Guidelines for incoming scholarship holders REGARDING their stay in Slovakia in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic situation
SAIA's current recommendations for incoming scholarship holders (last modified: 20 May 2022):
- NO RESTRICTIONS APPLY TO STAYS IN SLOVAKIA
Although it may seem that the Covid-19 pandemic is slowly at bay, and countries across the globe have removed their restrictions, it is still necessary to pay close attention to certain obligations to ensure a smooth course of your planned scholarship stay. Therefore, we have collected some advice and recommendations for scholarship holders who are awarded scholarships by SAIA (i.e. within the framework of the National Scholarship Programme, CEEPUS and Action Austria-Slovakia):
When planning your stay, inform yourself about the cancellation conditions of the booked services beforehand (e.g. tickets, air tickets, accommodation), and consider not only the lowest price but also the booking conditions risk in case of a sudden change of pandemic situation (e. g. introduction of strict Covid-19 spread restrictions in Slovakia, in your home country or in your transit country) that might prevent you from travelling or causes premature termination of your stay.
In light of the unstable and changing global situation, we recommend scholarship holders to:
- check the current conditions in Slovakia (e.g. on the website of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic or at the Slovak Embassy territorially competent for your home country), as well as in the countries you will be transiting through as a scholarship holder during your trip (for these countries it is best to check the conditions with the responsible state authorities in the relevant country, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Interior); it is especially necessary to verify the entry and transit conditions of the countries you will be travelling through, e.g. whether a test is required to enter the country (check what type of test is accepted, the validity period of the test result, what document is required, etc.), and also whether you are required to take a test to enter the country), or whether a vaccination certificate is sufficient (check what type of vaccine is accepted, what is the validity of the vaccination certificate in the country, what type of certificate is required, etc.), or whether there are time restrictions on the transit time period, etc.,
- if travelling by air, check the conditions of the relevant airline company regarding anti-pandemic measures. These may differ (conditions may be even significantly stricter) from those applicable in the country you are departing from or arriving into.
- take out travel insurance that covers not only medical costs for Covid-19 but also losses caused by accommodation and/or travel ticket cancellation (also referred to as trip cancellation) due to Covid-19 (to ensure that if your trip is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, such as illness or a quarantine order, your loss of money is kept to a minimum),
- contact the host institution before travelling (e.g. one week in advance) to check whether physical mobility is possible due to possible measures taken by the institution (some institutions may not accept visits from abroad or may be closed to staff and students visits, etc., so check if this applies to you so that you do not travel in vain),
- the day before you travel, check with your Ministry of Foreign Affairs to see what travel advice has been issued for Slovakia as the country of your temporary residence (we recommend taking a screenshot - printscreen of the travel advice together with verifiable information about the date and time of the printscreen - you may find this useful for proving the validity of health insurance during your stay, as well as for proving the emergence of the unforeseen circumstances after you have arrived, etc.),
- the day before your departure, we also recommend you to verify on the SAIA website whether we, as the scholarship disbursement organisation aware of the current situation, have issued a recommendation not to travel to Slovakia for the scholarship stay and if we do issue such a recommendation, not to take the trip.
During your stay, please follow the instructions of the national or local authorities in your country of residence regarding anti-pandemic measures. Also, respect the instructions and recommendations of the receiving institution on these matters. For example, the fact that at the time of your travel to Slovakia there were more lenient measures in your home country than in Slovakia does not mean that you are not obliged to respect those stricter measures (the Covid-19 pandemic situation in each country may be fundamentally different).
Again, before leaving Slovakia and returning home, check the current conditions of entry to your country of destination and the countries you will transit through on your journey.
In the event that, just before or during your stay, your scholarship stay is affected by a sudden change of situation due to extraordinary (unforeseen) circumstances, the "Guidelines for Awarding and Disbursement of Scholarships and Travel Grants According to Standard Conditions and Conditions During Extraordinary Circumstances " may apply:
- the binding version of the Guidelines in Slovak (PDF download),
- an informative translation of the Guidelines into English (PDF download).
These Guidelines set out some rules to mitigate the adverse effects of an emergency situation to which you have been subjected due to force majeure through no individual fault of your own - we recommend that you read the Guidelines before you start your trip, so that you know what financial assistance you can expect over and above the scholarship you have been awarded, or whether you can apply for a virtual mobility grant instead of a physical mobility grant.
We hope that our recommendations will help you enjoy your international experience despite the pandemic measures and their impact on your scholarship stay.