Can I enroll my child in a Hungarian school?

Yes! Temporary protection status holders have the right to go to kindergarten (from the age of 3) and to school (from age of 6), like all Hungarian children.  

Education is compulsory between the age of 3 and 16 in Hungary for every child who stay in Hungary for longer than 3 months. It means that every child, including temporary protection holders, must attend educational institutions in Hungary, accredited by the Hungarian State.  

Kindergartens and primary schools are obliged to offer access to their institutions for all children within their educational districts, unless they do not have the capacity to do so. In these cases, the child should have access to a neighboring school. 

Kindergartens, primary and secondary education is free of charge in Hungary in public institutions (mainly state or church-run). You have the right to choose private institutions as well, but please note that those are fee-paying.  

Compulsory education cannot be fulfilled through unregistered, community-led schools. 

Primary education is provided by primary schools (Grade 1-8 between age 6-14), after which children can enter secondary schools (Grade 9-12 between age 15-18)1, such as general secondary schools or vocational training institutions: this includes technical and vocational schools.  

What if my child is below 3 years old?

There are nurseries in Hungary available for children above the age of 20 weeks old. Children and families with temporary protection status has the right to access this service.2  

However, nursery care is not compulsory and admission of a child depends on the available capacity of the nursery. 

It also means that parents do not necessarily need to choose the nursery closest to their residence, however, it would still be advised to start with that one. If they do not have capacity, it is worth to check with other nurseries, for example the one closest to the parent`s workplace.  

You can simply search online for nurseries, but it is advised to ask for the support of the district nurse or the Family Support and Child Welfare Services who can give you a more comprehensive overview of your options.

Nursery care is not necessarily free of charge, it is regulated by the local municipality and the price has to be checked with the nursery.

Please note that you might need support with translation. You can check further down what organizations might be able to help you. 

You can also request a translation service of IOM by filling in THIS FORM. 

What is the district nurse and how can I reach out?

A district nurse is a highly qualified health practitioner. Amongst many other duties, a district nurse provides counselling to parents on the healthy development of children and support parents to find relevant services, especially focusing on children between the age of 0 to 6 years old. Within this age range, the district nurse regularly meets the families. It is advised for parents to have regular contact with the district nurse. You might need the documents of these visits to the nursery, kindergarten and school, and her opinion about your child matters at social affairs authorities. 

You can use THIS website to search for a district nurse based on your current address (doesn`t need to be a registered permanent address). To the `Település` row please put your ZIP code (4 digits) and to the `Utca` please insert the name of your street.  

Why should I enroll my child into a Hungarian school?

School attendance is essential for the development of the child. 

It will help prepare children for possible future developments – to return to Ukraine after a temporary period at an EU school, or to develop long-term plans to stay in the EU, if needed.  

Studying in a Hungarian school allows putting the focus on ensuring quality education and makes it easier for children to interact with their peers, experience a sense of normalcy and receive appropriate support services, regardless of the length of the intended stay. 

Studying in a Hungarian school is sustainable, since temporary or ‘pop up’ schools may not have the resources to continue operating for a full academic year, leading to further disruption of children’s education. 

Children, especially adolescents, who are not included in education by taking up a place in the host-country schools run a higher risk of leaving education and training early 

When should I enroll my child?

The school year is starting on 1 September 2023 

The enrollment process might take time, so it is advised to initiate the registration process as soon as possible to ensure that your child can start kindergarten or school the first day.

How do I enroll my child into Kindergarten?

Kindergarten covers children between 3 – 6 years.  

On this link you can find which kindergarten is assigned to you based on your address. See this video for instructions.

However, there is a free choice of kindergartens for parents, so you have the right to contact any kindergarten you wish, but they might not be able to accept your child.   

It is advised to directly reach out to the kindergarten of your choice but you can seek further information and support from the local municipality or the local Family Support and Child Welfare Services.   

In case you don`t speak Hungarian, please make sure to have someone accompany you and support you with translation 

You can also request a translation service of IOM by filling in THIS FORM. 

