THIS SECTION IS UPDATED.
RULES FOR ENTRY TO SCHENGEN ZONE (PASSPORT FREE TRAVEL ZONE OF SEVERAL EU COUNTRIES INCLUDING HUNGARY) HAVE CHANGED. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY!
In order to enter Hungary, you will need a valid passport. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your planned return date to the U.S.
Hungary belongs to the Schengen Area (Europe’s passport free travel area) where U.S. citizens do not need a visa for a stay of less than 90 days. As your stay will be longer than 90 days, however, you should either apply for a visa from a Hungarian Embassy or Consulate (application may be submitted in person in Washington, DC; New York, NY or Los Angeles, CA), or if you cannot travel to one of the locations or have other circumstances that prevent you from applying in person for the visa, you may apply for a residence permit upon arrival to Hungary.
In the latter case, as the residence permit will not have been issued prior to your travel, we recommend that you have a modifiable return ticket with a return date that is within 90 days of your initial arrival, as that information may be requested from you during the entry procedure into the Schengen Area or at your departure airport in the U.S.
For our Summer Term participants who do not intend to stay in Hungary for longer than 90 days, no visa will be required as long as their citizenship allows them to enter Hungary without a tourist visa (such as EU and US citizens).
If you are a non-North American citizen, please check with your home country consulate and the Hungarian Consulate General's Office about special documentation requirements before departure.
If you need further assistance, you can always contact the AIT Budapest Office.
You may make travel arrangements through any experienced travel agent. Each of the agencies listed below has had experience arranging travel to Hungary for North-American students:
You should be aware that the cost of a flight to Budapest can vary as much as several hundreds of dollars from one travel agency to another or "on-line". Shopping around to compare prices is a good idea.
When making your travel plans please bear in mind that prior the semester we are organizing an orientation period with useful academic and non-academic information. This is also the period of registration and visiting the Immigration Office for residential permits.
Due to jet lag, you might be very tired during the first few days. Therefore, we recommend you to arrive in Budapest one or two days prior to the beginning of your studies.
Recent changes in immigration regulation require every student in the Hungarian higher education system to obtain health insurance from a Hungary-based insurer. To meet these requirements all international students will be enrolled in and billed for the AIT-sponsored insurance plan. The price of the insurance policy is 42,700 HUF (approximately $148, Nov. '15) for one semester.
On orientation day you will be taken to a health care center which provides a 24/7 emergency telephone helpline and English speaking doctors and nurses. Should you have any health problems during your stay, you will be able to turn to them.
Don't forget your passport, visa, airline ticket, a major credit or debit card, and a sufficient amount of money in cash to cover immediate expenses upon arrival. A dozen extra passport-type photos may come in handy. We recommend that you carry important names and telephone numbers (such as AIT staff phone numbers and campus address) with you in your carry-on luggage.
It is important that you bring an ample supply of any medicine you frequently use. Take shoes and clothes appropriate for all seasons. Apartments come completely furnished with such things as furniture, sheets, towels, kitchenware, etc. Clothes dryers are not used in Hungary.
While traveling, keep your passport, cash, and a week's supply of any vital medication in your carry-on luggage. Although unlikely, it may happen that checked baggage is put on the wrong plane. At check-in time, make certain your baggage is labeled inside and out with your final destination: AIT-Budapest, Záhony u. 7., Budapest, 1031, Hungary.
The voltage used in continental Europe is 220 V. This renders most American appliances useless unless they are convertible, battery-operated, or you have an adapter. Note that the outlet geometry is also different. For battery-operated devices, it may be advisable to take a set of spare batteries along for the trip. Sometimes, it may be difficult to get the right size battery.