A trade is a systematic activity, pursued independently, on own behalf, on own responsibility, for the purpose of earning profits and under the conditions stipulated by the Trade Licensing Act.
If you wish to pursue activities which meet the characteristics of a trade, you must apply for a Trade License. A Trade License is an authorisation to conduct activities which fall into the scope of a trade business and is valid for the entire territory of the Slovak Republic. One sole trader may pursue several business activities, but needs to hold a Trade License for each of them. A sole trader is personally liable, without limit, for all debts run up by his business with all of his assets (including private property).
Trade business covers almost all business activities aside from activities explicitly set out in Article 3 of the Trade Licensing Act. The Act does not define what may be considered as a trade, but stipulates what it cannot be. What is not a trade?
You may conduct a trade as a:
- Slovak entity ( if you have permanent residence in Slovakia), or
- Foreign entity (if you do not have permanent residence in Slovakia)
Generally, a foreign entity may conduct a trade in the territory of the Slovak Republic under the same conditions and within the same scope as a Slovak natural person or a Slovak legal entity, but requires for instance an obligatory entry in the Commercial Register (except of persons with permanent residence in EU/ OECD member states).
A foreign entity may run a business in Slovakia by means of:
- Organisational unit of a foreign entity (if you are an entrepreneur in the same line of business in the country of your permanent residence), or
- Enterprise of a foreign entity (only in case you are not an entrepreneur in the country of your permanent residence or if you intend to conduct a different line of business to the one you conducted in the country of your permanent residence)
Acquiring a Trade License itself does not always enable you to legally start running a business in Slovakia. Depending on your citizenship and type of your residence in Slovakia, in some cases, you may start conducting your business only upon obtaining a temporary residence for the purpose of business and/or after registering with the Commercial Register.
What do you need to start a trade business
Conditions for conducting a trade
Each applicant for a Trade License must meet general and specific conditions for pursuing a trade.
General conditions (must be met at all times) for natural persons are: 18 years of age, legal capacity, no criminal record.
Specific conditions (must be met depending on the type of business) are: professional or other qualification for a trade.
Proving Professional qualification:
- Unregulated trades: it is sufficient to meet the general conditions, proof of professional or other qualification is not necessary.
- Regulated trades: aside from the general conditions, you need to prove professional qualification, in most cases by a certificate proving you have undertaken a specific education or training in the field you would like to focus on.
- Craft trades: aside from the general conditions, you need to prove professional qualification by submitting a certificate of completed education and the length of experience in the relevant field.
If you are an EU/EEA member state citizen, you may prove your professional qualification by submitting the recognition of professional experience or the recognition of professional qualification.
How to obtain a Trade License
A Trade License may be acquired by notifying the Trade Licensing Office, competent according to your permanent residence in Slovakia, of the trade (if you do not have permanent residence, the Trade Licensing Office in the region according to the place of your business). Follow these steps:
- Fill in the application form (in Slovak language), available here.
- Submit the document proving your qualification or the qualification of your Authorised Representative to conduct a craft or regulated trade (proved by a certificate of apprenticeship, attestation, diploma, authorization, etc.).
- Submit the appointment, consent and declaration of the Authorised Representative (in the case an Authorised Representative is appointed). If you do not yet have a residence (temporary or permanent) permit in Slovakia at the time of applying for the Trade License, or in case you do not meet the specific conditions for conducting a trade, you must appoint an Authorised Representative.
- Submit an entitlement to use the property that is considered a registered address of the business. This is proved either by an ownership deed (in case you are the owner of the property) or a lease agreement (in case you will do business in rented premises; the lease agreement must include an explicit statement that the property may be used for the purpose of business). Such entitlement may be substituted by a written consent of the property owner allowing a third person to conduct business within such property, supplemented by the ownership deed.
- Submit a criminal record extract from your home country or the country where you resided for a continuous period longer than 6 months within the last 5 years. If you are a Slovak natural person it is sufficient to state the information necessary for request of the criminal record extract of the Slovak Republic (you do not submit a criminal record extract from your home country).
- Pay the relevant administrative fee.
The Trade Licensing Office shall issue a Trade License no later than 3 working days of the receipt of the application along with all attachments.
You are obliged to notify the competent Trade Licensing Office of any changes and amendments to the data and documents stipulated in the application and submit the respective documents within 15 days of occurrence of the change.
