Overview of Slovakia
A landlocked country in Central/Eastern Europe, Slovakia is bordered by Poland and the Czech Republic in the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, and Austria to the west. Its population of 5.4 million people speak Slovak; the country’s only official language.
A relatively new country often confused with Slovenia, Slovakia gained its independence from the former Czechoslovakia in 1993. Today, its capital of Bratislava-just hours from both Vienna and Prague-has emerged as a destination in its own right as a less touristy alternative to its more famous neighbors. Situated on the banks of the Danube, the capital offers a lively nightlife scene as well as historic architecture, including Bratislava Castle, which overlooks the river and provides magnificent views of the city. Visitors to Bratislava can indulge in Slovakian cuisine; hearty dishes of cheese and potato dumplings. Outside the capital, visitors can tour one of the most beautiful towns in Europe: Vlkolinec, which contains the continent’s largest cluster of traditional central European log cabins and is one of Slovakia’s seven UNESCO Heritage Sites. For more contemporary offerings, the town Medzilaborce offers the world’s second largest collection of paintings by Andy Warhol, whose parents immigrated from Slovakia to USA. A mountainous country of waterfalls and lakes, visitors can hike Tatras mountain range, which form a natural barrier between Slovakia and Poland, and offers picturesque trails along pristine pastures. In the winter, sample Slovakia’s rapidly developing skiing industry, which offers an uncrowded, inexpensive alternative to pricier slopes in neighboring Austria.
Slovakia signed the Schengen Agreement in 2003, becoming part of the Schengen area in 2007.
- Schengen visa eligibility for Slovakia includes third country nationals from the following states, who are excluded from visa-free to Slovakia/the Schengen area, and are therefore eligible to apply for a Schengen visa to Slovakia:
14. BURKINA FASO
19. CAPE VERDE
71. NORTH KOREA
20. CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
74. PAPUA NEW GUINEA
25. COTE D’IVOIRE
27. DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
79. SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
80. SAUDI ARABIA
29. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
82. SIERRA LEONE
32. EQUATORIAL GUINEA
84. SOUTH AFRICA
85. SOUTH SUDAN
86. SRI LANKA
- Third party nationals from the following entities/territories are also required to apply for a Schengen visa: KOSOVO and the PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY.
- In addition to English and Slovak, most standard application forms for Slovakia are available in other languages. However, if your application contains supplemental materials written in another language, they will likely need to be accompanied by an official translation into either Slovak or English.
- All documents required for your Slovakian Schengen visa must be filled in using capital letters. Applications for all Schengen visas to Slovakia will contain the following Basic Required Documents:
- Valid passport
- Passport sized photos
- Application form
- Fingerprints (biometric data)
- Travel medical insurance
- Visa Fee
- Materials related to your trip:
- Reason for visit
- Where you will stay (accommodation)
- How you will fund your trip (finances)
- Proof that you will leave Slovakia before your visa becomes invalid/expires. This is often in the form of a paid roundtrip plane ticket (proof of return).
Note: For more information on what to include in your application, including a detailed description of required materials, please see: Basic Required Documents. Please note that you may have to submit additional Slovakian Schengen visa supporting documents related to your specific purpose for travelling.
- The standard Slovakian Schengen visa fee for an adult is 80 Euros. Certain types of applicants (most students, children under 6) are exempt from all visa fees. To get a Schengen visa for Slovakia, you will likely have to submit a service payment with your visa application-this is a separate cost from the visa fee. Please note that these fees are non-refundable in the case of visa rejection.
How to Apply: Steps
- Step 1: Determine your Purpose for travelling to Slovakia, which will determine the Type of visa you should apply for.
- Step 2: Determine how many Entries to Slovakia/the Schengen area you need.
- Step 3: Gather your Required Documents.
- Step 4: Schedule a Slovakian Schengen visa appointment (if applicable).
- Depending on the location of the consulate/visa center you are applying through, you may have to schedule an appointment in order to submit your visa. In other cases, you may simply be able to drop your application off during normal operating hours. Contact your Slovakian Consulate/visa center directly to find out if you need to schedule an appointment in order to submit your visa.
- Step 5: Fill out your application.
- Different Slovakian Consulates/visa processing centers provide different ways of accessing applications-depending on where you are applying from, you may have to apply online through the Slovakian Electronic Visa Request. Access the online portal here once completed, the application will be sent to your email and you can print it out.
- Alternatively, you may have to download, complete, and print out an online form, available here. Once completed, print out and sign your application. You will submit this paper copy to whichever Slovakian Consulate you are applying through.
- Step 6: Pay the application fee.
- Step 7: Submit your Slovakian Schengen visa application (at least 15 days prior to travelling, not before 6 months).
- Different Slovakian consulates/visa application centers have different procedures for submitting applications. Applications must be submitted in person to the consulate/center you are applying through (in rare circumstances, the consulate will waive the in-person requirement). Applications for children must be submitted in person by the child’s parent/guardian.
- When you submit your application, you will likely also be asked to submit biometric data (fingerprints). Children younger than 12 years are likely exempt from having their fingerprints collected. However, facial photo capture is required for all applicants nevertheless of their age.
- Please note, after submitting your application, you may be asked to return at a later date for a personal interview to provide further information/materials related to your trip.
When to Apply
- Submit your application at least 15 days prior to the day you intend to travel, and no earlier than 6 months before you leave.
Where to Apply
- Applications for Schengen visas to Slovakia should be submitted at either a Slovakian Consulate/Embassy or a visa application center that has a relationship with Slovakia.
- Ideally, you will lodge your application in the country where you legally reside/hold a residence permit for.
- If you must apply through a consulate/center located in a country where you are currently legally present, but where you do not legally reside, you must have a valid reason for doing so, as well as the permission of the consulate, who must consent to processing your application.
- In countries where there is no Slovakian consular presence, applications may be lodged via the consulate of a Schengen state representing Slovakian consular interests.
- The Slovakian Schengen visa processing time is generally 15 days, although it can take up to 60 days in certain cases.
If your visa was approved:
- Collect your visa and make sure the information it contains is valid and complete.
If your visa was denied:
- If you receive a visa rejection for Slovakia, you have a right to an appeal within 15 days of receiving your rejection.
- Begin this process by picking up your standard issued-visa refusal form, which describes why your request was denied, and explains the detailed steps of the appeal process.
- The appeal should be written in Slovak or contain a translation into Slovak and should explain why you believe the refusal was unlawful/invalid.
- The appeal must be lodged with the consulate which issued the original refusal.
- You will to pay an appeal fee of 30 EUR, which will be reimbursed to you in the event that your appeal is successful. If your appeal is rejected, your fee will not be returned to you. Failure to pay the fee will result in the appeal process being put on hold until payment is rendered.
Finally, once you obtain your Schengen Visa for Slovakia, please note the following:
- Your visa may be revoked if you do not notify the Slovakian Consulate/visa application center of any changes to your trip itinerary that occur after you have submitted your application.
- Being approved for a Slovakian visa does not guarantee you entry to either Slovakia or the general Schengen area – you can still be refused entry to both places upon arrival.
- Alternatively, you may have to show additional documents regarding your finances or accommodation in order to enter Slovakia/the Schengen area.