Things to know
Capital of Slovakia
Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is set along the Danube River by the border with Austria and Hungary. It’s surrounded by vineyards and the Little Carpathian mountains, crisscrossed with forested hiking and cycling trails.
The pedestrian-only, 18th-century old town is known for its lively bars and cafes. Perched atop a hill, the reconstructed Bratislava Castle overlooks old town and the Danube.
Slovakia's capital since the country's independence in 1993, Bratislava is a mosaic of illustrious history: a medieval and Gothic old town, baroque palaces commissioned by Hungarian nobles, and the crowning castle, rebuilt to Renaissance finery.
Slicing through the city are stark-angled, communist-era blocks and a futurist bridge.
Bratislava is a small historical city, but is regarded as a European metropolis.
Enjoy the shopping, dining and natural wonders Bratislava has to offer as a reemerging sparkler of history, culture, business and recreation.
Inexpensive by comparison to western Europe, small enough to manage on a short visit, with charm enough for a longer one, Slovakia’s capital offers a variety of activities to travellers with any goal.
In beautiful Old Town or elsewhere, the Bratislava area today offers a wide variety of very good range of attractions.
Shop or Eat in Exceptional Surroundings!
The historic old town combines the most expensive international boutiques with tourist-oriented souvenir shops, and numerous cafes and restaurants.
Many large shopping malls have opened in the last several years; these combine high-ticket stores with mid-market bargains.
Obchodna ulica (view Obchodna ulica on map), as well as a number of shopping centres and stores on the edges of town, is where many Slovaks do most of their shopping.
In Bratislava, there are lots of opportunities for relaxation and outdoor activities to enjoy this vibrant and young European city with your family, friends or by yourself.
Bratislava is also an easy day trip from Vienna, by car, bus, train or river.
Bratislava was for centuries a small town nearby the imperial capital of Vienna and thrived best in the peak period of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It, therefore, presents an interesting supplement to the Austrian capital.
In fact, Bratislava’s old town is so much more quaint that it is sometimes used as a backdrop for movies set in Vienna.
For those who want to spend time in Vienna on a tight budget, Bratislava is an ideal base. You can sleep in a summer dormitory room for under 10 euros per night, eat some decent meals for under 5 euros, and commute in a little over an hour to most destinations in Vienna.
How does Bratislava Compare?
The average cost of living in Bratislava is approximately €1041 which is close to the world's average cost of living, ranked 4502nd out of 9294 in a recent global list and 1st out of 23 in Slovakia.
The median after-tax salary is €1342, which is enough to cover living expenses for 1.3 months.
Ranked 300th (TOP 3%) in the list of best places to live in the world and 1st best city to live in Slovakia.
The average one-bedroom apartment in Bratislava city centre stands at around €828 per month. If you're okay with an apartment outside of the city centre that will be cost around €400-€600.
Aim for around €500 as an average for a one-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre and you won't be far off, whereas rent could cost you well over €1000 if you are looking for a nice, modern and bigger apartment located in the center or some of the premium areas.
The Bratislava Region is the wealthiest and economically most important region in Slovakia, despite being the smallest by area and having the second smallest population of the eight Slovak regions.
This in turn means utilities are quite expensive, especially in comparison with other European capitals, like Rome.
All the basic ones like gas, electricity, heating and cooling, for a larger apartment (if you have a family) of about 85m2, will cost around €190. Internet, in turn, is very cheap in most households, costing only around €17
Cost of Living
Income tax in Slovakia is levied at two different rates: 19% on income up to EUR 37,981.94 and 25% above EUR 37,981.94.
There is a personal allowance of EUR 3,803.33, which is disapplied when yearly income hits the 25% income tax bracket. In case of a non-working spouse a further allowance can be claimed.
A person’s liability for Slovak tax is determined by residence status. A person can be a resident or a non-resident for Slovak tax purposes.
A resident of Slovakia generally refers to an individual with permanent residence in Slovakia (either registered or deemed) or who has a “residence” in Slovakia (meaning a person who has availability of accommodation not intended only to occasional stay with obvious intention to stay in Slovakia permanently) or who spends at least 183 days in Slovakia during a calendar year.
