Residency in Slovenia
At Think Slovenia we have helped people from all around the world to coordinate real estate investments with residency applications. Think Slovenia handles the real estate side whilst working closely with specialist partner residency lawyers and accountants who are amongst Slovenia’s leading experts in this field.
The residency application process has many variations depending on your status and circumstances and whilst far simpler for EU / EEA citizens it is also possible for citizens of all countries on the basis of a number of different application routes - of which the most common are employment, self-employment, study & family reunion.
With the employment / self-employment route many applicants decide to open their own company and invest in real estate as part of the operation of that business. Think Slovenia’s key role in this is helping applicants understand what are the options for such a purchase to fit the aims of the applicant / their company and then to closely coordinate the property viewing and purchase process with the company formations and subsequent residency application.
This page is meant as a simple introduction to the topic of residency in Slovenia, but since it is a complex area and regulations can and do change regularly, we cannot guarantee the information below to be accurate at all times / for all circumstances. We recommend everyone seriously considering a residency application in Slovenia to discuss in detail with a residency expert based on their individual circumstances at that time.
Unfortunately we are not able to offer general advice on visas / entry to Slovenia and this page does not cover the field of residency for refugee status - please contact your relevant embassy or consulate for assistance on those matters.
One problem which runs through the field of Slovenian residence is the ambiguity in the usage of some of the key terms.
Take the seemingly innocent phrase "temporary residence” - does "temporary" mean part time or with an expiry date? Does “residence" mean the state of residing or the building where you reside?
Let's start with a definition of a few key terms: on this page generally the term "residence” or "residency" means the state of being a resident. Where “residence” means the "place of abode" we will state this. Similarly, unless stated otherwise the meaning of permanent on this page is "with unlimited validity period” and temporary is "with limited validity period”. Should they be intended to mean "full time" / "part time” respectively we will specify this. Thus "temporary residency" for non Slovenians usually means being allowed to be resident in Slovenia for a defined period until such time as an application for permanent residency (meaning residency with unlimited validity period) is possible to make.
Further confusion often arises as all Slovenian residents must register their place of abode with the local Administrative Unit (upravna enota) and if you have multiple places of abode you must determine which is your main one. This is often translated as your “permanent residence” or stalno prebivališče in Slovenian. You can also register a secondary address (which is quite common as many Slovenians have weekend homes) as a “temporary residence” or začasno prebivališče in Slovenia. However, as a non Slovenian with temporary residency you cannot register a permanent place of abode within Slovenia so you need to provide an address outside of Slovenia which can be confusing if applicants have been granted full time residency in Slovenia and therefore do not necessarily have a formal address in their former country of residence.
EEA citizens can stay for 3 months in Slovenia on the basis of just a valid ID card or passport. If you are staying longer you must apply for a residency registration certificate before the end of the three month period. The certificate is valid for up to 5 years and the application is made at the local Administrative Unit (upravna enota) where you are living. To make the application you need to provide one or more of the following:
Employment - proof of employment or from an employer intending to employ you
Self employment - proof of self employment
Study - proof of admission to a valid educational establishment, financial means of supporting yourself & health insurance
Other - other means (such as family ties / reunion) are also possible and require submission of appropriate documents plus proof of health insurance and the financial means of supporting yourself (an income above the level qualifying for social support).
After 5 years of continuous legal residency (meaning that you meet the definition of resident over 5 continuous years, not that you don’t leave Slovenia’s borders for 5 years) you can apply to obtain a permit of permanent (ie. unlimited validity) residency in Slovenia - meaning you are entitled to reside in Slovenia forever. This is applied for at the Administrative Unit (upravna enota) where you live and is only usually refused if you represent some kind of security or other threat to Slovenia.
Third country nationals are defined as all countries except EEA citizens (EU + Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). Third country nationals can enter Slovenia for no longer than 90 days in a period of 180 days, starting on the day of first entry on the basis of a passport / visa (if required depending on their nationality).
A visa or residency permit issued by another Schengen state allows entry to Slovenia during the visa’s validity period for a maximum of 90 days in a period of 180 days including the combined duration of stay in all Schengen States (except the state issuing the visa) and which starts on first entry into a Schengen State or until the expiry of visa validity.
