Doing Business In Hungary

  1. Hungary’s overall Doing Business 2013 ranking is 54 out of 185 economies, recording a 5 point decrease compared to last year. This decline reflects an 13 point drop in the Starting a Business indicator.
  2. According to the latest Enterprise Surveys (2009), the top 3 obstacles to firm investment in Hungary include Tax Rates, Political Instability and Tax Administration. On average, senior management spends more than 13% of their time dealing with regulations.
  3. Hungary’s economic freedom score is 67.1, making its economy the 49th freest in the 2012 Index. Its score has increased by 0.5 point, with declines in the management of public finance and investment freedom counterbalanced by improvements in property rights, business freedom, and fiscal freedom. Hungary is ranked 22nd out of 43 countries in the Europe region, and its overall score is well above the world average.

Source: World Bank


Visa Information

Business Etiquette

Relationships & Communication

. Although Hungarians are transactional and do not require long-standing personal relationships in order to conduct business, being introduced by someone they know and trust can often help
. Hungarians pride themselves on using proper etiquette in all situations and expect others to do the same. 
. Socializing is an important part of the relationship building process. 
. Expect many invitations to dinner or cultural events. If you have the time, reciprocate invitations.
. Hungarians prefer face-to-face meetings rather than more impersonal vehicles of communication such as letters. 
. Hungarians are emotive speakers who say what they think and expect you to do the same. 
. They do not like euphemisms or vague statements. 
. Hungarians often use stories, anecdotes, and jokes to prove their points. 
. Hungarians are suspicious of people who are reticent and not willing to share their innermost thoughts. 
. Hungarians view eye contact as indicative of sincerity and believe that people who cannot look them in the eye while speaking have something to hide. 

Business Meeting Etiquette

. Appointments are necessary and should be made 2 in advance in writing.
. It is often difficult to schedule meetings on Friday afternoon or from mid July to mid August. Also avoid scheduling meetings from mid December to mid January.
. Punctuality for all social situations is taken extremely seriously. If you expect to be delayed, telephone immediately and offer an explanation. It is considered extremely rude to cancel a meeting at the last minute and could ruin your business relationship. 
. Initial meetings are scheduled to get to know each other and for your Hungarian colleagues to determine if you are trustworthy. 
. Expect some small talk and getting-to-know-you conversation before business is discussed. Do not move the conversation to business yourself.
. Do not remove your suit jacket without asking permission. 
. If you have an agenda, it may be used as a springboard to further discussion and not followed item by item. 

Business Negotiating Etiquette

. Business is conducted slowly. 
. Deals in Hungary cannot be finalized without a lot of eating, drinking and entertaining.
. Hungarians are very detail-oriented and want to understand everything before reaching an agreement. 
. Contracts should be clear and concise. 
. Contracts function as statements of intent. It is expected that if circumstances change, the contract will accommodate the revised conditions. 
. Hungarians are skilled negotiators. 
. Avoid confrontational behaviour or high-pressure sales tactics. 

Dress Etiquette

. Business dress is formal and conservative. 

. Men should wear dark business suits with a white shirt and tie. 
. Women should wear either business suits or elegant dresses, complimented with good quality accessories.
. Jeans are standard casual wear. Shorts are uncommon in the city.
. Business wear is appropriate for all formal occasions. 

Business Cards

. Business cards are exchanged without formal ritual. 
. Have one side of your card translated into Hungarian. 
. The Hungarian side should list your surname before your first name, Hungarian style. 
. Include any advanced university degrees on your business card. 
. Include the founding date of your company on the card.  

General Business Hours

With rare exceptions, the opening hours, or nyitvatartás, of any concern are posted on the front door; nyitva means 'open' and zárva 'closed'.

Grocery stores and supermarkets open from about 7am to 6pm or 7pm on Monday to Friday, and department stores generally from 10am to 6pm. Most shops stay open until 8pm on Thursday, but on Saturday they usually close at 1pm. That's changing, however, and some food shops even open for several hours now on Sunday. Many private retail shops close early on Friday and throughout most of August.


Restaurant opening hours vary tremendously across the country but are essentially from 10am or 11am to 11pm or midnight daily. Bars are equally variable but are usually open from 11am to midnight Sunday to Thursday and until 1am or 2am on Friday and Saturday. Nightclubs usually open from 4pm to 2am Sunday to Thursday and until 4am on Friday and Saturday.


Banking hours change from institution to location but banks usually operate from 7.45am to 5pm or 6pm Monday, 7.45am to 4pm or 5pm Tuesday to Thursday and from 7.45am to 4pm on Friday. The main post office in any town or city opens from 8am to 6pm weekdays, and until noon on Saturday.


Branch offices close much earlier - usually at 4pm - and are almost never open on weekends.


Almost all towns and cities have at least one 'nonstop' - a convenience store, open round-the-clock (or very early/late), and selling basic food items, drinks and tobacco. Most of the hyper-supermarkets outside the big cities, such as Tesco, open on Sunday.