Legal Advice: Emigration
Legal advice from those in the know
My dear friend, in my time I’ve met people with many crazy ambitions, but this one tops the lot. To help you understand exactly what you’d be getting yourself into by applying for Czech citizenship, let’s start with a quick history lesson.
As you’re no doubt aware, the Czech Republic was separated from Slovakia in the “Velvet Divorce” of 1993. At this time the Czech Republic was widely considered (especially by the Czechs themselves) to be the “better” part of the previous federation, especially in economic terms. There was widespread apprehension on the part of the Czechs that a great many Slovaks would want to move here immediately.
Accordingly one of the first acts of the newly-established Czech government was to pass law No. 40/1993 Coll., regulating applications for Czech citizenship. This law had one primary aim: to make it very, very difficult for non-Czechs to become Czech citizens. We’ve amended this law six times in the last decade, but it remains one of the most rigid, unforgiving laws in the entire legal system. Generally, there are two ways to obtain Czech citizenship. The first way is for one of your parents to be a Czech citizen. Any child of a Czech citizen is automatically entitled to Czech citizenship, regardless of where the child is born and who the other parent is. If one of your parents is a Czech citizen all you need to do is fill out an administrative form proving this, and you’ll be granted citizenship. But I’m assuming here that neither of your parents are Czech citizens. In this case you can apply to have citizenship awarded to you, but as we will see, it’s a long, difficult and most probably pointless process...
To apply for an award of citizenship, you first need to fulfill one of the following residence requirements. Normally you must: (a) have had the official status of “permanent resident” in the Czech Republic for at least 5 years; (b) have had a “long term resident” visa for at least 10 years; or (c) be married to someone who is a Czech citizen. Note that “permanent residence” and “long term residence” aren’t questions of fact: they’re specific legal terms relating to the sort of permission the Czech government has given you to live here. So far, so good. But here’s the really tough requirement: to be awarded citizenship you must be “unbound from the state citizenship of another state.” What does this mean? It means you can’t simultaneously be a Czech citizen and a citizen of another state. In short, if for example you’re an American citizen, you’ll have to surrender your American citizenship before you can be awarded the Czech equivalent. Anyone wishing to revoke their current citizenship can do so by obtaining a document from their home state to this effect. But think very, very carefully before doing this! If you’re, say, a refugee from Chechnya, then sure, you’ve got nothing to lose by revoking your current citizenship. In the other hand, if you’ve got a US passport or one of those increasingly-popular EU ones, are you sure you want to swap it for Czech citizenship?
Originally, the intention of this law was to remove the possibility of having both Czech and Slovak citizenship, or, more accurately, to stop Slovak citizens from obtaining Czech citizenship. I’ll go further and say that, in my opinion, the law was constructed in this way specifically to stop the emigration of Roma from eastern Slovakian ghettos. In any case it’s an absurd law, and one that almost always involves the would-be Czech citizen renouncing far more than he could possibly gain from the procedure.
In conclusion: don’t become a Czech citizen! Aim to become a permanent resident instead. As soon as you are granted permanent resident’s status you will have virtually all the rights and duties of a Czech citizen, with only minor exceptions: you won’t be able to vote in Czech elections, nor will you be able to stand for election to public office. I’m sure that even a brief survey of the Czech political scene will convince you that these aren’t great sacrifices to make in order to keep your own passport.
Send your questions to email@example.com or contact Klara Vesela-Samkova directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your personal details will be treated with the strictest confidence. Legal is edited by Craig Duncan.
Behind the Scenes of the Mikuláš Tradition by Emily Prucha - Prague.TV
Praising the nice and punishing the naughty
Prague is the best place to live by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV (Foto: Prague.eu)
A survey of Czech regions compared over 50 criteria
Czech Republic is the fourth-best place for expats by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV (Foto: Prague.eu)
A survey by HSBC shows the country jumping up from 18th place last year
Why do you get the day off on October 28th? by Olena Kagui - Prague.TV
Czechs & Slovaks are celebrating the establishment of the Independent State
Czech remedies for an early cold season by Emily Prucha - Prague.TV (Foto: czechtourism.com)
Weathering the sniffles and keeping fit as temperatures drop
Prague has best quality of life in the Czech Republic by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV (Foto: prague.eu)
Study shows that the country overall lags behind Northern Europe
Getting Married in Prague by Olena Kagui - Prague.TV (Foto: czechtourism.com)
Everything you need to know about tying the knot in the heart of Europe
Prague’s Lost and Found by Olena Kagui - Prague.TV (Foto: Praha.eu)
Find out where to go if you lose something you love
More foreigners may vote in local Czech elections by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Changes to the voting law should allow EU citizens with temporary residence to vote
Registering at the Foreign Police by Olena Kagui - Prague.TV
The entire registration process can take as little as 15 minutes and it is nothing to worry about
Get discounts on speed dating and meet other singles...
Kids Indoor Playground in Prague 5, OC Zlicin
Uncover the unique story behind the Staropramen brewery in...
Your cheapest calls home!
Visa, green card, Trade license, Llc company, work permit,...
Short and long term rentals, help with relocation. We speak...
International moving and storage specialists