November 7, 2023

Acquisition of Czech citizenship by second generation immigrants

Acquisition of Czech citizenship by second generation immigrants


The Czech Republic is home to a large number of young foreigners whose parents have settled here in the past, for example for work or business. Such persons are sometimes collectively referred to as “second-generation immigrants”. Whether the children of foreigners settled in the Czech Republic were directly born in the Czech Republic or moved to the Czech Republic at an early age and started attending primary school here, these persons have a good chance of acquiring Czech citizenship by declaring it under Section 35 of the Czech Citizenship Act (No. 186/2013 Coll.), i.e. in a simplified procedure, if they meet the following conditions:

  1. age between 18 and 20 years (i.e. by their 21st birthday)
  2. permanent residence on the territory of the Czech Republic (regardless of its duration)
  3. actually residing on the territory of the Czech Republic for at least 2/3 of the period of lawful residence, which began no later than the 10th year of life
  4. clean criminal record

Compared to the standard procedure for the application for the grant of citizenship of the Czech Republic, a great advantage in the case of a declaration under Section 35 is that the competent registry does not hand over the file for the procedure for the grant of citizenship to the Ministry of the Interior, but in the case of compliance with the above-mentioned conditions by a young foreigner, the registrar directly issues a document on the acquisition of citizenship of the Czech Republic within a short period of time. Upon receipt of this document, the foreigner then becomes a citizen of the Czech Republic and only needs to obtain a Czech birth certificate and then an ID card (or a Czech passport). There is a legal entitlement to acquire Czech citizenship under Section 35 if the legal conditions are met, unlike the normal procedure of acquiring citizenship by grant. If the registrar concludes that the foreigner has not fulfilled the conditions for the declaration under Section 35, he or she will issue a negative decision against which an appeal may be lodged or, alternatively, a further defence may be brought before the administrative courts.


The conditions for making a declaration under section 35 may seem clear at first sight, but in practice there are many questions to be answered. For example, can a declaration be made on or just before the 21st birthday? In accordance with the methodology of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic, the registry offices generally recommend the foreigner to make the declaration under Section 35 at least 1-2 months before his 21st birthday. This way the registrar has time to evaluate the documents provided by the foreigner together with the declaration and so that in case of a positive decision the foreigner acquires Czech citizenship no later than on his 21st birthday. However, according to our attorneys, this opinion is not entirely admissible and in borderline cases it would be advisable to challenge the refusal of the registry office to accept the declaration on the grounds of the approaching 21st birthday by appeal or by a lawsuit in court.


The wording concerning the period of the foreigner’s actual and lawful stay in the territory is also problematic. The purpose of the law was to facilitate the acquisition of Czech citizenship by foreigners who have completed at least one half of their compulsory schooling in the Czech Republic, thus have close ties to the Czech Republic and are well integrated into Czech society. In general, the administrative courts have so far confirmed the interpretation that the latest time a child could start his/her residence in the Czech Republic is before his/her 11th birthday.


Furthermore, the fragmented methodology of the registry offices regarding the degree of proof of actual residence in the Czech Republic appears problematic in practice, with various registry offices requiring – often without any logical justification – the submission of a large number of supporting documents.


If you need advice on the process of obtaining Czech citizenship, do not hesitate to contact us.

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