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Work, residence and business travel in Slovakia for UK nationals from 1 January 2021: what has changed?

The rules for UK nationals living and working in Slovakia and for UK business travellers to Slovakia are changing on 1 January 2021. This article explains.


1.1 Has any guidance been issued on how UK nationals can obtain settled residence status and permission to work from 1 January 2021 and what proof of residence is needed for current residents to maintain their status?

The Slovak Parliament has adopted an Act amending certain acts in the event of withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union without a deal. This Act deals with legal status of UK nationals concerning their residence, performance of regulated professions, social security and other matters.



2.1 Do UK employees need a business visa from 1 January 2021?

Regulation (EU) 2019/592 of 10 April 2019 exempts UK citizens from the requirement for a Schengen visa. It applies from the day the UK is no longer subject to EU law.  UK citizens can enter and stay in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days in any rolling 180-day period.

The Schengen exemption applies from 1 January 2021 based on the Withdrawal Agreement (‘WA’).

However, even if allowed to enter and stay visa-free they might nonetheless need a work permit and temporary residence for the purpose of employment. For short-term business negotiation meetings the 90-day requirement stated above (i.e. business trip, etc.), work permit is not required.

Third-country nationals coming to stay and work in Slovakia for more than 90 days must obtain a Single Permit or a work permit and a residence permit for employment purposes, which involves a complicated application process.

2.2 What documents are needed on arrival for business travel from 1 January 2021?

• Travel documents (valid passport) with a validity of no more than ten years that is valid for at least three months after the intended date of leaving Slovakia.
• Valid visa, if required.
• Proof of duration and purpose of stay as border control may ask additional questions concerning duration and purpose of stay.
• Proof that a third-country national has sufficient means of subsistence, both for the duration of the intended stay and for return to their country of origin.


2.3 Do UK nationals need additional permission to work for business travel from 1 January 2021 in the event of no deal?

No, following the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, the reciprocal visa-free regime is expected to be maintained for short stays (up to three months) and travel for tourism.



3.1 Do UK nationals need permission to work and stay in Slovakia from 1 January 2021?

No, provided UK nationals meet the conditions for EU member state nationals to reside in Slovakia for a period longer than three months (e.g. study, employment, business) from the date of withdrawal of UK from EU.

Other UK nationals, not meeting the above conditions as of the date of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will need a work permit and a residence permit under the same conditions as other third-country nationals.

3.2 If permission to work is needed do any quotas apply for employing third-country nationals?

There is no general quota, however, there is one limitation for jobs where there is a lack of workers, where a new accelerated process in applying for permits applies (effective from 1 January 2019). In this case, employment of a third-country national is allowed only if less than 30% of the specific employer’s workforce is third-country nationals).

3.3 If permission to work is needed from 1 January 2021, what categories of permission are commonly granted?

According to statistics from the Central Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, the most common categories are:
• operators of machinery and equipment;
• qualified workers and craftsmen;
• highly skilled employees and specialists.

3.4 If permission to work or stay is needed from 1 January 2021, how long does the procedure take?

Qualified or seasonal work
The employer must announce a job vacancy to the Slovak Labour Office 15 days prior to submission of an application for a temporary residence permit by the third-country national.
Unqualified work
The employer must announce a job vacancy to the Slovak Labour Office 20 days prior to submission of an application for a temporary residence permit by the third-country national.
The relevant police department decides on the application within 90 days from its submission (or within 30 days in specific cases).
The procedure may take between one and six months, as the procedure is complicated and usually the statutory period is extended because all the requested documentation has not been provided, or because it is incomplete and requires completion.

3.5 If permission to work and stay is needed from 1 January 2021, what Government fees are payable?

Temporary residence for the purpose of employment: EUR 165.50 / EUR 170
Temporary residence for the purpose of seasonal employment: EUR 33 / EUR 35
Request for a European Union Blue Card: EUR 165.50 / EUR 170


4. What formalities apply to UK frontier workers working in Slovakia but living in another country from 1 January 2021?


There are currently specific obligations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Where a worker has permanent or temporary residence in the border areas of a neighbouring state within 30km of an open border crossing into Slovakia, these employees must be in possession of confirmation of the existence of an employment relationship or place of work in Slovakia at a maximum distance of 30km by road. In this case the employee is not required to undergo home quarantine for COVID–19.


5. From what date are third-country nationals entitled to apply for permanent residence?

Five years of legal stay in Slovakia (subject to conditions).
Five years of legal and continuous stay in the territory of an EU Member State as a Blue Card holder; however, under condition of a legal and continuous two-year stay in Slovakia prior to applying for a permanent residence permit (subject to conditions).


6. What steps could UK nationals take currently to secure their residence and work status?

UK nationals and their family members (e.g. spouses, descendants and older relatives), who have resided in Slovakia for five years (or less, subject to certain conditions) prior to Brexit date, will be considered long-term residents, meaning they may stay and work in Slovakia without any time limitation.
Those who do not meet the above conditions but have been resident in Slovakia longer than three months prior to Brexit date (e.g. for study, employment or business purposes), will be able to stay in Slovakia for a limited time period. Their stay will be considered long-term residence limited for five years. Following the expiry of this period, they will be able to apply for permanent residence for an unlimited time.
All UK nationals must obtain a new residence card for third-country (non-EU) nationals or exchange a standard EU residence card for a non-EU card (Povolenie na pobyt) before 30 June 2021.

Dušan Nitschneider
Partner - Slovakia
Danica Valentová