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New foreigners’ police office opens in Bratislava

WAITING times and queues at Bratislava’s foreigners’ police department, which have become notorious among foreigners living in the capital and its surroundings, could be cut after the office opened a new office in early June.

WAITING times and queues at Bratislava’s foreigners’ police department, which have become notorious among foreigners living in the capital and its surroundings, could be cut after the office opened a new office in early June.

Every foreigner who wants to live in Bratislava Region needs to pass through Bratislava’s Office of the Border and Alien Police, EU citizens and non-EU citizens alike. Lack of space, short office hours and limited personnel have been cited by foreigners dealing with the office as the main problematic points, along with the limited abilities of the officers working there to communicate in any foreign language.

New office opens

To ease some of these problems, the police have opened a new office, located in a building adjacent to the sole office that the foreigners’ police had been using, on Hrobákova Street in Bratislava’s Petržalka district. The new client area, which has seven counters, should ensure easier access and shorter waiting times for the office’s clients, according to police spokesperson Denisa Baloghová. There is now a special counter for European Economic Area clients, another one for Slovaks living abroad, another one for permanent residency, as well as two cubicles for taking biometric data, Baloghová told The Slovak Spectator.

In addition, the original building of the department now has eight instead of five client counters.

“Altogether there are now eight counters for handling residencies, for providing information, and for issuing documents,” Baloghová said.

Fewer clients in Bratislava after reorganisation

The Bratislava office of the foreigners’ police until recently served about 30 percent of all the foreigners living in the entire country, as the largest number of incoming foreigners settle in the capital. The police recorded over 68,000 foreigners residing in Slovakia as of the end of May 2013.

To ease the workload of the Bratislava office, the police force has reorganised its territories. As of June 2013, three districts, Malacky, Pezinok, and Senec, are no longer served by the Bratislava office. Instead, foreigners living in the Senec district must go to the foreigners’ police office in Dunajská Streda, while those from Malacky and Pezinok districts must now report to the Trnava office. That should help lower the number of clients for the Bratislava office to 28 percent of all foreigners living in Slovakia, or just under 20,000 people.

In the first five months of 2013 (before the new office opened), the Bratislava office handled over 12,000 clients, or 200 to 500 clients a day (the number varied depending on the office opening hours each day), according to Baloghová.

“The handling process is demanding in terms of time, mainly due to the necessity to punctually check that the application is complete and correct, as well as [due to the need] to individually explain any shortfalls in the application, provide information, etc,” Baloghová said.

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