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The Slovak Republic

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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions in Slovakia. Use common sense. Look out for suspicious behaviour. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local conditions.
  • Terrorism is a threat in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities in recent years. See Safety and security .
  • Avoid protests and demonstrations as they could turn violent. See Safety and security.
  • Pickpocketing, bag snatching and other petty crime occur, particularly in Bratislava. Remain alert in tourist areas, on public transport and near ATMs. See Safety and security.
  • International transport, including buses and river cruises, may be subject to security and passport controls. See Entry and exit.
  • The Australian Embassy in Vienna provides consular assistance to Australians in Slovakia. See Where to get help.

Entry and exit

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination's entry or exit requirements.

Visas

The Slovak Republic is a part of the Schengen area. This allows you to enter Slovakia without a visa in some circumstances.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change, contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Slovakia for up-to-date information.

Other formalities

When you enter the Schengen area for the first time, check that the entry stamp in your passport is readable. Customs officials may ask you to show them a return or onward ticket and proof of enough money for your stay.

If you are staying in private accommodation for more than 30 days, you should register with the police within three days of arrival.

Passport

Check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country. Carry your passport when crossing borders, even within the Schengen area. Keep up-to-date on border conditions by checking local news sources and asking transport providers.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to get access to your passport by deception. If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact the Embassy for advice.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Money

The currency of Slovakia is the Euro (€). Only change money at banks or other authorised dealers. Don't use street money changers.

Declare cash of €10,000 or more (or the equivalent in another currency) if you're travelling between Slovakia and a non-EU country. You don't need to declare cash if you're travelling to or from another EU country.

Safety and security

Crime

Petty crime occurs, especially on public transport and in railway stations, markets, bars and other places popular with tourists, including Bratislava's Old Town area. Pickpockets can work in teams, sometimes including children, and use distraction techniques.

Foreigners have been robbed or assaulted after accepting spiked drinks from strangers.

Car thefts and break-ins occur. Criminals have slashed tyres to give them an opportunity to offer assistance and get access to the victim's belongings.

Tourists can be overcharged in bars, restaurants and taxis. Disputes about overcharging can lead to violence.

  • Pay close attention to your personal belongings, particularly on public transport and in places frequented by tourists.
  • Carry only what you need for the day. Keep your passport and other identity documents separate from each other. Leave valuables in a secure location.
  • Stick with people you trust in bars and nightclubs. Always check the price of food and drinks before ordering.
  • Don't accept drinks from strangers or leave food and drinks unattended.
  • Avoid leaving luggage or valuables in your car. Use secure parking where available.
  • When travelling by overnight train, secure your compartment from the inside. Don't leave luggage unattended at any time.
  • Use only clearly marked taxis and insist that you will pay only the fare shown on the meter.
  • Look out for suspicious behaviour and remove yourself from potentially dangerous situations.
  • Be wary of direct offers of assistance from strangers.
  • If you suspect an individual is posing as a police officer, decline to hand over personal belongings. Offer instead to go to the nearest police station or call 112 to verify their identity.
  • Keep an eye on local sources for information about possible new safety or security risks.

Civil unrest and political tension

Demonstrations occur periodically, and while generally peaceful, they can lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local media.

Terrorism

Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities. Targets have included airports, public transport including train stations, sporting venues and other areas that attract large groups of people, including places popular with foreigners.

  • Be alert to possible threats, especially in public places.
  • Report any suspicious behaviour and unattended bags to the police.
  • Monitor the news for any new or emerging threats.
  • Take official warnings seriously and follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • If there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so.

More information: Terrorism threat worldwide

Local travel

Road travel

Roads in Slovakia are generally safe. Poor weather can make driving conditions dangerous, particular on rural roads. Winter tyres are mandatory in snow or icy conditions from 15 November to 31 March.

Vehicles must have headlights switched on all year round. Vehicles must be equipped for emergency situations.

The blood alcohol limit for drivers is zero percent.

You must display an electronic permit (vignette) if you are travelling on certain highways and motorways.

More information: Road safety and driving

Driver's licence

You can drive in Slovakia with a valid Australian driver's licence and an International Driving Permit (IDP) for up to 90 days. You must get your IDP before departing Australia.

Motorcycles

Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when using a motorcycle, quad bike or similar vehicle. Your policy may not cover you for accidents that occur while using these vehicles. Wear, and ensure your passenger wears, a  helmet.

Taxis

Taxi drivers can overcharge tourists by adding fees or by not using the meter. Insist that you'll pay only the fare shown on the meter and use only clearly marked taxis.

Public transport

Slovakia has a well-developed and reliable public transportation system, including trains servicing all major towns.

River cruises

If you plan to join a Danube river cruise, read the health and travelling by boat pages for advice on staying safe and healthy.

Air safety

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Slovakia.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for a longer stay.

If you're arrested, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Drug laws

Don't use or carry illegal drugs. Penalties for drug offences are severe. Tourists found in possession of even small amounts can be convicted and imprisoned. More information: Carrying or using drugs

Other laws

Local authorities can request to see identification at any time. Carry your passport with you at all times. Keep a photocopy of your passport separately in case it is lost or seized.

It is an offence in Bratislava Old Town to drink alcohol in the street and can result in a fine. There may be exceptions for seasonal markets and outside seating areas of restaurants and bars.

Taking photographs of military establishment, vehicles and other security-related subjects is forbidden.

There are heavy fines for minor driving infringements. Fines for traffic violations must be paid on the spot or your licences may be taken. Penalties for serious driving offences can include imprisonment.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you can be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering.
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

Slovakia recognises dual citizenship.

More information: Dual nationals

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you leave Australia to cover overseas medical costs.  Make sure your policy covers any pre-existing conditions and medical evacuation.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
  • that you are covered for the whole time you'll be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you leave, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to. Find out if any quantity restrictions or certification requirements apply. Consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of travel.

Take enough legal prescription medicine with you to last for the duration of your stay so you remain in good health. Carry copies of your prescription and a dated letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks  

There is a risk of tick-borne encephalitis in forested areas. Ticks are very common in country areas and are active from spring to autumn.

Medical facilities

Medical treatment is reasonable. Hospitals and other medical facilities are improving, but vary in quality. In rural and border regions, facilities can be limited.

Some doctors speak English, but it is not widely spoken by other hospital staff. Doctors and public hospitals usually expect immediate cash payment for services.

Natural disasters

Slovakia experiences severe weather events, such as:

  • avalanches
  • flash flooding
  • snowstorms
  • mudslides can be a danger in mountain regions.

 The weather in mountain regions is unpredictable and can change suddenly. Skiing outside of prepared skiing areas is highly dangerous.

More information: Severe weather

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, travel agent, travel insurance provider, employer or airline. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Firefighting and rescue services: 112
  • Medical emergencies: 112
  • Criminal issues, contact police:  112

Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

For non-urgent criminal issues, contact the police at the nearest police station.

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Slovakia.

You can access the full range of consular services from the Australian Embassy in Austria.

Australian Embassy, Vienna
Mattiellistraße 2-4 (third floor)
1040 Vienna
Phone: +43 1 506 740
Fax: +43 1 506 74 185
Email: consular.vienna@dfat.gov.au
Website: austria.embassy.gov.au
Twitter: @AusAmbVIE

Check the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect services provided.

If you are unable to contact the Embassy in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Additional resources