How to get Slovenian citizenship for entrepreneurs and ancestors

Written by Andrew Henderson
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Dateline: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

One of the highlights of my three-month tour of Europe this summer was Slovenia, the tiny country to the east of Venice that is debated as either being a “Little Austria” or in the far western Balkans.

My field reports from Slovenia were peppered with comments on how gorgeous the country is. Slovenia’s capital city of Ljubljana drips with as much charm as any other city in Europe or Lake Bled and the countryside further afield.

For years, Italy and Slovenia feuded under the usual auspices of western Europe vs. Cold War Eastern Europe. Today, Slovenia is not only part of the eurozone and the European Union but feels just as advanced as its neighbors to the west.

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 affordable and of good quality.

And it is possible to become a Slovenian citizen by starting a business or merely having enough means to support yourself. This mirrors the policy of a growing number of countries in Europe eager to have businesses start up within their borders.

About Slovenian citizenship

As part of the European Union, Slovenia has an excellent passports ranked as 12th best in the world. Slovenians can visit the United States, Canada, and Australia without a visa, as well as enjoying freedom of movement throughout all of Europe.

In total, a Slovenian passport offers access to 160 countries and territories. Unlike Italy or other bankrupt European countries, most people don’t know a lot about Slovenia, which means prejudices and stereotypes are not an issue for those holding Slovenian passports.

Basically, 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; I’ll be discussing some of these in my upcoming book on obtaining European citizenship.

Once you are a resident, you can apply for naturalization and obtain a Slovenian passport within one to five 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 quite affordable 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 five 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 tax resident in Slovenia if you spend fewer than 183 days in the country.

Slovenian citizenship for investors

I have been told that, in response to countries like Latvia that allow investors to obtain second residency merely by making a six-figure bank deposit, the Slovenian government allows “persons of means” to bypass the requirement to start a company by showing bank statements proving sufficient funds.

This is not a pre-fab program, and eligibility is subject to approval by the local authorities. Unlike other countries, I am not aware of any program that allows foreigners to obtain residency merely by purchasing real estate in Slovenia.

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 me for a possible referral.

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 need not demonstrate any period of residency in Slovenia, although you will need to demonstrate why you should be naturalized.

Slovenians by descent will be required to give up their current citizenship, although a few exceptions apply.

Slovenian citizenship by marriage

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 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 residing in the country for one year before applying for citizenship. You will still need to speak Slovenian, although you should have the benefit of free tutoring.

Andrew Henderson
Last updated: Dec 28, 2019 at 1:02AM

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23 Comments

  1. efe

    Thanks for the article Andrew. Basicly, if i want to live in Slovenia by starting a business, should i hire a worker and profit 1000 euro per month? That’s it?

    Reply
  2. andysuth

    What are the schools and universities like?
    How easy is it for a family speaking only English to learn Slovenian?
    I’m thinking of Brexile.

    Reply
    • Kate

      If you speak another Slavic language not bad – if not it will be difficult.

      Reply
  3. Joseph Jereb

    I have not been able to confirm citizenship through ancestry on any Slovenian government site. The best I could find was a suggestion that you might qualify if you have been actively involved in an expatriate Slovenian cultural community–speak the language, eat ptitsa, etc. Has anyone been able to confirm the process for ancestry-based citizenship?

    Reply
  4. Hamza Madridist

    Hi Andrews, Actually im about to start a business with my brother in slovenia and my brother asked if he can move to United States to live there for 2 years or more after getting his residency permit in slovenia. Is he can do that or not please?

    Reply
  5. kenny

    hi andrew ,
    I have a residence permit for Slovenia as mentioned above through a company basis. But its costing me a lot paying the taxes monthly. Could you tell me how can i deposit 6 figure into a bank and obtain residence permit and this way i will not be running a company and paying unnecessary taxes. Thanks

    Reply
  6. casmiro

    Hi
    My name is Casmiro. I am british and wish to have a second passport preferably in an EU country. I cannot move out of Britain for the moment as I like and work and my family is based here. Is there an EU country which can grant me citizenship without me living there, as I am unable to move my family due to their schooling and other requirements.
    thanks
    Cas

    Reply
  7. Mehdi Ali

    Hello,

    I am Pakistani and at present I am in Middle East and working here, please send your details so I can send you an email and talk about the procedures. I am ready to pay taxes per year but If i can be exempted from staying at the moment?

    Reply
  8. Ameer

    I am interested in having a 2nd passport but need an expert assistance. I am from pakistan based in saudi arabia. Let me know if there is any chance via investment or enterpreuner path. Also is there any other way like paying taxes not physically staying inside country. Let me know complete procedure, time , money and any other requirements.

    Looking forward to hear from you soon

    Reply
  9. Amit

    I am an Indian citizen working in UAE with around 3000 eur per month salary. I have around 55000 euros in my bank account . I wish to settle in slovenia while doing job in Dubai. Is it possible?

    Reply
  10. Rahul sobyi

    I would like to start business in slovenia please help me out

    Reply
  11. Amna

    Has anyone been able to confirm Slovenian citizenship based on ancestry. Is it necessary to give up current citizenship

    Reply
    • Jere

      I am also searching for the answer to this question…any help would be great!

      Reply
    • fatima

      i am also looking this answer because my family belong to Yugoslavia and hoping to get EU citizenship based on my ancestors

      Reply
  12. Idahosa Charles

    I would love to form an online institute in Slovenia and work online. Also obtaining residency.

    Reply
  13. Danny

    I own a house in Slovenia which I have had for over 10 years. How easy is it for me to obtain citizenship. Also will my income outside of Slovenia be taxable in Slovenia. Finally how would Slovenian citizenship – therefore dual nationality effect any inheritance tax calculations. Would it only be my Slovenian assets or all my assets in the UK as well

    Reply
  14. Ernie

    Hi I am a Canadian citizen and my father was born in Slovenia how difficult is it for me to get Slovenian citizenship

    Reply
  15. Anna

    If you want to get a Slovene passport, you will need to pass the language test. This blog is nice, but in reality is not so easy. Itćs better to go and research on the government pages. A Slovene passport is not easy to get.

    Reply
  16. Sohaib

    Dear Sir/Madam
    I hope you are going well.
    I am Sohaib from Pakistan, i am doing business in Pakistan since, i want to get business residence of Schengen country.
    Please guide which 1 country is easy to get business activity.
    Thanks

    Reply

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