You have the right to apply for asylum. In order for you to be considered as a refugee, you need to have specific reasons to fear persecution in your home country. These reasons may be related to, for instance, your race, your religion, your nationality, political opinion, or your membership in a particular social group.
When you are seeking international protection in Slovakia, you may be asked if you left your home country because your life or freedom is in danger, or if you face serious violations of your human rights.
➡ If you have other humanitarian or compelling reasons not to return to your home country, you may qualify for subsidiary protection.
➡ If you left your country only for economic or personal reasons, then there are not sufficient grounds for you to be recognized as a refugee or person in need of subsidiary protection. You will then not be given asylum.
The Asylum Procedure
How can I apply for asylum? ⬇
There are various ways to apply for asylum in Slovakia. You can apply for asylum immediately at the border, upon entry into Slovakia, or in the transit zone of the airport.
If you are already in the territory of Slovakia and you wish to seek asylum, you should as soon as possible go to the nearest police station that is authorized to receive asylum claims. If you are in a detention centre for foreigners or in prison, you may seek international protection there.
You can state in simple terms that you want to seek asylum. Explain that you are afraid to return to your home country.
What will happen if I apply for asylum? ⬇
You will be asked to sign a form called “Declaration of the Foreigner” in which you need to state that you wish to seek international protection and give reasons as to why you are seeking international protection.
If you are older than 14 years, you will be fingerprinted by the police authority. If you have travel documents and/or an ID card, these will be temporarily taken from you and copies will be sent along with your declaration and other documents to the Migration Office of the Ministry of Interior for verification purposes. Your travel documents and/or ID card will be returned to you once the asylum procedure is completed.
If you are under the age of 18 ⬇
If you under the age of 18 and travelling without your parents or any other family member, a guardian will be appointed to you. This person will help you decide what the best options for you are. If the asylum application is in your best interest, your guardian will submit it on your behalf.
What will happen next? ⬇
After you have stated that you wish to seek asylum, either you will have 24 hours to go to a reception centre by yourself, or the police will take you there.
In the reception centre you need to complete the first steps of the asylum procedure, such as an initial interview and a medical examination. The reception centre is a closed facility, which means that you are not free to leave until the results of the medical examination are available. After that, you may ask for permission to temporarily leave the facility.
While you are staying at the reception centre, you will receive an asylum-seeker registration card. You will also be informed about your rights and obligations in the asylum procedure, as well as about the internal rules of the facility with which you need to comply. You will be asked to sign an official record that you have been instructed on your rights.
The next step in the procedure is an initial interview.
What does the registration interview look like? ⬇
The staff of the Migration Office will conduct an initial interview with you and fill out a form called “Questionnaire for Asylum-seeker”. You will be asked to provide some information about yourself and give reasons as to why you are seeking international protection. You also need to give details of your journey to Slovakia. You have the right to have an interpreter in your mother tongue, or any other language in which you are able to communicate. An interpreter will be arranged for by the Migration Office.
The initial interview is a very important part of the asylum procedure, so make sure you are prepared to state all the details you remember about the flight from your home country. Share everything that is important for your case and why you left your country. Do not forget to show all supportive documents or data (including for example photos) you have with you that may support your asylum claim.
In which languages are forms filled out? ⬇
The Slovak authorities will fill out the “Questionnaire for asylum-seeker” and “Declaration of the Foreigner” in Slovak language. The content will be translated for you and you may ask for any revisions or additions. You will be asked to sign it to confirm that you agree with the written content.
How long will you have to stay in the reception centre? ⬇
During the first steps of the asylum procedure, you need to stay at a reception centre. The average length of stay in a reception centre is about 3-4 weeks.
What will happen after you leave the reception centre? ⬇
Once you have completed the procedures at the reception centre, you have two options. Either you can stay in private accommodation, which you need to find and pay for yourself, or you can choose to be transferred to an accommodation centre.
Accommodation centres are open facilities and are meant for asylum-seekers who cannot pay for their own accommodation and cost of living. You can live in an accommodation centre until a decision on your application for asylum is given to you.
What happens after you apply for asylum? ⬇
After your asylum claim is registered and an initial interview is done, you may be invited for a second interview, called the “asylum interview”. The asylum interview is an opportunity for you to give more detailed information and facts about your own case.
