1. Who exactly qualifies for citizenship by descent according to the new rules valid from April 2022?
Try our online tool to find out if you are eligible.
There are two basic routes: A) option for individuals with a Certificate of a Slovak Living Abroad, or B) option for individuals without the SLA Certificate. Although both routes have different legal requirements for ancestors and applicants, they substantially overlap. Many people with Slovak heritage will be eligible for citizenship through both routes. However, there are cases where only one of the routes is available to applicants (eg too distant ancestors). If your goal is to gain EU citizenship, you might be eligible for Czech or Hungarian citizenship.
Option B) concerns individuals whose parents, grandparents or great grand-parents were at some point Czechoslovak citizens and were born in today’s territory of Slovakia. The law does not require that they were citizens or lived in Czechoslovakia their entire life. The fact that they gained citizenship at any point in their life will suffice. If your ancestors do not qualify (eg because they were born outside the territory, or were not Czechoslovak citizens), you can still gain citizenship through a certificate of a Slovak Living Abroad.
Option A) concerns individuals with a certificate of a Slovak Living Abroad who can convert it into Slovak citizenship under some circumstances. In order to obtain an SLA Certificate, you have to fulfil different requirements for ancestry. Generally, your direct ancestor must have self-identified as being of Slovak nationality. There is no explicit requirement that your ancestors were citizens, or that they ever lived in Slovakia or Czechoslovakia.
2. Is residency in Slovakia a requirement under all forms of citizenship by descent?
Despite the political signals that this might change, the law still requires residency during the application process for citizenship by descent. However, residency does not mean a long-term stay. For instance, if the application process takes a year, a stay of approximately six months would be sufficient. During this time, you can stay in Slovakia for various reasons, ranging from studying, working, conducting business, or engaging in research during a sabbatical. Once the citizenship application is successfully processed, you can de-register and leave.
We can assist you with finding local partners who could offer you a research stay, temporary employment or suggest places to study.
3. Will everyone who is eligible for citizenship by descent automatically obtain residency?
No. Residency has its own rules. Generally, unless you are an EU citizen, you need a justification for an application for residency (eg work, study, business, research, family reunion, etc.). Simply staying in Slovakia as a resident without any local engagement, eg for the purposes of retirement, is not possible. However, if you have a certificate of a Slovak Living Abroad, you can gain residency in Slovakia regardless of the purpose of your stay.
4. How long does the citizenship application process take?
By law, it can last a maximum of 24 months, unless the authority needs to consult different authorities on your case. During this period, all applicants must at least temporary residence in Slovakia, which usually means they have to spend at least 183 days per year in the country. However, individuals with pre-existing residence in another EU state have a more advantageous regime.
5. Who exactly qualifies as a Czechoslovak citizen?
This is a complex question, which usually requires reviewing your particular circumstances.