Facts about Hungary
Population 
Hungary 10.2 million 
Budapest  1.9 million 

Language 
Hungarian; German and English are widely understood. 

Religion 
Roman Catholic 65% 
Protestant 25% 
 
Public Holidays in 2002 

January 1 New Year's Day
March 15 National Holiday
March 31 & April 1  Easter Sunday & Monday
May 1 Labor Day
May 19 & 20  Pentecost (Whitsun) 
August 20  St. Stephen's Day
October 23  Remembrance Day 
November 1  All Saint`s Day
December 25, 26  Christmas 
 
Climate 
Continental, with the average temperature (listed in Fahrenheit): 
January 
February 
March 
April
May 
June 
29F
39F
50F
62F
72F
78F
July
August
September
October
November
December
80F
80F
74F
61F
46F
39F
 
Time 
Greenwich Mean Time + 1 hour 
U.S. Eastern Standard Time + 6 hours 
 
Electricity 
The voltage is 220 V/50Hz with European two-prong plug. 
Electrical equipment of 110V/60Hz requires the use of an adapter and/or voltage converter. 

Telephone, Fax 
Hungary country code 36 
Budapest area code 1 
International pre-dial
00 + country code + local number 
Domestic long distance pre-dial
06 + area code + local number 

Important telephone numbers    
Ambulance: 
Police: 
Fire Department: 
Directory Assistance: 
International Directory:
104
107
105
198
199
 

Public phones require 10, 20, 50 or 100 Forint coins, or a pre-purchased phone card (sold at newsstands, supermarkets, hotels and post offices). 

Fax machines are available for tourists in main post offices and in many city hotels' Business Centers. 

International collect calls can be made from a private line or public payphone.  A coin or phonecard has to be inserted to initiate the call. 
International operators: 
AT&T  00 8000 1111 
MCI  00 8000 1411 
SPRINT 00 800 0 1877 

Currency  
The unit of currency is Forint (Ft).
US$1= approx. 290Ft (January 2001). For up-to-date currency exchange rates check www.travlang.com/money/

Banks, Currency Exchange  
Banks  are open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.  All banks are closed on Saturdays. Money can also be exchanged at exchange offices, hotel reception desks and travel offices. Currency exchange machines and ATMs operate after hours in Budapest and other major cities. It is recommended that all money exchange receipts be kept. 

Note: Foreign currency should be exchanged for Forints only in authorized exchange offices. 

Credit Cards, Debit Cards and Checks 
Major credit cards (AmEx, Visa, Mastercard, Diners, Cirrus) can be used in the member shops and businesses. Look for the logo displayed at the entrance. 
ATMs operate 24 hours a day. Major credit cards and banking cards are accepted. 
There is usually a commission of 1% for cashing travelers checks at banks. Please note that most stores will  not accept travelers  checks. 

Tipping  
Restaurant prices in Hungary generally do not include a service charge and it is therefore customary to give a tip, generally equivalent to 10-15% of the bill. For all other tipping, the same guidelines are applicable as one would use in the USA.

Entering Hungary

Visas 
Tourists holding valid US or Canadian passports are not required to have a visa for stays of less than 90 days. Passports must be valid for at least another six months from the planned date of arrival into Hungary. All other questions should be addressed to the nearest Hungarian Consulate. 

Health Requirements  
No immunizations are required. 

Currency Regulations 
Foreign nationals may bring in Hungarian currency up to a value of 350,000 Ft per person without any restriction on denominations. There is no restriction on the importing of convertible currencies if the amount does not exceed the equivalent of 100,000 Ft. For the import of currencies over this amount, it is advisable to request a "Certification of Values Entered " at the time of  entry.  This will ensure that the means of payment can be taken out of the country without any problem.

Customs Regulations  
In addition to personal travel luggage, limited non-commercial quantities of goods may be brought into Hungary duty free: 
  • Alcohol - 1 liter of high proof spirits, 1 liter of wine and 5 liters of beer
  • Tobacco - 250 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, or 250g tobacco
  • Coffee, tea, cocoa and other spices - up to 1kg each (excluding paprika and its mixtures)
  • Other Goods - Customs duty does not apply if  the total value of the goods, in addition to the personal travel luggage, does not exceed 27,000 Ft
  • Pets - Accompanying pets must have health and vaccination certification dated no more than one week prior to arrival.
  • Appliances - photo camera, non-professional video camera, laptop computer, portable typewriter, portable musical equipment with the necessary accessories - such as disks, records, photographic films up to 10 rolls.

Leaving Hungary

Items purchased or received as a gift worth up to 200,000 Ft are not subject to custom fees. 
  
VAT Refund  
Non-resident travelers may apply for a refund of up to 16% of the general sales tax (AFA) on goods purchased in Hungary, with the exception of works of art, collections and antiques, under the following conditions: 
- The single or total value of the goods on one original invoice, including AFA, must exceed 50,000 Ft. 
- Not more than 90 days may elapse between the time of purchase and the time of export. 
- The goods must be taken out of the country in new condition; that is, they may not be used in Hungary. 
- At the time of departure the purchase must be presented to the customs officer, together with the AFA refund claim form at the time of departure.
 
 
 
- At the time of departure the purchase must be presented to the customs officer, together with the AFA  refund claim form, a detailed fiscal invoice and the Tax Free Envelope. These 3 items must be obtained from the place of purchase.  You should also retain the receipts of your currency exchange for Ft and enclose it with your documents.  If using a credit card, enclose the credit card receipt. Make sure to get the a customs stamp or the refund is not possible. If departing Hungary by plane, you should go to the customs office immediately after receiving your boarding pass at check-in and before you pass security control.  You may receive your VAT refund in cash immediately at the airport  (look for the VAT refund desk at the IBUSZ office) or by bank check sent to your home address or as a payment directly to your credit card. Mail refunds must be requested no more than 6 months after date of purchase. 

More information: Global Refund 
Phone: (800) KNOW-VAT 

Website: www.globalrefund.com 
E-mail: taxfree@us.globalrefund.com