My first attempt at getting a Temporary Resident’s Permit in Slovenia was an unpleasant, unsuccessful failure.
I take most of the blame as I was not prepared in all areas and didn’t have a Slovenian speaker with me. However, the particular Upravna Enota (government administrator) who I spoke to was completely uncooperative, picked holes in everything, and succeeded in being as unhelpful as possible, ensuring that I left her office with nothing but a bad mood.
For my second attempt, I wanted to ensure I had all my bases covered so I reached out to the Expats In Slovenia community to ask for their advice. It quickly became apparent that there were no definitive rules on exactly what you needed, or how long it would take to get the permit.
There were differing accounts of what documents people had had to show, and the time taken to receive the permit ranged from two weeks to seven months! So it seems that it will depend to a large extent on which office you go to, what your exact situation is, and which upravna enota officer you actually get on the day.
Why do you need a temporary resident permit in Slovenia?
In Slovenia you can buy a house, rent an apartment and do most other things, without getting the permit. However, I discovered to my alarm, that one thing you cannot do, is register a car. I discovered this after I’d bought and paid for a car, so was then left with my avto sitting on the forecourt of the car dealership for several weeks, with me unable to drive it off into the sunset. This sped me to action in trying to get my temporary permit, but also led to my failed first attempt.
You can stay up to three months in Slovenia without a permit, but if you’re planning on staying longer, then you should apply for one. This is especially important if you’re from the UK and are planning on staying a long time, because you’ll want to be able to show that you have been living in Slovenia before the dreaded Brexit day deadline. You can read the Slovenian government’s official info on residents’ permits/visas here.
What I actually needed to get my resident’s permit in Slovenia
(take photocopies and originals)
- Someone who speaks Slovenian and English (or your native tongue)
My first nightmare upravna enota claimed that they were ‘forbidden to speak any language other than Slovenian’. From what I’ve heard from other expats, this could be true, but certainly is not always adhered to; several people said they have spoken English with UPs. However, if you get an uncooperative one (as I did), you’ll be stuck. So you’ll have a far greater chance of success if you bring a Slovene+English speaker with you to translate.
- Healthcare insurance certificate
You need to be able to show you are covered for any emergency medical care that you may require whilst in Slovenia. I used Vzajemna who were helpful and efficient.
- Slovenian Bank statement showing sufficient funds
No-one seems to be able to tell you exactly how much money you need to have in total but I worked on the basis of at least €350 per month for 12 months. The statement needs to be printed by the bank and stamped with their official stamp. (They LOVE stamping things in Slovenia. If there’s a piece of paper that can be stamped, then Goddanm it, stamp it they will).
- Passport-sized photograph
What I took but didn’t need
(Other expats said they had been asked for these things, but in the end they were not required for my application).
- Six months’ worth of my UK bank statements
- Accommodation Rental agreement contract
This was not required for my application but will be required when I go to pick up the permit, as I then need to register my address.
- Police registration document
You’re supposed to register with the local police if you’re staying any longer than three days in Slovenia. If you’re in staying in ‘official’ accommodation (eg hotel or campsite), they take your passport details so you don’t have to do it yourself, but if you’re in an AirBnb or staying with friends, you’re legally required to go to the local police station and register your presence. I strongly suspect the vast majority of people don’t bother doing this.
- Birth Certificate
A Tale of Two Upravna Enotas: What I learned
I have now personally experienced how different two different upravna enotas can be. I’ll say now that they were in different regions of Slovenia, one of them is likely to have had much more experience of dealing with foreigners, and I was better prepared the second time. But still, the difference was stark.
One told me I didn’t have enough money (even when I did), questioned the source of my funds, and demanded to see six months of UK statements. The other was perfectly satisfied with my single Slovenian bank statement and said no more on the subject.
One made a fuss that I didn’t have a Slovenian telephone number. The other didn’t even ask for a telephone number.
One demanded I have a police registration document. The other made no mention whatsoever of this.
One was clearly being obstructive for the sake of it, the other was just getting the job done.
Compared to my first experience, my second visit went extremely smoothly. In total, the whole process took around 30 minutes, with a 15 minute wait to be seen. They said I would receive my permit in 3 weeks.
Registering A Car in Slovenia: Pro Tip
As I didn’t want to have to wait over a month to be able to get my car and drive in Slovenia, I discovered a completely legitimate way around having to wait for my temporary resident permit to turn up.
All you need is a Slovenian friend who you trust completely and who are willing to register the car in their name. This means that they are the legal owner of the car, but with their permission (and it’s worth also getting a special document from the AMZS (the Slovenian equivalent of the AA) which shows that you are legally allowed to drive it. Apparently this is not required within Slovenia, but if you’re driving outside of the country, it will keep you out of trouble if you’re stopped by the police.
Yet again – a big najlepša hvala to my Slovenian prijatelji Ivo and Vanja for helping me out. Without you I’d have no car and no permit.
Do you have any tips, advice or experiences you want to share about getting a temporary resident permit in Slovenia? Add a comment below.