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ponedeljek, 18 januarja, 2021

Crossing the state border during the coronavirus epidemic

Slovenia declared an epidemic on 12 March 2020 due to the growing number of coronavirus infections. In order to contain the spread of infection, many countries, including Slovenia, introduced changes in their border crossing regime.

In this new context, certain restrictions have been introduced not only on the border with Croatia, but also on the internal Schengen borders (with Italy, Austria and Hungary) where border controls were abolished back in 2007 after Slovenia had joined the Schengen area. These restrictions will mostly impact transport/traffic, however, a few entry and exit requirements have changed also for foreign nationals and Slovenian citizens.

Crossing the Slovenia-Austria border

Crossing the border is possible at 9 checkpoints (former border crossing points). At these checkpoints, the same entry conditions apply as for the entry into Slovenia from Italy. The checkpoints operate 24/7 unless indicated otherwise:

  • Kuzma – Bonisdorf
  • Trate – Mureck (open from 5am to 21pm)
  • Radlje – Radlpaß (open from 5am to 21pm)
  • Gederovci – Sicheldorf
  • Šentilj (Motorway) – Spielfeld (Autobahn)
  • Gornja Radgona – Bad Radkersburg
  • Karavanke – Karawankentunnel
  • Vič – Lavamünd (open from 5am to 23pm)
  • Ljubelj – Loibltunnel (open from 5am to 21pm)

Entry into Slovenia is permitted to foreign nationals if they produce a health certificate of a molecular laboratory test for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) showing negative results for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) not older than three days, in Slovene, English or German. A foreign national failing to produce the required health certificate will still be permitted to enter Slovenia if their temperature is below 37.5°C and they show no symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection (cough, sneezing, shortness of breath).

Citizens of the Republic of Slovenia and persons with temporary or permanent residence in Slovenia are permitted to enter Slovenia. Those with high temperatures (above 37.5 °C) and symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection (cough, sneezing, shortness of breath) will be informed of instructions provided by the National Institute for Public Health.

The Ordinance does not apply to Slovenian and Austrian citizens, landowners of property on both sides of the national border who engage in agricultural and farming activities, cross-border workers, freight transport, passengers and staff of ambulances, emergency and rescue vehicles, and transit in the form of organised humanitarian convoys.

Transit of persons assumed to be unable to leave the territory of the Republic of Slovenia due to measures introduced by neighbouring countries will not be authorised. The Ordinance will be implemented by health care professionals and civil protection staff of the Republic of Slovenia with the assistance of the Police. Implementation will be adjusted to traffic density and the traveller risk observed at a given checkpoint.

Railway passenger transport between Austria and Slovenia is suspended.

Crossing the Slovenia-Italy border

The Ordinance on the conditions of entry into the Republic of Slovenia from the Italian Republic to contain and manage communicable diseases entered into force on 19 March 2020 and limited border crossing to a total of 4 checkpoints at the following border crossing points:

  • Vrtojba,
  • Fernetiči,
  • Škofije in
  • Krvavi potok (open from 5.00 to 23.00).

An extra checkpoint was established:

  • temporary border crossing point (BCP) Robič, operating from 5.00 to 23:00,

is intended for Slovenian citizens who work on the Italian side of the border (daily cross-border workers) and for persons who are able to prove that they carry out an essential economic or agricultural activity. Cross-border workers need to carry a certificate issued by their employer while other eligible travellers must produce a certificate of their local community showing they need to cross the border for essential purposes.

Road transport coming from Italy is limited in operation. There are no restrictions for cargo intended for Slovenia or transport of postal items, medicines, protective equipment, medical devices and instruments and humanitarian assistance.

The border is closed to passenger railway transport and international or occasional bus transport of passengers between Italy and Slovenia.

Entry into Slovenia is permitted to:

  • persons with a health certificate (negative Covid-19 test) not older than three days (in Slovenian, English or Italian);
  • Slovenian citizens or foreign nationals with a temporary or permanent residence registered in Slovenia;
  • those with temperatures below 37.5 °C and showing no symptoms of respiratory tract infection.

The Ordinance does not apply to Slovenian citizens who are owners of land on the Italian side of the national border and perform agricultural and farming activities. The Ordinance will be implemented by health care professionals and civil protection staff together with medical assistants from first aid teams of the Slovenian Red Cross with the assistance of the Police.

Crossing the Slovenia-Hungary border

Hungary closed all land borders with the neighbouring countries and all airports for foreign citizens.

Entry into Hungary or crossing the border is possible only at three check points:

  • Dolga vas,
  • Pince (transit corridor in operation 24/7),
  • former border-crossing point Pince R1/232 (for Slovenian and Hungarian citizens only).

All vehicles entering Hungary at these checkpoints are subjected to controls. There are no particular restrictions/controls for vehicles entering Slovenia, but drivers have to adhere to the safe-distance rule and carry personal protective equipment with them.

Crossing the Slovenia-Croatia border

Slovenia and Croatia jointly decided to suspend the operation of the 25 border-crossing points for local traffic. Travellers seeking to cross the Slovenia-Croatia border have to go through border crossing points for international traffic.

Entry into Croatia is forbidden to all travellers, except for Croatian citizens working abroad (self-isolation), citizens of the EU and EU-resident third-country nationals returning home (subject to advance consent). Travellers entering Croatia and returning from at-risk countries must self-isolate for 14 days (as of March 21 this applies also to travellers coming from Slovenia). This measure does not apply to cross-border workers (except for those working in the territory of Bela Krajina and Dolenjsko regions (SE Slovenia) who have to undergo mandatory self-isolation), health care professionals, diplomats, police officers and civil protection staff.

Transit of heavy goods vehicles towards Croatia is possible through special corridors, upon prior announcement and with escort. Transit is possible through the BCP Gruškovje and BCP Obrežje, and, in the Primorsko region, through the BCP Starod for vehicles coming from the direction of Italy and continuing to Croatia. However, for the time being, convoys on the Italy-Croatia line operate through Obrežje BCP only.

Border checks are performed on entry into Slovenia as usual, except for those persons who were ordered to self-isolate or quarantine by Croatia. These individuals must produce a certificate that their self-isolation or quarantine in Croatia is over or show a certificate confirming that they are healthy. The Croatian police have excluded lorry drivers from self-isolation.

As of 31 March 2020, third-country nationals seeking to enter Slovenia will be checked not only for their fulfilment of regulatory entry conditions but also whether their travel is really essential. This regime will be in operation at all border crossing points along the external Schengen border. For more information go to: Temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU means third-country nationals can enter Slovenia only in urgent cases

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