A non-resident of Slovakia is generally anyone not qualifying as a tax resident.
The general rule is that a person who is a tax resident of Slovakia is taxable on the person’s worldwide income.
Non-residents are generally taxable on income derived from sources in Slovakia. Provided that the extended business travelers do not transfer their center of vital interests to Slovakia, they are likely to be considered non-resident of Slovakia for tax purposes due to the double tax treaty tiebreaker rules.
Eligibility to Work in Bratislava
Those looking to work in Slovakia will be pleased to know that it is considered a high income economy, and that it recovered well after the financial crisis.
The main industries in the country include vehicle and electronics manufacturing; however, in recent years a rise in tourism has seen the development of the service economy, which now employs almost 70% of the local and expatriate population.
Agriculture is also a major part of the economy, with nearly 40% of the land in the country cultivated for agricultural use.
Social Security in Slovakia
Social security in Slovakia covers three general areas: social insurance, which covers pensions, sickness, unemployment and accident insurance; social assistance, which allows individuals below the subsistence rate to claim unemployment benefits; and social state support, which covers situations where individuals might need extra support, for example after the birth of a child or the death of a family member.
Healthcare, is not dealt with as part of social security for locals and expatriates living and working in Slovakia.
Eligibility for social security is not dependent on residence, but on occupational activity. This system in general can be very complicated, so you are advised to contact the relevant ministries and departments for more information.
Work Permits for Slovakia
Although Slovakia has a smaller jobs market than some European countries, it still has the same work permit rules as many other nations. This means that as an EEA citizen you will not need a work permit or a visa to work in Slovakia, as it is a full member of the European Union.
However, your employer will still need to register you with the relevant governmental ministries and agencies either before or within the first seven days of employment, including the Labor, Social Affairs and Family Office, as well as with the Social and Health Insurance systems. You will also need a confirmed address for tax purposes.
However, if you are relocating to Slovakia from outside the EEA, you will need a work permit and a residence permit.
These can be obtained from the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Family and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs respectively.
As a foreigner, you must typically apply for a work permit first, and then for the residency permit. You can also apply for a temporary residency permit first, to allow you to stay in the country for 90 days whilst waiting for your permanent residence permit.
As mentioned above, Citizens of the European Union have free, unrestricted entry to Slovakia and after Slovakia joined the EU, it did not apply any transitional period, so EU citizens do not need any work permit.
The necessary administration that an employee (citizen of EU) needs, is carried out by the Slovak employer.
More specifically, the Slovak employer should:
Sign up the employee to the Labour, Social Affairs and Family office within 7 days.
Sign up to employee to the Social Insurance before the start of the work.
Sign up the employee to the Health Insurance system within 8 days.
Sign off the employee from all the offices after finishing the working process.
EU citizens are not required to have a work permit to be employed in Slovakia, however they are required to have a confirmation of permanent residency for tax purposes. Necessary confirmation can be obtained from the Slovak Foreign Police.
2 passport-style photographs
Notarized lease agreement or proof of home-ownership
Employees who are not a citizen of an EU member country needs a work permit from Labour, Social Affairs and Family office and residence permit from the Foreign Police.
All the Non-EU citizens who decided to work, study, teach, or do businesses in Slovakia must apply for a temporary residence permit.
It is possible to get the necessary documents on a Slovak Embassy or Consulate General abroad. The temporary residence permit allows non-EU citizens to stay in Slovakia for a period of more than 90 days for business and/or educational purposes. It is issued for one year and then it can be renewed.
2 passport-style photographs
Typed application form in Slovak language
Document certifying reason for request (for business, employment, schooling etc.)
Criminal background check (Slovak and home country)
Medical certificate stating applicant is free of contagious disease
Proof of funds (varies, check with Slovak Consulate for specifics)
Proof of medical insurance
Proof of housing (signed lease agreement or ownership deed etc.)
Find out more on entry requirements for Slovakia here.