How To Move To Slovakia - The Definitive Guide
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Apply For A Visa[back to top]
Citizens of the following countries do not need a Slovak entry visa:
Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA, the Vatican, Venezuela.
Citizens of the above listed countries must register with Slovak authorities within three days of arrival if their stay will be in excess of 30 days.
Citizens of all other countries must apply for a Slovak visa at a consular office abroad in person or by mail. Allow at least 5 business days for processing by mail.
- Passport (original) valid for at least 8 months beyond length of stay
- Completed application form (original only). The forms are available at Slovak diplomatic and consular missions and at certain travel agencies
- Two passport-style photos
- Visa processing fee (check with consular office for exact amount)
- Self-addressed stamped envelope if applying by mail. For courier service send prepaid courier envelope.
Note: Visas are NOT issued at border checkpoints. Slovakia is NOT a signatory to the Schengen Agreement.
Citizens of nations requiring visas must register with the Slovak authorities within three days of arrival. If staying at a hotel, the hotel staff will register the guest on the guest’s behalf.
Note: Any foreign national entering Slovakia may be asked for proof of funds sufficient to cover his/her length of stay and sufficient to purchase an onward ticket. Border officials may also require proof of health insurance.
Passport validity required for entry into the Slovak Republic:
- USA, United Kingdom, Greece, Israel, and Italy: six months beyond length of stay
- Spain, Austria, Germany: three months beyond length of stay
- France, Turkey: two months beyond length of stay
- Croatia: one month beyond length of stay
- Canada: one day beyond length of stay
- All others: eight months beyond length of stay
EU citizens may apply for a temporary residence permit at a Slovak consular office abroad or may apply with the Foreign Police while in Slovakia. EU permits are issued for a period of five years.
All other foreigners who intend to work, study, teach, or do business in Slovakia must apply for a temporary residence permit (TRP) at a Slovak Embassy or Consulate General abroad. The TRP allows you to stay in Slovakia for a period of more than 90 days for business and/or educational purposes. The TRP is issued for one year and may be renewed. Non-EU foreign nationals are subject to lengthy interviews by Slovak officials prior to approval.
- 2 passport-style photographs
- Typed application form in Slovak language
- Document certifying reason for request (for business, employment, schooling etc.)
- Criminal background check (Slovak and home country)
- Medical certificate stating applicant is free of contagious disease
- Proof of funds (varies, check with Slovak Consulate for specifics)
- Proof of medical insurance
- Proof of housing (signed lease agreement or ownership deed etc.)
A permanent residence permit entitles a foreigner to stay in Slovakia for an unlimited period of time and can be granted to a foreigner whose spouse or minor child is a Slovak citizen with permanent residency in Slovakia or who has maintained a temporary residence in Slovakia for more than 10 years. The applicant must first apply for a TRP.
It is always advisable to contact a Slovak Consular office abroad prior to going to Slovakia. The website of the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in London can be found at http://embassy.dev.dracon.biz/
Find A Job[back to top]
Citizens of EU member states are not required to have a work permit to be employed in the Slovak Republic. They are, however, required to have confirmation of permanent residency for tax purposes. This can be obtained from the Slovak Foreign Police within Slovakia.
- Notarized lease agreement or proof of home-ownership
- 2 passport-style photographs
Foreigners from non-EU countries are required have both a residence permit and a work permit in order to be employed in the Slovak Republic for a period of more than one month. If employment will be less than one month, they are required to have a work permit and the residence permit requirement may be waived.
In order to obtain their residence permit, the non-EU foreigner must apply at a Slovak consular office abroad. However, the residence permit may not always be granted without an approved work permit, which must be applied for in Slovakia at the local Labor, Social Affairs and Family office. In addition, other necessary documents such as a Slovak-notarized residential lease agreement and Slovak-certified medical clearance mean that these foreigners will probably have to visit Slovakia first, gather the required paperwork, leave the country, and then apply for their residence permit abroad.
It is strongly advisable to get current information on the requirements for a residence and/or work permit from a Slovak consular office abroad prior to applying, as regulations can change frequently.
Rent Property[back to top]
The standard of rental accommodation in Slovakia varies widely. It is not uncommon for foreigners to be asked to pay their rents in Euros, US dollars, pounds Sterling or other hard foreign currency. Rental rates for foreigners are generally higher than rental rates for local citizens.
It is advisable to employ a reputable real estate agent with experience in the foreign rental market. Generally the landlord will pay the agent’s commission, but you should clarify this prior to going out and looking at property. The commission is usually equivalent to a month’s rent.
The normal deposit is equivalent to one month’s rent, and in addition, one to three month’s rent may be requested in advance.
It is possible to rent a fully equipped house or apartment with washer/dryer, television, cable connection, refrigerator etc., but obviously the amount of the monthly payment will depend upon location, amenities, overall condition of the property, age of the structure and so on.
It may be difficult to find a short-term lease of 3 to 6 months duration. Most leases are contracted for a minimum period of one year. According to the Civil Code, three months’ notice is mandatory to terminate a residential lease agreement. One month’s advance notice is generally required to extend a lease.
Utilities costs (gas, water, electricity, telephone) are generally not included in the lease.
Buy Property[back to top]
Unlike the Czech Republic, foreign nationals are permitted (and encouraged) to purchase property in the Slovak Republic directly and in their own names. It is not necessary to establish a corporate entity in order to do so. As of May 2004 virtually all restrictions to the purchase of property by foreigners were abolished, with the exception of agricultural land and forest land.
