Citizenship of the Slovak Republic
The Slovak Republic (short form: Slovakia) is a state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about 49,000 square kilometers. Slovakia is a landlocked country bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south. The largest city is the capital, Bratislava. Slovakia is a member state of the European Union (from the year of 2004), NATO, United Nations, OECD and WTO among others. The official language is Slovak, a member of the Slavic language family.
Citizenship and passport of Slovakia is at the same time EU-citizenship. This allows Slovak citizens to reside, legally work and do business in any EU country, including The United Kingdom, Germany, and France.
Citizenship Law of Slovakia is based upon the National Council of the Slovak Republic Law No.40, dated January 19, 1993. Persons who were citizens of the Slovak Republic up to December 31, 1992, are considered citizens of Slovakia. Citizenship of Slovakia can be acquired in several ways: by birth, by descent, by naturalization, and for special services rendered to the Slovak Republic (special contribution in the sphere of sports, culture, science, or economy).
Citizenship by birth: Birth within the territory of Slovakia does not automatically confer citizenship. Exceptions: 1. Child born in Slovakia to parents who are unknown or stateless. 2. Child born in Slovakia who did not automatically receive the citizenship of foreign parents.
Citizenship by descent: Child, one of whose parents is a citizen of Slovakia, regardless of the child’s country of birth. Child adopted by a citizen of Slovakia.
Citizenship by naturalization: Slovak citizenship is acquired upon fulfillment of the following conditions: Person has been permanently residing in the territory for at least eight years, has a command of the Slovak language, and has not been pronounced guilty of a deliberate crime within the last five years. Exceptions to the residence requirements can be made in the case of:
- Persons married to a Slovak citizen (after 5 years of marriage); and
- Cases where a “great benefit to the Slovak Republic” is at stake.
- Certain former citizens of Czechoslovakia.
Children aged less than 18 years old may be naturalized at the same time as a parent; however, consent of both parents is normally required.
Citizenship by investments: Serious investors in certain cases can apply for Slovak citizenship under Article 7 Section 2b of the Slovak Citizenship Act. Procedure involves acquiring temporary residence, permanent residency, and then application for citizenship. In order for a citizenship application to successful the level of investment must be in the vicinity of minimum 3,000,000 EUR. The result (Slovak citizenship and passport) can be obtained in scope of 12-18 months. Also, the quality of investment matters. The investment must create new jobs for Slovak citizens and/or or bring new technology. Decisions on citizenship applications are taken on case-by-case basis subject to approval of the relevant ministry and then by the Ministry of Interior. This citizenship program is currently not recommended by us because it is risky and final result is not guaranteed. Ministry of Interior can refuse the application without any grave reason or explanation. This option of citizenship without residence requirement is available not only for investors but also for people of art, science, etc., who contribute significantly to the interests of Slovakia.
Dual citizenship is not generally permitted (with certain exceptions). Dual citizenship is only permitted in cases where a person acquired an additional nationality at birth or through marriage. If a citizen of Slovakia holds another citizenship, their Slovak citizenship is considered to be dominant. It should be kept in mind that citizenship of Slovakia cannot be acquired as second citizenship by Russian citizens. Between the Czechoslovakia and USSR (Slovak Republic and the Russian Federation are legal successors of this agreement) “On Prevention of Dual Citizenship Cases” concluded on 05.07.1981. The mentioned agreement fortifies an intention of Parties to liquidate dual citizenship cases on the basis of voluntary choice of citizenship by the interested persons. The agreement was also aimed at preventing cases of dual citizenship that may be in the future.
Loss of Slovak citizenship
Slovak citizenship cannot be revoked by a decision of any state authority. Involuntary loss of Slovak citizenship occurs on voluntary acquisition of another citizenship (with certain exceptions). It is also possible to formally renounce Slovak citizenship. On 26 May 2010 the Slovak parliament started the fast-track procedure of a rule stating that a Slovak citizen who takes steps to voluntarily obtain citizenship of another country will lose the Slovak citizenship. On 1 June 2010 the President of the Slovak Republic signed an amendment to the Citizenship Act, making a voluntary application for an alternate citizenship (baring specific exceptions below) a cause for Slovak nationals to be stripped of their citizenship. The text of this legislation is not intended to act retroactively; therefore, those who previously voluntarily acquired a foreign nationality would not suffer the loss of their Slovak nationality.
