What is the Schengen area?
The Schengen area is a part of the territory of Europe in which people may travel freely without any border checks at internal borders of Schengen Member States. In fact, the internal borders were abolished and border checks at Schengen external borders have been reinforced in order to safeguard the security of Member States. The common rules on border control and effective oversight on the external borders aim at preventing illegal migration, drug trafficking and other illegal activities. The Schengen Member States also apply a uniform visa policy regime.
Schengen States: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, The Netherlands, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Germany, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Swiss Confederation.
What is a visa?
A visa is a permission for entry, transit or stay in the Schengen Area or in the territory of some of the Schengen member states for the period of validity of the respective visa. A visa is issued in the form of a visa sticker by diplomatic missions or, under extraordinary circumstances, by the police authorities at the border crossing points.
Do I need a visa to enter the Schengen area?
Citizens from some non-EU countries are required to have a visa when travelling to the Schengen area. A common list of countries whose citizens must have visas when crossing the external borders and a list of countries whose citizens are exempt from that requirement are set out in the Regulation (EU) 2018/1806.
Based on bilateral agreements Member States may exempt holders of diplomatic, official, service or special passport from the visa requirement.
There are also EU law derogations from the visa requirement for the territory of all Member States:
- Third-country nationals holding a residence permit issued by a Schengen Member State;
- Holders of diplomatic (and, occasionally, service) passports who under the Visa Facilitation Agreements or specific visa waiver agreements with certain third countries are exempt from the visa requirement;
- Third-country nationals holding a ‘local border traffic permit’ when exercising their rights within the context of the local border traffic regime;
- School pupils who are nationals of third countries whose nationals are subject to visa requirements and who reside in an EU Member State and are travelling in the context of a school excursion as a member of a group of school pupils accompanied by a teacher from the school in question;
- Recognised refugees and stateless persons and other persons who do not hold the nationality of any country who reside in a Member State and are holders of a travel document issued by that Member State;
- Certain categories of family members of EU/EEA and Swiss citizens are exempt from visa requirements.
Generally, a short-stay visa issued by one of the Schengen States entitles its holder to travel throughout the Schengen States for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. If the length of stay of the foreigner exceeds 90 days, the foreigner has to apply for a residence permit or a national visa (if applicable), in accordance with the Act No. 404/2011 Coll. on Residence of Foreigners and on the Amendment and Supplementation to Certain Acts in the wording of the later regulations.
Where can I apply for a visa?
If your travel destination is one Schengen Member State, you should lodge the application at the diplomatic mission of that Member State. If your travel destination includes more than one Member State, the application should be lodged at the diplomatic mission of the Member State of the main destination. The main destination is understood to be the destination where the applicant intends to spend the longest time or where the main purpose of the intended journey is carried out. If no main destination can be determined, you should lodge your visa application at the diplomatic mission of the Member State whose external border you intend to cross first.
The Schengen visa application shall be lodged at the territorially competent Slovak diplomatic mission. If the foreigner is residing in the third country (other than the country of his nationality), s/he may submit his/her visa application at the diplomatic mission territorially competent for the country of his current residence. Any exemption from the rule shall be profoundly justified by the applicant and is subject to approval of the diplomatic mission.
Apart from the possibility to apply for a visa directly at the diplomatic mission, there is a possibility to lodge the Schengen visa application in the visa centre, as long as the Slovak Republic is cooperating with an external service provider in the country of your residence.
If the Slovak Republic has concluded a bilateral agreement on representation in the visa process with other Member State, you may be entitled to submit your visa application at the diplomatic mission or in the visa centre of the Member Stat representing the Slovak Republic in the country of your residence.
What type of visa do I need?
The type of visa you need depends on the length and purpose of your visit. The visa can be issued for one, two or multiple entries. A decision on the validity of visa, length of stay and number of entries is made by the diplomatic mission in line with the Schengen rules.
Airport transit visa (A)
You can usually stay in the international transit area at the airport without a visa, while waiting for a connecting flight. However, some nationals or categories are required to have a valid visa, even if they do not leave the international transit area. An airport transit visa authorizes the holder to transit solely through the airport's international transit area.
Uniform Schengen visa (C)
In general, the Member States issue uniform Schengen visas valid at the territory of all Member States. The uniform Schengen visa entitles its holder to enter and stay in the Schengen area for a duration of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period, which entails considering the 180-day period preceding each day of stay. The Schengen visa may be issued with maximum validity of 5 years.
In certain cases a territorial validity of a visa may be limited to the territory of the Member State which has issued the visa or to the territory of some but not all Member States. Information on the territorial validity is indicated on the visa.
