December 21, 2023

Expanding the range of eligible applicants for the Czech citizenship through ancestry

Expanding the range of eligible applicants for the Czech citizenship through ancestry


A group of Czech MPs heard the pleas of the descendants of Czechoslovak emigrants who, as a result of the current unfair setup of the Czech citizenship act, were unable to formally become Czech citizens.


A proposal of the amendment to the Act No. 186/2013 Coll. on the Citizenship of the Czech Republic (“Citizenship Act“) is just at the beginning of the legislative process, but its main intent is to equalize the conditions for applicants for the Czech citizenship who derive their citizenship claims from their grandparents or even great-grandparents including the descendants of the so-called Winton’s children.


It is proposed to expand the group of eligible applicants from the current limitation of a maximum of the third generation to the fourth generation of direct descendants. It’s aim is to eliminate the inequality in access to various types of  citizenship declarations or to the various categories of declarants currently distinguished by the time, place and circumstances of their birth.


Who will be newly eligible to declare the Czech citizenship according to the proposed bill?


  • great-grandchildren of a former citizen who lost his/her Czechoslovakian citizenship e.g. due to naturalization in another country (additionally to children and grandchildren according to current legal provision of Section 31 of the Citizenship Act);


  • persons who were born between October 1, 1949 and May 7, 1969 outside of Czechoslovakia to one parent who was at that time a Czechoslovakian citizen AND also their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren (Section 33 of the Citizenship Act).


A significant change should occur in the renewed activation of Section 33 of the Citizenship Act that was originally valid for only a very shored period of 1 year (2014) and whoever missed the deadline for a Czech citizenship declaration, would no longer get a chance to obtain it, despite being able to prove his or her direct family link to a Czechoslovakian citizen.


In number of cases, the consequences of a different legal regulation have brought to Czech families a de facto division of their members into “descendants-citizens” and “non-citizen descendants” of the same parent. This setup is hardly defendable.


Which countries can be expected to have the highest number of potential Czech citizens affected by the new legislation?


According to a survey conducted by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is expected that the biggest group of persons eligible for an updated declaration under Sections 31 and 33 of the Citizenship Act will be in the USA.


Why? Because of a significant Czech diaspora in the USA as well as former existence of the bilateral Naturalization Convention of July 16, 1928 concluded between Czechoslovakia and the USA. This convention, which was in force from November 14, 1929 to August 20, 1997, stipulated the loss of the original Czechoslovak (or Czech) citizenship on acquisition of the US citizenship by naturalization (and vice versa). The option of holding dual (i.e. Czech and American) citizenship based on naturalization was practically excluded until 2013. All the former Czechoslovakian or Czech citizens who had automatically lost their Czech citizenship as a result of the Convention on Prevention of Dual Citizenship will now fall under the category of “former citizen” under Section 31 of the newly amended Citizenship Act.


Thousands of the Czech compatriots, and therefore potential applicants, are expected to be in Argentina, Brazil and other countries of Latin and Central America, but also in Great Britain and Australia. It is only a question of whether all the people who are interested in the acquisition of the Czech citizenship will be able to collect the required documents. In our experience, many descendants of Czech emigrants apply for the Czech passport not only to gain access to countries of the European Union, but just in order to strengthen the ties with their ancestral home and keep the family heritage.


When will this amendment of the Czech Citizenship Act become effective?


The Czech legislative process might be unpredictable, and therefore it is expected that the new law could come into force in the second half of 2024. Given that in order to obtain the citizenship through ancestry it is necessary to collect a number of registry and naturalization documents from abroad, which often have to be certified by an Apostille or even superlegalized, so it is not at all too soon to start collecting the documents now. We will monitor the situation closely and keep our clients informed about any developments.


Our lawyers have extensive experience with the citizenship cases and have helped so far hundreds of families abroad with Czech ties to go back to their roots and become holders of the Czech passport. If you are not sure whether you or your family members are eligible to obtain the Czech citizenship, do not hesitate to contact our specialists, who will help with the preliminary evaluation of your chances and can offer you legal support throughout the whole process.


For more information please contact:


Lenka Morávková, attorney-at-law

rutland & partners, advokátní kancelář s.r.o.



Marta Malinovská, attorney-at-law

rutland & partners, advokátní kancelář s.r.o.



tel: +420 226 226 026

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