Slovak Republic - Consular Information Sheet
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Slovak Republic is a moderately
developed European nation undergoing profound economic and political
changes. Tourist facilities are not as developed as those found
in Western Europe and many of the goods and services taken for
granted in other European countries are not yet available.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. A visa is
not required for stays up to thirty days. For stays longer than
thirty days a visa must be obtained prior to entry at Slovak embassies
or consulates abroad. Visas cannot be obtained at border points
upon arrival. Travelers to the Slovak Republic can obtain entry
information at the
Embassy of the Slovak Republic at 3523 International Court
N.W., Suite 250, Washington, DC 20007, telephone (202) 965-5160/1,
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments
have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include
requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission
for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not
present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required,
may facilitate entry/departure.
DUAL NATIONALITY: In addition to being subject to all
Slovak Republic laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may
be subject to Slovak laws, which impose special obligations. For
additional information, see the
Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov
for our Dual Nationality flyer.
SAFETY/SECURITY: Security personnel may at times place
foreign visitors under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones and
fax machines may be monitored, and personal possessions may be
searched. Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived
as being of military or security interest may result in problems
CRIME: Organized crime factions in Slovakia appear to
be engaging in a power struggle at this time. While not directed
against Americans or other foreign visitors, a number of gangland-style
slayings have occurred over the past years, including fatal shootings
at or near major hotels. Visitors are encouraged to obtain the
latest information at the Consular Section of the Embassy.
In addition, and particularly in the summer, pickpocketing is
common in shopping centers, in the vicinity of major hotels where
foreigners stay, near major tourist sites, and on night trains,
especially Prague-Bratislava-Budapest or Budapest-Warsaw.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or
Consulate. U.S. citizens can refer to the Department of State's
pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad
for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlet
is available by mail from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs,
or via the
Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities are available.
However, only a limited number of doctors speak English speakers.
Doctors and hospitals expect cash payment for health services
unless the patient can present an insurance number from the Slovak
National Insurance Company. Serious medical problems requiring
hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States
can cost thousands of dollars or more.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges
Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior
to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas
and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical
evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs
incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage
is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do
not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.
However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance
plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including
emergency services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans
should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require
payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical
evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured
travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme
difficulties, whereas travelers who have purchased overseas medical
insurance have, when a medical emergency occurs, found it life-saving.
When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain
whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider
or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur.
Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric
treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via
the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international
travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299), or CDC's
Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Slovakia is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Fair
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
The roads in Slovakia are typically safe and well maintained.
Four-lane highways exist in and around Bratislava. However, Most
roads outside of built-up areas are two lanes only, and aggressive
drivers attempting to pass at unsafe speeds pose a serious hazard.
Due to poor lighting and narrow, winding roads, nighttime driving
outside of built-up areas is not recommended.
From November through March there is often heavy snowfall, which
is not adequately cleared from many rural roads. Roads in the
mountainous northern part of the country are particularly prone
to hazardous conditions during winter months. Winter tires and
chains are recommended for travel to mountain and ski resorts.
In Slovakia, drivers drive on the right side of the road. The
maximum legal speed on highways is 130 kilometers per hour (78
mph). On smaller roads the maximum speed is 90 kph (54mph). The
limit in towns is 60 kph (36 mph). Use of cellular phones while
driving is strictly prohibited.
Drivers must yield the right of way to all vehicles with flashing
blue lights (police, ambulances, fire trucks, motorcades). Vehicles
with yellow or orange lights usually mean that traffic must slow
down. Drivers must always be cautious, however, as many slowly
moving vehicles, such as agricultural vehicles, are not well marked.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is strictly prohibited.
The blood alcohol tolerance level is zero percent.
Penalties for drivers involved in car accidents involving injury
or death are decided by a court of law. Penalties for minor offences
are bot generally large, but foreigners are sometimes targeted
for additional sums. Anyone suspecting that this has occurred
should ask for a written receipt and note the number of the traffic
officer imposing the fine.
Gasoline is readily available, although many gas stations are
closed on Sunday. Gas stations typically do not offer repair service;
private mechanics must be found. Few gas stations and mechanics
accept credit cards, so travelers should expect to pay for these
services in cash.
A highway user decal must be purchased for travel on most major
roads outside of Bratislava. The decal is valid for the calender
year in which it is purchased, and is available at gas stations,
post offices and some newspaper kiosks. The cost is either Sk
400 or Sk 800, depending on the size of the engine.
Public Transportation: Taxi companies provide generally reliable,
safe, and economical services. Avoid, however, independent cabs,
which do not prominently display a company name. Buses, trolleys,
and trams are mechanically safe, but there have been reports of
thefts on city transportation, and of harassment by the transport
police. Inter-city travel is widely available by bus, train, or
taxi and is generally safe (inquire about taxi fares in advance).
There are regular international trains and buses, which are mechanically
safe. However, there is a danger of theft, even from locked compartments,
on international night trains serving Warsaw, Prague, and Budapest.
Taxi drivers with special permits may provide international taxi
Motorcycles: A motorcycle driver's license and helmet are required.
Small motorcycles are not allowed on highways. All traffic regulations
General Recommendations: Tourists coming to Slovakia are required
to have an International Drivers' Permit. Otherwise, they may
have problems entering neighboring countries.
For additional general information
about road safety, including links to foreign government sites,
see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page
at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information
concerning Slovak driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax
and mandatory insurance, contact the
Slovak Information Center office in New York via the Internet
at http://www.inx.net/~matica. See also road
safety from other sources in Slovakia (http://www.zjazdnost.ssc.sk).
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has assessed the Government of Slovakia' civil aviation
authority as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation
safety standards for oversight of Slovak air carrier operations.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit
Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some
foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of
air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific
carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Slovak customs authorities may enforce
strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export
from Slovakia of items such as firearms, antiquities, medications,
etc. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of the Slovak Republic
in Washington or one of the Slovak consulates in the United States
for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Slovak customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Air Transport
Association) carnet for the temporary admission of professional
equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and
fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters, located at the
U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the
Americas, New York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the
ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional information
call (212) 354-4480, send e-mail to email@example.com, or visit
http://www.uscib.org for details.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Slovak laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs
in Slovakia are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail
sentences and heavy fines.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children, international
parental child abduction, and international child support enforcement
issues, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html
or telephone (202) 736-7000.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: Americans
living in or visiting Slovakia are encouraged to register at the
Consular Section of the
U.S. Embassy in Slovakia and obtain updated information on
travel and security within Slovakia. The U.S. Embassy is located
at Hviezdoslavovo nam. 4, telephone (421)(7) 5443 0861, (421)(7)
5443 3338, fax (421)(7) 5441 8861, web site: http://www.usis.sk.