Emigrate to Slovakia

⇒ Culture

⇒ Climate

⇒ Language

⇒ School system of Ireland

⇒ Health care system

⇒ Vaccinations and medical certificates

⇒ Tax system

⇒ Economy

⇒ Prices by index

⇒ Real estate

⇒ Company foundation

⇒ Visa

⇒ Safety

⇒ Safety

⇒ German agencies

⇔ BACK TO OVERVIEW⇔

A look at culture in Slovakia

When you think about emigrating to Slovakia, a door opens to a rich and diverse culture to discover and experience. Known for its stunning scenery and historic cities, the country also offers deep roots in traditions, art and culinary delights. Here is an insight into the fascinating culture that awaits you in Slovakia:

Tradition and customs: Slovakia is proud of its long-standing tradition and folklore. Numerous festivals, celebrations and folk festivals take place throughout the year, offering a glimpse into the country’s vibrant history. Customs such as Easter egg painting, the harvest festival and St. Martin’s carol singing are just a few examples of how Slovaks cultivate and pass on their cultural values.

Architecture and history: Slovak cities are like a mirror of history, reflecting different eras. Historic castles, fortresses and town centres tell of the country’s rich past. Particularly noteworthy is the UNESCO-protected town of Banská Štiavnica, which offers a journey back in time with its Baroque architecture and impressive Calvary.

Culinary delights: Slovak cuisine is hearty and varied. Try dishes like “Bryndzové halušky” (potato dumplings with sheep’s cheese), “Kapustnica” (sauerkraut soup) or “Parené buchty” (steamed dumplings). The regional differences in the dishes reflect the diversity of the Slovak landscape.

Art and music: Slovakia has a rich artistic tradition, ranging from folk art to contemporary art. Bratislava, the country’s capital, is home to numerous galleries, museums and theatres offering a wide range of cultural experiences. Traditional folk music, especially “cimbalom” music, is an important part of Slovak culture.

Hospitality and community: Slovaks are known for their warm hospitality and strong sense of community. New residents are often welcomed with open arms and have the opportunity to integrate quickly into the local community.

So living in Slovakia means not only a new geographical environment, but also a rich cultural experience. The appreciation for traditions, art and community creates a welcoming atmosphere for immigrants. At the same time, it is important to familiarise yourself with the culture and be open to new experiences in order to explore the full potential of this wonderful country.

Die Slowakei ist reich an Kultur und Tradition

Climate

The climate in Slovakia is temperate continental, with regional variations due to the geographical location and topographical diversity of the country. In general, however, four seasons can be distinguished: Spring, summer, autumn and winter. Here is an overview of the climate in the different seasons:

Spring (March – May): Spring in Slovakia is usually mild and pleasant. Temperatures slowly rise as nature comes to life. However, March and April can still be quite cool, with occasional rainfall. In May, the vegetation begins to blossom and the temperatures gradually rise to more pleasant levels.

Summer (June – August): Summer brings warm to hot temperatures. Average temperatures in most regions are between 20°C and 30°C. The summer months are ideal for outdoor activities as the days are long and sunny. However, rain showers are also possible, especially in the mountainous areas. This is the high season for tourism and travel.

Autumn (September – November): Autumn in Slovakia is characterised by mild temperatures and often clear weather. The colourfulness of the falling leaves makes this time of year particularly picturesque. Temperatures gradually start to drop in September and it gets cooler in November. This is also a good time to go hiking and enjoy the natural beauty of the country.

Winter (December – February): Winter in Slovakia can be cold, especially in the mountainous regions. Temperatures are often below freezing and snow is common in the highlands and mountains. Slovakia is known for its winter sports opportunities and the ski season usually runs from December to March. Winters are milder in the lower-lying areas, but snow and frost can still occur.

Languages and dialects

The official language of Slovakia is Slovak. It is the language used in the education system, in government, in the media and in public life. Slovak belongs to the West Slavic language group and is closely related to Czech. Slovaks speak Slovak as their mother tongue.