National (long-stay) visa (D)
National (long-stay) visa may be issued for stays of duration of more than 90 days. A third country national may be granted a national visa, if
a) it is necessary in relation with the granting of a residence permit in the Slovak Republic;
b) the applicant is older than 15 years and is accepted for language education at a language school in the extent of not less than 25 lessons per week;
c) it is necessary in order to fulfil the obligations of the Slovak Republic following from international treaties;
d) it is in the interest of the Slovak Republic;
e) the applicant is a family member of a foreigner who was granted asylum or subsidiary protection.
The national visa entitles its holder to reside in the Slovak Republic for the duration of its validity but also in other Member States for a period not exceeding 90 days in any 180-day period. The national visa may be issued with maximum validity of 1 year.
Please note that if the length of stay of a foreigner in the Slovak Republic exceeds 90 days the foreigner shall apply for a residence permit or a national visa (if the criteria for the granting of the national visa are met).
What are conditions for the granting of a Schengen visa?
Issuance of Schengen visas is regulated mainly by the Regulation (EC) No. 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code), as well as by the bilateral visa facilitation agreements between the European Union and third countries.
In order to obtain the detailed and up-to-date information on conditions of submission of the application for a Schengen visa the competent diplomatic mission should be contacted. The general information below may not cover all visa requirements or exemptions applicable to the specific territory. The extent of supporting documents submitted with the visa application may vary, depending on the existing visa facilitation agreements, local conditions, and rules agreed on within the local Schengen cooperation of the Member States. Exemptions may apply to visa fees and deadlines for processing of the visa applications.
Schengen visas for family members of the citizens of EU/EEA and Swiss Confederation are granted under special and simplified conditions.
When should I apply for a Schengen visa?
A visa application should be submitted well in advance, but not earlier than 6 months before the start of the intended visit. The visa application should in principle be lodged at least 15 calendar days before the intended visit, taking into account the deadlines of the diplomatic mission for making a decision on the application.
The decision-making procedure may take up to 15 calendar days. In individual cases, where further scrutiny of the application is necessary, the deadline may be extended up to a maximum of 30 calendar days. Exceptionally, where additional documentation is required, the deadline may be extended up to a maximum of 45 calendar days.
In case of the nationals of the third countries, which have concluded the visa facilitation agreements with the European Union, the decision on the visa application is made within 10 calendar days.
In case of the family members of the citizens of EU/EEA and Swiss Confederation, the decision on the visa application is made as soon as possible, in an accelerated procedure, within 10 calendar days.
Visa facilitation agreements:
*Holders of biometric passports are exempt from visa obligation.
It is the applicant's responsibility to submit his application in time and to take the necessary precautions to respect the deadlines where an appointment system for submission of application is in place. When submitting visa application the applicant should also take into consideration that the diplomatic mission may need to carry out the prior consultations with central authorities of other Member States. The central authorities consulted shall reply within seven calendar days after being consulted.
Which document should I submit with a visa application?
In general, when lodging the application the applicant is required to:
1) present a completed application form
The application must be filled-in properly and signed by the applicant; in case the applicant is under 18 or a person lacking legal capacity, the application shall be signed by a parent or guardian who is required to attach a copy of the document identifying him/her as the applicant’s legal guardian.
The applicant may also fill in the application form via Electronic visa request. The completed application form is delivered to the applicant's e-mail address for the print out. Please note that submission of the application via Electronic visa request may be obligatory when lodging the application at certain diplomatic missions. Further information will be provided by the diplomatic mission.
2) present a valid travel document; the travel document shall, in general, meet the following criteria:
- its validity shall extend at least three months after the intended date of departure from the territory of the Member States or, in the case of several visits, after the last intended date of departure from the territory of the Member States.
- it shall contain at least two blank pages;
- it shall have been issued within the previous 10 years.
3) present a full-face colour photo, conform to ICAO standards,
4) allow the collection of his fingerprints, where applicable
The following applicants are exempt from the requirement to give fingerprints:
(a) children under the age of 12;
(b) persons for whom fingerprinting is physically impossible;
(c) heads of State or government and members of a national government with accompanying spouses, and the members of their official delegation when they are invited by Member States’ governments or by international organisations for an official purpose;
(d) sovereigns and other senior members of a royal family, when they are invited by Member States’ governments or by international organisations for an official purpose.
The fingerprints of the applicant are collected once in 59 months. During this period they are stored in the Visa Information System (VIS) and can be used in the future visa applications submitted by the applicant. However, there are several reason why the applicant may be required to submit her/his fingerprints even during the 59 months period.
- if there is reasonable doubt regarding the identity of the applicant,
- if at the time when the application is lodged, it cannot be immediately confirmed that the fingerprints were collected within the period of 59 months,
- if the low quality of fingerprints stored in VIS does not allow their repeated use.
