Bordered by Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, the Republic of Slovenia is situated in south central Europe. The country covers about 20,270 sq km (7,826 sq miles) which is largely covered by mountains and forest. Slovenia has a small population of just over two million, more than 80% of which are Slovenes.
In 1918 Slovenia merged with Serbia to become what was known as Yugoslavia and this union lasted until World War II when Slovenia was occupied by Italy, Germany and Hungary. Following the end of the war, Slovenia once again became a part of Yugoslavia and the Eastern Bloc. This remained the situation until 1991 when Slovenia split from Yugoslavia to become an independent state.
Considered a developed country with relatively high-incomes, Slovenia is a member of NATO and the United Nations. Following a majority victory in a 2003 referendum. Slovenia became a full member of the European Union a year later and followed this in 2007 when the country also signed up to the Schengen Agreement.
As a member of both the European Union and Schengen Zone, Slovenia enforces the rules and regulations of both these bodies with regard to visiting non-nationals. Entering, or transiting through, Slovenia poses no problem for holders of EU or Schengen country passports and the same is true for citizens of those countries that have a reciprocal visa-exemption policy with the country. These countries include the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, many South American countries and the United Kingdom, despite the UK’s recent withdrawal from EU membership.
Visa-exempt nationals require only a valid visa to visit Slovenia but those who do not qualify for visa-free travel must possess alternative documentation. These visitors are referred to as “world travellers” and will need some form of visa to visit Slovenia or even use a Slovenian airport or seaport.
The vast majority of world travellers visiting Slovenia will only wish to be in the country for a short period of time such as for holidays, business or short study courses. In such cases a Schengen Visa will be required. This allows the holder to remain in Slovenia (and the Schengen Area) for a maximum of 90 days out of a 180-day block. Those wishing, or needing, to stay longer will require a different longer-term visa relevant to the purpose of the stay.
Requirements for World Travellers
World travellers arriving in Slovenia, or indeed any Schengen member state, must possess a Schengen Visa, the application process for which will require certain documents. The list is short but it is important to ensure that each item meets the criteria demanded.
- Passport – This must be no more than ten years old and valid for at least three months beyond the last date to be spent in the Schengen Area. It must also contain a minimum of two blank pages.
- Schengen Visa – There are various types of Schengen Visa to choose from and the type selected must be the one which most closely matches the purpose of the visit.
- Purpose of Visit Letter – In most cases it will be necessary to produce a letter outlining the main purpose of the visit. This should include details of any planned outings as well as the dates of entry into, and exit from, the Schengen Area.
- Bank Statements – These may not always be necessary but many types of Schengen Visa application will need to be accompanied by the applicant’s bank statements covering the preceding six month period.
- Travel Health Insurance – Proof of adequate travel health insurance is mandatory for all world travellers. This is to cover any medical emergencies that may occur. The amount of coverage required can vary from country to country.
World travellers should be particularly mindful that the passport is stamped by the border officials at the point of entry into Slovenia. A missing stamp can cause untold trouble for the passport holder and can lead to fines being imposed or even detention.
The Right Schengen Visa
There are a number of Schengen Visas for Slovenia to choose from and it is important to choose the one that best matches the purpose of the visit. While a Tourist Visa is the most commonly applied for this does not mean that it is suitable for all short visits to the country. Students wishing to attend a short course or business people in Slovenia for meetings could, in theory, get by with a Tourist Visa but problems may arise if the true purpose of the visit comes to light. Among the most common types of Schengen Visa (and supporting documentation) are:
An Airport Transit Visa may be required (but not in all cases) for world travellers transiting through a Slovenian airport.
- Valid visa for destination country (if applicable)
- Flight tickets for onward journey
All that is required for tourists and world travellers visiting Slovenia for a short vacation is a valid Tourist Visa.
- Details of planned itinerary while in Slovenia
- Proof of sufficient finances
- Details of flights and any accommodation booked
A Visitor Visa is similar to a Tourist Visa but specifically targeted at world travellers wishing to visit friends or relations resident in Slovenia.
- Invitation letter from friend or relative
- Proof of adequate finances for the duration of the visit
- Day to day details of planned itinerary
- Any certification of relationship if visiting a relative
- Letter of Guarantee (this is a letter of approval from the Slovenian Administrative Unit)
If business affairs are the prime reason for visiting Slovenia it is best to have a Business Visa for this purpose.
- Details of the business or person being visited
- Letter of invitation from the Slovenian business involved
- Employer’s letter outlining the purpose of the visit
- Letter of Guarantee from Administrative Unit of Slovenia
- Documentation showing business activities and applicant’s status
Students wishing to attend an educational course in Slovenia should possess a Study Visa. This will cover short courses of up to three months (90 days) duration. Longer courses will require a Slovenian Student Visa.
- Proof of enrolment and details of the course being taken
- Letter or certificate of No Objection declaring the student will leave Slovenia at the end of the course
- Proof of adequate funds for accommodation and expenses
World travellers requiring medical treatment in Slovenia should possess a Medical Visa.
- Medical report from applicant’s doctor or hospital
- Confirmation of treatment in Slovenia including dates
- Proof of payment made for treatment
- Guarantee Letter from Slovenian Administrative Unit
As can be seen, there is a visa type for almost every possible scenario. These are far from being the only types of visa to choose from as there are also visas available for sporting, cultural, artistic or religious events, visiting a spouse who is a Slovenian citizen, as well as special visas for visiting foreign delegates visiting the country on official business.
The amount and types of documentation that must accompany an application also varies in each case. This is why it is vital to choose the correct visa type. The wrong type of visa and missing supporting documentation is the main reason why applications for a Schengen Visa are refused.