However, besides Slovak, there are also minority languages spoken in Slovakia, due to the country’s ethnic diversity and history. Some of these minority languages are:

  1. Hungarian: Hungarian is spoken in some regions of Slovakia, especially in the south near the border with Hungary. The Hungarian minority is a significant ethnic group in the country and Hungarian is recognised in schools and administration in the areas concerned.
  2. Ruthenian: This Slavic language is spoken by the Russian minority in some eastern regions of Slovakia. It has similarities with Ukrainian.
  3. Ukrainian: Especially in the eastern border region with Ukraine, Ukrainian is spoken by the Ukrainian minority.
  4. Czech: Due to the close relationship with Slovak, many Slovaks can also understand Czech, and some speakers use it in everyday life.

It is important to note that Slovak is the main language of communication and most information, educational content and services are available in Slovak. Nevertheless, knowledge of minority languages can be an advantage depending on the region, especially if you want to live or work in areas with a significant ethnic minority.

School system in Slovakia

There are several school systems in Slovakia, covering different levels of education and educational goals. Here are the main types of school systems in Slovakia:

  1. Primary school (Základná škola): Primary school in Slovakia lasts nine years and is compulsory for children aged 6 to 15. It is divided into two stages: the first stage lasts four years and the second stage lasts five years. The curriculum covers various subjects, including languages, mathematics, science, art, music and sport.
  2. Gymnasium (grammar school): The Gymnasium is a secondary school that is attended after primary school. It usually lasts four years and prepares students for higher education. The grammar school emphasises a broad educational base and academic subjects such as literature, mathematics, science, foreign languages and social sciences.
  3. Vocational schools (Stredná odborná škola, SOŠ): Vocational schools provide vocational training and preparation for specific occupations or career paths. These schools offer practical skills and knowledge in areas such as crafts, technology, business, healthcare and tourism. The training usually lasts four years.
  4. Vocational grammar school (Stredná odborná škola s maturitou, SOŠ s maturitou): These are vocational high schools that offer both academic education and vocational training. Students can take the Matura (high school diploma) and learn practical skills at the same time.
  5. Specialised secondary school (Stredná odborná škola, SOU): These schools offer specialised vocational training in areas such as technology, business, arts and crafts. The training usually takes two to four years.
  6. Colleges and universities: Slovakia also has a large number of colleges and universities offering higher education degrees in various academic disciplines.

The education system may also differ depending on the region, e.g. larger cities. Once you have decided on a region, check with the relevant education authorities.

Homeschooling and online school

Homeschooling and online schooling are generally allowed in Slovakia, but they are subject to certain regulations and approval procedures. Here is some important information about it:

Homeschooling (Domáce vzdelávanie): Homeschooling is allowed in Slovakia, but it is subject to strict regulations and approval procedures. Parents who wish to educate their children at home must obtain formal permission from the relevant authorities. Permission is usually issued by the Ministry of Education after certain criteria have been met.

Some of the requirements for homeschooling permission in Slovakia may be:

  • A written justification for the decision to home educate the child.
  • An educational plan that outlines the child’s curriculum and learning objectives.
  • An agreement that ensures that the teaching meets the requirements of the regular school system.

Online schooling: Online schooling or distance learning is also possible in Slovakia. There are some schools that offer online classes, either as a supplement to traditional classes or as the main form of learning. However, these schools must also comply with the state education regulations and be able to ensure the quality of the education offered.

It is important to note that homeschooling and online schooling in Slovakia must be carefully checked and approved. Compliance with education regulations and standards is crucial to ensure that children’s education is adequate.

If you are considering homeschooling or online schooling, you should also contact the relevant authorities or educational institutions for this type of schooling.

Healthcare system

The health care system in Slovakia is largely state-funded and provides comprehensive medical care for all residents, regardless of citizenship. As an immigrant in Slovakia, you are also entitled to medical care, but there are some important aspects you should be aware of.

Health insurance: Health insurance is compulsory in Slovakia. Most residents are registered in the state health insurance scheme and pay social security contributions that cover the costs of medical care. This also applies to immigrants living and working in Slovakia.

Differences between natives and immigrants: In principle, both natives and immigrants are entitled to medical care in Slovakia’s public health system. However, there are some important points to consider:

  1. Social security: Locals pay social security contributions that cover medical care. Immigrants who live and work legally in Slovakia should also register with the Slovak social security system and pay contributions.
  2. EU citizens: EU citizens living or working in Slovakia are normally entitled to healthcare through their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This card allows access to medical care under the same conditions as locals.
  3. Non-EU citizens: Non-EU citizens living and working in Slovakia must register in the Slovak social security system. The exact conditions may vary depending on the residence status.
  4. Health care and quality: The Slovak health care system offers a wide range of medical services, from general medical care to specialised medical fields. The quality of medical care can vary depending on the region and the medical facility. Larger cities usually have better medical infrastructures and specialists.
  5. Additional health insurance: Some residents and immigrants in Slovakia choose to take out private health insurance in order to receive additional benefits and faster access to medical services.

