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New law on the acquisition of Czech citizenship

Introduction to the main changes valid as of January 2014

New Act No. 186/2013 Coll. on Czech citizenship effective from January 1, 2014 brings revolutionary changes to the legal treatment of the Czech citizenship. Let us give you brief overview on the main changes.

One of the main changes in comparison with the current Act is, that Czech nationals will no longer automatically lose their Czech nationality upon obtaining foreign nationality and also, when acquiring Czech citizenship, a person will not be required to give up his/her current citizenship; dual and multiple nationalities will be permitted. In any case, if a Czech national gives up his/her Czech citizenship, he/she will be allowed to make a declaration renouncing their Czech nationality. The declaration will have to be approved by the competent Regional Office and it will be the only way to take away nationality status from Czech national.

New Act also introduces more complex requirements for acquisition of Czech nationality as deeper knowledge of Czech language and also knowledge of Czech constitutional system and cultural, social, historical, geographical facts about Czech Republic. On the other hand, applicants will no longer be required to prove that they have lost or renounced their former nationality.

Another important modification concerns persons born outside of the Czechoslovak Republic between October 1, 1949 and May 7, 1969. According to former Czechoslovak citizenship rules, these persons did not become Czechoslovak citizens unless the Czechoslovak parent registered them within their first year of life at the local authority. Now, they can make declaration if only one of the parents was a Czechoslovak national and became or would have become a Czech national on January 1, 1969. Such a declaration must be made within a year of the effect of the new act, which means no later than January 1, 2015. These persons will become Czech citizens as of date the certificate of citizenship is issued to them (not retroactively).

Another major change relates to Slovak nationals. Slovak nationals will no longer be able to acquire Czech nationality through declaration. The new act repeals the special rules set out in Section 18a, Section 18b and Section 18c of the previous Nationality Act. However, a transitional period is given; during one year Slovak nationals will be allowed to make declarations according to the old legislation. These declarations must be presented no later than January 1, 2015.

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