Pursuing Czech citizenship
Written by: Halka Jaklová
Photo by: René Jakl
Are you living as a foreigner in
the Czech Republic, and are you interested in becoming a Czech
citizen? You have the following options.
Acquiring and losing citizenship in the Czech Republic is governed
by Law No. 40/1993 Coll. This law stipulates that one can acquire
citizenship either automatically by being born or adopted here,
or by declaration (relates to former Czechoslovak Federative Republic
citizens), or through the granting of a request. The latter method
relates to practically all foreigners and persons with no citizenship.
Each request is handled on case by case basis, so it is up to the
interior ministry to grant it. Success is contingent upon the meeting
of the following legal conditions: primarily, residency in the
Czech Republic for at least five years, as well as proof of the
loss of one's former citizenship (excepting persons with no citizenship
and refugees), no convictions for willful criminal acts in the
last five years, knowledge of the Czech language, and fulfillment
of the legal obligations relating, for example, to insurance and
taxes. Most of the conditions can be waived for legally stipulated
reasons, except for convictions. Permanent residency is absolutely
necessary for approval, but it can be shortened from five years,
for example if one is married to a Czech citizen or is a refugee.
Applications for the granting of Czech citizenship can be submitted
at regional offices (in Prague at municipal district offices and
in Brno, Plzeň, and Ostrava at the city halls). An application
can be written in free form, as there are no legal stipulations
as to content, but who is submitting it, which matter it relates
to, the reasons behind it, the authority it is intended for, should
all be clear, and a brief outline of the applicant's reasoning
should be included. The required documentation and a CV must also
The authority that is competent to deal with the application will
fill in a questionnaire with you and verify your knowledge of the
Czech language in an interview. It will append its own statement
to the application, a referral from the municipal office of your
place of residence, and other documents, and will send the documentation
to the interior ministry via the foreigners' police office, which
will also attach a statement. The ministry may summon you for a
personal meeting, and later may grant you Czech citizenship through
the issuing of a Certificate on the Granting of Citizenship, for
which you must pay an administrative fee and take an oath of allegiance.
A decision of rejection can be appealed to the interior minister.
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