Slovakia has a functioning health care system that provides medical care for all residents, including immigrants.

Slowakei hat viel Natur

Vaccinations and medical certificates

If you want to immigrate to Slovakia, there are certain vaccinations and medical certificates that may be required depending on your nationality, residency status and health condition. Here is some information about it:

EU and EEA citizens: If you are a citizen of an EU country or an EEA (European Economic Area) country, you do not normally need any specific vaccinations or medical certificates to enter Slovakia. However, the Slovak authorities might ask for medical documents in case of longer stays or certain circumstances (e.g. work or study).

Non-EU citizens: Non-EU citizens wishing to immigrate to Slovakia might need specific health certificates or vaccinations. The requirements may vary depending on your purpose of stay and your country of origin. Some possible requirements could be:

  1. Tuberculosis examination: In some cases, an examination for tuberculosis might be necessary.
  2. Vaccinations: It might be necessary to prove vaccinations against certain diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, tetanus or others. The requirements are based on international standards and the recommendations of the Slovak health authorities.
  3. Health certificate: A health certificate or medical certificate might be required in some cases to ensure that you do not have any contagious diseases.

It is important to stress that requirements and regulations can change and depend on factors such as your nationality, residency status and health condition. It is strongly recommended that you check with the Slovak embassies or consulates or the relevant immigration authorities about the exact health requirements for your specific case before entering Slovakia.

Tax system

The tax system in Slovakia is relatively transparent and offers a range of taxes applied to both individual income and corporate profits. Here are the most important aspects of the tax system in Slovakia:

Income tax for individuals: Income tax for individuals in Slovakia is calculated progressively, with higher incomes paying higher tax rates. Tax rates can change, but typically include brackets of 19% for lower incomes and up to 25% for higher incomes.

Social security contributions: In addition to income tax, employees and employers also pay social security contributions. These levies finance social security benefits such as health care, pensions and unemployment benefits.

Corporate taxes: Companies in Slovakia pay corporate income tax on their profits. The standard corporate income tax rate is generally 21%. However, there are certain tax incentives and reduced rates for certain types of businesses or investments.

Value Added Tax (VAT): Value added tax (VAT) is levied on the sale of goods and services in Slovakia. The regular VAT rate is usually 20 %. However, there are also reduced rates of 10% for certain goods and services, such as food or books.

Real estate tax: Real estate tax is levied on the ownership of real estate in Slovakia. The amount of tax can vary depending on the type and value of the property.

Other taxes: There are also other taxes such as inheritance and gift taxes, capital gains taxes and local taxes that may apply depending on the circumstances and value of the transactions.

Slovakia has implemented several tax reforms in recent years to improve the business environment and encourage investment.

Economy

Slovakia’s economy is a diverse mix of sectors that contribute to the country’s prosperity. Here are the main sectors that make up Slovakia’s economy:

1. industry: Industry plays a significant role in the Slovak economy. The automotive industry in particular has become an important driver of economic growth. Several renowned car manufacturers have set up production facilities in Slovakia, which helps to create jobs and boost exports. In addition to the automotive industry, there are also other sectors such as electronics, mechanical engineering and metal processing.

2. service sector: The service sector is another important component of the Slovak economy. These include banking, insurance, trade, tourism, transport and communication. The capital Bratislava is an important financial and business centre and attracts international companies and investments.

3. agriculture: Although the importance of agriculture in the economy of Slovakia as a whole has decreased, it still plays a role in food production and supplying the domestic market. The main crops are cereals, vegetables, fruit and wine.

4. information and technology sector: The Slovak government has made efforts to promote the development of the information and technology sector. There are a growing number of IT companies and start-ups offering innovative solutions in areas such as software development, telecommunications and e-commerce.

5. energy and mining: Slovakia has limited energy resources of its own and is therefore dependent on imports. Nevertheless, the energy sector, including energy production and distribution, has some importance. Mining, especially in raw materials such as limestone and clay, is also present.