This interview is also conducted by staff of the Migration Office, in the reception centre, in the accommodation centre, in a detention centre or prison if your movement is restricted.
The staff of the Migration Office will check what is happening in your country and may ask you more detailed questions about the information you have given them.
If you had not already done so, make sure you use this opportunity to show all supportive documents or data (including for example photos) you have with you that may support your asylum claim.
It may still happen that you are invited for yet another interview if more clarifications are needed. If you are not able to attend the interview, you should inform the Migration Office explaining the reasons of your unavailability.
Should you be afraid of giving information? ⬇
You can speak without fear because everything you say, including your personal data, is treated as strictly confidential. Staff of the Migration Office are not allowed to share any of the information you provide with people in your country of origin or others without your permission.
It is important that you tell the truth and that you clarify possible inconsistencies in your statement. Try to explain why you left your home country in as much detail as possible.
Can I speak in my own language during the interview? ⬇
You have the right to have an interpreter in your mother tongue or in another language in which you are able to communicate.
Who will decide on my application and when do I get the decision? ⬇
All applications for international protection in Slovakia are assessed and decided on by the Migration Office of the Ministry of Interior.
The period within which a decision must be taken is 6 months. This period may be extended, and if this is the case, you will be informed about it in writing.
What if you receive a negative decision? ⬇
If you receive a negative decision on your application for international protection, you can request a review of the decision by means of a so-called “administrative action”. You will find instructions on how to appeal the decision in the document that you receive from the Migration Office.
If you decide not to request a review of the negative decision on your case, you will need to leave the territory of Slovakia.
Are you entitled to legal aid? ⬇
Yes. The staff of the Migration Office have the duty to inform you about your right to request at any time the legal assistance from legal counsel or another person who can provide legal counselling. You may also request assistance from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Legal counselling at first instance is usually provided by staff of the Slovak Humanitarian Council (NGO). You can also choose another lawyer to represent you in the asylum proceedings. If the Slovak Humanitarian Council helps you with your case, you do not need to pay anything. If you choose your own lawyer, you need to pay for that lawyer yourself.
If you receive a negative decision on your asylum application and wish to appeal the decision, then you are entitled to free legal aid provided by the Centre for Legal Aid.
Have you been accepted and provided international protection? ⬇
If you are granted either asylum or subsidiary protection, you can benefit from integration services that are being provided by the Slovak Humanitarian Council by signing an integration contract. The Slovak Humanitarian Council will help you to find affordable accommodation and will help you search for employment (access to education, requalification), provide you with financial contribution for the first 6 months, as well as social, cultural, legal and psychological counselling. You may also enrol for free in a Slovak language course.
The Migration Office also has its own integration managers, who for example facilitate the contact between you and various institutions and can assist you when dealing with practical matters.
In case you are granted asylum, the Migration Office provides you with one-time financial contribution of 1,5 times the minimal subsistence level for an adult person. Further, if you are granted asylum, you will obtain a permanent residence permit in Slovakia and have similar rights and obligations as Slovak citizens, albeit with some exceptions.
If you are granted subsidiary protection, you will obtain a temporary residence permit in Slovakia for one year. If the reasons for subsidiary protection still persist, you may apply for extension of subsidiary protection each time for two years (your temporary residence permit will also be extended each time for two years). This request must be made during the last 90 days for which the subsidiary protection is granted.
Do not forget that you will have to respect and follow all legal obligations that Slovak citizens also need to comply with, such as paying taxes, getting health insurance and assuming responsibility for any unlawful conduct.
More information on asylum procedure – additional information ⬇
For more detailed information on the asylum procedure, please consult
- “Frequently asked questions” made available by the Human Rights League which contains additional information on asylum procedure available at https://www.hrl.sk/en/frequently-asked-questions. Relevant information is available in six languages: Arabic, English, Farsi, French, Slovak, Russian.
- The Act No. 480/2002 Coll. on Asylum and Amendments of Some Act available at the Ministry of Interior’s website https://www.minv.sk/?azyl-migracia&subor=392190 in its English version, effective as of 6 March 2019.