Slovenia is party to the 1954, but not the 1961 Convention nor the Council of Europe statelessness instruments. Statelessness can be identified through administrative procedures for the acquisition of a residence permit or naturalisation, leading to different rights depending on the status granted and prescribed conditions. However, people are not granted protection based on their statelessness and the definition of a stateless person in Slovenian law is narrower than the 1954 Convention. There is no obligation on the authorities to consider a claim of statelessness, the burden of proof is on the applicant and there is no legal aid except for judicial review. The protection granted by each permit varies, but a grant of ‘permission to stay’, for example, only ensures access to emergency healthcare, primary education, and basic financial assistance.

There are some gaps in protection against the arbitrary detention of stateless people. Under the Slovenian Constitution, a proportionality test must be carried out when deciding to detain, but in practice a country of removal may not be identified prior to detaining, and alternatives to detention are not routinely considered. There are provisions in nationality law to prevent statelessness in the case of foundlings, adopted children and most children born to Slovenian parents abroad. However, the acquisition of nationality at birth by children born in Slovenia who would otherwise be stateless depends on the status of the parents, who must be stateless or unknown. Slovenia generally performs well on birth registration, but there is no framework or procedure for determining a child’s nationality if born to foreign nationals in the country and there have been reports of officials refusing to register paternity where parents are unable to produce a marriage certificate. Slovenia has received several UPR recommendations relating to the status of ‘erased persons’.

Last updated: 
Mar 2021
Next scheduled update: 
Mar 2022
Country expert(s): 

Katarina Vučko, The Peace Institute

Additional resources






International and Regional Instruments

Assesses whether countries are State party to the relevant international and regional instruments, including whether reservations have an impact on statelessness, and whether instruments are incorporated into domestic law. The four core statelessness treaties (1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons; 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness; European Convention on Nationality; Council of Europe Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in Relation to State Succession) carry more weight than other relevant human rights instruments in the assessment.

Slovenia is State party to only one of the core statelessness conventions, the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons. It is not party to the 1961 Convention, the European Convention on Nationality, nor the European Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in Relation to State Succession. Slovenia is party to most other relevant human rights treaties without reservations impacting on statelessness and is bound by the EU Returns Directive.

  • Slovenia is party to the 1954 Convention with no reservations, and it has direct effect.
  • Slovenia is not State party to the 1961 Convention.
  • Slovenia is not State party to the European Convention on Nationality nor to the Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in Relation to State Succession.
  • Slovenia is State party to most other relevant international and regional human rights treaties, except for the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers, and is bound by the EU Returns Directive. Its reservation to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination does not have a direct impact on statelessness.

Statelessness Population Data

Examines the availability and sources of disaggregated population data on statelessness. Provides recent figures and assesses reliability of measures countries have in place to count stateless persons, including in the census, population registries, and migration databases. Notes whether statelessness has been mapped in the country and whether there are sufficient measures in place to count stateless persons in detention.

There is little available data on the stateless population in Slovenia. The last census collected some unpublished data on people of ‘unknown nationality’, but it is unclear who is included in this category. The Ministry of Interior collects data on people claiming statelessness during immigration, international protection, and naturalisation procedures, though there are overlapping categories and recent data has been limited. There has been no mapping study of the stateless population in Slovenia. Some data is collected on stateless people held in detention, but this is not published.

  • The National Statistical Office of Slovenia does not collect data on stateless people. The category of 'unknown nationality' was included in the last census questionnaire but it was not included in the official census report. The census fieldwork questionnaires returned a figure of 2,527 people of ‘unknown nationality’ in 2002, but it is not clear whether this figure represents stateless people and/or people who did not answer the question.
  • The Ministry of Interior collects data on people claiming statelessness during immigration, asylum, and naturalisation procedures (although it also has a separate category of 'unknown nationality'). Between 2009-2013, five people received nationality through facilitated naturalisation for stateless people; a permanent residence permit was issued to 13 stateless people under the Foreigners Act in this period; and one stateless person was granted international protection. Between 2013-2019, 17 asylum seekers with ‘unknown nationality’ and 69 ‘Palestinians’ were recorded, and six stateless people were relocated from Greece to Slovenia under the EU Relocation scheme in 2017. No further data was available at the time of writing (February 2021).
  • In 2016, UNHCR noted that ‘a certain group lost their legal status following independence in 1991’ (referring to the ‘erased’ people of Slovenia), but states that the number of stateless people in Slovenia is yet unknown. Its latest Global Trends report gives a figure of four persons under its statelessness mandate in Slovenia in 2019 (which, according to UNHCR, refers to four stateless asylum-seekers).
  • Studies of statelessness in Slovenia have been carried out by NGOs and academics, concluding that the lack of reliable data is a major problem, with particular population groups including Roma and ‘erased persons’, who lost their legal status after Slovenian independence, being at particular risk of statelessness, and that government figures are very likely to be an underrepresentation.
  • The ‘Centre for Foreigners’ in Slovenia records the number of stateless people and people of ‘unknown nationality’ in detention, and provided this on request, but it does not routinely publish this data. In June 2017, one stateless person and one person of unknown nationality were being held in the ‘Centre for Foreigners’; between 2012-2017, a total of three stateless people and two people with unknown nationality had been detained according to the centre. No further data was available at the time of writing (February 2021).

