UPDATED: 16. APR 2021, AT 14:42

How to travel to and from Slovakia during COVID-19

Check out which border crossings are open, and how bus, train and air transport works.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: TASR)

Given the worsening situation and the threat of new Covid variants, Slovakia decided to reintroduce border controls.

Quite a large number of people who cross the borders after February 17 at 6:00 will have to register with the state system prior to their arrival and self-isolation.

Cross-border commuters, people transiting through Slovakia, and some groups with special permissions, will be exempt from the rules; and special conditions will be applied to people who have recovered from Covid-19 or were vaccinated with the second dose.

If you plan to travel to or from Slovakia, here is some useful information before setting off on your trip:

How do I cross borders to and from Slovakia?

All arrivals to Slovakia have to register with the eHranica online form prior to crossing the borders. They should be able to show confirmation of this to the police. People entering the country via the airports in Slovakia also have to fill in the form published on the Transport Ministry website.

After entering Slovakia, travellers are required to enter 14-day isolation either at their home or in a state quarantine facility if they need a place to quarantine.

They will be automatically registered (based on their filled-out form on eHranica) for a PCR test, which will take place no sooner than on the 8th day after their arrival. The costs of the test are covered by the state. Children younger than 10 years do not have to be tested.

Incomers from EU member states, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and the UK will be able to end isolation after 14 days if they have no symptoms. Incomers from other states will have to wait until they receive a negative PCR test result.

People living in the same household need to stay in isolation too. Isolation ends after the test is negative.

Before travelling abroad, check the conditions for entering your final destination. You can find them on the website of the Foreign Affairs Ministry (in Slovak).

Who is exempted from the rules?

Crew members of truck, bus, ship and railway transport are exempt from self-isolation; pilots and other plane crew members need to show confirmation from their employer in the Slovak language or the Green Lanes Certificate for International Transport Workers.

Other people who are exempt from self-isolation include:

  • cross-border commuters;
  • rescue service crew transporting patients;
  • medics carrying organs for transplantation and blood;
  • funeral service employees;
  • medical staff, police forces, state employees and critical infrastructure staff with special permission;
  • diplomats and members of international organisations with special permission;
  • cabinet members with a special permission issued by the Public Health Authority. They need a negative PCR test result no older than 72 hours before returning to Slovakia.

The Public Health Authority states that there will be an exemption from quarantine for those who come to Slovakia to get married or to attend the funeral of someone close to them. This also requires proof.

One accompanying person will also have an exemption, requiring a negative antigen test no older than 48 hours or a RT-PCR test no older than 72 hours.

Mandatory quarantine will not apply to people with permanent or temporary residence in Slovakia, who cross the border to visit a foreign embassy accredited to Slovakia, located in the Czech Republic, Hungary or the Republic of Austria. This visit may not exceed 12 hours; in this case, a negative test for COVID-19 is not required.

I am a cross-border commuter. Do I need to self-isolate?

Cross-border commuters are exempt from the 14-day quarantine requirement under the following conditions.

People commuting between Slovakia and its neighbouring EU countries (except for Ukraine), i.e. the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Poland:

  • are not required to register with eHranica form
  • are required to show a negative antigen or PCR test result no older than 7 days (exception for children younger than 10 years applies)
  • cross-border workers need to show an employment contract.

Ukraine

Group of foreigners who are allowed to enter Slovakia through the outer border with Ukraine:

  • foreigners with a relationship to a Slovak citizen (spouses, minors, parents of a minor who is a Slovak citizen) do not need to be accompanied by their children or spouses, but have to show a document proving the relationship (original or copy of birth certificate, marriage certificate...). Documents not in Slovak must be accompanied by a translation - an unofficial one is enough.
  • foreigners with a valid residence permit in Slovakia;
  • foreigners with exemptions (like working in health care, social care, or students).

I come from Slovakia, but live and work in another EU country. Do I have to self-isolate when coming to Slovakia?

People living and working in EU countries, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and the UK if they have permanent or temporary residence in Slovakia:

  • have to register with the eHranice online form and choose a respective category;
  • need a confirmation of their residence/work abroad (part of the ÚVZ ordinance);
  • prior to their entrance, they need a negative PCR test result no older than 72 hours or antigen test result no older than 48 hours;
  • have to self-isolate. If they want to end isolation earlier than 8 days, they will have to pay for a PCR test. They can end quarantine as soon as they receive a negative result.

People who do not have permanent or temporary residence in Slovakia need to register with the eHranice online form and self-isolate. The isolation ends with receiving a negative PCR test result taken after 8th day or, if they come from EU countries, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and the UK and have no symptoms, after 14 days.

I have recovered from Covid. Do I have an exception?

No, you don't.

Regardless of the country they are coming from, people who have recovered from Covid, have permanent or temporary residence in Slovakia and are citizens of an EU member state, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland or the UK have to:

  • register with the eHranice online form and choose a respective category. They also need confirmation that they have recently recovered from Covid according to a general practitioner that is no older than 180 days (part of the ÚVZ ordinance);
  • prior to their entrance, they need a negative PCR no older than 72 hours or an antigen test result no older than 48 hours;
  • they will have to self-isolate. They can end isolation after 14 days if they have no symptoms or after they receive a negative test result. They do not need to wait 8 days to take the test.

People who do not have permanent or temporary residence in Slovakia and have recovered from Covid-19 need to:

  • register with the eHranice online form prior to their arrival to Slovakia, self-isolate and take a test no sooner than 8 days after their arrival.
  • If they are citizens of an EU member state, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland or the UK, they can end isolation after 14 days if they do not have any symptoms. Citizens of other countries must wait until they receive a negative test result.

