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Immigration Law in Slovenia

Updated on Thursday 19th August 2021

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After Slovenia became a member state of the European Union (EU) in 2004, the number of immigrants increased at a steady rate. The country has a strategic location, having access to the Adriatic Sea. This provides access to numerous important markets in Europe and trading routes. At the level of 2016, more than 16,000 foreigners immigrated to Slovenia, which represented an increase of 8% compared to the previous year. If you want to immigrate to Slovenia, our team of lawyers can offer legal advice. 
The legislation on immigration in Slovenia prescribes the legal ways through which foreigners are entitled to receive a work permit and even to apply for the Slovenian citizenship. It must be noted that, from a legal point of view, the access of illegal immigrants in Slovenia is forbidden and all foreigners, regardless of their situation, must apply for suitable documents when requesting the right to relocate here. For more information about how to immigrate to Slovenia, you are invited to address to our team of Slovenian lawyers.   

How to immigrate to Slovenia

Considering that foreigners have to obtain legal documents when arriving here, the most common way to relocate in Slovenia as a foreigner is to obtain the status of immigrant, which provides the right of living and working in this country. As an immigrant, a foreign national can apply for a residence permit that can be issued for a determined period of time or for an undetermined duration of stay.  
Persons interested in opening a company in Slovenia must also apply for specific immigration documents, if their nationality requires them to do so. It must be noted that when applying in order to immigrate to Slovenia for business purposes, the applicant will not automatically receive the Slovenian citizenship
Foreigners who want to work and live in Slovenia must have an agreement with an employer. Failure to provide such a legal agreement can have serious consequences, including being deported from the country. The Slovenian work permit is issued by the Republican Employment Standards Administration.
Illegal work in Slovenia is mentioned under the Prevention of Undeclared Work and Employment, as well as by the Self-employment and Work of Aliens Act and Slovenian employers can be fined if they hire illegal employees with fines ranging from EUR 3,000 – EUR 30,000.
After obtaining a work permit, the foreign employee can apply for a work visa in Slovenia. However, the validity period of the work permit cannot exceed one year. Foreign investors who want to open a company in Slovenia must observe the Slovenian legislation for foreign investments. Our team of Slovenian lawyers can give you detailed information about obtaining a residence permit in the country and how to immigrate to Slovenia. 

How can a foreigner apply for a Slovenian residence permit? 

The Slovenian residence permit allows a foreigner to stay in the country for a determined period of time. Foreigners also have to provide a reason for which they want to apply for a residence permit in Slovenia, such as employment purposes, volunteer work, education and other types of reasons. The issuance of the permit must follow the next steps: 
  • the applicant has to request the issuance of the temporary residence permit at the Slovenian consulate in his or her country of origin; 
  • if the person is in Slovenia at the moment in which he or she wants to apply for a residence permit, the procedure can be started at a local administrative unit in the country;
  • in the situation in which the person will meet the legal requirements, the relevant institution will issue the first residence permit;
  • if the request is sent through a Slovenian consulate, the local administrative bodies will send the document to the Slovenian consulate at which the request was made, which will then send it to the applicant. 

Are there different rules for EU and non-EU citizens moving to Slovenia? 

Yes, the Slovenian legislation distinguishes between the legal procedures that foreigners must follow, based on the country of residency, if they want to immigrate to Slovenia. Our team of lawyers in Slovenia can present the legislation available in this sense and can explain the different procedures that may apply when requesting a specific type of document. 
When referring to persons who are citizens of the EU, it is important to know that the entry in this country is bound only by having a valid identity document, as this country, as a member state of the EU, follows the rules for the free movement of persons residing in the European Community. Foreigners from outside the EU generally have to present a passport in order to enter this country, as the valid identity document is not sufficient for this purpose. Depending on the nationality, a visa may also be needed. 
The legislation then differentiates based on the duration of the stay. The duration of stay is divided between two basic legal situations: arrivals in the country that have a duration of maximum 90 days, and arrivals which are longer than 90 days. In the situation in which the foreigner, including a citizen of one of the EU member states, wants to live here for more than 90 days, then he or she has the legal obligation to inform the Slovenian authorities on the address at which the person will have his or her residency.
If the duration of the stay is longer than 90 days, the EU citizen can apply for a residence permit, especially in the case in the person is interested in permanent residency in Slovenia. Under the EU and Slovenian laws, the residence permit for a EU person can be granted if specific conditions are satisfied, as follows: presenting a valid identity document, providing evidence on the purpose for which the person has to live here (study, work), having a valid health insurance and having sufficient financial means. 
Foreigners from outside the EU will have to be the holders of specific visas, that are issued for certain categories of reasons. They also need to apply for a temporary residence permit; our team of lawyers in Slovenia can offer step-to-step legal advice on how to obtain this type of document. 

When can one apply for a residence permit in Slovenia?

The moment in which a foreigner can apply for a residence permit is influenced by numerous factors. In the case in which the person intends to live in this country for a period longer than 90 days for studies, work, or other reasons, the procedure can be started with the consulate of the Republic of Slovenia operating in the country where the person lives. 
However, a foreigner is also entitled to apply for this document after arriving in Slovenia. This can be done if the person is the holder of a visa issued for a long-term period. Persons who are studying in this country, those who are involved in research activities or are involved in the higher education system based on a contractual agreement can apply for the residence permit as well. 
Employees who are part of a intra-corporate transfer carried out at the level of the EU are allowed to apply for a residence permit in a period of 30 days since this they have arrived in this country, provided that the duration of the contract is longer than 90 days or will be prolonged after the arrival. Foreigners interested in working in this country can request additional legal advice on any employment procedures from our Slovenian law firm.  

