Last updated: September 20, 2020
Dateline: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
One of our absolute favorite European countries here at Nomad Capitalist is Slovenia.
And while the debate on whether it’s “Little Austria” or a country in the far western Balkans is still on, no one can dispute just how gorgeous the country is.
Slovenia’s capital city of Ljubljana drips with as much charm as any other city in Europe, and Lake Bled and its surrounding mountainous area should make it to everyone’s bucket list.
For years, Italy and Slovenia feuded under the usual auspices of western Europe vs. Cold War Eastern Europe.
But today, Slovenia is not only part of the eurozone and the European Union. It feels like it’s an equally advanced country as its neighbors to the west.
In some ways, it’s even superior to its neighbors; service in Ljubljana puts service in Spain and the United Kingdom to shame.
Banks, while not perfect safe havens, are efficient and direct. Real estate isn’t as cheap as in Budapest but is still affordable and of good quality.
Overall, Slovenia is one of the best-guarded secrets in Europe. How would you like to become its citizen?
It’s quite possible, if you have ancestry in the country or if you’re willing to invest in a local business and then wait to become naturalized.
Let’s find out about both of these options in more detail.
About Slovenian citizenship
As part of the European Union, Slovenia has an excellent passport that’s ranked as 12th best in the world.
In total, a Slovenian passport offers access to 180 countries and territories. Slovenians can visit the United States, Canada, and Australia without a visa, as well as enjoying the freedom of movement throughout all of Europe.
Unlike Italy or other bankrupt European countries, most people don’t know a lot about Slovenia. That, luckily, means prejudices and stereotypes are not an issue for those holding Slovenian passports.
In other words, there are much worse second citizenships out there.
To become a Slovenian citizen, you must start as a Slovenian resident, maintain a residence in Slovenia (even if it’s a rented room), and spend the requisite amount of time in the country each year.
There are exceptions to the residency policy which makes the residency process even easier.
Once you are a resident, you can apply for naturalization and obtain a Slovenian passport within 10 years, in most cases.
Slovenia does require you to renounce your current citizenship, although there are some loopholes to keeping your existing nationality as well as obtaining future ones later.
Slovenian citizenship for entrepreneurs
Anyone can become a Slovenian resident by starting a local business and investing the required €7,500 in paid-up capital.
Once your company is up and running, you can merely apply for a residency permit to run the company.
Ideally, your business will hire at least one Slovenian worker, although that is not necessarily required, and can be done later on. If you need to hire staff, Slovenia may not be as affordable as some eastern European countries but is still quite affordable when compared to western Europe.
So, long as you keep your nose clean and your company earns enough in profits to pay you a livable wage – €1,000 a month is a good place to start – you should have no problem having your residence permit renewed after the first year and every few years thereafter.
Personal income tax rates in Slovenia can be as high as 50% but are far lower on basic salaries.
You will need to pay social security tax on your salary; an owner-employee earning small profits and a basic salary should expect to pay around €4,000 to €5,000 a year in taxes.
If your business grows, corporate taxes are a more respectable 17%, which is moderately low for Europe.
After 10 years of permanent residency in Slovenia, you can apply to become a citizen so long as you have some ability to speak the language.
The interesting part is that, if your business requires you to travel throughout Europe, you may be able to avoid being considered a tax resident in Slovenia if you spend fewer than 183 days in the country.
Slovenian citizenship for investors
In response to countries like Latvia that allow investors to obtain residency merely by making a six-figure bank deposit, the Slovenian government allows “persons of means” to bypass the requirement to start a company.
In this case, you’d get Slovenian residence, and subsequent citizenship, by showing bank statements proving that you have sufficient funds not to become a burden on the society.
This is not a pre-fab program, and eligibility is subject to approval by the local authorities.
The residency process is the same as for entrepreneurs but without the ongoing compliance and taxation of running a business.
If you’re interested in learning more about this option and have the ability to deposit a six-figure sum, feel free to contact us for help.
And finally, unlike other countries, there currently is no way to obtain residence in Slovenia by purchasing real estate there.
Slovenian citizenship by descent
Provided you can show personal ties with Slovenia and its culture, you can go back up to two generations to prove Slovenian ancestry and apply for a passport.
In the case of citizenship by descent, you don’t need to demonstrate any period of residency in Slovenia, although you will need to demonstrate why you should be naturalized.
Note that Slovenians by descent will be required to give up their current citizenship, although a few exceptions apply.
If you think you might be eligible to apply for this European passport based on your heritage and want some help, you’ve come to the right place.
We recently started offering a service that helps people claim their Slovenian citizenship by descent.
We’d help you confirm eligibility, collect documents (from your country and from Slovenia), deal with the bureaucracy, and file for citizenship alongside our trusted lawyers and agents on the ground.
You can learn more about our premium citizenship by descent service here.
Slovenian citizenship by marriage
There is one final way for obtaining a Slovenian citizenship and that’s by marrying.
Overall, marrying a foreigner is a great way to obtain a second citizenship, so long as you do it for the right reasons.
Marrying a Slovenian national offers one of the fastest paths to citizenship in Europe; you only need to prove that you’ve been married to a Slovenian for two years and reside in the country for one year before applying for citizenship.
You will still need to speak Slovenian, although you should have the benefit of 24/7 tutoring, for free.