I have been vaccinated with the second dose. Do I have an exception?

No, you don't.

Starting on April 19 at 6:00, new rules come into force for people who:

  • have been vaccinated against Covid-19 and in the case of the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna) more than 14 days have passed since their second dose, or in the case of the vector vaccine, AstraZeneca, more than four weeks have passed since their first dose;
  • have recovered from Covid-19 and have been vaccinated up to 180 days previously with either a vector or an mRNA vaccine and at least 14 days have passed since their first dose.

They will need to:

  • register with the eHranice online form and choose a respective category. They need confirmation they were vaccinated with the second shot. Vaccinated people should show an original of the confirmation that they received the second shot of the Covid-19 vaccine. The ÚVZ ordinance does not specify which type of vaccine is accepted or the required language of the confirmation.
  • prior to their entrance, they need a negative PCR no older than 72 hours or an antigen test result no older than 48 hours;
  • self-isolate. They can end isolation after 14 days if they have no symptoms or after they receive a negative test result. They do not need to wait 8 days to take the test.

Can I transit via Slovakia?

People transiting through Slovakia do not have to self isolate if they meet the following conditions:

  • EU citizens and their family members travelling to other EU member state if their transit (including breaks for refuelling) lasts no more than eight hours;
  • people with permanent or temporary residence in EU member states who return to their home country if their transit (including breaks for refuelling) lasts no more than eight hours;
  • non-EU citizens if they travel to the EU member state where they have permanent or temporary residence if their transit (including breaks for refuelling) lasts no more than eight hours.

How can I travel to Slovakia by bus?

The second pandemic wave has affected the bus connections between Slovakia and Austria.

Czech private carrier RegioJet stopped the buses operating between Bratislava and Vienna, citing both the pandemic and the slump in passengers on October 26. For now, the buses will not operate until November 15. The carrier offers the usual services to its passengers onboard of both trains and buses, including the purchase of refreshments and the use of toilets. Passengers are required to cover their faces. There are also disinfectants instead of soap. The ticket price includes free seat reservation.

Related articleCoronavirus cancels buses to Vienna Read more 

Another carrier, FlixBus, has confirmed a temporary stop to the buses running between Bratislava and Vienna, too. The reason is to minimise the economic impacts as there has been a drop in passengers. Passengers are required to cover their faces while travelling and disinfect their hands. Entrance is possible only through the back door; passengers are checked in through their mobile phones. The sale of refreshments is suspended and toilets are closed. Passengers are asked to purchase their tickets in advance.

Another bus services operator, the Slovak Lines company, said that it will continue operating the buses running between Bratislava and Vienna. Currently, there are eight buses dispatched every two hours. The buses to Hungary have been suspended due to the closed borders. Passengers are required to cover their faces while travelling. They are allowed to enter via the front door and buy a ticket from the driver. Passengers cannot sit in the first two rows behind drivers.

How can I travel to Slovakia by train?

Related articleRed-listed Czechia affects trains to and from Slovakia Read more 

The state-run railway passenger carrier ZSSK operates international transport to the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland and Hungary.

Slovakia’s decision to include the Czech Republic among its red-listed countries has also affected the operation of trains running between the two countries. This includes the trains running between Bratislava and Prague, and Púchov and Prague, as well as trains between Košice and Prague, Prešov, Nové Zámky, Bratislava and Prague, and Prague and Humenné.

Passengers need to cover their faces when purchasing tickets at the counters and also onboard. If they fail to do so, the conductor may ask them to leave the train.

Passengers travelling onboard InterCity trains on the Košice – Bratislava – Vienna route receive bottled water (0.5 litre), and the carrier offers daily newspapers in electronic form. Passengers in 1st class also receive hot drinks.

RegioJet restored connections between Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and also to/from Rijeka in Croatia and Ljubljana in Slovenia.

The carrier offers the usual services to its passengers onboard of both trains and buses, including the purchase of refreshments and the use of toilets. Passengers are required to cover their faces. There are also disinfectants instead of soap. The ticket price includes free seat reservation.

How can I travel to Slovakia by plane?

Related articleFlying in to Slovakia from a red country? Make sure to register online Read more 

The ban on flights to and from risky countries was lifted on September 7.

Passengers have to follow strict hygienic measures, including covering their faces with a mask or a scarf (except for children younger than 3 years of age) the whole time while at the airport and onboard the plane. They also have to disinfect their hands when entering the building, maintain a 2-metre distance at check-in and security check. After arrival, their body temperature will be measured.

The Transport Ministry launched a website where every passenger flying to Slovakia will have to fill in the form at least 24 hours before their scheduled arrival. They will have to state, among other things, which country they are flying from and where they will stay. Incomers also need to register at Korona.gov.sk/ehranica.sk and be able to show a registration confirmation to the police officer. Travellers are advised to check the conditions set by the airline companies before boarding the plane.

Private and business flights to/from the low-risk countries are allowed.

Passengers whose flights land at airports in countries on the safe list should be able to travel to Slovakia if they are allowed to enter the territory of the respective country (check the above-mentioned information concerning borders).

If your plane lands in Vienna or Budapest, you can take a bus or a train to Slovakia as several carriers have restored their services. Check out what you need to do after arriving in Slovakia from low-risk or unsafe countries.

This article was first published on June 17, 2020.

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