How many foreigners live in Slovenia? 

Slovenia is a country that has a very small population, of only 2 million citizens. However, its migrant population accounts for a large percentage from the entire population, as shown by the latest statistics information provided by the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia. Some of the characteristics of the immigrant population are presented below:
  • at the level of 2018, 1 out of 8 residents in Slovenia is represented by an immigrant;
  • 12.1% of the population is foreign born, and this accounts for approximately 250,000 persons;
  • from all the foreign-born persons, almost 50% have the Slovenian citizenship (137,000 persons);
  • 86% of the immigrants in Slovenia are from countries that were part of the former Yugoslavia;
  • an important population, of 8,300, has German nationality, while Italy and the Russian Federation are represented by 4,100 persons and 3,000 respectively. 


What are the main categories of visas in Slovenia?

Immigration in Slovenia for foreigners outside the EU is done following a different set of rules. Thus, such foreigners have to apply for a visa that will grant them the right to stay in this country for a given period of time and for a given purpose. The country provides three basic visa categories, namely the A visa, the C visa and the D visa. The first two types of visas are known as the Schengen visas, while the latter is known as the national visa.
The A type visa is used for transit purposes, meaning that its holder must have this type of visa when arriving on the Slovenian territory (more exactly, in a Slovenian airport or another transit point from where the person will leave to a given destination). This type of visa is required only the case of certain nationalities and we invite you to request more details on this subject from our team of Slovenian lawyers
However, most of the common documents used for immigration in Slovenia are the C type visa and the D type visa. The C type visa is needed in the case of those who arrive in this country for stays with a duration of maximum 90 days, while the D type visa is necessary for those who will spend at least 90 days in this country. 
These basic visa categories are defined by the duration of stay in Slovenia. Foreigners interested in immigration in Slovenia must know that that, with regards to the reasons for which one can obtain a visa, there are multiple options, which vary from touristic purposes, to business purposes or even to medical purposes. 

Obtaining a visa for business purposes in Slovenia 

As we mentioned above, a foreign person can arrive here for the purpose of developing business relations or business activities. Depending on the nationality of the foreigner, a business visa may be required and in this case, the applicant has to prepare documents such as: the entity that will cover the costs of staying in this country during the visit for business purposes, the incorporation documents of the company the foreigner represents, the bank statements of the respective company and other relevant papers. You may find out more on other visas for business or investment purposes from our Slovenian law firm

How can one apply for a D type visa in Slovenia? 

The national visa (or the D type visa or the long stay visa) can be used as a legal option for immigration in Slovenia for those interested in long-term stays. The document can be obtained as long as the foreigner wants to live here at least 90 days and up to one year. The applicant is also entitled to renew the document upon its expiry date, and it may only be prolonged for the same period of time (one year) and for the same purpose for which the initial visa was issued. 
This document also grants the right to obtaining a residence permit, given the fact that the foreigner will live here for at least 90 days. The application for the residence permit can be done after the arrival in this country. Our team of Slovenian lawyers can offer in-depth information on how to obtain this document, but foreigners should be aware that the following documents will be required:
  • the standard application form for the issuance of the national visa;
  • a valid passport (mandatory) and a photocopy of the passport;
  • a travel medical insurance recognized at a national level, which has a value of at least EUR 30,000;
  • the evidence on the payment of the consular fee (it can be free in certain situations);
  • evidence on the fact that the applicant has sufficient financial means for living in Slovenia for the respective period of time. 
In most of the cases, the national visa is issued for family reunification purposes, but the document can be issued for other categories of reasons. Please be aware of the fact that persons who are considered third-country nationals may be exempt from applying for a national visa as long as the Slovenian authorities have signed a certain visa regime with the authorities of the countries from where the foreigners arrive. 

Obtaining Slovenian citizenship

Foreigners interested in obtaining the Slovenian citizenship have two options in this sense: through adoption or through naturalization. In the case of those applying for the Slovenian citizenship through naturalization, it is legally required that the applicants meet the residency criteria – they must have been living in Slovenia for at least ten years, out of which five must be of uninterrupted living in this country.
The person applying for citizenship in Slovenia has to respect several criteria in this sense, such as knowing the Slovenian language, have an age of minimum 18 years old, be financially independent and have a clean criminal record. Some exemptions are applicable to this naturalization rule. In the case of minor persons, they can be naturalized together with their parents. Persons who have an age above 14 years must provide their consent for the naturalization process.
Children are also entitled to obtaining the Slovenian citizenship even in the case of adoptions. This can happen as long as one of the adopting parents has the Slovenian citizenship. Also, children who will be born on the territory of Slovenia will receive the Slovenian citizenship if one of the parents is a Slovenian national.
Our law firm in Slovenia can give you detailed information on other rules of law addressed to immigration matters, as well as on specific requirements and the necessary steps if you are interested in starting a company in this country. Please contact us for further details. Our team of Slovenian lawyers can assist with tailored advice on any other legal matters related to immigration in Slovenia