Statelessness Determination and Status

Identifies whether countries have a definition of a stateless person in national law that aligns with the 1954 Convention, and whether they have a dedicated statelessness determination procedure (SDP) leading to a dedicated stateless status. If an SDP is not place, it assesses whether there are other procedures in which statelessness can be identified or other routes through which stateless people could regularise their stay or access their rights. Countries are subdivided in three groups to enable comparison between those with an SDP leading to protection, those with other procedures, and those with a stateless status but no clear mechanism to access protection. The existing procedures and rights granted to stateless persons are examined and assessed against international norms and good practice.

Slovenia does not have a dedicated statelessness determination procedure, but there are other administrative procedures through which statelessness can be identified (for example an application for residence or naturalisation). However, there is no dedicated stateless status and no obligation in law to consider a claim of statelessness, nor clear instructions, guidance or training for officials conducting the assessment. The definition of a stateless person in Slovenian law is narrower than the 1954 Convention. The burden of proof is on the applicant, the standard of proof is very high, and legal aid is only available for judicial review. Rights conferred on a stateless person depend on their eligibility for residence or nationality, and those with ‘permission to stay’, for example, have access only to emergency healthcare, education, and basic financial assistance.

  • There is a definition of a stateless person in Slovenian law, but it is not fully in line with the 1954 Convention, as it refers to a ‘foreigner’ (rather than a ‘person’) who is not deemed to be a national of any country ‘in accordance with the legal acts of individual countries’, which is narrower than the 1954 Convention definition, a person ‘who is not considered as a national by any state under the operation of its law’.
  • No training is available to inform different government bodies about statelessness nor is there any training for judges and lawyers on statelessness.
  • There is no dedicated SDP, but statelessness can be identified through other administrative procedures.
  • Statelessness can be identified through procedures within the ‘Foreigners Act’ for receiving temporary or permanent residence, in international protection procedures, or under the ‘Citizenship Act’ if applying for nationality as a stateless person.
  • If someone claims to be stateless, the authorities may examine possible connections to specific countries with a view to ascertaining whether any nationality is held.
  • The assessment takes place at local level and there is no obligation in law to consider a claim for statelessness, but the authorities may do so if it is relevant.
  • There are no clear instructions on how to make a claim of statelessness.
  • There is no training for public officials or cooperation between different actors on the question of statelessness.
  • The burden of proof lies with the applicant in the assessment of statelessness.
  • The standard of proof is 'certainty', which excludes any doubt. This is higher than in asylum procedures, where the standard is 'reasonable likelihood'.
  • There are no guidelines for decision-makers.
  • There is no legal aid available during the assessment, though it is available for judicial review of the administrative decision.
  • An interview is not always offered during the process, though an applicant’s testimony can be used as evidence if there is a lack of evidence.
  • An applicant has the right to an interpreter but must cover the costs themselves.
  • Decisions are given in writing with reasons.
  • There is no dedicated stateless protection status, but a stateless person may be granted a residence permit, permission to stay, or nationality, depending on their circumstances. However, no rights are granted solely on the basis of statelessness.
  • In procedures for residence permits, there is usually a requirement to provide a valid passport, which is a challenge for stateless people. This should lead to the identification of a person as stateless, however, there are no consequences to the identification of statelessness.
  • The length of residence permit granted depends on the type of status the person applies for and whether they fulfil the conditions. Permission to stay under Article 73 of the Foreigners Act is issued for six months and can be renewed. A temporary residence permit may be issued with a validity of up to one year, which can be renewed.
  • People with permission to stay have the right to emergency healthcare, basic financial assistance, and access to primary education for minors. Those with permanent residence have almost the same rights as nationals apart from the right to vote in national elections and to run for office, but they can vote in local elections. People with temporary residence have fewer rights, such as no access to financial social assistance.
  • There is a route to naturalisation for stateless people in Slovenia, which is facilitated to some extent. Stateless people are exempt from proving their release from a former nationality and may apply for naturalisation after five years legal residence, which is reduced from the standard 10 years.
  • However, naturalisation is at the discretion of the competent authority and must be 'in accordance with the national interest'. A stateless person must hold a temporary or permanent residence permit and fulfil the other standard conditions: be over 18 years-old; possess funds to secure their material and social security; pass a basic Slovenian language exam; not have been sentenced to more than three months imprisonment or a suspended sentence of more than one year; not be a threat to public order or security; and have settled all tax obligations.
  • There is a fee for naturalisation (for adults and children) of 181.20 EUR. Only one fee is paid if a family applies together. There is a provision for exemptions to the fee, but this applies to foreign nationals under conditions of reciprocity and there is no mention in the law of any exemption for stateless persons.


