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Amended Immigration Law in the Slovak Republic

Residence permits in Slovakia for nationals of non-EU member countries are governed by the Act on Residence of Foreign Nationals. As of January 2014, the amendment to the Act on Residence of Foreign Nationals introduced significant changes, namely in terms of permits for temporary residence.

(Source: Courtesy of FUTEJ & Partners, s.r.o.)

Residence permits in Slovakia for nationals of non-EU member countries are governed by the Act on Residence of Foreign Nationals. As of January 2014, the amendment to the Act on Residence of Foreign Nationals introduced significant changes, namely in terms of permits for temporary residence.

Nationals of other countries come to Slovakia for various reasons, including employment, doing business, attending university or accompanying a family member. If a foreign national desires to remain in Slovakia for one of the above reasons, that person must apply for temporary residence. A person who has been granted a temporary residence permit in Slovakia can enter and remain in the Slovak Republic during the entire period for which the permit was granted. A foreign national may only be granted a temporary residence permit for one specific purpose. What that means is that if that person obtained a temporary residence permit for employment, then that person is not allowed to conduct business as an independent business owner during that same period of time. In reality, this can cause problems, because a foreign national can be engaged by a large international corporation and at the same time they might offer independent translation services as a consultant. That would require a separate temporary residence permit for the translation consultancy. Essentially, a temporary residence permit in Slovakia qualifies and defines the specific activities that a foreign national can do here. The most frequent purposes for granting temporary residence permits in Slovakia are for employment and for conducting business. Temporary residence permits are granted usually for two years for employment and for one and half year for conducting business; the temporary permit may be extended repeatedly.

If a foreign national wants to work in Slovakia or if they are seconded here by their company, they must apply for a temporary residence permit for employment. Under the former legislation, employees from non-EU member countries had to submit two applications - one application for an employment permit, and after that was submitted another application for temporary residence. That type of duplication made the entire process take much longer and the filing deadlines were frequently missed as a result. As of January 2014, a simplified and streamlined process was introduced for obtaining temporary employment residence permits. Foreign nationals no longer have to submit two applications, as now there is only one application entitled ‘unified residence application’, which can be filed directly at the immigration division of the police department.

Previously, it was required that prior to the temporary residence application, the prospective employer first had to report to the employment office that there was a position open; there is no change in the new legislation, so the employer is still required to do this. What did change, though, is the deadline has now been extended from 14 days to 30 days. That means that an application for a unified temporary residence permit cannot be submitted to the immigration authorities until 30 days after the employer has reported the available position to the employment office.

After submitting the application for unified residence permit, immigration authorities request the employment office to confirm that the new opening has been filled by that specific foreign national. Essentially, this means the immigration authorities will handle the entire process for the applicant to be granted the temporary permit.

One fundamental change the amendment has introduced is that the immigration authorities are obligated to accept incomplete applications for the unified temporary residence permit. That means the immigration authorities will accept applications from foreign nationals who submit only a passport and pays the administrative fee. All the other required documents should be submitted within following five days.

The amended law has made changes in how temporary residence permits are obtained for conducting business. In addition to the general documents that are required, a foreign national interested in temporary residence for the purpose of conducting business must also submit documents proving the purpose of the residence - to conduct business. Under the former legislation it was unclear as to whether that document could be a trade licence. But the amended act has now entrenched that if the purpose of the residence is to conduct business, this can be demonstrated with a trade licence issued in the Slovak Republic.

The immigration authorities will issue the temporary residence permit within 90 days of when the application was submitted, but if the foreign national is a foreign investor or will be working for a foreign investor and at the same time is the citizen of the member state of the OECD, that deadline is reduced to 30 days. What a foreign investor is has not been clearly specified. Practice has shown, however, that any foreign entrepreneur interested in investing in Slovakia falls into this category.

By JUDr. Daniel Futej PhD., Mgr. Janka Kúdelčíková, and JUDr. Marián Šottník, FUTEJ & Partners, s.r.o.

This article is of an informative nature only. For more information go to www.futej.sk.

Topic: Career and HR

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