Information for children and young people arriving from Ukraine

Are you under 18?

Girls and boys from Ukraine, welcome to Slovakia!

Here are some questions many children have and some answers that can help you stay safe and know your rights.

Do I have the right to stay in Slovakia?

You and your family are legally safe here. No one has the right to force you to go anywhere you do not what to go.

Children and their families fleeing from Ukraine are welcome by all countries in the region and can stay in Slovakia for 90 days without a visa. You and your family can also get documents called “Temporary Protection”). They will allow you to stay in Slovakia at least until 4 March 2023. You can come back to this page before March 2023 to learn how long you can remain in Slovakia.

As a child, you also have special rights to stay with your family, to go to school, to play, and to get help if you are harmed. Your ideas and feelings matter!

What is important for me to know?

  • Keep your documents safe: It is very important to keep any identity documents (like an ID card or passport) in a safe place. Try to make copies of them if you can. Do not let anyone take your documents away, even if they are offering to help you find housing or transportation.
  • Help is free. Nobody is allowed to make you work or have a relationship with you  or any other favour (things or money) in exchange for help. If anyone does this, you can report them to the police or UNHCR and ask for help.
    • Police Hotline (Toll-free): 158 or 112
    • Helpline for children (Toll-free): 116 111
    • UNHCR Toll-Free Line: 0800 221 230 (Call from a Slovak telephone number) or Toll Landline: +421 222 11 56 50 (Call from non-Slovak telephone number), Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 8:00pm.
  • Ask adults you trust to help keep you safe: If a stranger offers to take you away from your family to give you something, say ‘no’ and tell an adult you trust. Never agree to meet a stranger without first talking to an adult you trust. If you are in a situation that makes you uncomfortable or unsafe, tell someone you trust and ask for help. REMEMBER: it is not your fault, you are not to blame.

I need help – who should I ask? ‍

Many people want to help but is important to know who to trust. The Slovak government and many groups can help you with housing, food, transportation, healthcare and school. You can ask the Slovak authorities, organizations, and people like border police, social workers, psychologists, doctors, and teachers. Look for adults who are working with an organization: they usually wear a vest, a jacket, a hat, or carry an ID card with a logo. If you are not sure, you can ask to see their ID!

If you feel uncomfortable, you can say ‘no’. REMEMBER: Do not let anyone take away your documents (such as your ID card or passport). If they take your documents or tell you something that makes you uncomfortable, tell your family or another adult person you trust. Remember you can also tell the police.

If you need to speak to UNHCR, please call at its Toll Free Line: 0800 221 230 (Call from a Slovak telephone number) or Toll Landline: +421 222 11 56 50 (Call from non-Slovak telephone number), Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 8:00pm.

For more information on other services, please go to:

Am I allowed to call UNHCR?

Yes! 😊 UNHCR is the United Nations organization responsible for helping refugees.

If you need information or help from UNHCR, you can email us at [email protected] or contact our helpline Toll-Free Line: 0800 221 230 (Call from a Slovak telephone number) or Toll Landline: +421 222 11 56 50 (Call from non-Slovak telephone). It is a good idea to talk to your parents or a trusted adult first, but you can also contact us on your own. Please share your name, age, phone/WhatsApp number or email address, or any other way to contact you. It is a good idea to tell us the names of your parents if they are in Slovakia with you. If you are not with your parents, please tell us.

If you are using a shared computer to send an email, please remember to sign out of your account when you are done.

I am in Slovakia with my family. How can I make sure we stay together?

After all that you have been through, it is even more important to do everything you can to stay together with your parents or family. Simple things can help a lot.

Travel together and find housing together   

  • If you are in a new place: first explore it together with your family and other people you trust.
  • Always tell a parent or someone you trust where you are going and when you will be back when you go out.
  • Always carry phone numbers of your parents or family with you, but please be careful not to let strangers copy them or take them from you.
  • Know the address where you and your family are staying and share it with someone you trust.
  • Plan together for what to do if you are separated from your family.