Analyses law, policy and practice relating to immigration detention generally, but focusing on protections in place to prevent the arbitrary detention of stateless people during removal and deportation procedures. Subthemes examine areas such as detention decision-making, how alternatives to detention are legislated for and implemented, procedural safeguards such as time limits, judicial oversight, and effective remedies, as well as protections on release.

There are few protections against the arbitrary detention of stateless people in Slovenia. Under the Constitution, a proportionality test must be carried out when deciding to detain, but in practice, a country of removal may not be identified prior to detaining, and alternatives to detention are not routinely considered, though they are set out in law as ‘more lenient measures’. There is a time limit on detention, but it can be extended even if the person cannot be removed through no fault of their own. Detention is only subject to independent review after the first three-month extension, and there are very limited remedies for an individual to challenge their detention. A renewable six-month permit to stay with access to some basic rights may be granted on release.

  • The law does not require a country of removal to be identified prior to detention for removal, and alternatives are only considered after a detention order has been issued.
  • Statelessness is not considered a juridically relevant fact in decisions to detain and stateless people are detained in practice.
  • It is not set out in law that detention should only be used as a last resort, but under the Constitution a proportionality test must be carried out when making a decision to detain.
  • Vulnerability assessments are not prescribed by law, but vulnerability is assessed during the individual decision to detain. However, statelessness is not considered a vulnerability factor and the identification of vulnerability does not necessarily prevent detention.
  • The provision for alternatives to detention exists in law - referred to as 'more lenient measures' - and may include restriction on freedom of movement, designation of place of residence, and reporting to the police. But these are only considered after the decision to detain and not prior or during the decision-making process.
  • The law does not stipulate a specific time limit or review for alternatives.
  • Detention is not a measure of last resort in practice as the authorities will first issue the detention decision and then consider alternatives. Case law shows that alternatives are not always considered in every case.
  • A maximum period of detention is set out in law (six months plus six months), but the six-month extension can be applied even where a delay to removal is through no fault of the person concerned.
  • The law provides that reasons for detention are given in writing and that detainees are regularly informed about their rights and obligations, but it is not clear how this is fulfilled in practice.
  • There are periodic ex-officio reviews of detention, but the first is carried out by the Ministry of Interior only after three months, and judicial review takes place only if the detention is extended for more than three months beyond the initial six-month time limit.
  • Individuals may challenge their detention through the Administrative Court, but there is a very short deadline (three days) and no free legal aid.
  • There are no rules or guidance for the process of re-documentation or ascertaining nationality.
  • There is no State funded free legal aid to challenge detention, although there is an NGO that provides legal assistance to detainees.
  • There has only been one case where a stateless person has been released from detention between 2012-2017 and issued a permission to stay and an identity card. In all other cases, stateless people released from detention have applied for international protection. No further data is available for 2018-20.
  • If removal is not possible, a person released from detention will receive permission to stay for six months (extendable) conferring the right to emergency healthcare, basic social security, and access to primary education, though in practice most will not qualify for financial assistance if they have friends or family who can support them.
  • There is no provision in the law that cumulative time spent in detention is counted towards the maximum time limit.
  • Slovenia has entered into bilateral agreements in which statelessness is mentioned (for example with Italy and Croatia) and others in which it is not (for example with Austria and Hungary). In the agreements with Italy and Croatia, the obligation to admit does not apply where the Contracting Party has recognised the status of a stateless person under the 1954 Convention, but at the same time, the agreement prescribes the same treatment for stateless people as for third country nationals.
  • Very limited information is available about how such agreements are implemented in practice as there is no access to the proceedings and no monitoring by civil society.

Prevention and Reduction

Assesses the adequacy of safeguards in nationality laws to prevent and reduce statelessness, including protections for otherwise stateless children born on the territory or to nationals abroad, foundlings and adopted children. Examines law, policy, and practice on birth registration, including access to late birth registration, reduction measures taken by states to prevent and reduce statelessness among groups at high risk, and provisions for the deprivation of nationality.

There are provisions in Slovenian law to prevent statelessness in the case of foundlings, most adopted children and children born abroad to Slovenian parents. However, there are significant gaps. The safeguard in nationality law to prevent statelessness among children born in Slovenia relies on the status of the parents rather than the child. The parents of a stateless child born on the territory must also be stateless (or unknown) for the child to acquire Slovenian nationality. Birth registration law and practice is generally positive and late birth registration is possible, though subject to a fine. However, Slovenia has received a number of Universal Periodic Review recommendations relating to the civil registration of ‘erased persons’ and their children.