Long stay visas may be applied for by certain categories of third country nationals (for example family members of EEA / Slovenian citizens claiming "family reunion”, but also sports trainers, professional sportsmen and women, journalists, priests & humanitarian workers) providing the expiry date of their travel document exceeds the intended period of stay in Slovenia by a minimum of 3 months, they have health insurance covering urgent health care services in Slovenia - travel health insurance is acceptable as a minimum and they have sufficient means of supporting themselves financially (not less than the basic minimal income).
A first temporary residency permit may be issued to the following categories of third country nationals : professional athletes / sports trainers, clergy or religious officers, humanitarian workers, journalists, people of interest to Slovenian economy / education / science / culture (supported by a statement by the relevant ministry), researchers / college / university teachers or associates, foreign students, long term EU residents & family members, victims of human trafficking / illegal employment, EU Blue card holders & family members with EU residence permit.
If you don’t fit into any of these categories then residency can also be obtained by employment (please scroll down to Third Country citizens: Residency through Employment below).
As the first temporary residence permit must be obtained before entry into the Republic of Slovenia (apart from certain exceptions stated by law), the application for it must be submitted at a Slovenian diplomatic mission / consulate outside of Slovenia, before consideration by the relevant body within Slovenia. Should all required conditions be fulfilled, the permit is issued and sent to and issued by the diplomatic mission / consulate where the application was made. Applicants will be fingerprinted at the diplomatic mission / consulate where they make their application. There are some, limited exceptions where entry to Slovenia is permitted before application for the first temporary residence permit, but these are beyond the scope of this page.
Applicants must also have a valid passport (with validity for at least 3 months longer than the intended stay in Slovenia), health insurance covering emergency health care services in Slovenia at the minimum, means of subsistence which is higher than the Slovenian basic minimal income, police clearance certificate from country of origin (issued a maximum of 3 months before application, translated into Slovenian by certified translator). Additional conditions for the first temporary residence permit will relate to the exact nature / purpose of the intended stay and proof that permitted reasons for the residency have been fulfilled. Applications can be made by a proxy on your behalf (for example by an employer).
The first temporary residency permit may be extended at an Administrative Unit (upravna enota) - under the same conditions as the first permit and with proof that the original conditions for issue were met during your stay. An application for subsequent residency permit can be submitted in the same way as an extension but on the basis of a different purpose (for example if you came as a student but wish to become employed).
Within three days of receiving a temporary residence permit, applicants must register their place of abode (also confusingly often translated as temporary residence) at the Administrative Unit where they live. This involves submitting proof that they have a right to stay at the address they are registering as their place of abode, which might take the form of Land Registry documents showing ownership of a property, a rental contract for a property or similar. The registration of place of abode is valid for a year and must be renewed within a deadline of 8 days before it expires.
In addition to the categories listed above third country nationals can obtain a residency permit in Slovenia based on employment in a Slovenian company. This is called the Single Work And Residence Permit and is required for all main forms of employment including self-employment, seasonal work and work postings and allows recipients to enter, reside and work in Slovenia.
For applicants seeking employment, the employer company will need to advertise the position within Slovenia and go through a recruitment process according to the labour market control regulations, which exist to ensure that at the Registry for Unemployment there is not a Slovenian candidate who would be more suitable for the position than the third country national candidate. Furthermore, the employer will need to prove active trading status with no ongoing liquidation or bankruptcy procedures.
For entrepreneurs, opening a company in Slovenia where they are subsequently employed and will work gives the basis for an application for a single work and residence permit. There are several variations in terms of how this can be approached:
- The simplest and quickest is to open self employment status (SP in Slovenian), but this requires either an EU passport or the applicant to have already been living in Slovenia for a year, so for most third country applicants will not be appropriate.
- If applicants already have their own company outside of Slovenia they may open a subsidiary or branch office in Slovenia. These options have relatively complex requirements for the parent company which are not explored in detail on this page, nonetheless this route often make sense for an applicant with a successful business outside of Slovenia and a good business case operating it within Slovenia under the umbrella of the parent company.
- The most common route is to open a standard limited liability company (d.o.o. in Slovenian). The company needs to prove the active operation of the company either by employment of an EU citizen for 6 months full time or by means of turnover of 10,000 EUR / month for 6 months or - if the company is not yet 6 months old - then an investment of 50,000 EUR needs to be made into the assets of the company. If choosing the latter option, both the investment and application must take place within 6 months for this route to be valid.
