Guidance

Living in Slovakia

Information British citizens moving to or living in Slovakia need to know, including guidance on residency, healthcare, driving licences and passports.

This guide sets out essential information for British citizens about moving to or living in Slovakia. Read about how our embassy in Bratislava can help.

This information is provided as a guide only. You should obtain definitive information from the Slovak authorities. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is not liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Read general guidance on moving or retiring abroad.

To stay up to date:

If you were living in Slovakia before 1 January 2021

Some parts of this guide only apply if you were living in Slovakia since before 1 January 2021. These are indicated with sub-headings.

You should also read our Living in Europe page for detailed guidance about citizens’ rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Coronavirus

You should follow the advice of the Slovak Government and your local authority. You can also read our Slovakia travel advice for our latest guidance.

For information on getting a COVID-19 vaccine as a UK national in Slovakia see our coronavirus travel advice.

Visas and residency

Check the entry requirements for Slovakia and read the IOM Migration Information Centre’s guidance on visas and residency for more information.

If you are resident in Slovakia, you must always carry and show both your valid passport (as a proof of identity) and your valid residence permit. Police officers may ask to see them.

If you were living in Slovakia before 1 January 2021

If you have lived in Slovakia since before 1 January 2021, you and your family members have the rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. You should request a new residence document (Povolenie na pobyt). This document shows that you have the rights defined in the Withdrawal Agreement.

We strongly recommend that you request the Povolenie na pobyt. It also shows your right to enter Slovakia and exempts you from the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) and visa requirements.

The deadline for applying for the Povolenie na pobyt was 30 June 2021. You will not have to pay a fine if you apply after this date, but your non-EU family members may need to.

Your rights and your non-EU family members’ rights under the Withdrawal Agreement will not be affected. If you have an EU residence card it will not be valid after 30 June 2021, regardless of the card’s expiry date.

Your close family members continue to be able to join you and settle in Slovakia at any point in the future. Find more information on who this applies to on the Living in Europe page.

They must travel to Slovakia and then apply as your family member. Nationals of certain non-EU countries may need a visa before travel.

You should also read:

If you need additional support to obtain your residency document, contact your local Foreigners Police office.

Passports and travel

You can apply for or renew your British passport from Slovakia.

Check the travel advice for Slovakia for passport validity requirements.

Always carry your passport when travelling within the Schengen area. If you have citizenship of an EU / European Free Trade Area (EFTA country), in addition to British citizenship, you should enter and leave Slovakia using your EU / EFTA passport.

If you stay in Slovakia with a residence permit or long stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit for the Schengen area.

If you visit other Schengen area countries outside Slovakia, make sure you do not exceed the visa-free 90 days in any 180-day period. You are responsible for counting how long you stay under the Schengen visa waiver, and you must comply with its conditions. 

Different rules apply to EU countries that are not part of the Schengen area. Check each country’s travel advice page for information on entry requirements.

If you were living in Slovakia before 1 January 2021

When you travel, especially within the Schengen area, carry your residence document (Povolenie na pobyt) or frontier worker permit issued under the Withdrawal Agreement, in addition to your valid passport.

You must proactively show your residence document, or other evidence of residence status, if you are asked to show your passport at border control. Other evidence may be your tenancy agreement or a utility bill in your name, dating from 2020. If you have applied for, but not yet received, your residence document, carry your certificate of registration.

If you cannot prove that you are a resident in Slovakia, you may be asked additional questions at the border to enter the EU. Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. This will not affect your rights in the country or countries where you live or work. If a passport is stamped, the stamp is considered null and void when you can show evidence of lawful residence.

If you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, you do not need any extra months on your passport to enter or exit EU countries.

Healthcare

You must register for health insurance in Slovakia. There are 3 insurance companies you can use:

  • Union zdravotná poisťovňa
  • Dôvera zdravotná poisťovňa
  • Všeobecná zdravotná poisťovňa

Your employer will pay contributions to your health insurance on your behalf.

You need to take your insurance card when visiting a doctor.

Read our guidance on healthcare in Slovakia and make sure you are correctly insured for your circumstances.

You should also read our guidance on:

If you plan to travel in other European countries, read our general guidance on healthcare when travelling in Europe and advice on foreign travel insurance.

Working in Slovakia

If you are planning to move to Slovakia and work there, you may need a visa.

To apply for a job you may need to provide a UK police certificate.

Your employer must notify the local labour office within 7 working days of you starting your job.

Read:

If you were living in Slovakia before 1 January 2021

You have the right to work under the Withdrawal Agreement.

If you live in Slovakia and were regularly commuting to work in another EU or EFTA country before 1 January 2021, read our guidance for frontier workers. 

Professional qualifications

You may need to get your professional qualification recognised if you want to work in a profession that is regulated in Slovakia. When doing this, you will be treated as a third country national.

