Thursday, August 25, 2011

Border Crossing with Kids - Határátkelés...Gyerekekkel


This past weekend when we went to Serbia we had a little problem at the border, and I'm writing this in the hope that it will help someone to avoid the problem that we had.

Múlt hétvége amikor elmentünk Szerbiába, volt egy kisebb problémánk a határnál, és ezt azért írom, hogy segítsek másoknak elkerülni egy kellemetlen helyzetet.

I'm pretty sure that changing laws is the main hobby of all politicians.

Úgy tűnik, hogy megváltoztatni a törvényeket minden politikus fő hobbija.

When I first moved to Hungary in January 2002, I was told not to bother getting a visa for Hungary in the US, but to just go to Hungary and then get my Hungarian visa in one of the consulates in a neighboring country like Slovakia or Romania. When I arrived in Hungary I found out that the law had been changed on 1 January, and now you could only get a Hungarian visa in your country of origin. I didn't have the money to get a ticket back to the US, so I stayed as a "tourist" for 8 months by "border hopping".
By August 2002, the law had been changed again and had reverted back to the old way - so I was able to get my visa in Slovakia.

Amikor ide költöztem Magyarországra 2002 januárjában, azt mondták nekem az USÁban, hogy nem kell magyar vízumot intézni Amerikában mielőtt megyek - hanem csak menjek el Magyarországra, és majd valamelyik szomszéd országban intézzem el a vízumot egy konzulátusnál, pl Romániában vagy Szlovákiában. Amikor megérkeztem, megtudtam, hogy 2002.január 1-jén megváltozott a törvény, és a magyar vízumot csak abban az országban lehetett igényelni ahonnan származott az illető. Mivel nem volt pénzem visszamenni Amerikába, itt maradtam "turista"-ként 8 hónapig, úgy, hogy néha átmentem Romániába egy egy pecsétért.
2002 augusztusában megint megváltoztatták a törvényt és visszaállt a régi rendszerre - így Szlovákiában tudtam elintézni a vízumomat.

So, here is what happened this weekend:
Rosemary and the little ones are dual citizens, but we never bothered to get Hungarian passports for the kids - we always just used their US passports whenever we traveled, and had no problems. This time when we were leaving Hungary, the border guard told us that we have to prove that our are Hungarian citizens, because otherwise it seems that they have been living in Hungary illegally without visas.
In the past it had been enough to show their Hungarian address cards, but this time they said it was not enough. We would have been able to prove that easily by showing their birth certificates, but those were back in Eger - 320 km away.

Szóval, ez az ami most történt a hétvégén:
Rosemary és a kicsik mind kettős állampolgárok, viszont soha nem igényeltünk magyar útleveleket a kicsiknek - mindig csak az amerikai útleveleit használtunk amikor utaztunk valahová, és soha nem volt ebből probléma. Most, ahogy elhagytuk Magyarországot, a határőr azt mondta nekünk, hogy be kell bizonyítanunk a gyerekek magyar állampolgárságukat, mert különben úgy tűnik mint ha illegálisan tartozkodnak Magyarországon vízum nélkül. Eddig elég volt megmutatni a magyar lakcímkártyait, de most azt mondták, hogy ez már nem elég. Simán be tudtunk volna bizonyítani az állampolgárságukat a születési anyakönyvi kivonataival, de azok otthon voltak Egerben - 320 km-re tőlünk.

In the end, the border guards were very understanding, and after making some phone calls were able to let us through by leaving a note at the border that we should be allowed through, as it was clear that the kids were ours and Rosemary was able to verify her Hungarian citizenship.

Végül nagyon rendesek és megértőek voltak a határőrök, és egy kis telefonálgatás után átengedtek bennünket, mert nyilvánvaló volt hogy a gyerekek a miénk és Rosemary be tudta bizonyítani a magyar állampolgárságát.

The point is this: if you have kids who are dual citizens, you need to get them a passport or a photo ID card. It used to be that they only issued these ID cards to people over 14, but now the law has changed and they can be issued to newborn babies as well.

A lényeg az, hogyha kettős állampolgárok a gyerekek, igényelni kell nekik vagy egy útlevelet vagy egy fényképes személy igazolványt. Régebben csak 14 évesen lehetett kapni személy igazolványt, de most már az újszülött babáknak is lehet kérni.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the heads up on this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. zseniális a magyar bürökrácia!!! EBBEN MI VAGYUNK A CSÁSZÁROK!

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is useful to know these things.

    I have had a couple of border bureacracy stories crossing the Hungarian border. The main one was crossing into Ukraine a few years ago.

    I was told that the Ukranian border guards usually looked for a bribe and that the going rate was HUF 200 (apparently they preferred HUF to Hryvnia). This was in the days of the HUF 200 note, so some time ago. Anyway we were told that there was a massive queue on the main road, so we decided to cross the border in a small village on a back road. When I presented my British passport it caused a lot of anxiety amongst the Ukranian border guards. Clearly they were used to locals and had never seen a British passport before. They passed it back and forth saying lots of things in Ukranian with "Great Britain" being the only part I understood. They tapped on a computer and frowned a lot. I presume they were checking to see if I needed a visa to enter the country. Eventually one of them ran the metallic strip in my passport through their machine and then said the name of my home town (presumably from the computer because it was not written on the passport). Whatever information the computer provided them with must have satisfied them that I was not a danger to the country and everyone else returned to normal and the anxiety and agitation came to an end. A border guard then checked inside the car. We had been told that this was when the money was asked for. Contrary to what we expected, this border guard was quite friendly, he asked me in Hungarian if I'd ever been in Ukraine before and when I said I hadn't he welcomed me to the country and sent us on our way without asking for any money.

    It was a pleasant surprise that the border guards didn't live up to their bad reputation.

    ReplyDelete
  4. David. - i could tell many stories about crossing borders; the most interesting would probably be crossing from Kosovo into Serbia, and the order guards thought my friend's passport was a forgery because it had been issued by an embassy... or the time i went to Mexico and forgot to take my passport with me... or the time when i was on a bus full of smugglers coming into Hungary from Slovakia, and the bus got stopped by the customs agents (pre-EU).

    Despite their bad reputation, I've never had a problem with the Ukrainian officials. It seems to me they have done a lot in recent years to get rid of corruption at the borders, such as posting the name of the officer and a corruption hotline.

    ReplyDelete