It’s time to celebrate! Well, only for those who qualify for Slovakian citizenship by descent. Yes, you read that right, On Feb 16th, parliament passed Slovakia’s new citizenship by descent law, conditional on the Slovakian President’s final sign-off on the amended bill (there is no reason to expect that she will not give her approval).
A Slovakian passport gives visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 182 countries and by extension to the European Union as well.
So, who qualifies for Slovakia’s new citizenship by descent law?
Per the new amendment, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of Slovak or Czechoslovak citizens born on the territory of the modern-day Slovak Republic. An important eligibility requirement is that the ancestor should have been a citizen of Czechoslovakia at some point in their lives (even if your ancestor lost their citizenship, that is not a cause for concern).
The biggest caveat to getting a Slovakian passport is that it has a residency requirement. Technically, the citizenship by descent provision only applies to permanent residents of the republic. However, Milan Vertak, a member of the parliament who has been particularly close to these discussions, advised that immigration authorities are trying and making this process easier. Those who believe they qualify for citizenship by descent but are not currently on Slovakian soil can apply for residence permits as part of their naturalization application at the Slovak embassy within their home country.
Is there another way to qualify for Slovakian citizenship?
If you had a Slovakian ancestor, who was not a citizen, there is another way to get your citizenship still, through a Slovakian Living Abroad (SLA) certificate. The SLA offers the right of residence in Slovakia and a shortened three-year path to naturalization. The difference between applying for SLA and citizenship by descent is that you will have to prove that your qualifying relative was of Slovak ethnicity rather than a Slovak citizen.
Now, you might ask, is it even worth it to go through this hassle? If you do become a citizen, you get access to a Tier A passport and full access to the European Union and all the benefits like traveling, living, and working that come with this extension.
Slovakia is also a wonderful growing country within Europe, it is ranked in the top 25 safest places to live. There has been an enormous amount of economic growth in the past 20 years, the loose restrictions have allowed ease of foreign investment and as a bonus point, there are no dividends, wealth, gift, or inheritance taxes within the country.
If you do choose to live and work there, you’ll need to learn the language (most residents don’t speak English) and some things about their culture, as you would have to for some other EU countries too.
Is this a move you should make? We can help you figure it out.
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