How to apply for asylum in Slovakia?

Slovakia is one of the main countries that has suddenly increased asylum applications in 2022, which is attributed to the movement of more than 10,000 Ukrainians due to the conflicts in their country with Russia. For its part, in 2021 the requests were quite low, around 400 per year, from foreigners from Morocco, Afghanistan and Algeria. Still the average acceptance rate is 21%, as the nation’s economic sector is not the strongest in Europe.

The aid to 12,000 Ukrainians in Slovakia has marked a significant history in the country, positioning itself as the largest demonstration of solidarity since the nation became independent. Some of the benefits of protection are: clothing, food, transportation and security, without any cost. Keep reading and discover the steps to become a refugee in the Slovak Republic.

First considerations for applying for aid in Slovakia

As we have already mentioned, currently, the State of Slovakia has focused its resources on supporting foreigners displaced by the war in Ukraine. For this reason, it works hard together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide protection and speed up response times. For more information on assistance centers with ACNUR consult here.

Now, in general, keep in mind that, to apply for international protection in this country, you only need to be located at a point of entry or within the territory with some identification document such as identity card, driver’s license, birth certificate, and so on. That is, it is not mandatory to come with a passport or visa.

Asylum application in Slovakia

Another crucial point to consider is that those who enter the Slovak Republic with a passport have the right to stay and move within the nation and the European Union freely for 90 days as tourists. However, since there is no asylum application, then the benefits of work and public care do not apply.

Exclusive temporary protection for Ukrainians

The government has temporarily relaxed international protection for Ukrainians fleeing the war, which implies the immediate approval of legal status and the streamlining of associated administrative processes. However, it is a valid permit until March 4, 2024, the extension of which will depend on the situation at that time.

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It should be noted that said protection and acceleration of the resolution of the case only applies to citizens of Ukrainian nationality and foreigners with permanent residence. It is also valid for its refugees, with an asylum approval date before February 24, 2022.

The temporary permit includes the following benefits:

  • Medical care, food, hygiene, education, accommodation and access to the labor market in Slovakia.
  • Financial support in cash, this is through government and international organizations.
  • Public transport.
  • Mobile, Slovak phone operators provide SIM cards to make calls and enable Internet connection. All for free at the various registration centers.

As a last point, it is essential to note that temporary protection for Ukrainians in Slovakia is governed by the Dublin Convention. Which means that it is proportionate as long as it is the first EU country in which you have set foot on land. Otherwise, it will be that European nation that will process the aid.

Procedure for making an asylum request in Slovakia

Only people who have specific reasons to fear persecution in their country of origin are entitled to apply for asylum in Slovakia. The reasons are very clear, which are related to discrimination and violence based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or belonging to a certain social group.

By complying with this, you can request asylum right when you find yourself at a border, a transit zone within the airport or at a police agency authorized for immigration procedures. For more information consult UNHCR, by clicking here.

Step 1. Record

Once you announce your desire to apply for asylum, officials will instruct you to complete and sign the official record called the “Foreigner’s Declaration.” This is a form to clearly describe the reasons why you require international protection. The same can be assisted by an interpreter of your native language so that you answer correctly.

Simultaneously, you must provide any identification document and evidence that supports what is described in the form. Later, the official will proceed to take fingerprints and photographs, to verify who you are before the Migration Office described to the Ministry of the Interior.

Procedure for making an asylum request in Slovakia

If you are under 18 years of age and enter Slovakia without your parents or any other family member, a guardian will be assigned to you. This person should help you decide which are the best options for you and accompany you at every moment of the process.

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Step 2. Assignment to a reception center

At the end of the registration, you will be assigned a reception center within a maximum period of 24 hours, where you can stay during the process period. There is also the place where you will receive medical assistance, food and any notification of the request such as the appointment for the interview.

In this space there are internal rules aimed at guaranteeing harmony on the premises, which will be explained to you from the first day of admission. Keep in mind that good behavior here is key for the migration authorities.

Step 3. Interview

This day you will meet in person with members of the Migration Office and you will have to complete the form called “Questionnaire for asylum seekers”. If you have any problems with the Slovak language, you can seek support with an interpreter.

Then, the time begins to make the respective statements to the case, that is, explain why you require international protection. Any information you provide will be treated in strict confidence, so don’t be afraid to clearly state the facts that support your asylum claim.

Step 4. Application Decision

Each of the applications for international protection in Slovakia is evaluated in its entirety, in order to issue a final decision within approximately six months. Although there is the possibility of an extension depending on the complexity of the case, which is notified in writing to the petitioner at the reception center.

  • Acceptance of the request. In this case, you must go to the Migration Office to sign the integration contract, which gives access to the multiple benefits provided by the Slovak Humanitarian Council. It is the essential requirement to find accommodation, employment, enjoy public health and be part of the educational system even to learn the official language.
  • Application denial. Here the officials have decided that the elements and declaration presented are not sufficient to establish subsidiary protection or refugee status. However, you can appeal under the so-called “administrative action”, according to the steps established in the rejection resolution.

Rights and duties of applicants

Although Ukrainians currently have the advantage of acquiring temporary protection in a short time, there are also very beneficial rights for regular applicants. But, in addition, a set of obligations, in summary, are:

Remain in Slovakia until the case is resolved.Respect both the laws and the authorities of the country.
Be assigned to a reception center with food, basic services and advice on the case.Immediately deliver the information requested by the authorities.
Native language interpreter at each interview or visit to the Migration Office.Do not leave the country while the case is resolved.
Receive a pension, in case you do not have resources to cover clothing, transportation, etc.Announce change of residence and contact information.
Receive accurate information and you will see the progress of the case, as well as news related to the extension of the evaluation of the evidence.

Indeed, although Slovakia has been an excellent escape route for Ukrainians and their permanent residents, there is no doubt that it remains a great nation to seek asylum on a regular basis. And it is that it is a safe environment that provides the tranquility that those who are persecuted in their country of origin seek.

Maya Martinez

Legal advisor for immigration processes. In addition to providing support in the legal procedures, I offer integral and informative support in relation to the obligations that are acquired when arriving to a new country.

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