How do I enroll my child into a Primary School?

Primary School covers Grade 1 – 8. 

On this link you can find which school is assigned to you based on your address. See this video for instructions.

However, there is a free choice of school for parents, so you have the right to contact any school you wish, but they might not be able to accept your child.   

It is advised to directly reach out to the school of your choice but you can seek further information and assistance in finding a place for your child from the relevant educational district center.    

In case you don`t speak Hungarian, please make sure to have someone accompany you and support you with translation. 

You can also request a translation service of IOM by filling in THIS FORM. 

How do I enroll my child into a Secondary School (Grade 9 – 12)?

You are advised to contact the secondary schools directly to discuss the enrollment procedures.  

There is a free choice of school in case of secondary schools as well but schools are free to decide on entry criteria.  

In case there are challenges in finding a suitable school that is able to enroll your child, please reach out to the educational district center in your district for support.  

You can also request a translation service of IOM by filling in THIS FORM. 

What documents do I need to enroll my child in school?

Schools may be requesting certain documents for enrollment, which may include the following: 

  • Filled-in application document 
  • Birth certificate of your child 
  • Document indicating the ID of your child (e.g. passport, ID card) 
  • Health insurance number of the child (Temporary protection card number may be sufficient) 
  • Document indicating your ID (e.g. passport, ID card) 
  • Temporary Protection card or other residency card 
  • Vaccination documents 
  • Certificate of last finished school year 
  • Document indicating your address 

If you do not have these documents, please do not be discouraged and explain your situation to the school management.   

Is it possible to change school?

Yes, every student has the right to change school. There could be many different reasons for this, for example due to moving house, not liking the school, having conflicts within the school, etc. These are all understandable reasons, and no detailed explanation of it can be required from the family.

In case a student decides to change school, the student together with a parent/legal guardian should contact the new school and inform the current one. If the student is applying to the school that is the one obliged to provide enrolment, the school must enrol the child. In all other cases, the school director can decide on the enrolment and set the entry criteria. If the new school accepts the enrolment request of the student, the student has the obligation to withdraw from the other school.

How can I get a student card?

A Hungarian student card gives access to several discounts within the country including public transportation, entry fees to cultural events, sports facilities, etc.

To get a student card, the child/young adult need to be enrolled in a Hungarian educational institution. If that is the case, the student needs to get first a NEK identifier. NEK means the National Unified Card System, and application for a NEK identifier can be done in a documentary office (okmányiroda) or in the government office (kormányablak). There they will register the photo (it will be taken there, there is no need to bring along) and the signature of the applicant who will receive a document on the spot with a 16-character-long NEK identifier. Application for a NEK identifier is free of charge.

The list of government offices can be found here, and you can book an appointment through the website. It is possible to go to a government office without appointment as well, but please note that you might face with a prolonged wait time in that case. Children below the age of 14 years old must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. A passport or ID card and a residence card/document about the address will be needed for both the child and the parent/legal guardian (in case of children below age 14).

As a next step, the student need to let the school know that he/she needs a student card. The school will support with the process after that. The student will receive a `temporary student card` until the permanent student card is issued within 30-60 days.

Does my child need to be vaccinated to attend school?

There are different mandatory vaccines for every child in Hungary depending on their age. 

It is advised to contact a pediatrician to discuss the vaccination plan for your child.  

You might be requested to show a proof of vaccination during the kindergarten or school enrollment process.  

If your child has been vaccinated in Ukraine but you don’t have a proof, please ask the pediatrician for advice.  

What grade will my child attend?

The school director, together with the parents, will decide on what grade the child is enrolled. 

This decision should be made together with the parents, but the child might also be requested to fill some tests.

I am still uncertain where in Hungary I will stay – what shall I do?

Given that the school starts shortly, we advise that you enroll your child at the place of your current residence and in case you move to another part of Hungary later, you register your child there once you move. 

It is very important that your child continues their education and does not remain out of school.  

What happens if I decide to return to Ukraine or move to another country?

