Slovakia’s Sports Residency Program: Pursuing a Sports Career in Europe.

Under the domestic laws of the Republic of Slovakia, acquiring membership in a Slovak sports club enables a foreign citizen to secure a ‘sports’ residence permit. This doesn’t necessarily have to be an Olympic sports club. Obtaining a sports residence permit in Slovakia requires directing, in some cases even modestly, the involvement of a foreigner in the activities of a sports club.

Confirmation of club membership is essential and must be substantiated by an official document issued by the pertinent Slovak club, establishing the individual as a professional member.

To obtain a residence permit in Slovakia based on sports, certain documents are required. What are these documents?

Official proof of affiliation with the Slovak club.

Required documents for the residence permit application include:

  1. Statement
  2. Application form
  3. Certificate of Good Conduct
  4. Document verifying sporting qualifications (if applicable)
  5. Health insurance from a Slovak provider
  6. Medical examination report from a specialized Slovak polyclinic
  7. Personal bank account statement with a minimum balance of 2600 €
  8. Proof of registration in Slovakia

All documents must be prepared in Slovak or translated by a court translator. Applications for a residence permit can be submitted at either the Slovakian embassy in your home country or directly to the immigration police within Slovakia.

Duration of a residence permit in Slovakia linked to a sports career.

Initially, this category of residence permit is granted for a period of one year. Subsequently, it requires annual renewal, involving the submission of the complete set of documents listed again (excluding the medical examination report).

The positive aspect is that the tenure of a sports-based residence permit follows the 1 to 1 rule. This means that after residing in Slovakia for five years with this type of permit, you qualify for permanent residence, eliminating the need for further renewals. Furthermore, permanent residence status in Slovakia grants eligibility for a pension. To attain citizenship in the country, a residence in Slovakia for a duration of ten years is required.

Letter of Sponsorship for a Residence Permit in Slovakia.

Athletes below the age of 14 are required to submit a sponsorship letter from a parent, guardian, or adoptive parent as part of the residence permit application process in Slovakia. This document serves as a guarantee, indicating that sponsors undertake responsibilities pertaining to the financial support of the underage athlete seeking a residence permit.

Sponsorship individuals must validate their financial capability by furnishing a certificate from their workplace and a bank certificate specifying the child’s personal account details, holding a balance exceeding 1,300 euros. The sponsor is obliged to demonstrate the capacity to provide the minor athlete with financial resources essential for covering educational expenses, meals, participation in competitions, and accommodation, whether in a hotel or rented apartment. Immigration police officials may decline to issue the required documents if the sponsor lacks close kinship with the minor athlete.

The formal submission of the application to Slovak police authorities necessitates official certification by a consul or notary at the Slovak embassy or notary office.

Document Processing Expenses.

Applicants seeking a sports-based residence permit in Slovakia are required to pay a state fee of 99.9 euros. Additionally, the issuance of an ID card, costing approximately 5 euros, is mandatory.

Upon receiving the residence permit, the applicant has a three-day window to secure medical insurance. Furthermore, within a month of obtaining the residence permit, the applicant must undergo a medical examination. The results of this examination lead to the issuance of a certificate confirming the absence of diseases, which is then submitted to the police.

Insurance must be acquired within three days from the date of document submission to the police and presented within 30 days. Failure to comply within this timeframe may result in an official denial of the sports-based residence permit for the foreign citizen.

Entering into a contract with a sports club.

To secure an agreement with a sports club, foreign athletes must capture the interest of the club representatives. Preparation is crucial before traveling to Slovakia, and a preview is organized either upon arrival or online. Subsequently, athletes are required to submit video demonstrations of their sporting talents to the club. If the representatives find the recordings appealing, an official invitation is extended to the foreign citizen.

It’s essential to note that the growing popularity of sports clubs has led to a restricted number of slots available for foreign citizens. Ensuring the timely submission of documents can enhance the likelihood of club admission.

Given the limited spots in clubs, stringent requirements are imposed on foreign athletes. Those demonstrating the potential for outstanding results stand a chance to secure a place in the club.

What possibilities are available for athletes?

Slovakia stands out as a well-established sports nation, notably recognized for its formidable hockey team, as well as accomplished cyclists and skiers who consistently secure prizes in global competitions.

In this Schengen country, sports reach a commendable standard, supported actively by state funding and targeted European funds. The training conditions for Slovak athletes, along with professional fees and social benefits, surpass those available to athletes from other third countries. This implies that pursuing a sports career in Slovakia could potentially lead to quicker and more lucrative success compared to opportunities in one’s home country.