Under Hungarian laws, cross-border provision of a service means a service activity in the territory of Hungary without establishing premises, on a temporary or occasional basis, thus the service provider does not establish a permanent economic presence.
Whether an activity is pursued by a given service provider by establishing premises or as a cross-border provision of service shall always be determined for each single case, first of all by taking into consideration the duration, frequency, regularity and continuity of the given service activity.
Legislation often uses the term ‘service provider entitled to freedom in service provision’ as synonym for the term ‘service provider entitled to cross-border service provision’.
The principal rule is the freedom to provide cross-border services, which means that a service provider having premises in another Member State of the European Economic Area and legally pursuing the service activity there, does not need to obtain a licence, to register the commencement of the service activity or to have any certificate, official certificate or card to provide cross-border services in Hungary.
A service provider who is entitled to the freedom of service provision may not be limited in cross-border provision of services in the territory of Hungary as a principal rule, and the obligatory requirements relating to the commencement and pursuance of service activities set out in the relevant laws shall not apply to these service providers.
However, there are some rules which shall apply to the service provider in case of cross-border provision of services in the territory of Hungary. These rules are the following:
- requirements for the protection of public order and public safety, and requirements in the interest of national security and national defence, and further requirements for public health or environmental reasons set out in special laws or government decrees,
- requirements set out in the provisions of Act on the Recognition of Foreign Certificates and Degrees in respect of the freedom to provide cross-border services, and other requirements of laws, according to which a given activity may only be pursued by persons qualified to pursue certain regulated professional activities,
- the statutory provisions on the protection of personal data and the disclosure of data of public interest,
- in civil, family and labour legal relationships the provisions relating to the conclusion, validity and legal force of contracts, and provisions relating to responsibilities for contract and tort damages, and further provisions relating to jurisdiction and the applicable law,
- provisions of law relating to the parties’ entitlement to legal counsel, and relating to compulsory legal counsel in proceedings at court or compulsory appointment of a notary public,
- establishment, existence or enforcement of intellectual property rights,
- requirements relating to the entrance of foreign citizens and to their staying in Hungary
- requirements set out in EU legislation on the coordination and implementation of social security systems
- the relevant rules applicable pursuant to the Act of the Labour Code, if an employee is employed by a foreign employer on the territory of Hungary on the basis of delegation, assignment or labour force exchange, and
- statutory provisions in connection with inland public road traffic of vehicles owned by foreign citizens.
In laws or government decrees the legislature may, in respect to specific service activities, prescribe an obligation for registration and an obligation of preliminary supervision (authorisation) as an exception from the principal rule that is the freedom to provide cross-border services. The sectoral rules of the given service activity define which service activities are subject to registration and preliminary authorisation.
The obligation for registration does not represent any restriction in respect to the commencement of service provision, as the service provider is entitled to commence the service provision, however, it must be announced to the competent authority (the competent authorities are determined in each case by the sectoral rules). Registration for an activity as cross-border provision of services shall be valid for five calendar years from the date of registration, unless the service provider has indicated a shorter period in the application. After expiry the registration must be renewed. This does not involve any changes concerning the type of the activity.
During the validity of the registration, the service provider may perform the given service activity on an occasional basis. The purpose of this provision is that the service provider shall not need to register in each case, if they want to provide cross-border services on an occasional basis only. On the basis of the registration, the authorities can supervise that the activity is actually performed as a cross-border activity and can determine whether the other requirements are properly observed.
In certain cases the legislature prescribes an obligation for authorisation in respect to the cross-border service provision. In this case the activity may only be commenced after obtaining the authorisation. An authorisation procedure is prescribed as a prerequisite in cases where it is justified by the protection of public order and public safety, as well as public health or environmental requirements.
Cross-border provision of services is regulated by other regulations in cases where the activity is qualified as a regulated profession. (A regulated profession is an activity which is subject to prescribed qualifications.) In the case of regulated professions, these professions are subject to preliminary registration and preliminary authorization. The list of such professions, are listed in the Annex to Government Decree 33/2008 (21 February) on Designating the Authorities Acting in Matters Falling Under Act C of 2001 on the Recognition of Foreign Certificates and Degrees, and on the Classification of Services Subject to a Declaration Obligation.
Relevant pieces of legislation
- Act LXXVI of 2009 on the General Rules of the Commencement and Performance of Service Activities
- Chapter X of Act C of 2001 on the Recognition of Foreign Certificates and Degrees
- Government Decree 33/2008 (21 February) on Designating the Authorities Acting in Matters Falling Under the Act on the Recognition of Foreign Certificates and Degrees, and on the Classification of Services Subject to a Declaration Obligation
- sector specific rules of the given service activity