6) where applicable, provide proof of possession of adequate and valid travel medical insurance
The insurance must cover any expenses, which may arise in connection with the repatriation for the medical reasons, urgent medical treatment, emergency hospital treatment or death during the stay on the territory of the Member States. Applicants for a uniform visa for multiple entries must prove that they are in possession of the adequate and valid travel medical insurance covering the period of their first intended visit.
The insurance shall be valid throughout the territory of the Member States and cover the entire period of the person’s intended stay or transit. The minimum coverage shall be EUR 30 000.
What visa fee will I pay for the visa application?
The visa fees are regulated by the Act No. 145/1995 Coll. On Visa Fees on Administrative Fees.
|Schengen visa application
|Schengen visa application of a child younger than 6 years of age
|Schengen visa application of a child of age 6 to 12 years
|Schengen visa application of a national of the third country, which has concluded a visa facilitation agreement with the European Union*
|Schengen visa application of a national of the national of Ukraine, Russian Federation or Belarus, if the visa is to be issued in an accelerated procedure
|National (long-stay) visa granted in connection with the performance of commitments of the Slovak Republic under international treaties or for the benefit of the Slovak Republic
|National (long-stay) visa granted in connection with a residence permit application to be submitted in the Slovak Republic
|National (long-stay) visa issued to the holder of the residence permit in the Slovak Republic
* If stipulated in the agreement
The fee is not affected by number of entries or length of validity of the requested visa. The fees are paid in a freely convertible currency or in a local currency of the location where the application has been lodged, using the reference exchange rate specified and announced by the European Central Bank or the Slovak National Bank on the day preceding the first calendar day of the months in which the fee is collected. Further information on the currency and acceptable forms of payment are provided by the diplomatic mission.
The fee is not refundable in case of the visa refusal.
Service fee charged by the visa centre
When lodging the application at the visa centre the applicant is required to pay not only the administrative (consular) fee but also an additional service fee charged by the visa centre for the provided services. The service fee depends on the location and is regulated by the agreement concluded between the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic and the external service provider. Further information on the service fee will be provided by the diplomatic mission.
Visa fee exemptions
No administrative fee is charged for a visa application filed by the third country national who is the family member of an EU or EEA national and exercises his/her right of free movement.
Frequently asked questions
Do I need an appointment to submit my visa application?
Diplomatic missions or visa centres may require prior appointment for submission of the visa application. Further information will be provided by the diplomatic mission.
Do I need to file my visa application in person?
You shall visit the diplomatic mission or the visa centre in person when lodging the visa application. In the case of a child, the application shall be submitted by the legal guardian. This has no impact on the obligation of the child to be present in person, if required to submit the fingerprints.
In exceptional cases, the diplomatic mission may waive the requirement of your personal appearance when submitting the visa application. Further information will be provided by the diplomatic mission.
The visa application may be also lodged by the accredited commercial intermediary. Information on commercial intermediaries accredited for the lodging of applications will be provided by the respective diplomatic mission.
Can I apply for the visa at the Slovak diplomatic mission, even if I intend to visit other Schengen countries?
The diplomatic mission of the Schengen state, which is the main destination of your visit, is competent to process your visa application.
If you are going to visit several Schengen states, the Slovak diplomatic mission is competent to process your visa application if the Slovak Republic is the main destination of your stay(s) in Schengen in terms of the lengths and purpose of stay. If no main destination can be determined, the Slovak diplomatic mission is competent to process your visa application if Slovakia is the country of your first entry into the territory of the Schengen area.
Can I apply for a Schengen visa, if I have already spent some time in the Schengen area in the last 180 days?
The Schengen visa authorises you to enter the Schengen area and stay in the Schengen member states for up to 90 days in any 180-day period, which entails considering the 180-day period preceding each day of stay.
If you have visited the Schengen area in the last 180 days and want to learn, for how long can you stay during your next visit, or find out whether you have not, by chance, overstayed during the last visit(s) the short stay calculator will help you do the calculations. Just enter the entry and exit date of your visits to the Schengen area, in chronological order and the calculator will then show to you the remaining number of days that you can stay in the Schengen area.
Do I get the admissibility stamp in my passport when applying for the Schengen visa?
Until the day when the Visa Information System (VIS) has become fully operational in all regions the diplomatic missions placed a stamp in the travel documents of visa applicants indicating that the visa application was admissible. This stamp had no legal implications and was covered by a visa sticker if the visa was granted. Diplomatic and service passports were not stamped. Nowadays, diplomatic missions do not place admissibility stamps in the passports anymore.
Is my Schengen visa application subject to the prior consultations of Member States?
Under Article 22 of the Visa Code, a Member State may require the central authorities of other Member States to consult its central authorities during the examination of visa applications lodged by nationals of specific third countries or specific categories of such nationals. Such consultation does not apply to applications for airport transit visas.
List of the third countries whose nationals or specific categories of such third country nationals are subject to prior consultations
(pdf; 122.36 KB)
What happens if my visa application has been refused?