- EU Blue Card for highly qualified employment: the company may apply for an EU Blue Card for candidates from third countries with higher education (which must be attested by the Slovenian Ministry of Education) without making investment into company assets or proving the active operation of the company, providing that the salary for the position is a minimum of 1.5 times higher than the average Slovenian salary and that the company advertises the position within Slovenia, undertaking a recruitment process following labour market control regulations, which exist to ensure that there is not a registered unemployed Slovenian candidate who would be more suitable for the position. More info on the EU Blue Card scheme is here https://ec.europa/immigration/blue-card/essential-infomration_en
- An additional option for business owners from third countries who want to operate in Slovenia but only need to reside / work in Slovenia on a part-time basis is to make an application to be a short term representative of their company in Slovenia. This allows for the applicant to be in Slovenia for up to 90 days per year and is a relative straightforward application process.
The application for the Single Work & Residence Permit or EU Blue Card can be made by the employee or employer (or by representative of either party) and must be accompanied by documents confirming the fulfilment of the residence / employment conditions. The process of application and subsequent extension largely as described in the above section: Third Country citizens: Entry & First Temporary Residency
Various forms of company structure can be formed by attending a notary office or a VEM točka with preparations having already been made such as ID and tax numbers for the person opening the company, selection of available / allowable company name & selection of registered business activities. At the notary office an interpreter is also required for non Slovene speakers as the company formation documents are read by the notary to the applicant.
The completion of the company opening process is conditional on the opening of a company bank account, which is usually located in Slovenia (but can also in some cases be located in another EU country). Due to EU terrorism funding and money laundering regulations, Slovenian banks are conservative about opening company bank accounts for foreign owned companies, all the more so where there is not a strong indication that the company will be actively trading. The more developed the business idea / plan can be expressed with the bank opening application the more chance of success. It is not uncommon for applicants to try several banks before finding one which accepts their application to open an account
For applicants opening branch offices of an existing company outside of Slovenia a bank account in Slovenia is not required and the account of the parent company can be used.
Once an account is opened 7,500 EUR of starting capital must be transferred into the company and proof of this is then used to conclude the company opening process and the entry of the company to the Registry of Companies is the final step.
Think Slovenia can assist with arranging all aspects of the process of company opening, from obtaining ID / tax numbers to preparing for first meeting to open the company, to making bank account opening applications. Please email us for more information.
Applying for residency to join family members who reside in Slovenia is a valid route for gaining residency for both EEA and third country nationals alike. This route is often known as family reunification or family reunion.
Family members of EEA citizens or Slovenian citizens living in Slovenia can enter Slovenia based on their ID card / passport / visa (depending on their nationality) or a valid residence permit from another EEA country and stay for three months without a residence permit. The definition of family member includes the following most common forms (but also various other possible, less common definitions):
A spouse / registered partner, child up to 21 years, child of a spouse / registered / long-term partner of an EEA or Slovenian citizen up to 21 years, parent / child above 21 years who is supported under the legislation of their country by an EEA or a Slovenian citizen or their spouse / registered / long-term partner, parent of an EEA or Slovenian citizen under 21 years.
A family member from a third country can apply for a temporary residency permit for reasons of family reunion with an EEA / Slovenian citizen at their local Administrative Unit and the application must be made before their permitted stay expires. The conditions for obtaining the temporary residency permit in this case are: being a family member of an EEA citizen properly registered as residing in Slovenia or of a Slovenian citizen with their place of residence properly registered, holding a valid ID / passport, being financially capable of subsistence without recourse to social support, maintaining adequate health insurance, having entered the country lawfully, without having been found to have entered a marriage / registered partnership solely for the purpose of obtaining a residency permit and without representing a range of health, security or economic threats to Slovenia.
The validity of the family member’s temporary residency permit will be the same as that of the family member they are joining or 5 years in the event that the family member’s permit is permanent and can be extended subject to the same conditions as its original issue.
If the family member is an EEA citizen he / she can apply for permanent residency after being resident continuously, legally and properly registered for 5 years assuming they do not pose a threat to public order or Slovenia’s international relations or after 2 years if the family member they are joining already has a permanent residency permit in Slovenia.
