Rutland Ježek offers advice on obtaining dual citizenship under a new Czech law
This is a sponsored article provided by Rutland Ježek, advokátní kancelář.
In order to enable foreigners residing in the Czech Republic to obtain a dual citizenship, a proposal of a new Act on Citizenship was prepared by the Ministry of Interior.
1) Can a foreigner keep his/her citizenship when he/she applies for the Czech citizenship under current legislation?
A foreigner can obtain Czech citizenship by birth, by adoption, by determination of fatherhood, by declaration or by granting when he/she meets the conditions described in the Czech Act on Citizenship. We will describe here only the situations which the foreigners usually are dealing with, i.e. obtaining of Czech citizenship either through a declaration or by granting.
When a foreigner wants to be granted Czech citizenship, he/she has to prove, that he/she will lose his/her original citizenship by granting of the Czech citizenship or that he/she lost the original citizenship. However, there are several exceptions. At present, these exceptions apply to persons who are citizens of a state which does not allow its citizens to lose their citizenship or also apply to cases, when the release from the citizenship is connected with unacceptable conditions, high administrative fees, or in cases when by applying for the release from the citizenship, the applicant can expose either himself/herself or his/her close relative or partner to persecution on grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. Other exception applies to situations when gaining of the Czech citizenship would be a significant benefit to the Czech Republic in terms of science, society, culture or sports.
2) Does this exception also apply to former Czech citizens?
Yes, this exception also applies to persons, who are former Czech (Czechoslovak) citizens and lost their Czech (Czechoslovak) citizenship. This is usually the situation of emigrants from the time of the communist regime. They can apply for Czech citizenship through simplified procedure, i.e. by declaration (In Czech: “prohlášením”). According to the current legislation, only persons who lost their Czech citizenship in the period between February 25th 1948 and March 28th 1990 are entitled to get confirmation of their Czech citizenship by declaration. The person who wants to obtain back his/her Czech citizenship has to prove when he/she obtained the citizenship he/she has, e.g. by naturalization certificate or another official document stating the exact date, when the citizenship was obtained.
3) What will be changed if the proposal of the new Act on Citizenship is approved?
According to the proposed Act, a person who applies for the Czech citizenship will not be obliged to prove the loss of his/her original one and therefore, he/she will be allowed to keep his/her citizenship, i.e. to have dual citizenship when obtaining the Czech one. Also, Czechs who apply for another citizenship will not be obliged to lose the Czech citizenship when obtaining the foreign one under the Czech law.
4) What else will the new Act change?
If the proposal of the new Act on Citizenship is approved, the former Czech (Czechoslovak) citizens who lost their Czech (Czechoslovak) citizenship, and also their children and grandchildren will be able to obtain back their Czech citizenship. The biggest and most important change is that it will not apply only on former Czech (Czechoslovak) citizens, who lost their Czech citizenship between 1948 and 1990, but also to those who emigrated after the year 1990 or to their children and grandchildren. Therefore, the person, who applies for the Czech citizenship through the simplified procedure, will not be obliged to prove the exact date, when he/she was gained the foreign citizenship.
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