The decision on and the motivation of the refusal of a Schengen visa are notified to the visa applicant in writing by means of a standard form, containing also the information on the possible remedies.
May I file an appeal if my application has been refused?
You may appeal against the decision to refuse, annul or revoke a visa. The rules on appeal against the decision on refusal, annulment or revocation of a visa are set out in the Act No. 404/2011 Coll. on Residence of Foreigners and Amendment and Supplementation to Certain Acts.
The person concerned may appeal against the decision on the refusal/annulment/revocation of the visa at the diplomatic mission, which has issued the decision.
The appeal must contain information about the appellant; specify what is the incorrectness in the decision and its discrepancy with legal regulations. The appeal must be submitted in the Slovak language; otherwise, official translation must be attached.
The appeal must be lodged within 15 days of receipt of the decision. In the case of a family member of the citizen of EU/EEA or the Swiss Confederation within 30 days of receipt of the decision.
When lodging an appeal the appellant is required to pay an administrative fee of EUR 80 (in respective currency) at the Embassy/Consulate General of the Slovak Republic in accordance with the item 240 e) of the Administrative Fee List of the Act No. 145/1995 Coll. on Administrative Fees in the wording of its later amendments. If the fee has not been paid, the diplomatic mission shall suspend the appellate procedure under § 9 of the Act No. 145/1995 Coll. If the appeal has been allowed the diplomatic mission shall reimburse the fee.
A general regulation on administrative procedure does not apply to the proceeding on the appeal against the decision issued by the diplomatic mission. This shall not apply, if it concerns a family member of a citizen of EU/EEA or the Swiss Confederation. The decision of the diplomatic mission is reviewable by court.
Is my Schengen visa valid only in Slovakia?
Territorial validity of the Schengen visa is specified on a visa sticker in the “Platné pre/Valid for” line. The visa may be valid for all Schengen Member States. In that case, “Valid for: Schengen States” is specified on the visa sticker entitling its holder to move freely within the entire Schengen area for the period of the visa validity and duration of stay.
In the case of a visa with limited territorial validity, the following examples may be indicated on the visa sticker: “Valid for: SK” (i.e., the visa is valid only for the Slovak Republic), or “Schengen States – PL” (i.e., the visa is valid for all Schengen countries except Poland).
Can I use my visa for repeated travels from/to the Schengen area?
A short-stay Schengen visa can be issued for one or several entries. If you have been granted a single entry visa and you leave the Schengen area, you cannot use the same visa for the re-entry. A multiple entry visa entitles you to repeatedly enter and leave the Schengen area during the period of its validity and permitted duration of stay.
Can I use a Schengen visa issued by a Slovak diplomatic mission to enter Slovakia via an airport outside the Slovak territory?
Yes. A valid Schengen visa entitles you to enter the Schengen area via any Schengen border crossing or airport.
I have a valid Schengen visa in my passport. Can I be denied entry to Slovakia?
Your Schengen visa allows you to travel to Slovakia and usually to other Schengen States. But it does not automatically entitle you to enter the Schengen area. When arriving at the border checkpoint you may be asked to justify the purpose and conditions of your intended stay, and to provide documents confirming they you have sufficient means of subsistence, both for the duration of the intended stay and for the return to your country of origin or transit to a third country into which you are certain to be admitted, or that you are in a position to acquire such means lawfully.
In some cases the border checks may lead to denial of your entry into the Slovak Republic or the Schengen area.
You should never overstay your visa validity. Misuse of visa and overstay may result in your being expelled and banned from entry into the Slovak Republic or Schengen area for a certain period of time.
Is it possible to extend my visa in Slovakia?
It is possible, in exceptional cases, to extend a short-stay visa up to 90 days within period of any 180 days. The validity of the visa can be extended by the respective police department if a foreign national cannot leave the Slovak Republic due to natural disaster, humanitarian grounds or serious personal reasons.
What do I have to do upon my arrival in Slovakia?
Third country nationals who have been granted a short-stay or long-stay visa, or who are exempt from the visa requirement upon entry, are obliged to inform, within three days of their arrival, a competent police department of the commencement, place and anticipated length of their stay. The nationals of EU/EEA or Swiss Confederation and their family members or foreign nationals with a preferential status are required to do so within ten working days of their arrival.
If you are staying in a hotel or other accommodation facility, the aforementioned obligation is performed by the accommodation provider.
Personal data of the applicant in the Schengen Information System
Pursuant to § 69c of the Act No. 171/1993 Coll. on Police a person concerned has the right to request in writing the information on personal data relating to him/her processed in the Schengen Information System.
The request shall be sent to:
Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic
Presidium of the Police Force
Bureau of International Police Cooperation
National Bureau of SIRENE
812 72 Bratislava