By Uglobal Staff
The Slovakian government has announced that it will amend its citizenship law to allow hundreds of thousands of its former citizens living abroad to regain their Slovakian citizenship after they were abruptly stripped of that status a decade ago.
The Slovakian cabinet approved a proposed amendment to this effect on Feb. 25 and the new law is now expected to take effect later this month after it gets the requisite parliamentary approval in the small central European nation.
The main beneficiaries of this amendment will be the large Slovak diaspora spread across the world. The citizenship by descent offer would also be available to former Czechoslovak citizens once the amendment receives the parliamentary vote.
Slovakia, which is estimated to have a population of around 5.4 million people, has around two million people said to be part of the global diaspora including some 800,000 believed to be in the U.S. alone. The availability of dual nationality to the expat Slovaks, especially those living in non-EU states would give them the advantage of gaining an EU passport and enable them visa free access across Europe.
According to the government-backed bill, many of the ethnic Slovak and Czechoslovak who had lost their citizenship in 2011 would be eligible to regain their status. Even the great grandchildren, which would be third generation, of the former citizens would be able to benefit under the proposed amendment. The language requirements would also be eased for them, which would especially benefit those who were born abroad in the last decade.
The text of the government's bill makes it clear that from now on no citizen would lose their Slovak citizenship status if they acquired another foreign citizenship, for example, via a spouse during the duration of their joint marriage, or if the foreign citizenship was acquired by birth, adoption or by a minor child. The only condition that would have to be met in such circumstances is that the Slovak Republic citizen must notify the Slovak Ministry in writing of their foreign citizenship within 90 days of its acquisition.
The proposed amendment also clarifies that Slovak citizenship would be granted to an applicant who had previously lost their citizenship status by acquiring a foreign citizenship between July 17, 2010 and June 30, 2021; this would apply to all applicants who had acquired their foreign citizenship in this period and held a registered residence in that country for at least five years; documents would be required to prove these facts.
The move to amend the citizenship law to allow dual citizenships is being widely hailed by the Slovak expat community, which had suffered many hardships due to the turn of events a decade ago. In 2010, the Slovak Republic had passed a law stripping the citizenship of all citizens who willingly took up citizenship of other countries. The then Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico had termed the act of acquiring dual citizenship as an “undesirable phenomenon” that supposedly created problems in determining the citizen’s attachment to his country of origin.
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