Voluntary renunciation of citizenship is possible only on the condition that the applicant is able to prove citizenship of another state or that the granting of citizenship can be reasonably assumed. Release of Slovak citizenship is possible only upon an individual’s own petition. Decisions regarding release from citizenship are made by the District Offices. Citizenship is cancelled upon receipt of the document of renunciation. Persons involved in criminal proceedings, serving a prison term, or who are delinquent in their taxes or debts are not allowed to renounce citizenship.
Questions and Answers Regarding Slovak Citizenship:
Question: We are interested in one investment project of Slovak Republic. I was wondering how to define the cases where a “great benefit to the Slovak Republic” is at stake as you said in your website? If we want to meet this requirement, how much do we need to invest in the Slovak Republic?
Answer: Slovakia does not have a direct citizenship by investment program. However, there is a possibility provided by the Slovak Nationality Law that citizenship may be granted to those who do considerable contribution in economic, cultural, scientific or another sphere. Recommendation (letter) from any Slovak ministry is required for application. The Ministry of Interior takes decisions regarding citizenship applications on case-by-case basis, individually. High investment amount as such does not guarantee approval; the applicant must have a “special contribution” which is a rather vague notion that involves subjective factor. We have a successful track record of working with the Slovak citizenship program but we feel that is more secure to look for other EU countries that have citizenship-by-investment programs (Bulgaria, Malta, and Cyprus). These countries are better because the law indicates concrete amount of investment (1,024,000 EUR in Bulgaria, and 2,150,000 EUR in Cyprus) which is sufficient for citizenship application. In Malta, the applicant is expected to donate 650,000 EUR to the governmental foundation and invest 500,000 EUR into property and bonds.
Question: I am a citizen of Slovakia and have lived in the UK for the past 13 years. I have just past the British Citizenship Test and would like to apply for a British passport with an intention of keeping my Slovak passport, hence have a dual citizenship. As there have been some amendments to the Citizenship Act, I am unsure as to whether I will be allowed to keep my Slovak citizenship upon adoption of the British citizenship. The Slovak law states that “If a citizen of Slovakia holds another citizenship, their Slovak citizenship is considered to be dominant”. I was wondering whether this is applicable to individuals who already have a dual citizenship or it applies to individuals applying for dual citizenship from now on.
Answer: You can hold both Slovak, and British citizenship. This is not DUAL citizenship in the exact sense of the notion; you hold TWO citizenships. This means that on the territory of Slovakia, only Slovak citizenship is valid but outside Slovakia both passports are equal.
Question: I have similar question and require reassurance. I am Slovak citizen living in Republic of Ireland for years and was thinking of getting Irish citizenship and passport, but do not want to lose Slovak citizenship and passport. Can I apply for Irish citizenship and retain Slovak citizenship?
Answer: Yes, this is possible.
Question: I really would appreciate your help about multiple citizenship in the UK. I would like to apply for British citizenship for my son. He was born in UK and currently holds an Irish passport from his father’s side a Slovakian passport from mother’s side. We are currently living in UK too and mum holds British citizenship too (dual nationality). Will my son allowed to keep triple rationality? I just feel my son should hold a British citizenship too as he was born in the UK and mum is British citizenship is this right? Will he lose any citizenship? Thank you in advance.
Answer: Both Ireland and the UK allow multiple citizenship. But there may be an issue with Slovakia. It is better to contact Slovak consulate in the UK for clarifications if it is important for you to keep Slovak citizenship. In our view, it is not really an issue even if it is lost because Irish passport is EU-document and gives the right to settle in any EU country including Slovakia should it be necessary in the future.
All the queries related to citizenship by descent (origin) or dual citizenship in Slovakia should be sent to the respective Slovak Consulate or to some local service provider in Slovakia. “Elma Global” provides legal services only regarding residency and citizenship by investment programs.