After a few weeks of enjoying the easement of travel restrictions, with Europe leading the way, the Hungarian government adopted new rules applicable to travellers coming to Hungary. The new rules are applicable for travellers with private passports. Freight traffic is exempt. So, holiday bookings and business trips must be put on hold, yet again?
The answer depends on the country from the which the travellers come, more specifically the newly received colour label this country has. This is because the new rules establish a completely new classification system for countries, depending on the severity of the pandemic situation there: green, yellow and red labelled countries, where green refers to less infected, while red refers to the most infected territories. The new restrictions apply depending on which coloured country the traveller is coming from.
- Restrictions for Hungarian citizens and non-Hungarian citizens having permanent residence in Hungary
Travellers coming from a green labelled country face no restrictions.
Travellers coming from a yellow or red labelled country must undertake a COVID test when entering Hungary. If the test results are positive, the travellers must stay under officially set or supervised home quarantine. If the test results are negative, the travellers must stay under supervised home quarantine for 14 days unless they have two consecutive negative tests (taken 48 hours apart within 5 days prior to entering Hungary).
- Restrictions for non-Hungarian citizens
Travellers coming from a green labelled country face no restrictions. However, if COVID symptoms are experienced within 14 days after entering Hungary, they must stay at their accommodation and inform the pandemic authorities.
Travellers coming from a yellow labelled country must undertake a COVID test when entering Hungary. If the test results are positive, they may not enter Hungary. If negative, they may enter Hungary but must stay under officially set or supervised home quarantine unless they have two consecutive negative tests (taken 48 hours apart within 5 days prior to entering Hungary).
Travellers coming from a red labelled country may not enter Hungary.
For the purpose of transit, travellers may enter Hungary if they undertake a COVID test and the test results are negative. Transit travellers must leave the country within 24 hours.
- Leniency application and business trips
From the general rules, the police may accept leniency applications if certain circumstances allow for such special appreciation – e.g. participations at a court procedure, due to family reasons, etc.
The new rules also left some room for business travels among joint ventures. The restrictions do not apply to green labelled countries anyways. However, the restrictions are also waived in the case of yellow labelled countries if the traveller adequately substantiates the business reason of the trip e.g. by showing the invitation or the employment contract.
- Green, yellow and red countries
Currently, Albania, Bosnia, Belarus, Kosovo, North-Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro and Ukraine from Europe, all Asian countries except for China and Japan, all African countries, all American countries except for the USA and all countries in the Oceanian territory are labelled red. Bulgaria, UK, Norway, Russia, Portugal, Romania, Serbia and Sweden from Europe, China, Japan and the USA are labelled yellow.
All other countries are labelled green for now. The classification of countries will be revised on a weekly basis.
As seen from the above, lawmakers are trying to slow down international travels (again) in order to prevent the potential new wave of the pandemic.
Thinking back of the pandemic-triggered law making during the spring, we see that interim laws resulted in the lifting of certain procedures requiring personal contacts. Most of these rules are still in force despite that the state of emergency was already revoked in order to still mitigate personal contacts and eliminate unnecessary travels where not essential.
For example, rules allowing companies to hold shareholders' meetings or render decisions via electronic means remain applicable until 31 December. These rules allow the management, supervisory or audit boards to continue functioning without affecting the company's day-to-day activity. Also, a number of administrative and procedural rules allow people to communicate electronically with official bodies or to participate in legal process from home (e.g. written testimony). These rules all contribute to limiting the number of personal contacts, and potentially unnecessary travels.
By Alexandra Bognar, Attorney at Law, Schoenherr