On 01 April 2022, an amendment to Act No. 40/1993 Coll. on Citizenship of the Slovak Republic, comes into force, which in some cases considerably simplifies the acquisition of Slovak citizenship or ensures its preservation in a situation where it would have been lost under the old legislation.
The amendment regulates three basic issues, namely: it will allow citizens of the Slovak Republic living in the territory of another country for a long time to acquire citizenship of that country without losing their Slovak citizenship. Furthermore, it addresses the situation of persons who lost their Slovak citizenship as a result of the tightening of the law in 2010, so that it can be restored to them on the basis of the standard European principles for acquiring citizenship. Finally, it will simplify the conditions for acquiring citizenship for Slovaks living abroad and persons whose ancestors were citizens of the Slovak Republic
Acquisition of the citizenship of another country without losing the Slovak citizenship
The original legislation in force until 31 March 2022 was very strict in terms of the conditions for the loss of citizenship of the Slovak Republic ex lege if a Slovak citizen acquires citizenship of another country. This loss occurred automatically on the day when the person acquired another citizenship.
However, the amendment to the Act on Citizenship, pursuant to Section 9(17) and (18), provides for exceptions under which such loss does not occur. This applies to the acquisition of a foreign citizenship by a spouse during the common marriage, or where a foreign citizenship has been acquired by birth, adoption or by a minor child. The acquirer of the foreign citizenship is obliged to notify the Ministry in writing within 90 days of the acquisition of the foreign citizenship. The notification must be accompanied by documentary evidence of the acquisition and, depending on the reason, either a marriage certificate, a birth certificate or a final decision on the adoption of a child.
The second exception is the acquisition of citizenship of a country in which a citizen of the Slovak Republic had, at the time of acquisition of this citizenship, a residence permit, registered residence or otherwise registered residence for at least 5 years. It is important that he/she has actually resided in the place of this residence for the specified period of time. The citizen is obliged to notify the Ministry in writing within 90 days of the acquisition of the second citizenship and to submit documents proving the acquisition of the second citizenship as well as documents proving the length of residence in this country. If it is proven that the citizen has not fulfilled the residence condition for retaining Slovak citizenship, the Ministry shall send a written notification of the loss of the Slovak citizenship.
Read more in our article: How to retain the Slovak citizenship after acquiring the citizenship of another country
Reacquisition of the Slovak citizenship lost by 31 March 2022
The amendment to the Act on Citizenship allows former citizens of the Slovak Republic to acquire the citizenship at their own request.
An applicant who has been granted a residence permit in the territory of the Slovak Republic may be granted the citizenship of the Slovak Republic without fulfilling the condition of continuous permanent residence in the territory of the Slovak Republic if he/she has lost Slovak citizenship by being released from the Slovak Republic at his/her own request or by acquiring foreign citizenship.
That is to say, the persons who have acquired foreign citizenship and thus lost their original citizenship of the Slovak Republic between 17 July 2010 and 31 March 2022 will be granted the citizenship of the Slovak Republic without fulfilling the condition of continuous permanent residence for at least eight years, if the applicant acquired foreign citizenship in a country in which at the time of acquiring such citizenship he/she had a residence permit, registered residence or otherwise registered residence for at least five years and submitted documents proving this fact. Similarly, former citizens are exempted from the language test/exam.
Slovak citizenship for Slovaks living abroad and descendants of former citizens
For Slovaks living abroad, the requirement to demonstrate the knowledge of the Slovak language, both written and spoken, and general knowledge of the Slovak Republic is deleted. Such a person may be granted the Slovak citizenship if he or she has resided continuously in the territory of the Slovak Republic for at least three years or if he or she is a person who has been granted a residence permit in the territory of the Slovak Republic and has made a significant contribution to the community of Slovaks living abroad, from which he or she comes, in the economic, scientific, technical, cultural, social or sports fields.
For persons of Slovak origin, at least after one of their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents, the amendment to the Act allows them to acquire the Slovak citizenship at their own request. Pursuant to the amendment to the Act, an applicant may be granted the citizenship of the Slovak Republic without fulfilling the condition of continuous permanent residence if he/she was not a citizen of the Slovak Republic and at least one of his/her parents, grandparents or great-grandparents was a Czechoslovak citizen born in the territory of the Slovak Republic, provided that he/she has a residence permit in the territory of the Slovak Republic.
Tightening of certain provisions
Although on the one hand the legislator eases some of the conditions for acquiring the citizenship of the Slovak Republic, on the other hand it wants to avoid applicants circumventing or abusing the law. It is therefore necessary to obtain as much information as possible about the applicants so that there is no doubt as to their identification. The applicant is therefore obliged to produce a valid identity document with a recent facial image. When requested, he/she must appear in person at the designated authority at the appointed time and provide the required documents and information. The condition is that the applicant does not pose a threat to the public order or the security of the Slovak Republic.
The law defines the reason for not acquiring the Slovak citizenship as the indication of false facts in the submitted documents or in the questionnaire. The applicant is also obliged to submit the documents within the prescribed time limit in order to ensure the proper conduct of the proceedings. Failure to submit the documents shall result in the discontinuance of the proceedings for granting citizenship of the Slovak Republic.
It is also necessary to be cautious when fulfilling the obligation to report the acquisition of citizenship of another country or the loss of citizenship of the Slovak Republic, as the failure to fulfil this obligation is considered an offence for which a fine of up to EUR 330.00 may be imposed.