Czech nationality law

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Coat of arms of the Czech Republic.svg

The citizenship law of the Czech Republic is based on the principles of jus sanguinis or "right by blood". In other words, descent from a Czech parent is the primary method of acquiring Czech citizenship (together with naturalisation). Birth on Czech territory without a Czech parent is in itself insufficient for the conferral of Czech citizenship. Every Czech citizen is also a citizen of the European Union. The law came into effect on 1 January 1993, the date of the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, and has been amended in 1993, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2003 and 2005. Since 1 January 2014, multiple citizenship under Czech law is allowed.[1][2]

Citizenship by birth[edit]

The cover of a biometric Czech passport

The principle of jus sanguinis is used to determine eligibility for citizenship, as is typical in Europe. In principle, any person born to a Czech citizen is a Czech citizen at birth. Whether the person is born in the Czech Republic or elsewhere is irrelevant. Where only the father is Czech, and the parents are unmarried, proof of paternity is required - by the parents making a concerted declaration before the Registry Office or a court. Children born in the Czech Republic to non-Czech parents do not acquire Czech citizenship unless:

Children aged less than 15 years found on the territory of the Czech Republic (where identity of the parents cannot be established) are deemed to be Czech citizens.

Emigrants[edit]

During the communist era (1948–89) hundreds of thousands of Czechoslovakian citizens had emigrated into the West. The regime punished emigration by removing Czechoslovak citizenship, along with property confiscation and in absentia prison sentences. Since the Velvet Revolution in 1989, many emigrants demanded their citizenship be restored. Between 1999 and 2004, a special measure allowed them to regain the citizenship,[3] but a few people took advantage of the wording, which "granted" citizenship rather than "restored" it and so got dual citizenship. A few people from Volhynia and Romania also got citizenship.

Declaration[edit]

If a person was a citizen of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic as of 31 December 1992, he may declare citizenship of either the Czech Republic or Slovakia (gaining Slovak citizenship) assuming he does not have any other citizenship. The Slovak provision allowing for this grant expired in 1993, however the Czech equivalent remains in the citizenship law.

Naturalisation[edit]

Resident foreigners or stateless persons who have for at least five years held a right of permanent residence and have resided in the Czech Republic for most of that time can apply for Czech naturalisation if they can prove they have lost or will lose their original citizenship upon being granted Czech citizenship (valid till December 31, 2013), are of good character and are proficient in the Czech language (current or former Slovak citizens are exempt from language requirements). Parents can apply for their children under 15 years of age, and naturalisation occurs at the discretion of the Interior Ministry.

The residence requirement can be waived if the person has a permanent residence permit and

  • was born on the territory of the Czech Republic, or
  • has lived there for at least 10 years continuously, or
  • has held Czech citizenship before, or
  • was adopted by a Czech citizen, or
  • his or her spouse is a Czech citizen, or
  • at least one of his or her parents is a Czech citizen, or
  • has relocated to the Czech Republic before 31 December 1994 on the invitation of the Czech government, or
  • is stateless or has refugee status in the Czech Republic[4]

Loss of citizenship[edit]

The information-page of a Czech passport

Involuntary[edit]

The involuntary loss of citizenship is constitutionally prohibited. However, before the 2013 Citizenship Act (effective as of January 1, 2014) it was sometimes argued by emigrants and emigrant groups that the restrictions on dual citizenship were a form of involuntary deprivation of citizenship.[5]

Voluntary (restrictions on dual citizenship)[edit]

Czech citizenship can be renounced voluntarily if doing so wouldn't cause one to be stateless unless it is in connection with a marriage or by birth – the Czech Republic does not require children born with another nationality to renounce it upon reaching maturity. Dual Czech-Japanese citizens who acquired those citizenships by birth must nonetheless decide whether to renounce the European or Japanese citizenship upon reaching age 22, making the declaration to the Japanese Ministry of Justice.[citation needed]

Waiving the requirements[edit]

The Czech Ministry of Interior can waive all citizenship requirements if the person cannot be released from the original citizenship, if the other state refuses to issue confirmation of the loss of citizenship, if the loss of foreign citizenship would result in persecution, if it is in the political interests of the Czech Republic, or if the applicant has resided on the territory of what is today the Czech Republic for at least twenty years.

Case studies[edit]

  • Petr was a Czech citizen who has married an Australian woman, Blanche. After a few years, he successfully applied for Australian citizenship. He is permitted to keep his Czech citizenship as he has gained it in connection with a marriage, becoming a dual national. Newly (as of January 1, 2014) he can keep his Czech citizenship even if he didn't marry in Australia and just obtained his Australian citizenship as a single (before 2014 in this case he would automatically lose the Czech citizenship as the voluntary dual citizenship was not by legal principle tolerated, supported nor allowed).
  • Jana is Petr's daughter. She is twelve years old and she was included in her father's application for citizenship. She lost her Czech citizenship as she has gained her Australian one by her own free will (in this case through her father, who acted on her behalf), and not in connection with a birth or a marriage. Newly (effective 2014), she could keep the Czech citizenship or surrender it at her own will (voluntary decision).
  • Before 2014: Bob was a British citizen. He wished to apply for the Czech citizenship, but as the Czech Republic did not allow dual citizenship, he was required to renounce his British citizenship in order to gain the Czech one. As of 2014: he can keep his British citizenship and thus have both (dual citizenship regime).
  • Paul left Czechoslovakia in 1986 and became a citizen of the United States. His Czechoslovak citizenship was confiscated by communist authorities, however he could reclaim it between 1999 and 2004 due to a special law passed by the Czech parliament (see section Emigrants).

Proof of citizenship[edit]

Czech citizenship can be proved by presenting a national identification card (občanský průkaz), a travel document (such as a Czech passport), a proof of citizenship document, or a marriage certificate (if citizenship details are included).

Citizenship of the European Union[edit]

Czech citizens are also citizens of the European Union and thus enjoy rights of free movement and have the right to vote in elections for the European Parliament.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]