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Bureaucracy Blocks Hungary’s Foreign Citizens from Immunity Certificates

Tamás Vaski 2021.05.12.

Foreign citizens living in Hungary cannot access their immunity certificates following vaccination, since they are required to either have a Hungarian identity card or passport, reports Azonnali. Government offices have been directing complaints to the doctors working at vaccination points, since they were supposed to provide an identifying number to vaccinated foreigners, which was not communicated to them properly. Thankfully, the solution to the issue is not far off, and immunity certificates are set to receive even more features, such as the type of vaccine used for inoculation, and an immunity confirmation application for smartphones.

Vaccination recently opened for Hungary’s population of foreign citizens, who do not have a Hungarian health (TAJ) card. While they have been getting inoculated, they have faced difficulty accessing an immunity card.

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As is clear now, the Hungarian government has provided certain privileges to people with Hungarian immunity certificates, such as being allowed to attend gyms, theaters, zoos, hotels, and the interior areas of restaurants.

Foreign Citizens Cannot Access Immunity Cards

Vaccination is one thing, but unfortunately for foreign citizens, the immunity card can only be received with a valid Hungarian identity card or passport, which they likely do not have. Some of Azonnali’s staff and readers shared the responses they received from government offices after requesting assistance with the issue.

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Responses from the government came in similar forms, emphasizing complications which the lack of an identity card or passport number lead to, as they are required to be placed on the immunity card. They also explained that the company operating the government’s database ties names and TAJ numbers to identity cards or passport numbers.

Thus, the government cannot create an immunity card for people without Hungarian passports or Hungarian identity cards since the system simply does not allow it. According to government offices, however, these individuals should have received an identifying number from the doctor who vaccinated them.

Miscommunications Complicate the Situation

Unfortunately, there was some miscommunication here, as it was not clear to many foreign citizens that they needed to tell doctors that they do not have Hungarian citizenship, nor was it clear to doctors conducting vaccinations that they needed to register foreign citizens with such a separate identifying number.

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Furthermore, based on reports, if foreign citizens return to vaccination points to receive their identifying number, staff need to delete their original vaccination record and create a new one. When they attempt to register for an immunity card later, the system tells them that they are not recorded as having received vaccination against the coronavirus.

Issues to be Fixed with Even More Features Added

Thankfully, solutions to this bureaucratic complication are not far off. The issue will apparently be fixed by Thursday, allowing foreign citizens to access their immunity certificates without having a Hungarian passport or identity card.

Many individuals received responses from government offices saying that their certificates ran into technical obstacles, but they are solving the problem, and the certificate will soon be mailed.

There will also be an immunity certificate application for smartphones and tablets, according to pro-government daily Magyar Hírlap. This app will show when the individual was vaccinated, when they received their second vaccination, and allegedly even what type of vaccine was used to inoculate them.

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Currently, the type of vaccine used in inoculation is not included in Hungarian immunity certificates. Still, the Hungarian foreign ministry told hvg.hu that many authorities abroad might not recognize or understand the plastic card issued to people. For this reason, it may be a good idea for anyone travelling abroad to keep the document they received confirming their inoculation at hand.

Featured photo illustration by Tibor Rosta/MTI