U.S. citizens generally do not need a visa for tourist or business trips up to 90 days in duration. Note: This 90 day timeframe starts as soon as you enter the Schengen Zone – a borderless area made up of a number of European countries including Slovenia, Austria, Hungary and Italy. U.S. Permanent Residents (green card holders) may need a visa to enter Slovenia, depending on what country’s passport they posses and their status in the Schengen Zone. Permanent residents should check with their nearest Slovene Embassy or the Slovene Ministry of Foreign Affairs to see if they require a visa to enter Slovenia.
An American citizen who wishes to remain in Slovenia for more than 90 days within a 180 day period will need to apply for a temporary residence permit. The process is usually started at the Slovene Embassy with jurisdiction over your place of residence. Temporary residence permits are issued on the basis of employment, studies, family relationships, and Slovene heritage.
After the residency application is submitted at the Embassy, the file will be sent to an Administrative Unit (Upravna enota) in Slovenia. This office will evaluate your qualifications for a residence permit. If the permit is issued, they will notify the Slovene Embassy, who in turn will notify you. It is also possible to apply for a residence permit while you are physically present in Slovenia. However, please note that it can take several months to gather together the paperwork required for the residency application. And as American citizens are only permitted to remain in Slovenia for 90 days, many find that it is not possible to complete the residency processing during that timeframe.
There are no requirements to speak Slovene or to demonstrate knowledge of the history and/or culture in order to obtain a temporary residence permit. Temporary permits usually are valid for one year and must be renewed prior to their expiration date at the local Administrative Unit (Upravna enota). After five years of living in Slovenia on a temporary residence permit, an individual can usually apply for permanent residency. Individuals of Slovene descent and those who are close family members of a Slovene citizen or permanent resident may be eligible for expedited permanent residency.
Naturalizing as a Slovene Citizen
Most immigrants must live in Slovenia for ten years to be eligible for citizenship. Immigrants of Slovene descent and those who are married to Slovenes are eligible for expedited naturalization. Usually, spouses of Slovene citizens must live in Slovenia for three years before being eligible for citizenship. Applicants for Slovene citizenship must pass a Slovene language test.
Children born to at least one Slovene parent, whether born in Slovenia or abroad, generally have a claim to Slovene citizenship. There are no generational limits or residency requirements in order for a Slovene parent to transmit citizenship to a child born outside of Slovenia. A person may also claim Slovene citizenship if he/she can prove that at least one grandparent was a Slovene citizen. For questions on Slovene citizenship, please contact either your nearest Slovene Embassy or your local Administrative Unit (Upravna enota.)