Bratislava’s real estate costs are still among the lowest in Europe but are increasing. Since it joined the European Union, Slovakia has seen a marked increase in the commute-to-work population as nearby Vienna is just 40 miles away. It is possible to buy a relatively inexpensive property in Bratislava while maintaining well-paid (by comparison) employment in Austria, and this trend is likely to increase substantially when border controls are relaxed as proposed in 2007 or 2008.
According to a May 1, 2004 article in the British newspaper The Guardian, Bratislava’s 1-bedroom older flats start at around GBP30,000, with newly-built 2-bedroom apartments priced at around GBP65,000. A 3-bedroom house in the Slovakian countryside can cost as little as GBP15,000. Read the full article here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/guardian_jobs_and_money/story/0,3605,1206897,00.html
Some recent estimates (May 2005) suggest that property values are on the increase more rapidly than previously expected, at about Euros 1,400 per square meter, with yearly advances of almost 20%. A standard one-bedroom flat in a nicer Bratislava neighborhood can be in the range of Euros 70,000, but they rarely make it to the market before being snapped up by investors. Returns on rentals can be as much as 10%.
Financing is readily available through the larger Slovak banks, who are quite eager to lend foreigners money for real estate mortgages.
It is important to consult a reputable local attorney with experience in foreign real estate transactions in order to get all necessary documentation, surveys and government registrations completed properly.
Register For Healthcare[back to top]
QUICK LINK: Slovakia health insurance
Slovak state health facilities are not renowned for their aesthetic appeal. Standards of care and the availability of modern diagnostic equipment are generally not comparable with that found in more developed western European nations. Foreign residents may find it preferable to utilize the medical facilities in neighboring Vienna, Austria.
Healthcare is provided for free to all Slovakian nationals. Health insurance from EU member states may be used in Slovakia. It is necessary to provide form E111 upon seeking care. The specifics of what care is covered are somewhat vague, as the law states "all necessary healthcare". In any case, emergency care at state hospitals is covered under EU health insurance plans. For clarification, contact the Slovak Ministry of Health.
There are several highly qualified English-speaking physicians and dentists with private practices in Bratislava, Kosice and Banska Bystrica. The quality of care they provide is excellent by any standard.
General sanitation, sewerage and refuse collection in Bratislava is considered good overall. Tap water is fluoridated and is safe to drink. Bottled water is very popular among the local citizens as their source of drinking water. There are no particular health threats associated with living there.
Note: Persons with chronic medical conditions requiring prescription medication should keep a one to three month supply on hand.
Open A Bank Account[back to top]
The National Bank of Slovakia was established in 1993, and has its headquarters in Bratislava. The National Bank is in charge of national monetary policy, issues Slovak currency and is the supervisory body overseeing the activities of other banks. The National Bank of Slovakia does not handle personal bank accounts, but can assist with investment questions etc. For more information, visit their website at http://www.nbs.sk/
A passport is required to establish a basic bank account. In addition, some banks may request proof of residency prior to opening an account, issuing an ATM card or providing Internet banking services. Many of the larger banks have English or German-speaking staff available to assist foreign customers.
Foreign exchange rates are prominently posted in several languages. There are no restrictions on importing foreign currency into the Slovak Republic, however the exportation of Slovak currency is regulated by the National Bank.
Once an account is opened the customer has immediate access to his/her funds, but will only be able to withdraw them from that specific bank until an ATM card has been issued, which usually takes from one to two weeks.
There are a number of foreign bank branches in Bratislava, chief among them CitiBank.
There is a stock exchange in Bratislava.
Learn The Language[back to top]
The official language of the Slovak Republic is Slovakian (sometimes called Slovak). Slovakian and Czech are very closely related but are not entirely identical languages. Hungarian is also widely spoken. In areas of southern Slovakia where the population of Hungarian-speakers exceeds 20%, a 1994 law allows Hungarian to replace Slovakian as the official language in certain instances.
Learning to speak Slovakian is not particularly easy for those who do not have a thorough grounding in another Slavic language. However, since each letter in the alphabet is spoken as it is written, with some perseverance it is possible to learn the basics. It also helps that the alphabet is the Latin alphabet, with some unique characters/accents added.
German is the most commonly spoken second language, followed by English. Most restaurants in Bratislava provide English translations of their menus.
Choose A School[back to top]
The first 10 years (ages 6 through 16) of education are compulsory for all children in the Slovak Republic. Public education is provided at no charge by the government, although funding for education is considered insufficient considering the need. Classes are conducted in the Slovak language.
The first level of primary school is offered from ages 6 to 10. After these first 5 years of primary school, students may apply for 8 years of high-school (passing of examinations is required), or may attend an advanced level of primary school for 5 more years to meet the educational requirements. Students who complete the first and second levels of primary school can apply for a 4 year high-school curriculum.
There are public vocational schools geared toward technical, industrial and arts careers for students aged 15 through 19 who show an affinity for a trades-oriented education. These vocational schools emphasize employment related skill programs for their students.
There are public, private and church schools available in most cities. In larger cities there are private bilingual secondary schools offering curricula in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Hungarian, some offering international exit exams accredited in Europe.
Slovak colleges and universities are part of the European education and research area. They are open to foreign students and offer transferable credits and degrees for further study or research abroad. Bratislava’s Comenius University has an independent program within the Institute for Language and Academic Preparation, which enables foreign students to prepare for Slovak universities in the Slovak language.
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