued by the tax authorities certifying that you have paid all your contributions might also be required.
How much does it cost to get a social security card?
These services are free of charge:
- issuing the first social security card to persons who do not have one;
- issuing a new social security card in case of changing personal data;
- a new social security card that has become necessary due to theft.
3.000,- HUF administrative service fee – if a new social security card needs to be issued because the previous card was lost, destroyed or damaged.
How long does it take to get a social security card?
As a general rule, the social security card is issued within 60 days of the day after the application is received by the office. Yet, if the application is accompanied by all the necessary documents in full, it will be issued immediately or within eight days at the latest, under the so-called simplified procedure.
How long is the social security card valid?
- if you are a dual national with a permanent address, the card does not have an expiry date;
- if you are a dual national and have a temporary address, the card has a validity date;
- if you are a Ukrainian or other foreign national and you have been issued a social security card on the basis of employment, the card is valid until the date of employment, and must be revalidated if you change the employer.
Source of this information is the NEAK website.