SlovakiaOfficial Name: Slovak Republic
Must be valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area.
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Not required for stays under 90 days
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
Hviezdoslavovo námestie 4,
811 02 Bratislava
Telephone: +(421) (2) 5443 0861 or +(421) (2) 5443 3338
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(421) 903 703 666
Fax: +(421) (2) 5441 8861
Slovakia is a Central European country that is a member of the European Union, its Schengen travel area, and the Euro zone. Some tourist facilities are not as developed as those found in Western Europe, particularly outside the major cities, and some goods and services common in other European countries are occasionally unavailable in Slovakia. The official language is Slovak; English is not widely spoken outside of tourist destinations. Read the Department of State Fact sheet on Slovakia for additional information on U.S. relations with Slovakia.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
Slovakia is a party to the Schengen Borders Agreement. U.S. citizens traveling for tourism or business can apply to enter the Schengen area without a visa for up to 90 days within each 180 day period. Your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your intended date of departure from the Schengen area. We recommend that your passport be valid for at least six months whenever you travel abroad to avoid unintended travel disruptions. You need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.
All foreigners seeking entry into Slovakia must carry proof of a medical insurance policy that covers all costs for hospitalization and medical treatment in Slovakia. Border police have the right to request evidence showing you have sufficient funds to stay in Slovakia, generally in the amount of $50 per person per day. Visit the Embassy of Slovakia website for the most current visa information.
If you are staying overnight in Slovakia, you must register with the local Border and Aliens Police within three working days. If you are staying at a hotel, you will be registered automatically. Visit the Embassy of Slovakia website for the most current information.
If you want to remain in Slovakia longer than 90 days, you must apply for temporary residency and/or work permits soon after you arrive. However, you should read the requirements on the U.S. Embassy website and begin preparing your application before you travel, as many required documents are easier to obtain in the United States. For example, U.S. citizens must submit a certificate not older than 90 days showing the results of a fingerprint records check by the FBI. This process can be very time consuming. Under current policy, authorities in Slovakia cannot take fingerprints for this purpose. Some documents, particularly the FBI criminal history record as well as criminal histories from some other countries, usually take three months or more to receive. Please note that Slovak authorities only accept the standard FBI clearance, not the expedited clearances through FBI “channelers.” In addition, Slovakia requires that many documents intended for official use in Slovakia be authenticated (i.e., to have an apostille) and translated into Slovak. The major exception to this is the standard version FBI background check, which the Slovak Government exempted from the authentication requirement for this version only. See our sections on Judicial Assistance and Notarial/Authentication Service for more information on apostilles. Note also official communications from the authorities will be in Slovak, which is the official language of Slovakia.
Since 2012, the Slovak authorities have strictly enforced the residency law as written, and have reportedly been unwilling to make exceptions or special extralegal accommodations that may have been possible in the past. People who stay beyond 90 days without a residency permit are typically forced to leave the entire Schengen area for a period of three months to a year.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors. However, a medical examination that includes an HIV/AIDS test is required for obtaining a residency permit in Slovakia.
Information about dual nationality and the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
Safety and Security
Civil disorder is rare in Slovakia, although strikes and demonstrations may occur. You should be vigilant in protecting your security, bearing in mind that even demonstrations meant to be peaceful may turn violent. Avoid street demonstrations whenever possible.
Slovakia remains largely free of terrorist incidents. However, like other countries in the Schengen area, Slovakia’s open borders with its neighbors (except for Ukraine) allow for the possibility of terrorist groups entering/exiting the country without the knowledge of Slovak police.
To stay connected:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.
- Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.
- Bookmark the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Slovakia on Facebook and visit the Embassy’s website
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or via a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Take some time before traveling to consider your personal security and check for useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: Police forces suffer from a lack of training, resources, and equipment. Local police do not usually speak English. Investigation, prosecution, and court proceedings in criminal and civil cases can be very lengthy. Western visitors, especially short-term visitors such as tourists and students, are the primary foreign targets of street crime. The majority of street crime is non-violent. The most common crimes reported include pick-pocketing and cell phone and bag/purse theft, particularly during the summer months. Other crimes reported in the past include the less common robbery and drugging and robbing of unsuspecting victims at nightspots and bars. Most thefts reported by U.S. citizens occur at crowded tourist sites (such as Bratislava’s Old Town area) or on public buses, trams, or trains. Thieves in Slovakia often work in groups or pairs. In most cases, one thief distracts the victim, another performs the robbery, and a third person hands off the stolen item to a nearby accomplice. Groups of street children are known to divert tourists’ attention so that a member of their group can pickpocket the tourists while they are distracted.
Foreigners and minorities, particularly non-white individuals, have been victims of racially motivated incidents in Slovakia, and may be especially subject to various types of harassment such as verbal abuse.