Family members who are third-country nationals can apply for a permanent residency permit after being resident continuously, legally and properly registered for 2 years providing they fulfill the relevant conditions in the Aliens Act and the family member being joined is a Slovenian citizen or an EEA citizen with a permanent residency permit in Slovenia.
The key definitions of family members of third country nationals are: spouse, registered partner or long-term relationship partner, unmarried children and spouse’s unmarried children under 18. Other less common definitions exist or may be considered on application.
Third country family members joining EEA / EU nationals in Slovenia or Slovenian citizens please see above: Joining family in Slovenia: EU / EEA citizens
Family members from third countries can apply for a temporary residency permit for reasons of family reunion with another third country national who either holds a permanent residence permit in the Republic of Slovenia or has lived in Slovenia for at least one year on the basis of a temporary residence permit with validity for at least another year, except for holders of an EU Blue Card (or who have been granted a residency permit for research / higher education) who can start the process of family reunification immediately. Family reunification if not possible for third country nationals where residency permit has been granted on the basis of seasonal work or cross border commuting then temporary residency permit for family reunion cannot be obtained.
Third country family members must submit two fingerprints at a Slovenian consulate / diplomatic mission and prove the validity of the claimed family relationship by means of original birth / marriage certificates, in international format or accompanied by a certified Slovenian translation. Additionally the family member seeking reunification must have a passport with validity three months longer than intended stay in Slovenia, health insurance covering urgent health care services in Slovenia; funds equal or greater than the Slovenian monthly minimum income, a police clearance certificate from their country of origin accompanied by a certified Slovenian translation.
Applications for temporary residence permit for family reunion are made at a Slovenian diplomatic or consular office or at the Administrative Unit in Slovenia where the applicant lives. The temporary residence permit for family reunion will be issued to the family member / their representative at a Slovenian diplomatic or consular office abroad.
Family members who are third-country nationals joining another third country national in Slovenia can apply for a permanent residency permit after being resident continuously, legally and properly registered for 5 years providing they fulfill the relevant conditions in the Aliens Act.
After 5 years of continuous legal residency in Slovenia third party nationals may apply for a permanent residence permit at the local Administrative Unit where they live. Applications can also be made by their legal representative. Applicants must prove that conditions of their previous residency applications have been met and provide their temporary residence permit or a certificate proving that an application has been made to extend it. Whilst the application is processed applicants must remain residents of Slovenia on the basis of a temporary residence permit.
The following exceptions apply to the above:
- Where a temporary residence permit was issued on the basis of a long stay visa, the residency period under the long stay visa can be included within the 5 year period of residency required to qualify for permanent residency
- Where a temporary residency permit was granted for reasons of education / vocational training, then only half of the period of temporary residency in Slovenia is considered as counting towards the 5 year period of residency required for permanent residency.
- Where a temporary residency permit was issued for cross border daily commuting, work posting or seasonal work these periods of temporary residency in Slovenia shall not be considered as counting towards the 5 year period of residency required for permanent residency.
- EU blue card holders may apply for permanent residency after 5 years of legal residency in any EU state, where the last two years of which have been in Slovenia.
- Permanent residency may be offered to third country members before 5 years of temporary residency where their residence in Slovenia is in the national interest, if they are of Slovenian origin or in certain circumstances of lapsed permanent residency status.
- Variations exist for Long term resident status for Ex Yugoslavian nationals or people under international protection and for third party nationals with residence permits form other EU states, but these variations beyond the scope of this page.
Within three days of receiving a permanent residence permit applicants must register their permanent place of abode at the Administrative Unit where they live. This involves submitting proof that they have a right to stay at the address they are registering as their place of abode, which might take the form of Land Registry documents showing ownership of a property, a rental contract for a property or similar.
Coming soon ...
Think Slovenia can assist with the arrangement of many aspects of the residency process in Slovenia via our network of external residency partners / specialists. Our key area of expertise is identifying and coordinating real estate investments / purchases as part of residency applications via employment through their own company. Our expertise lies in helping applicants understand what are the options for such a purchase to fit the aims of the applicant / their company and then to closely coordinate the property viewing and purchase process with the company formations and subsequent residency application.