  • There is a provision in law for automatic acquisition of nationality at birth by anyone born stateless on the territory to parents who are stateless or of unknown nationality. Other children born stateless (to parents who cannot pass on their nationality) are not covered by the provisions of the law.
  • Children are not required to prove they cannot access another nationality, but the nationality status of the parents is closely examined and there is often a presumption of nationality, effectively leaving children at risk of statelessness.
  • There is no requirement that the parents meet a period of legal residence and there is no time limit for the child to acquire nationality as the provision is automatic.
  • Slovenia has received a number of Universal Periodic Review recommendations relating to the status of 'erased persons' and their children.
  • There is a provision in law for foundlings to automatically acquire nationality. There is no explicit time limit although the provision refers to anyone under the age of 18.
  • There is a provision for Slovenian nationality to be withdrawn upon the request of the parents, if, before the child’s 18th birthday, it is determined that the parents are foreign nationals. The general conditions for loss of nationality require proof that the person has or will be granted another nationality. This should apply in the case of foundlings, but the provision on the withdrawal of the nationality of foundlings does not contain an explicit safeguard.
  • It is possible that an adopted child could lose their Slovenian nationality, though proof should be provided that the child will acquire (or already has) another nationality before it is withdrawn. The adopted child’s nationality may cease only if required by the foreign adoptive parent.
  • The law provides for automatic acquisition of nationality by children adopted by a Slovenian national. The general rules for children born abroad to one national and one non-national parent (to which the relevant rule refers) require the parent to register the child before they turn 18, but registration is unnecessary if the child would otherwise remain stateless. Only children under 18 may be adopted under Slovenian law.
  • The law provides that if both parents are Slovenian, the child acquires nationality automatically by descent irrespective of where they were born.
  • If only one parent is a national and the child is born abroad, the child acquires nationality automatically at birth if the other parent is unknown or of unknown nationality or stateless. Where the other parent is a foreign national, the child acquires nationality automatically at birth if they would otherwise be stateless.
  • The law provides that all children born in Slovenia should have access to the birth registration procedure regardless of their parents' status and all children are issued with birth certificates upon registration.
  • The time limit for the declaration of a birth is 15 days. Late birth registration is possible in practice but most children are born in healthcare facilities, which facilitate automatic birth registration.
  • Failure to declare a birth within the time limit is punishable by a fine. Natural persons may pay a fine of 100-200 EUR and legal persons (for example, a hospital) of 1,000-4,500 EUR.
  • There are no mandatory reporting requirements that might deter families from contacting the authorities to register a birth.
  • A child's nationality is determined and recorded at birth registration if the child is considered a Slovenian national. If the child is a foreign national born in Slovenia, nationality is not recorded and there is no procedure for later determining the child’s nationality. There are reports of registry officials not registering paternity in the case of foreign parents who cannot produce a marriage certificate, and even refusing to correct the record if a marriage certificate is later produced.
  • Slovenia has received several Universal Periodic Review recommendations relating to access to civil registration for 'erased persons' and their children.
  • There is no evidence of any proactive outreach campaigns by the Government to facilitate birth registration, nor any recent measures to reduce statelessness.
  • An in-depth study on statelessness in Slovenia by the NGO Peace Institute concluded that the Romani population and ‘erased persons’ are the two groups that have been disproportionately exposed to statelessness. However, there are no sources of statistics or estimates of the scale of statelessness within these two population groups. 
  • In 2002, an amendment to the Citizenship Act prescribed more lenient conditions for acquiring nationality for people who were permanent residents of the Republic of Slovenia on 23 December 1990 and had since uninterruptedly resided in Slovenia. However, the measure was valid only for one year after the amendment entered into force.
  • There are safeguards to prevent statelessness in all provisions for loss and deprivation of nationality.
  • To renounce Slovenian nationality, a person must prove they have another nationality or that they will acquire one. If the person does not acquire another nationality within one year, they may request the annulment of the decision to renounce Slovenian nationality.
  • For decisions on deprivation, local administrative offices are the competent authority. Appeal rights are the same as for other administrative procedures, and, as in other proceedings, there is no legal aid. In exceptional cases, the proceedings may be initiated without involving the person affected by the deprivation decision.
  • There are provisions that allow for deprivation of nationality in a national security context if the person resides abroad and their actions harm international or other interests of the Republic of Slovenia. There is a safeguard against statelessness in these cases.


Library of resources, legal instruments, publications and training materials on statelessness, specifically relevant to this country. More regional and international materials, as well as resources from other countries, are available on the Resources library. Domestic case law can be consulted in the Statelessness Case Law Database (with summaries available in English).

Please note that we are in the process of adding new resources, so check back soon.

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