How to obtain Slovak citizenship by descent

 
MILESTONE 3/3
 

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).

Q&A 1/11: Who qualifies for Slovak citizenship by descent?

An applicant with permission to reside in Slovakia (Milestone 2/3) can apply for Slovak citizenship by descent (Milestone 3/3). The applicant must have at least one direct ancestor, up to the third most recent generation (parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent), who was a Czechoslovak citizen born in the territory of present-day Slovakia. If either of these criteria isn't met, the applicant must obtain a Slovak Living Abroad certificate (Milestone 1/3) and reside in Slovakia for three (3) years or demonstrate a significant benefit/contribution to the Slovak diaspora. If the applicant cannot complete an uninterrupted three-year residency, they must explain their absence. 

Applicants who fail to meet the requirements above can still apply for Slovak citizenship based on an exemption if they have significantly contributed to the benefit of the Slovak Republic or if it's in the country's interest for any other reason. One of these reasons could be family reunification. This argument may be used by a family member who isn't of Slovak descent, like a spouse and the applicant's children, if their Slovak ancestor is from the fourth most recent generation and beyond. Note that applying for Slovak citizenship based on an exemption is riskier, and success cannot be guaranteed.

It may be challenging to determine if your ancestor acquired Czechoslovak citizenship, so we encourage you to contact us to review your case thoroughly.

 

Q&A 2/11: What if none of my ancestors had Czechoslovak citizenship?

If the applicant doesn't have at least one ancestor who was a Czechoslovak citizen and doesn't want to complete a three-year residency in Slovakia, they must demonstrate a significant benefit/contribution to the Slovak diaspora in one of the following areas: economic, scientific, technical, cultural, social, or athletic. The Minister of Internal Affairs, who decides on these specific citizenship applications, will request the opinion of the Office for Slovaks Living Abroad and testimony from a Slovak expatriate organization operating in the applicant’s country of residence. Currently, no specific guidelines or objective criteria exist to determine whether an applicant significantly benefits the community of Slovaks living abroad. We believe the Minister will evaluate each case individually and consider the applicant’s potential “footprint” in the Slovak diaspora. Therefore, we recommend that the applicant utilizes their professional or personal potential (e.g., in culture, art, entertainment, sports, innovation, technology, science, education, healthcare, business, society, charity, philanthropy, and professional services) to highlight where they will have the most significant impact. We can help you facilitate a connection with several Slovak expatriate organizations to start building your reputation in the Slovak diaspora.

Q&A 3/11: Is dual citizenship possible?

Yes, it is. You’re not required to renounce or waive your current citizenship before applying for Slovak citizenship, and you won’t lose your existing citizenship by acquiring  Slovak citizenship. According to our knowledge, neither the USA, Canada, UK, nor Israel takes away their citizenship when Slovak citizenship is acquired. However, we advise consulting each specific case with a licensed legal practitioner in the relevant jurisdiction. 

Q&A 4/11: What are the options for my children?

Your children must meet the same criteria as you. If they do, they don't have to meet any additional requirements. If they don't, they must meet at least one of the following requirements: 
  1. Reside in Slovakia for three (3) years immediately preceding their application (regardless of whether your child is over or under 18);
  2. Reside in Slovakia for two (2) years immediately preceding their application (only if your child is under 18 and you have already acquired Slovak citizenship);
  3. No residency requirement (only if your child is less than two and you have already acquired Slovak citizenship);
  4. Demonstrate a significant benefit/contribution to the Slovak diaspora, or if it's in the interest of the Slovak Republic for any other reason (e.g., family reunification).

Q&A 5/11: Can my spouse also apply for Slovak citizenship? 

If your spouse doesn't qualify for an SLA certificate and/or Slovak citizenship by descent, they can apply for Slovak citizenship if they:
  1. Married you after you acquired Slovak citizenship and permanently resided with you in Slovakia for five (5) years directly preceding their application;
  2. Married you before you acquired Slovak citizenship and permanently resided in Slovakia for eight (8) years directly preceding their application;
  3. Significantly contributed to the benefit of the Slovak Republic (i.e., not the Slovak diaspora), or if it's in the interest of the Slovak Republic for any other reason (e.g., family reunification).
Moreover, your spouse is eligible for a five-year renewable temporary residence permit (a so-called "family reunification" or "dependency" residence permit), allowing them to do business, work, and study in Slovakia without the need for additional immigration permits. Your spouse may apply for a residence permit upon completion of Milestone 2/3. Your spouse would have the same rights as any other residence card holder, mainly the right to travel freely across the European Union without worrying about exceeding the 90-day Schengen visa. However, obtaining this type of residence permit is subject to the demonstration of a physical residence in Slovakia (by owning or leasing a residential property, regardless of the size, location, or value).
 

Q&A 6/11: How do I apply for Slovak citizenship?