Economic forecasts

Slovakia’s economic development again shows a slower pace of growth. Factors such as declining consumption and weakened demand from abroad influence the year 2023. Nevertheless, the EU funding is expected to give a boost to investments. Meanwhile, pro-European parties face challenges during the election campaign.

In terms of economic development, growth is dampened by inflation and industrial weakness. Consumption, which previously acted as a growth engine, will lose momentum in 2023. This is due to rising prices and a decline in real incomes. The reduction of inventories also has a negative impact. However, increased investment and a higher trade surplus could boost the recovery.

Forecasts for economic growth in 2023 are in the range of 1.2 to 1.7 per cent in real terms. For the following year 2024, estimates vary more widely, with ranges from 1.3 to 3.3 percent. Since mid-2022, there has been a noticeable deterioration in sentiment compared to the long-term average. By June 2023, pessimism had increased in all sectors of the economy.

Industrial production does not run smoothly. It already recorded a decline in the previous year, which was adjusted by a further 2.8 per cent from January to May 2023. Most sectors were able to produce less, including the wood and paper industry, chemical production, plastics processing, electrical engineering as well as mechanical engineering, which are already declining for the second year.
Although capacity utilisation rose to 84 per cent in the second quarter, this is largely thanks to the automotive industry. Thanks to better functioning supply chains, they can process orders, land additional orders and switch to new models. In the first five months of 2023, the clothing and pharmaceutical industries as well as manufacturers of metal products recorded an increased order situation compared to the previous year.

In general, the profit situation of non-financial enterprises with at least 20 employees continued to improve in 2022, according to preliminary data from the Slovak Statistical Office. Operating profit before tax was on average 18 per cent higher than in 2021 and 54 per cent higher than in 2019. In some sectors, however, such as the automotive industry, mechanical engineering, mining and the energy sector, it was in part significantly below the level of these years.

Prices by index

The price level in Slovakia is generally lower than in Germany. This means that many products and services tend to be cheaper in Slovakia than in Germany. However, price differences can vary depending on the product category and region. Here are some examples of the price level in Slovakia compared to Germany:

Food and everyday expenses: Food, restaurant visits and everyday expenses are generally cheaper in Slovakia than in Germany. Fresh produce such as fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy products can be much more affordable.

Housing costs: Rental and property prices in Slovakia are generally lower than in Germany, especially in smaller towns and rural areas. However, housing costs can be higher in larger cities like Bratislava.

Transport and fuel: The cost of public transport, petrol and diesel is generally lower in Slovakia compared to Germany.

Clothing and consumer goods: Clothing, electronics and other consumer goods can also be cheaper in Slovakia, especially if they are local products.

Services: Services such as hairdressing, cosmetic treatments and handicraft services can often be cheaper in Slovakia.

However, it is important to note that these price differences do not apply to all products and services and may vary according to personal preferences. For international brand products or special imported goods, prices can be closer to German prices.

For an up-to-date price comparison, please refer to the Cost of Living website.

Ein Auszug aus der Tierwelt in der Slowakei

Real Estate

The price level for real estate in Slovakia varies depending on the region and type of property. In general, property prices in Slovakia are lower compared to many Western European countries. Here is some information on the price level for real estate in Slovakia compared to other European countries:

Residential property: Prices for residential property, including flats and houses, can be lower on average in Slovakia than in Western European countries such as Germany, France or the UK. Especially in smaller towns and rural areas, property prices can be much more affordable. However, prices can be higher in larger cities such as Bratislava or Kosice.

Rental prices: Rental prices for flats in Slovakia are generally lower than in many Western European cities. Especially in the smaller towns and rural areas, rental costs are comparatively cheap. Rents can be higher in larger cities, but still often more affordable compared to cities in Western Europe.

Commercial real estate: Prices for commercial real estate such as office space or retail space also tend to be lower in Slovakia than in many Western European countries. This can make Slovakia an attractive destination for companies looking for low-cost business premises.

Property prices can vary greatly depending on location, size, condition and demand. Get advice from an expert. We are happy to help you with your property search.

We are happy to help you find a flat or a house. Click here for our real estate listings.