Both indigenous and foreign organized crime groups are well established in Slovakia. They do not target U.S. citizens or other foreign individuals and tend to coexist peacefully in tourist districts so as not to scare away tourist dollars. Though not common, violent incidents sometimes do occur.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal to bring back into the United States, but you will be breaking local law too.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the U.S. Embassy. We can:
- Replace a stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care following violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and, if you want us to, we can contact your family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although the local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Slovakia is 112. English-speaking operators are normally available. Non-Slovak speakers sometimes report difficulty communicating with police, as many officers speak only Slovak. Once an individual reports a crime, the police must investigate it. Some individuals have reported inconsistency in police investigative techniques or dissatisfaction with the methodology. The Embassy can provide basic information about local law and has a list of local lawyers on its website. Embassy employees are not able to act as personal legal representatives or resolve private legal disputes.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Slovakia, you are subject to its laws.. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own, and criminal penalties vary from country to country. If you break local laws in Slovakia your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. There are some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. You can be prosecuted in United States for engaging in sexual conduct with children or for using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country regardless of the legality of these activities under that country’s laws. Counterfeit and pirated goods are illegal in the United States and if you purchase them in a foreign country, you may be breaking the law as well.
Driving under the influence is not allowed under Slovak law; the permissible blood alcohol level is zero, and driving while intoxicated is a crime. If stopped, a driver who is found operating a vehicle while intoxicated will experience a trip to the police station at a minimum.
Taking photographs of security/military installations (for example, military bases, government buildings, nuclear power plants, etc.) is prohibited in Slovakia. If you violate this law, authorities may confiscate the film, issue a reprimand or fine, or even expel you from the country. Serious cases may be reported to and handled by local and/or military police.
Everyone in Slovakia over 15 years of age, including U.S. citizen visitors, is required by law to carry a passport at all times. It is not sufficient to carry a photocopy of the passport, although we recommend that you keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place. The police have the right to ask U.S. citizens for identification, and only a passport showing legal entry and/or a Slovak identity card issued to legal residents, is adequate evidence. .A document other than a passport may not be considered sufficient proof of identity and legal status in Slovakia. If you are asked for your passport or residency permit and you do not have it, you risk a spot fine and/or detention by the police.
If you are arrested in Slovakia, authorities are required to notify the U.S. Embassy of your arrest. If you are concerned the Department of State may not be aware of your situation, you should request the police or prison officials notify the U.S. Embassy of your arrest.
Custom: Slovak customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Slovakia of items such as firearms, antiquities, medications, business equipment, etc. You should contact the Embassy of Slovakia in Washington, D.C. or one of the Slovak consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.
If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
LGBT RIGHTS: Official protections for lesbian and gay individuals in Slovakia are technically the same as in other European Union countries, which were required to harmonize regulations relating to human rights and anti-discrimination. Same-sex sexual activity between consenting adults is legal with the same age of consent as for opposite-sex sexual activity between consenting adults. There is no legislation allowing for same-sex civil union, same-sex marriage, or adoption by same-sex parents. Much of society adheres to traditional ideas of marriage and family, and prejudice and official and societal discrimination persist. The first gay pride parade in Slovakia was held in Bratislava in 2010 but was disrupted by attacks by extremist groups. The parade was repeated in 2011, 2012, and 2013 without major incident and with more effective cooperation between police and organizers. There are several gay and lesbian venues in the capital as well as in several other cities across Slovakia. There are occasional reports of anti-gay slurs or altercations between gay and lesbian persons and extremist individuals. For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Slovakia, you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013. For further information on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our Information for LGBT Travelers page.
ACCESSIBILITY: In Slovakia, accessibility and accommodation for individuals with disabilities are different from the United States. Slovak law requires that public areas be accessible for persons with disabilities, although these regulations have only been in force for about a decade, and many older buildings and areas have not yet been retrofitted.
Getting around in Slovak cities and towns may be difficult at times, since many sidewalks are narrow and uneven, and small towns may lack sidewalks altogether. Public transportation and the railroads provide fairly good methods of traveling throughout the cities and throughout the country, but most stations lack elevators and do not provide easy accessibility for people with disabilities. Although there are plans to upgrade municipal bus fleets, currently only some buses and no trams are equipped with lowering platforms for travelers with disabilities. Taxis are a good means of transportation, although many are unlicensed and may seek to charge unreasonable fares to tourists.
Medical facilities are available in Slovakia, although the quality and availability varies within the country. For any emergency, including a medical emergency, call 112 within Slovakia free of charge. An English-speaking dispatcher should be available. According to the level of the medical emergency, the dispatcher may send an ambulance, which may be medically equipped and staffed by paramedics or a physician if the patient’s condition warrants it. Only a limited number of doctors speak English. Doctors and hospitals expect cash payment for health services unless the patient can present an insurance number from the Slovak National Insurance Company. This includes ambulance service, for which the cost begins at 120 euro for those without local Slovak health insurance. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost tens of thousands of dollars or more. Medical prescriptions issued in the United States are not valid in Slovakia. If a prescription is needed, a local doctor must issue it. Medicines are generally available locally at pharmacies, where customers ask the pharmacist for every product including over-the-counter medicines; if they are not available under the U.S. drug name, you should consult the pharmacist or a local doctor for a local substitute. The Ministry of Health administers the use of medicines, and medicine brought into Slovakia for personal use may be subject to comparison against the list of those authorized for use in Slovakia.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Slovakia, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.