The applicant may only apply only in person at the District Office in Bratislava or a Slovak Embassy/Consulate. Adults and children older than 14 years of age submit individual applications, while children under 14 years of age are included in their parent's applications. Minor children's applications are submitted by one of their parents/legal guardians, while the other parent/legal guardian must provide their written consent with a notarized signature. The application must be accompanied by the following:
  1. A detailed and structured curriculum vitae stating the name, surname, maiden name, birth registration number (if assigned), date and place of birth, address of permanent residence, information about education, employment, other economic activity, language skills, special skills, abilities, accomplishments, interests, and the date and signature of the applicant;
  2. A photocopy of the applicant's passport (the original must be presented for verification);
  3. The applicant’s birth certificate;
  4. If the applicant is married, divorced, or widowed, proof of marital status, such as a marriage certificate, a final judgment or a certificate of divorce, or a death certificate of the applicant's spouse;
  5. A document proving the applicant was granted permission to reside in Slovakia (please refer to Milestone 2/3 - Residence Permit in Slovakia for more information);
  6. A criminal background check, not older than six (6) months, issued by the country of which the applicant currently is and previously was a national and the country in which the applicant currently resides and previously had permission to reside in the past 15 years (e.g., an FBI Identity History Summary Check in the USA, an RCMP Criminal Record Check in Canada, or an ACRO Police Certificate in the UK);
  7. Relevant documents regarding the applicant's direct ancestors who were Czechoslovak citizens born in the territory of present-day Slovakia;
  8. A Slovak Living Abroad certificate (if issued);
  9. A completed questionnaire (if the applicant is under 18 years of age, the questionnaire must be signed either by both parents/legal guardians or by at least one parent/legal guardian, while the other parent/legal guardian must provide written consent with a notarized signature);
  10. A confirmation of employment from an employer and a copy of an employment agreement (if applicable);
  11. Proof of health insurance from the applicant's country of residence (if applicable);
  12. The applicant's affidavits regarding taxes, customs, stamp duties, health insurance, social insurance, studies, pension, and sufficient funds if the applicant is voluntarily unemployed (as applicable, and provided the Ministry cannot obtain the relevant information from other governmental agencies);
  13. If the applicant is a former Czechoslovak or Slovak citizen, a certificate of release from Czechoslovak or Slovak citizenship, or a naturalization certificate from another country; 
  14. If the applicant is a former Czechoslovak or Slovak citizen, proof of last permanent residence in Slovakia or an affidavit of such residence.

Q&A 7/11: Are there any special requirements for the documents?

All documents must either be originals or certified true copies. In addition, official documents issued in any jurisdiction other than the Slovak Republic, i.e., all foreign documents, must be apostilled (applicable for the USA, Canada after January 11, 2024, UK, Israel, and all other Hague Convention countries) or authenticated and then super-legalized (applicable for Canada until January 11, 2024, and all other countries that are not a party to the Hague Convention).

All foreign documents must be officially translated into Slovak by a sworn translator registered by the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic or an officially registered foreign translator. Official translation by a foreign translator must also be apostilled or super-legalized unless the Slovak Embassy/Consulate confirms the translator’s competence on a cover letter submitted to the Ministry.

Q&A 8/11: What are the administrative fees?

The basic administrative fee for the application for citizenship by descent is EUR 20. However, if the application is based on an SLA certificate and a completed three-year residency in Slovakia or a significant benefit/contribution to the Slovak diaspora, the administrative fee is EUR 400. The fee may be reduced or waived if the applicant has significantly contributed to the benefit of the Slovak Republic or has been devoted long-term to the benefit of the Slovak diaspora. The administrative fees are due after Slovak citizenship is granted.

Q&A 9/11: How does the Ministry of Internal Affairs proceed?

If the application is submitted at a Slovak Embassy/Consulate, the file is then transferred to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Slovak Republic to start the proceedings. A Slovak Embassy/Consulate doesn't have the jurisdiction to conduct citizenship proceedings or decide on your application. The Ministry consults several governmental agencies and, in some instances, the Office for Slovaks Living Abroad to evaluate the citizenship application. If necessary, the Ministry may request additional documents to determine the actual state of affairs, e.g., to clarify any fact concerning the citizenship application. If the Ministry finds discrepancies in the submitted documents, the applicant may be required to explain and justify them. The Ministry or a Slovak Embassy/Consulate may also summon the applicant to an interview to provide additional information. Moreover, the applicant must notify the Ministry without delay of any change in personal data, marital status, the information stated in the questionnaire, and other documents submitted with the application.

Q&A 10/11: When will I get Slovak citizenship?

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. The applicant acquires Slovak citizenship by obtaining a Certificate of Citizenship, either in Slovakia or through a Slovak Embassy/Consulate, after taking the oath of a citizen of the Slovak Republic. Minor children under 14 acquire Slovak citizenship with their parent and are not required to take the oath.

Q&A 11/11: Do I have to pay taxes in Slovakia?

Unless you become a Slovak tax resident (by having a permanent residence in Slovakia, residing in Slovakia for more than 183 days per year, or creating/maintaining a steady home/household in Slovakia), you don’t have to declare taxes and file tax returns in Slovakia. You’re only required to do so if you have an income from sources based in Slovakia, and you are taxed on that income only (usually, this includes any salary from employment in Slovakia, profit distribution from a business in Slovakia, or revenue from the selling or renting of property in Slovakia if any profit was made). Also, there is a 1993 Double Taxation Treaty between the USA and Slovakia and a 2001 Double Taxation Treaty between Canada and Slovakia to prevent double taxation so that you are never taxed in both countries on the same income. We advise consulting each specific case with a licensed legal/tax practitioner in the relevant jurisdiction.

 

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