This content is from: Local Insights

Slovak Republic: Temporary residence scrutinised

Daniel FutejRudolf Sivák
It has been more than a year since the amendment to the Act on Residence of Foreign Nationals took effect. In this article, we will look at the practical application of the new rules.

Foreign nationals come to Slovakia for various reasons, one of the most popular being to conduct business. If a foreign national wishes to remain in the country for this reason, they must apply for temporary residence. Temporary residence permits are usually granted for one and half years for conducting business, and may be extended repeatedly.

Foreigners should be aware that they may be granted a temporary residence permit for one specific purpose only. It means, for example, that a person who obtains a temporary residence permit for employment purposes is not allowed to conduct business as an independent business owner.

As regards residency permits for business purposes, in addition to the general documents that are required (such as criminal record and proof of accommodation), a foreign national interested in temporary residence for the purpose of conducting business must also submit documents proving the purpose of the residence. Before the change, it was unclear whether a trade licence would be sufficient, but the new rules clarified this issue by stating that a trade licence is one of the ways of proving the purpose of residence for business purposes.

One important condition which foreigners should be aware of is that the applicant must submit the application for a residency permit in person: no proxy or agent may substitute them. In proceedings at later stages, the applicant may be represented by an authorised person.

Documents issued in foreign countries must be either apostiled or legalised and translated into Slovak. In recent months, Slovak authorities have become very strict in examining such documents, in particular the correctness of apostilation and legalisation.

A mistake which applicants often make is that they only provide criminal reports from their country of citizenship. However, applicants should submit criminal reports from any country in which they have spent more than 90 days over six consecutive months in the last three years as well as their country of citizenship.

Immigration authorities will issue the temporary residence permit within 90 days of the submission of the application. However, if the foreign national is a foreign investor (or will be working for a foreign investor) and is also a citizen of a member state of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), that deadline is reduced to 30 days. Who is a foreign investor has not been clearly specified. Practice has shown that any foreign entrepreneur interested in investing in Slovakia falls into this category.

Recently, a proposal to amend the Foreigners Act has been presented to the public. If approved, it could provide some simplifications in the residency permit process, such as the possibility to extend by another 60 days the 30 day deadline, running as of taking over of the temporary residency card, to submit confirmation that the foreigner does not suffer from any illness which represents a threat to public health.

Daniel Futej and Rudolf Sivák

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