Roads in Slovakia typically are safe and well maintained. Four-lane highways exist in and around Bratislava. However, most roads outside of developed areas are two lanes only, and aggressive drivers attempting to pass at unsafe speeds pose a serious hazard. Due to poor lighting and narrow, winding roads, we do not recommend nighttime driving outside of built-up areas.
Slovakia commonly experiences heavy snow from November through March. Snow removal is not adequate on rural roads. Roads in the mountainous northern part of the country are particularly prone to hazardous conditions during winter months. Winter tires are required by law when there are snowy conditions, and chains are necessary in certain mountainous areas.
In Slovakia, vehicles travel on the right side of the road. Headlights must be used at all times (day and night) throughout the year. The maximum legal speed on highways is 130 kilometers per hour (78 mph). On smaller roads, the maximum speed is 90 kph (54 mph). The limit in towns is 50 kph (31 mph). It is strictly prohibited to use cellular phones while driving. Safety reflection vests and first aid kits must be located in each vehicle. Seat belts are compulsory and baby car seats are required for all children less than 36 kg (80 lbs).
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a crime under Slovak law. The blood alcohol tolerance level is zero percent. Penalties for drivers involved in car accidents involving injury or death are decided by a court of law. Penalties for minor offenses are set by regulation and often depend on the type and severity of the offense. Fines are paid on the spot to the officer in cash. If you cannot pay the fine on the spot, you will receive a notice to appear later at a police station, and the fine will be higher. Reportedly, foreigners are sometimes targeted for additional sums. In any case when you are fined, you should receive a written receipt and note the name and number of the traffic officer imposing the fine.
A highway user decal is required for travel on most major roads outside of Bratislava. The decal is valid for the calendar year, and is available at gas stations, post offices, and some newspaper kiosks. Short-term stickers are available and are valid for seven days or for one month.
Taxi companies generally provide reliable, safe, and economical services. Avoid independent cabs that do not prominently display a company name. Taxis sometimes overcharge in areas frequented by tourists. You can expect higher charges when you stop a cab on the street at random or choose one waiting by a bus or train station. Radio-dispatched taxis are often much more reliable and less expensive.
Buses, trolleybuses, and trams are mechanically safe and generally reliable, but there have been reports of thefts on city transportation. On public transportation you must have a ticket, which you validate upon entering the vehicle, which is valid for your entire journey. Major cities also offer a ticket by SMS message. In most cities, you can buy passes valid for periods ranging from 24 hours to one year. Children from 6 to 15 years of age pay reduced fares. Passengers who are traveling without a valid ticket will be fined by a ticket inspector; inspectors board transportation at random. The ticket inspector will have an identification card and must provide a receipt for the fine. More information is provided in English on the Bratislava city transport website and websites of other cities with public transportation.
A motorcycle driver’s license and helmet are required to operate a motorized two-wheeled vehicle. Small motorcycles are not allowed on highways. All traffic regulations apply.
Tourists intending to drive in Slovakia are required to have an International Driving Permit. A U.S. driver’s license alone is not sufficient to drive in Slovakia; it must be accompanied by an International Driving Permit, which you can get in the United States from the American Automobile Association and the American Automobile Touring Alliance. U.S. citizens who are not residents of Slovakia may drive with a valid U.S. state license, if accompanied by a valid International Driving Permit, for a maximum of 6 months.
If you do not have a U.S. state driver’s license, you may apply for a Slovak driver’s license at the Dopravny Inspektorat in the district of your place of residence in Slovakia. Completion of the regular driving course and a written examination (in Slovak) are required for issuance of a Slovak driver’s license. For specific information concerning a Slovak driver’s permit, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, contact the Slovak Embassy in Washington, D.C.
U.S. citizens who are long-term residents in Slovakia and are in possession of a U.S. state driver’s license must apply for exchange of a U.S. state driver’s license for a Slovak driver’s license. Conditions for the exchange are set by the Law on Road Traffic effective from February 2009. Under the law, the issuing country must be a member either of the Geneva Convention (the United States ratified the Convention in 1950) or Vienna Convention on Road Traffic.
The law requires residents of Slovakia who hold U.S. state driver’s licenses to apply for exchange of their license within 60 days of the time period starting 185 days after the day their residency permit was issued. The applications are filed with the Dopravny Inspektorat at the district police department in the place of residency in Slovakia. The Slovak license is issued in the EU format and may be used in all EU countries.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Slovakia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of Slovakia’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.