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Slovakia – Work Permits and Working Legally

Working Legally in Slovakia

Slovakia, situated in the heart of Europe, offers an appealing mix of historical charm and economic opportunities, making it an attractive destination for expats seeking employment and a new cultural experience. However, to work legally in Slovakia, expats must navigate the country’s work permit system and adhere to specific regulations. In this comprehensive guide, we will address the necessity of work permits for expats, who must make the application, types of work permits, eligibility criteria, application procedures, required documents, costs involved, and sources of reliable information for expats.

Necessity of a Work Permit in Slovakia

Expats are generally required to obtain a work permit to work legally in Slovakia. The Slovak government has established work permit regulations to ensure that foreign workers have the legal right to work within the country. A valid work permit is a crucial document that authorizes expats to seek employment and engage in work activities in Slovakia.

Who Applies for a Work Permit

In Slovakia, the responsibility for applying for a work permit primarily falls on the employer who intends to hire an expat worker. The employer must initiate the application process and fulfill the necessary requirements to secure a work permit for their prospective employee. As an expat, you do not directly apply for your work permit; instead, your prospective employer should handle this process on your behalf.

Employers in Slovakia must demonstrate that they have a legitimate need for hiring a foreign worker and that they will provide fair treatment, compensation, and working conditions in accordance with local labor laws. They are also responsible for sponsoring the expat worker throughout their employment in the country.


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While most expat workers in Slovakia require a work permit, there are specific categories of individuals who may be exempt from this requirement:

  • EU/EEA Citizens: Citizens of European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) countries have the right to work in Slovakia without a work permit.
  • Family Members: Family members of Slovak citizens, EU/EEA citizens, and certain categories of residents may be exempt from work permit requirements.
  • Highly Qualified Workers: Highly qualified expat workers who meet specific criteria may be eligible for a Blue Card, which allows them to work and reside in Slovakia without a separate work permit.
  • Students: Foreign students studying in Slovakia under certain conditions may have limited work rights without a work permit.

It’s crucial for expats to check with the Slovak authorities or their potential employers to determine if they qualify for any exemptions based on their specific circumstances.

Types of Work Permits for Expats in Slovakia

Slovakia offers various types of work permits for expats, each designed to cater to different categories of foreign workers. The type of permit you may be eligible for depends on your specific circumstances and the nature of your employment in Slovakia. Here are the primary types of work permits:

Employee Card

The Employee Card is suitable for foreign nationals who wish to work in Slovakia for a specified period. It is typically issued for one year and can be renewed. To be eligible for an Employee Card, applicants must have a valid employment contract with a Slovak employer and meet specific criteria, including minimum monthly wages.

Blue Card

The Blue Card is designed for highly qualified workers from non-EU/EEA countries. It allows them to work and reside in Slovakia for up to two years (or three years for certain professions). To be eligible for a Blue Card, applicants must have a university degree or equivalent qualifications and a valid job offer in Slovakia with a minimum salary threshold.

Temporary Residence Permit

The Temporary Residence Permit is not a work permit per se, but it allows foreign nationals to reside in Slovakia for purposes such as employment, study, family reunification, or business. expats with a Temporary Residence Permit are eligible to work in Slovakia under specific conditions defined in their permit.

Procedure to Apply for a Work Permit in Slovakia and Processing Time

The process of applying for a work permit in Slovakia involves several steps, and it’s essential for both the employer and the expat employee to be aware of these procedures. Here’s an overview of the typical steps involved:

  1. The employer initiates the work permit application process through the relevant authorities, such as the Slovak Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, and Family.
  2. The employer must provide necessary documents, including the employment contract, proof of the employee’s qualifications, and a statement explaining the need for hiring a foreign worker.
  3. The authorities review the application and conduct a labor market test to ensure that there are no suitable Slovak candidates available for the position.
  4. If the application is approved, the authorities issue a work permit, and the expat employee can then apply for a Temporary Residence Permit (if required) to legally reside and work in Slovakia.
  5. The processing time for a work permit application in Slovakia may vary but generally takes several weeks to a few months.

It’s important to note that obtaining a work permit is just the first step. expat workers must also secure a Temporary Residence Permit (if applicable) to legally reside and work in Slovakia.

Documents Required for a Work Permit Application in Slovakia

When applying for a work permit in Slovakia, both the employer and the expat employee must provide a set of documents to support the application. These documents are essential to demonstrate the legitimacy of the employment and the need for hiring a foreign worker. Here are some of the key documents typically required:

  • A copy of the employment contract between the employer and the expat employee, specifying terms and conditions of employment.
  • Proof of the expat employee’s qualifications and skills, such as diplomas, certificates, or professional licenses, authenticated and translated into Slovak (if not in Slovak).
  • A copy of the expat employee’s valid passport.
  • Recent passport-sized photographs of the expat employee.
  • Statement from the employer explaining the need for hiring a foreign worker.
  • Additional documents may be required depending on the specific type of work permit being applied for.

It’s essential to ensure that all required documents are complete and accurate, as incomplete or incorrect submissions can lead to delays or even the rejection of the application.

Costs Involved in Applying for a Work Permit in Slovakia

Applying for a work permit in Slovakia comes with certain costs, both for the employer and the expat employee. These costs can vary depending on the type of permit and other factors. Here are some of the typical expenses associated with obtaining a work permit:

  • Work permit application fee: The fee for submitting a work permit application varies depending on the type of permit and the duration. It may range from EUR 100 to EUR 200 or more.
  • Temporary Residence Permit fee: If the expat employee is required to obtain a Temporary Residence Permit, additional fees may apply.
  • Health insurance costs: Expats must have health insurance coverage for the duration of their stay and work in Slovakia, and the associated costs are typically the responsibility of the employee.

Employers and expat employees should budget for these expenses when planning to work legally in Slovakia. Being aware of the costs involved can help avoid any financial surprises during the application process.

Reliable Information on Working Legally in Slovakia

For expats considering employment in Slovakia, accessing reliable information on the legal requirements and procedures is crucial. Here are some reliable sources and websites that provide valuable information on working legally in Slovakia:

1. Migration Information Center: The Migration Information Center provides information and assistance on various aspects of migration to Slovakia, including work permits and residence permits.

2. Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, and Family of the Slovak Republic: The official website of the ministry offers information on labor and employment regulations in Slovakia.

3. Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic: The ministry’s website provides information on visa and residence permit requirements for foreign nationals.

4. Expat.sk: Expat.sk is a platform that offers practical advice, forums, and resources related to living and working in Slovakia, including information on work permits.

5. Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO): SARIO provides information on business and investment opportunities in Slovakia, which may be relevant for expats and employers.

These sources can serve as valuable references for expats seeking up-to-date and reliable information on working legally in Slovakia. It’s essential to stay informed and consult official sources when navigating the legal requirements and procedures for employment in the country.