Read guidance on:

If you were living in Slovakia before 1 January 2021

If the relevant regulator in Slovakia officially recognised your professional qualification before 1 January 2021, or you started the recognition process by this date, make sure you understand the terms of your recognition decision. Seek advice from the regulator if needed.

Studying in Slovakia

If you plan to study in Slovakia, you must meet all visa requirements before you travel.

Contact the relevant higher education provider in Slovakia to check what fees you may have to pay.

Read guidance on:

For more information read studying in the European Union.

If you were living in Slovakia before 1 January 2021

The studying in the European Union guidance guidance includes specific information for those who were already living in Slovakia before 1 January 2021.

Money, tax and banking

The UK has a double taxation agreement with Slovakia so that you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. Ask the relevant tax authority your questions about double taxation relief.

You should get professional advice on paying tax in Slovakia. Find an English-speaking lawyer in Slovakia.

Read guidance on:

National Insurance

Find out if you need to pay National Insurance in the UK or social security contributions in Slovakia.

UK banking

Whether UK banks can provide services to customers living in the EEA depends on local laws and regulation.

Read the Money and Pension Service guidance on banking, insurance and financial services changes for more information on cross-border banking.

Pensions

Read our guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions while you are living in Slovakia.

If you are moving or retiring abroad, you must tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax.

Read our State Pension guidance if you have lived in Australia, Canada or New Zealand and you are claiming or waiting to claim your UK State Pension.

If you retire in Slovakia, you can claim:

Read the Money and Pension Service’s Moneyhelper guidance on pension and retirement changes for more information on cross-border pensions.

Life certificates for UK State Pensions

If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you must respond as soon as possible - your payments may be suspended if you do not.

Benefits

Read our guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions while you are living in Slovakia.

If you are moving or retiring abroad you must tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax.

Check which UK benefits you can claim while abroad and how to claim them.

Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit cannot be paid to you if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

You can request proof from HMRC of the time you’ve worked in the UK, and of your UK National Insurance record.

Slovak benefits

Read the EU guidance on Slovak social security benefits.

Accommodation and buying property

Read:

Driving in Slovakia

You cannot renew or replace your UK licence if you are resident overseas.

If you are visiting or you have been resident for less than 185 days, you can drive in Slovakia using your UK driving licence.

You do not need an International Driving Permit.

If you settled in Slovakia after 1 January 2021, you must exchange your UK licence for a Slovak one within 60 days of reaching 185 days of residence.

You cannot exchange your UK licence before reaching 185 days of residence. You must do this at your nearest regional police directorate (in Slovak). You will not need to take a driving test.

You need to provide:

  • a valid form of identification, for example, your passport
  • your UK driving licence
  • an official Slovak translation of your UK driving licence. See our list of translators in Slovakia
  • your Residence Card (as evidence that you have completed 185 days of residence)
  • a UK Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) confirmation of your driving licence, including information on your driving categories (groups). You should print out this information
  • an official Slovak translation of the printout of your DVLA confirmation. See our list of translators in Slovakia
  • if you are aged over 65, a medical certificate from your doctor, confirming that you are fit to drive
  • if you want to retain certain driving categories (such as categories C or D, to drive a lorry), a medical certificate and certificate of mental capacity. You can arrange these through your doctor
  • the fee to exchange your licence: 6.50 euros (ready within 30 working days) or 26 euros for an express service of up to 2 working days. Read the Interior Ministry’s fee information (in Slovak)

Read the guidance on:

Bringing a UK-registered vehicle to Slovakia

Read:

Driving in the UK with a Slovak licence

You can use your Slovak licence in the UK for short visits, or exchange it for a UK licence without taking a test.

If you were living in Slovakia before 1 January 2021

You can drive in Slovakia on your valid UK driving licence until 2 September 2021.

You must exchange your UK licence for a Slovak one between 5 July 2021 and 2 September 2021. You must do this at your nearest regional police directorate. You do not need to take a driving test.

You need to provide:

  • a valid form of identification, for example, your passport
  • your UK driving licence
  • an official Slovak translation of your UK driving licence. See our list of translators in Slovakia
  • your Residence Card (as evidence that you have completed 185 days of residence)
  • a UK Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) confirmation of your driving licence, including information on your driving categories (groups). You should print out this information
  • an official Slovak translation of the printout of your DVLA confirmation. See our list of translators in Slovakia
  • if you are aged over 65, a medical certificate from your doctor, confirming that you are fit to drive
  • if you want to retain certain driving categories (such as categories C or D, to drive a lorry), a medical certificate and certificate of mental capacity. You can arrange these through your doctor
  • the fee to exchange your licence: 6.50 euros (ready within 30 working days) or 26 euros for an express service of up to 2 working days. Read the Interior Ministry website for fee information

Read more information on the Slovak police website (in Slovak) and the European Commission- affiliated Euraxess website.

