A guide to obtaining Slovak citizenship by descent

 
EVERYTHING YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE MOVING FORWARD.
 

Important Update on the Recent Parliamentary Election in Slovakia

Created: Bratislava, October 3, 2023; Updated: October 20, 2023

As you may have heard, a parliamentary election recently took place in Slovakia. Many clients have been asking us about any potential implications it may have on the citizenship program and/or their individual cases/applications (both pending and upcoming).

The composition of the Slovak parliament, which was the outcome of the election, is definitely relevant. However, the negotiations surrounding coalition formation are of paramount importance. Any coalition formed will have the majority of seats in Parliament, giving them the power to compose the Slovak Government/Cabinet. This includes a major say over vital governmental figures, such as the Prime Minister and the Members of the Cabinet.

One of the Ministers in the Cabinet will lead the Ministry of Internal Affairs, responsible for the citizenship agenda. Do note that the Ministry has many responsibilities in other vital areas, such as managing the entirety of the Police Force. Said management includes elite criminal investigation units and other units, such as those designed to fight illegal immigration. Given these circumstances, it is difficult to imagine that changing citizenship policies would be the Government’s priority, regardless of who becomes the new Minister of Internal Affairs.

Moreover, note that any and all legal proceedings are governed by law and not the Minister’s free will. Although a Ministry may indeed propose changes in policies, they typically have to pass through the Cabinet (with approval from the majority of the Ministers) before they are introduced to the Parliament. Then, three parliamentary hearings have to take place. The draft bill must then be approved by the majority of the Parliament and subsequently signed by the President. Only then does the law change, and any authorities (such as the Ministry and all officers working for the Ministry) must abide by it.

In addition, legislative changes do not typically impact ongoing processes started before the change was adopted. Therefore, any proceedings initiated under the current law will most likely run and finish under the rules applicable before the legislative change.

This message aims to inform all of our potential clients that there is no reason to panic or worry about the outcome of the recent election. As explained above, many steps must occur before any legislative change is implemented, and nothing indicates that worsening citizenship policies would be on the to-do list of a government that doesn’t even exist yet.

Lastly, we appreciate the interest you’re demonstrating by watching the Slovak political scene, and we very much value receiving your wishes for a better political future in Slovakia. We understand that Slovakia might become your new/second home, and we’ll continue doing everything we can to make that a reality, regardless of who is in political power.

We also recommend reading this article on why Robert Fico Isn't the Next Viktor Orban.

FALATH & PARTNERS, based in Bratislava, Slovakia, with a branch office in Manhattan, New York, USA, is a leading law firm for Slovak citizenship. We are the first to provide full service for the citizenship by descent program. We also provide a variety of other legal services to foreign clients.


We help the descendants of Slovak nationals who emigrated, either from the Austro-Hungarian Empire or Czechoslovakia, to acquire Slovak citizenship and revive their ancestors’ heritage. Thanks to new legislation introduced on April 1, 2022, Slovak citizenship by descent has become more attainable. Although the acquisition of citizenship remains a legally demanding process, the major obstacles preventing or discouraging applicants from pursuing citizenship were revoked.


Meet the team

Ján Falath, Esq.

Founder & Managing Partner

Ema Vrbovski

Citizenship Specialist & Office Manager

Vladimír Sedliak

Senior Associate

Michal Orviský

Senior Associate

Peter Prezbruch

Senior Associate

Martin Herczeg

Legal Support

Romana Sýkorová

Legal Support

Daniel Letko

Legal Support

Rebeka Hlubocká

Assistant & Receptionist

1,160+

Cases reviewed since April 1, 2022

240+

Applications in progress

90%

Eligibility rate


 

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How can Slovaks living abroad acquire Slovak citizenship?

Slovaks living abroad are individuals whose direct ancestors were of Slovak ethnicity and retain Slovak national/cultural awareness. They are eligible for Slovak citizenship if at least one of their relatives in the last three generations (parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent) was born within the territory of present-day Slovakia and had Czechoslovak citizenship. Acquiring Slovak citizenship by descent typically consists of completing three (3) milestones: obtaining a Slovak Living Abroad certificate (not essential in specific cases), obtaining a residence permit in Slovakia, and obtaining Slovak citizenship.

Milestone 1: Slovak Living Abroad certificate

The first step is obtaining an SLA certificate. At least one of the applicant's direct ancestors (regardless of the generation) must be of Slovak ethnicity. Additionally, the applicant must demonstrate their Slovak national/cultural awareness, but they are not required to prove their knowledge of the Slovak language. The time required to obtain an SLA certificate depends on the specific circumstances of each case and is highly individual; however, it usually takes about 5-6 months, including research and the collection of documents.

Milestone 2: Residence permit

A permitted residence in Slovakia is a prerequisite to an application for Slovak citizenship by descent. The applicant, who now holds an SLA certificate, can obtain a five-year renewable temporary residence permit. Their spouses can also obtain a temporary residence permit (derived from the SLA-based one), even if they don't qualify for an SLA certificate and Slovak citizenship by descent. Some applicants may apply for a permanent residence permit instead of an SLA-based one. The applicant is not required to reside in Slovakia and can travel freely within the European Union without worrying about exceeding the 90-day Schengen visa. An SLA-based temporary residence permit is usually received within 1-2 months, while the issuance of a permanent residence permit typically takes up to three (3) months.

Milestone 3: Slovak citizenship

After obtaining a residence permit, the final step is applying for Slovak citizenship. The applicant must have at least one direct ancestor in the last three generations (parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent) who was a Czechoslovak citizen born within the territory of present-day Slovakia. If either of these criteria isn't met, the applicant must reside in Slovakia for three (3) years, demonstrate a significant benefit/contribution to the Slovak diaspora or the Slovak Republic, or prove that granting citizenship is in Slovakia's interest for any other reason. Citizenship proceedings are quite time-consuming. Processing regular applications may take up to 24 months; however, granting citizenship by descent should be faster, possibly within 12-18 months of receiving an application.

 

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Please click below to read about the Milestones on your path toward Slovak citizenship.

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