The rules for obtaining a non-immigrant visa for Fulbright scholars and specialists from the United States have changed. They do not have to pay a fee for the visa, enabling them to enter as well as work and study in Slovak educational institutions during their exchange programme.
This stems from the amendment to the bilateral agreement between the United States and Slovakia governing the J. William Fulbright Commission for Educational Exchange in the country.
The amendment replaces a previous requirement for visiting American Fulbright grantees to obtain Slovak residency permits, the US Embassy in Slovakia informed in a press release.
The new procedure is expected to significantly ease the administrative burden on Fulbright scholars and specialists, the Fulbright Commission in Slovakia, and the governments of the United States and Slovakia.
Participants in Fulbright Exchange programs in Slovakia will be able to submit a single visa application at the Slovak Embassy in Washington, DC or the Slovak consulate in New York City. The procedure mirrors that for Slovak participants in Fulbright Exchanges to the United States, who are issued J-1 Exchange Visitor Visas at the US Embassy in Bratislava.
The amendment took effect on July 30, 2017 after nearly a year of negotiations between the representatives of the US Embassy and the Slovak government.
“These improvements demonstrate the continuing commitment of the US government and the government of Slovakia to the Fulbright Program and to the exchange of people and ideas between our countries,” reads the press release.
The Fulbright Commission for Educational Exchange in Slovakia is celebrating its 24th year of sponsoring educational and cultural exchanges between the US and Slovakia in 2017. Since 1994, almost 360 Americans have travelled to Slovakia to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to common international concerns.
Over 340 Slovaks have done the same in the United States. The Fulbright Program is welcoming 18 Americans to Slovakia, while 15 Slovaks will travel to the US this year.