Dec 30, 2023

Czech MPs Push to Extend Citizenship to Great-Grandchildren of Czechoslovaks

In a bid to amend the limitations of the current citizenship law, a group of members of the Czech Republic parliament (MPs) proposed changes that would allow additional categories of people to gain citizenship.

MPs said that great-grandchildren of Czechoslovaks, which represent the fourth generation, should be eligible for citizenship through declaration.

The proposal, which also covers descendants of compatriots who did not lose citizenship, received a favourable opinion from the government at a meeting held earlier this month.

According to Česká Justice, the existing law on Czech citizenship acquisition through declaration has faced criticism for its time limit and restrictions, allowing only two generations of descendants to apply for citizenship.

Thus, by making such a proposal, MPs want to address the shortcomings by extending eligibility for citizenship to the fourth generation, encompassing “descendants in direct descent.”

Under the proposed changes, the one-year preclusion period, which, according to MPs, has caused practical difficulties for some applicants, will be eliminated.

Czech MPs argued that the requirement for citizenship applicants to prove their descent from a former Czechoslovak citizen, even when their ancestors did not lose their citizenship, creates a very challenging evidentiary situation.

In addition, the one-year effective period resulted in some people being unaware of the law, further complicating the process.

As Česká Justice explains, the proposed amendments also aim to address the situation of those born abroad, whose ancestors never lost Czech citizenship, but who fell outside the current scope of the country’s law.

MPs suggest extending citizenship acquisition by declaration to children and propose specific conditions for this group, including the exclusion of individuals who lost citizenship according to treaties and decrees.

The same source notes that the proposed changes include provisions for great-great-grandchildren to submit their great-grandparents’ documents for the declaration process.

According to data provided by a survey carried out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Czechia, the proposed expansion of eligibility is expected to have a significant impact on former Czech and Czechoslovak citizens in the US and Latin American countries, potentially benefiting tens of thousands of people.

On the other hand, in Europe, where the impact is projected to be less pronounced, an increased interest is expected from applicants in specific countries, notably Great Britain and Switzerland.

The proposed changes, according to MPs, will not only address the shortcomings of the current

Law but will also contribute to a more inclusive and fair citizenship acquisition process for descendants of Czechoslovak citizens.

If approved, the changes will mark a positive step towards fostering stronger ties with the global Czech and Czechoslovak diaspora.

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