Business start-ups and forms in Slovakia

Slovakia, an emerging country in Central Europe, offers both locals and immigrants an attractive environment for business start-ups. With a stable economy, favourable operating costs and growing market demand, the country is increasingly attracting entrepreneurs from all over the world. In this article we take a look at business start-ups and forms in Slovakia, especially with regard to immigrants.

Starting a business in Slovakia: General steps

Starting a business in Slovakia requires some basic steps, whether you are a local or an immigrant:

  1. Business idea and planning: Start with a clear business idea and a solid business plan that includes your goals, target groups, finances and strategies.
  2. Company name and legal form: Choose a suitable company name and legal form for your company. In Slovakia, options include sole proprietorship, limited liability company (s.r.o.) and joint stock company (a.s.).
  3. Registration: Register your business with the commercial register and other relevant authorities to establish the legal existence of your business.
  4. Taxes and licences: Apply for the necessary tax numbers and licences according to Slovak laws and regulations.
  5. Accounts and finances: Set up business accounts and organise your finances.
  6. Employees and labour law: Observe labour laws and regulations if you want to hire employees.

Differences for immigrants:

Immigrants who want to start a business in Slovakia have similar opportunities as locals. Slovak law allows foreign nationals to establish and operate a company. However, there are some points to consider:

  1. Residence status: Immigrants must have a valid residence status to start a business in Slovakia. This may vary depending on nationality and purpose of stay.
  2. Language and documents: Some documents and forms could be in Slovak. It is advisable to use professional translation and advisory services to facilitate the process.
  3. Investment incentives: Immigrants could benefit from certain investment incentives and support programmes offered by the Slovak government.

Business forms and taxes:

The most common forms of business in Slovakia are the limited liability company (s.r.o.) and the joint-stock company (a.s.). Each form has its own tax and legal implications. The Slovak tax structure is comparatively favourable, which benefits both locals and immigrants.

Visa

For EU citizens: EU citizens have the right to free movement within the European Union, including Slovakia. This means that EU citizens can enter and stay in Slovakia to work, study or live without a visa. A visa is not required for EU citizens. However, they must register their stay within 90 days of entry if they wish to stay longer in Slovakia.

For non-EU citizens: Non-EU citizens usually need a visa or residence permit to enter and stay in Slovakia. The type of visa required depends on the purpose of stay, e.g. work, study, family reunion or tourism. There are different types of visas, such as the Schengen visa for short-term stays or the national visa for longer-term stays.

Non-EU citizens who intend to work in Slovakia must normally apply for a work permit. This usually requires an employment contract with a company registered in Slovakia and the fulfilment of certain criteria.

For detailed and up-to-date information on visa and residence requirements in Slovakia, especially for non-EU citizens, it is advisable to consult the official website of the Slovak embassy or consulate in your home country. Regulations can change and it is important to take the right steps to ensure a smooth entry and residence process.

Security in the country

The security situation in Slovakia is generally stable and safe, but it is important to keep some aspects in mind:

Crime: The crime rate in Slovakia is low compared to many Western countries. Most visitors and residents do not experience any major security problems. However, as in any country, there are minor crimes such as pickpocketing or theft, especially in busy tourist areas or public transport. It is recommended that you take basic safety precautions, such as keeping valuables safe and looking out for your personal safety.

Demonstrations and riots: Slovakia is a democratic country where the right to peaceful assembly and demonstration is protected. However, there may be occasional protests and demonstrations, often related to political or social issues. These events are usually peaceful. Nevertheless, it is advisable to keep up to date with current news and events in order to avoid or safely participate in possible demonstrations.

Tourist areas and safety: Most tourist areas in Slovakia are safe to visit. Mountain hikes, national parks and historic cities are popular destinations, and tourists usually enjoy a high level of safety there. Nevertheless, it is advisable to be aware of the specific safety guidelines and recommendations for certain regions and activities, especially if you are going off the beaten track.

As everywhere, it is important to use common sense and follow local customs to ensure your personal safety. It is recommended to consult travel advice from governments or international organisations to check the current security situation in Slovakia before planning your trip.

German representations in Slovakia

Address:

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany Bratislava
Hviezdoslavovo námestie 10
813 03 Bratislava
Phone: +421 2 5920 4400
Website: www.pressburg.diplo.de

Address:

Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Žilina
Priemyselná 14
012 32 Žilina
E-Mail: zilina@hk-diplo.de
Phone: +421-41 50 60 115

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