In case you have not been granted a residence yet (temporary or permanent) in Slovakia at the time of trade notification or in case you do not meet the specific conditions for conducting a trade, you must appoint an Authorised Representative. An Authorised Representative needs to have temporary or permanent residence in Slovakia and must meet both general and specific conditions for conducting the trade. Furthermore, you must employ the Authorised Representative, which means you need to conclude a contract of employment, pay him at least a minimum wage, pay his taxes, as well as health and social insurance contributions. However this shall not apply in case the Authorised Representative is your spouse, sibling or direct relative (all your ancestors and descendants).
In case you have appointed an Authorised Representative due to not having a residence permit in Slovakia, the function of an Authorised Representative may be cancelled after acquiring such a residence permit. You shall notify the Trade Licensing Office of appointment as well as cancellation of his function within 15 days.
If you are a third country national and you have not been granted a residence that enables you to do business in Slovakia you should apply for a temporary residence for the purpose of business after obtaining the Trade License. You shall attach the Trade License to you temporary residence application. For more information regarding temporary residence click here.
Registration in the Commercial Register
Only foreign natural persons with their permanent residence outside the EU/OECD member states are liable to register in the Commercial Register. If you are a third country national and you have been granted a temporary residence or you do not have a residence in Slovakia, you must register in the Commercial Register after obtaining the Trade License (or after obtaining the temporary residence). In such cases you may start doing business the day of entry into the Commercial Register. Registration in the Commercial Register is not required if you have permanent residence in an EU/OECD member state (in such case you may start conducting the trade the day of the trade notification – if you already hold a temporary residence in Slovakia, or the day of obtaining a temporary residence – if you do not hold a temporary residence yet but you have already obtained the Trade License).
Application for entry in the Commercial Register is submitted at the competent Register Court, for natural persons this being the District Court according to their place of business. For foreign entities it is the District Court according to the place of enterprise or its organisational unit.
When submitting the application for entry of the enterprise of the foreign entity in the Commercial Register at the Register Court you need to:
- Print out, complete in Slovak and sign the application form (available here).
- Submit an entitlement to use the property that is considered a registered address of the business.
- Submit the Trade License which entitles you to perform activities to be entered in the Commercial Register as line of business.
- Submit the residence permit in Slovakia.
- Submit a decision on establishing the enterprise in Slovakia.
- Submit a declaration of a registration in a commercial or other register, if under the law which governs your enterprise, you have an obligation of registration, or submit a written affidavit confirming that in accordance with the governing law you do not have the obligation to be registered in the commercial or any other register.
- Pay the administrative fee of 165.50 EUR.
Documents that are part of the application for entry in the Commercial Register must be delivered to the Register Court along with the application. If the requirements are met the Register Court shall execute the entry within 2 working days of the application submission.
You may submit the application for entry in the Commercial Register also by means of a Trade Licensing Office. You may do so simultaneously with the trade notification. The Trade Licensing Office shall ensure delivery of the application and its attachments to the Register Court specified in the application.
When can you start conducting a trade
- If you are a third country national and you have permanent residence in Slovakia: the day of the trade notification (if such notification indicates a later date for commencement of the trade, then as of this date).
- If you are a third country national and you have certain types of temporary residence in Slovakia: the day of registering with the Commercial Register. If you have permanent residence in an EU/OECD member state, registering with the Commercial Register is not necessary and you may start conducting the trade the day of the trade notification (if such notification indicates a later date for commencement of the trade, then as of this date).
- If you are a third country national and you do not have residence in Slovakia: the day of registering with the Commercial Register. If you have permanent residence in an EU/OECD member state, registering with the Commercial Register is not necessary and you may start conducting the trade the day of acquiring a temporary residence permit for the purpose of business/a permanent residence permit.
- If you are an EU/EEA member state citizen: the day of the trade notification (if such notification indicates a later date for commencement of the trade, then as of this date).
If you intend to conduct a trade, you need to notify the Trade Licensing Office and obtain a Trade License.
Your activity would be regarded as unauthorized trading if you systematically, independently, on your own behalf, on your own responsibility, for the purpose of earning profits, without holding a Trade License perform an activity subject to craft, regulated or unregulated trades. The fine for unauthorized trading ranges from 1659 EUR up to 3319 EUR.
The fee for issuing a Trade License is 5 EUR (unregulated trades) or 15 EUR (regulated/craft trades).
Further administrative fees related to trade business may be found here.