I need help finding my parents. What kind of help can I get?

It may be difficult to find parents or relatives who are still in Ukraine right now, but it is important to tell us as much information as you can about them to help find them when this is possible. Your parents may also be looking for you and have given their details to other organisations working to get families back together. Telling us your situation can help make the connection when this is possible

Please contact UNHCR by emailing [email protected] or the Slovak Red Cross by emailing [email protected] who can also help through their Restoring Family Links service.

You can learn more about it here:

When a family member becomes a missing person.

If you are in Slovakia without any adult family member, you have the right to get help and a safe place to stay.

Please reach out to the government authorities – police, the office of labour, social affairs, and family – UNHCR or a local organization. They will help you to stay safe.

You can call any of the phone numbers below:

  • Police Hotline (Toll-free): 158 or 112
  • Child Safety Line (Toll-free): 116 111
  • UNHCR Toll-Free Line: 0800 221 230 (Call from a Slovak telephone number) or Toll Landline: +421 222 11 56 50 (Call from non-Slovak telephone number), Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 8:00pm.

If you are with other family members, you can stay with them.

It is still important to talk to government authorities, UNHCR, or other organizations and tell them who your parents are, where you think they are, and any contact information you have.

I want to go back to school as soon as possible. What should I do?

If you are under the age of 16, you have a right to go to school in Slovakia.  Public schools are free. If you are not going to school right now, you will need to approach the closest school to where you live and ask to register. Depending on your level of proficiency in the Slovak language, you may have to participate in a language class arranged by the school to help you in your studies.

I feel sad, angry, worried, scared, or confused. Is this normal? ☹️ 😠😕😰😧

It is normal to feel upset after having to leave your country and seeing or hearing about so many terrifying things. It may be hard to stop thinking about what you saw or experienced. You may be separated from people you love and worried about them or about what will happen next. You may feel like nothing is familiar. Here are simple things to try that may help you cope with this difficult situation:

  • Try to keep a routine. Go to sleep and wake up at the same times each day.
  • Try to eat regular healthy meals
  • Spend time with your family and friends doing things you all enjoy
  • Move your body: walk or exercise if you can
  • Keep in contact with family and friends. If you cannot contact them now, write letters.
  • Help others in your community.
  • Take breaks from watching the news and avoid upsetting photos or videos.

If you feel angry or overwhelmed:

  • Take a break and focus on breathing slowly for a few minutes
  • Look for interesting things around you, like flowers, trees, or listen to bird sounds.
  • Talk to someone you trust about you are feeling.
  • Ask for help from a psychologist or a counsellor– many are available for free.

If you need to speak to someone, IPčko, provides online counselling to young people here.

You can also call the Crisis Helpline at 0800 500 333, they provide anonymous, free and non-stop telephone psychological assistance to people in crisis in connection with COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine.

You can find some helpful videos here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8TioFHubWFtb3SmM8D4ApXtktrzC36c8

Someone has hurt me or I am afraid that someone will. What should I do?

No one has the right to abuse, neglect, or mistreat any child or your family – not strangers, not parents, not relatives, and not teachers. Anyone who harms you will be sanctioned once reported.

If someone has hurt you, touched you, or treated you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable or scared, or if you are afraid that someone will: there are adults and organisations that can help.

If someone you know has been hurt by someone, encourage them to get help.

You can also agree on a secret word or phrase to use with family and friends. You can repeat this to them when you feel in danger so that they know you are in trouble.

REMEMBER: this is never your fault, and you are not to blame. You should not be ashamed or afraid to ask for help.  If you have someone you trust, please talk to them about it.

Please call any of the below hotlines to receive help:

  • Police Hotline (Toll-free): 158 or 112
  • Child Safety Line (Toll-free): 116 111
  • UNHCR Toll-Free Line: 0800 221 230 (Call from a Slovak telephone number) or Toll Landline: +421 222 11 56 50 (Call from non-Slovak telephone number), Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 8:00pm.