After 2 September 2021, you will not be able to drive in Slovakia using your UK licence if you have been resident for 185 days or more. If you have not exchanged your licence by this date, you must apply for a new Slovak licence.

If you plan to leave Slovakia permanently before 2 September 2021, you do not need to exchange your UK driving licence.

Voting

You can vote and stand in local elections in Slovakia if you are a registered resident in Slovakia.

You cannot vote in national parliamentary elections in Slovakia or European Parliament elections.

You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can:

Births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships

If your child is born in Slovakia, you will need to register the birth abroad.

If someone dies in Slovakia read our guidance on:

Find out how you can get married or get a civil partnership abroad.

You may also need:

Pets

If you have a pet passport issued by Slovakia or another EU member state, you can use it to travel with your pet to Great Britain and elsewhere in the EU.

A GB-issued EU pet passport is not valid for travel to the EU or Northern Ireland. You should speak to your vet before you travel to get the necessary pet travel documents and ensure you’re compliant with the EU Pet Travel Regulations.

Read guidance on:

Check the rules of the country you’re travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements before you travel.

Emergencies

You can dial the European emergency number 112 in Slovakia or dial:

  • 150 for fire and rescue
  • 155 for emergency medical service
  • 158 for police

Find the full list of emergency numbers in Slovakia.

If you’re the victim of crime, have been arrested, or are affected by a crisis abroad, contact the British Embassy in Bratislava.

Returning to the UK

Check the COVID-19 travel guidance for entering the UK.

Tell the Slovak and UK authorities if you are returning to the UK permanently.

You must return your residence card to your local foreign police department when you leave Slovakia.

If you get a UK State Pension, you must tell the International Pension Centre.

Read the guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on, amongst other things, tax, access to services and bringing family members.

If you return to the UK permanently and meet the ordinarily resident test, you’ll be able to access NHS care without charge.

Useful information

Support for British Nationals abroad: a guide sets out how to stay safe abroad, and explains how the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) can support you if you get into difficulty.

Published 22 May 2013
Last updated 1 July 2021 + show all updates
  1. Guidance reviewed for people who are moving or moved to Slovakia after 1 January 2021. Following the residency application deadline, it also includes sub-sections relevant to people living there since before 1 January 2021.

  2. Driving section: updated list of documents needed for exchanging a UK driving licence for a Slovakian one

  3. Additional support section updated with link to guidance on UK Nationals Support Fund; healthcare section updated including guidance on the S1 form and applying for EHIC and GHIC cards; working in Slovakia section updated with links to Department for International Trade (DIT) guidance on working or providing services and DIT guidance on recognition of professional qualifications.

  4. Coronavirus section updated with a link to guidance on vaccines. Driving section updated with new guidance on exchanging your UK licence for a Slovak one.

  5. Updated as the transition period ends with new information on residency, driving, pet travel and moving to Slovakia

  6. Passports and travel section updated on carrying proof of residence when travelling

  7. Healthcare section updated on how to apply for a new UK EHIC as a student or S1 holder. Working section updated with information on frontier workers.

  8. Major update on Passports and travel section updated to include information on passport validity and entry requirements when travelling to other European countries from January 2021

  9. Visas and residency section updated to include information about how to access the UK National Support Fund for those who may find it harder to complete their residency applications.

  10. Brexit update: includes further details on passport validity, healthcare rights and State Pension uprating if the UK leaves the EU with a deal.

  11. Brexit update: healthcare section updated to reflect transitional arrangements announcement

  12. Brexit Update: Pensions section updated to include further details on State Pension uprating.

  13. Brexit update: We have added new information on residency, pensions and benefits.

  14. EU Exit update: We have added new information in "Passports and travel after the UK leaves the EU section"

  15. EU Exit update: We have added new information about pensions.

  16. EU Exit update: updated information on EU Exit in healthcare, visas and residency, passports, driving and working sections

  17. EU Exit update: added information about citizens outreach meetings in April in EU Exit section

  18. We have added information on residence in relation to EU Exit to the Visas and residency section.

  19. We have updated the contact details you need to apply for an S1 form.

  20. Updated information on passports: you must use the checker tool to see if your passport is still valid for your trip

  21. EU Exit update - Updated information on access to healthcare

  22. EU Exit update: added the Slovak government´s announcement about a no deal scenario for British nationals to EU Exit section

  23. EU exit update - updated information on pensions and driving

  24. Information added about applying to the penalty register in the Working in Slovakia section

  25. EU Exit update: New information in residency and visa section on draft withdrawal agreement in principle between the UK and EU. Plus information on travelling with pets in Europe in Pets section.

  26. We have updated ´residence of foreign nationals´ under the visas and residency section

  27. Complete revision of guidance to ensure it's up to date and accurate.

  28. First published.