In case you decide to return to Ukraine, you can cancel the enrollment 

Please inform the school about your date of departure and request a confirmation about your child’s school attendance. 

If we return to Ukraine, will the educational progress of my child within the Hungarian education system be accepted in the Ukrainian education system?

Based on a bilateral agreement between Hungary and Ukraine, studies conducted in state-accredited educational institutions are recognized by both countries. It means that students can generally continue their studies in the next grade after returning to Ukraine from Hungary, if they meet the requirements set out in the Ukrainian legislation.  

Certificates proving the completion of different stages of education are recognized as equivalent in each country. 

Please follow this LINK to check the agreement (in Ukrainian).  

What happens, if I have temporary protection in Hungary, but I decide not to enrol my child to the Hungarian education system?

In case a child between 3 – 16 years is not enrolled in a Hungarian kindergarten or in school, the parent or legal guardian of the child may be imposed a fine (HUF 5,000-150,000) for committing a minor offence.3   

If the child is enrolled to a Hungarian school but has more than 10 hours of uncertified absence, the school informs the Family and Child Welfare Service and if it exceeds 50 hours, then they involve the Guardianship authority. If this is the case, the authorities will check with the family the reasons behind the absence and the potential support the family could receive.  

What happens, if I decide to withdraw my temporary protection status to avoid the compulsory school enrolment of my child?

It is not advised to renounce your and/or your child’s temporary protection status in order to avoid mandatory school attendance. If you plan to stay in Hungary for a longer period, it is important that you and your child have a legal title to stay in Hungary. Temporary protection gives you the right to reside in Hungary, and access to important services such as medical treatment and financial support.  

If you renounce your temporary protection status and you do not have any other legal title to stay in Hungary, your stay in Hungary will become irregular. This can also happen if you overstay your 90-day visa-free stay with your biometric passport, and you do not apply for temporary protection or a residence permit.  

If your stay becomes irregular, you will lose access to essential rights and services, and the aliens policing authority may initiate proceedings against you. It is therefore advisable that you keep your temporary protection status for the duration of your stay in Hungary, or obtain another type of residence permit for you and your family (for example, for the purpose of work, gainful activity, studies or family reunification). For more information on staying in Hungary, please contact the client service of the National Directorate-General for Aliens Policing. If you need free legal assistance on regularizing your stay in Hungary, please contact the Hungarian Helsinki Committee. 

Who can help me with interpretation?

You can request a translation service of IOM by filling in THIS FORM.

Where can I get further support or assistance with the enrollment process? 

Please note that all the services listed below are free of charge.  

Menedek Hungarian Association for Migrants   Contact: [email protected], +36204507245
For in person assistance please mainly reach out to them in Budapest. Menedék Association helps with the entire enrollment process and later on in communication between the school and parents.

Hungarian Baptist Aid
Contact: [email protected]
Please mainly reach out to to them if you plan to enroll your child to a school run by the Hungarian Baptist Church. You can find those institutions on the following link:   

Hungarian Red Cross
They operate in several regions of the country, please reach out to the Red Cross office closest to your location to see what services they provide there. You can find the contacts on the following link:  

Jesuit Refugee Service
Contact: [email protected], +36 30/703-5030
They can mainly support with enrollment to secondary school.   

Contact: [email protected], +36 30 222 1109, +1 647 704 6021

Refugee helpline, toll-free: +36 80 984 583

Bona Fide  – Public Information and Coordination Service
Contact: [email protected], +36702161534

Dnipro Ukrainian Cultural Association
Contact: [email protected],
Please mainly reach out to them in Veszprem County.  

Litera Association
Contact: [email protected]
Viber: +380635165011
Please mainly reach out to them in Szombathely and Vas County.  

Association of Roma Women of the 21st Century
Contact: [email protected], +36303694406
Please mainly reach out to them in Szabolcs and Hajdu County.  

Laurus Foundation 
Contact: [email protected] +36203944459
Please mainly reach out to them in Tolna County.