Czech nationality law

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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. Dual citizenship is restricted under Czech law although there are some exceptions.

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Citizenship by birth

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

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,[1] 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

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

Resident foreigners or stateless persons that 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, 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

Loss of citizenship

The information-page of a Czech passport

Involuntary

The involuntary loss of citizenship is constitutionally prohibited. However it is sometimes argued by emigrants and emigrant groups the restrictions on dual citizenship are a form of involuntary deprivation of citizenship.[3]

Voluntary (restrictions on dual citizenship)

Czech citizenship can be renounced voluntarily if doing so wouldn't cause one to be stateless, or by gaining the citizenship of another state, (effectively banning dual citizenship) 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.

Waiving the requirements

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, or if the applicant has resided on the territory of what is today Czech Republic for at least twenty years.

Case studies

Proof of citizenship

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

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

References

External links