As of 1 January 2014, the rules for granting Czech citizenship are laid down in Section 11 et seq. of Act No. 186/2013 Coll., on Czech citizenship and on amendments to certain acts (the Czech Citizenship Act). The Czech Citizenship Act expressly states that there is no legal entitlement to being granted Czech citizenship. Decisions on Czech citizenship applications are in the purview of the Ministry of the Interior.
The statutory conditions for granting Czech citizenship are as follows:
1. The applicant, on the date of filing the application, has resided continuously in the Czech Republic based on a residency permit
a) for at least 5 years
b) for at least 3 years, if the applicant is a citizen of an EU Member State, Switzerland or a country that is a party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) or
c) for a period that, together with the immediately preceding authorised residence in the Czech Republic, totals at least 10 years.
Any authorised residence in the Czech Republic before one reaches 18 years of age is included in the residence period requirement under letters a) and b) above.
2. The applicant has to prove that he or she has truly been living in the Czech Republic for at least half of the residence period specified in the previous point. Even the foreigner’s absence from the Czech Republic is included into this period, provided the various periods of absence have not exceeded two consecutive months or, for serious reasons, six consecutive months (a serious reason is deemed to be, in particular, pregnancy and birth of a child, studies, professional training or a business trip).
3. An applicant who is more than 15 years old
a) must not have received a final, unconditional prison sentence for an unintentional or intentional crime
b) has to prove, if he or she has lived in the Czech Republic for less than ten years, that in the country of which he or she is a citizen, provided the applicant has not been granted international protection in the Czech Republic in the form of asylum or additional protection, or in a country in which he or she has lived continuously for more than six months in the last ten years after reaching 15 years of age prior to filing the application, had never received a final, unconditional prison sentence for an unintentional or intentional crime.
The condition under letters a) and b) shall be deemed fulfilled if the applicant is viewed as not having been sentenced or if the applicant had been sentenced in the foreign country for an act that is not considered a crime under Czech law.
4. The applicant has to demonstrate knowledge of the Czech language. This condition is deemed fulfilled if the applicant documents that he or she has completed at least three years of basic, secondary or post-secondary school where classes were taught in Czech or if the applicant is less than 15 years old or more than 65 years old on the date of filing the application or if the applicant is physically or mentally handicapped, which fact prevents him or her from learning Czech.
5. The applicant has to demonstrate basic knowledge of the constitutional system of the Czech Republic and a basic understanding of Czech culture, society, geography and history. This condition is deemed fulfilled if the applicant documents that he or she has completed at least three years of basic, secondary or post-secondary school where classes were taught in Czech or if the applicant is less than 15 years old or more than 65 years old on the date of filing the application or if the applicant is physically or mentally handicapped, which fact prevents him or her from learning about the constitutional system of the Czech Republic and obtaining a basic understanding of Czech culture, society, geography and history.
6. The applicant, in the three years preceding the filing of the application, had not breached in any serious way their obligation stemming from other legal regulations on foreigners entering and living in the Czech Republic, public health insurance, social security, pension insurance, employment, taxes, excise duties, contributions and fees, child support with respect to a child with permanent residency status in the Czech Republic, or public law obligations to the municipality in which he or she is registered to live if the obligations are imposed by the municipality in the scope of its autonomous powers.
7. The applicant has to demonstrate the amount or source of their earnings or fulfil the reporting duty connected to the cross-border transport or cashless transfer of funds from abroad and that he or she pays tax off his or her income in the declared amount, unless this obligation is fulfilled by some other person according to a different legal regulation. The applicant is obliged to demonstrate the facts in the previous sentence for the three years that precede the date of filing the application.
8. The applicant has not burdened the Czech welfare system or material need system substantially or without serious reason in the last three years. Substantially burdening the welfare or material need system is understood as the applicant being predominantly dependent on benefits provided under the welfare or material needs system; this does not apply to if the person in question is unable to work due to his or her state of health, is training for a future profession, or is drawing maternity or parental leave or is continuously caring for an individual dependent on such care.
The Czech Citizenship Act further enshrines statutory reasons based on which it is possible to exempt applicants from some of the above conditions for granting Czech citizenship.
In addition to the statutory conditions for granting Czech citizenship, as these are specified above, the Czech Citizenship Act expressly states that Czech citizenship may be granted to an applicant if he or she is integrated into Czech society, especially if the integration relates to family, work or society. It is also expressly stipulated that Czech citizenship cannot be granted to an applicant who is a threat to the security, sovereignty, territorial integrity and democratic foundation of the country as well as to life, health or property.
The Czech Citizenship Act allows for the simplified granting of Czech citizenship to natural persons (individuals) who have permanent residency in the Czech Republic and granting them Czech citizenship would be a significant benefit for the Czech Republic in terms of science, education, culture and sport, would help fulfil the international commitments of the Czech Republic or serve humanitarian purposes, or it would be in the interests of the country in some other way. Such applicant need not demonstrate the statutory conditions for being granted Czech citizenship, with the exception of the condition of a clean criminal record. The applicant’s significant contribution to the Czech Republic is confirmed by the appropriate public authorities, universities and public research institutions.
Filing a Czech citizenship application
The Czech citizenship application is not filed with the Ministry of the Interior: it is filed in person at the appropriate Regional Authority or, in the case of Prague, at the appropriate Municipal Authority for the districts of Prague 1 to 22 (the “Regional Authority”) according to the applicant’s place of permanent residence.
In addition to the particulars stipulated by the Rules of Administrative Procedure, it must be clearly stated in the Czech citizenship application whether and for what reason an exemption to certain conditions for granting Czech citizenship is being sought.
The Regional Authority fills in the application with the applicant and then sends it, together with the submitted documents, its standpoint and the standpoint of the municipality in which the applicant is registered to live, to the Ministry of the Interior within 30 days of the date when the applicant filed the application with the Regional Authority.
The Ministry of the Interior shall decide on the Czech citizenship application within 180 days of the day when the application was delivered to it.
If the Ministry of the Interior rejects the Czech citizenship application, the applicant may reapply no earlier than two years after the day when the decision to reject the application became final. This does not apply if the applicant was child at the time the application was filed or if the applicant in the meantime fulfilled the condition that he or she failed to fulfil earlier and where such failure was the reason why the application was rejected.
Administration fees for granting Czech citizenship
- The administration fee for granting Czech citizenship to an adult amounts to CZK 2 000.
- The Ministry of the Interior may reduce the administration fee for an adult for reasons deserving special consideration to up to CZK 500.
- The administration fee for granting Czech citizenship to a minor child amounts to CZK 500.
- The Ministry of the Interior may reduce the administration fee for a minor child for reasons deserving special consideration to up to CZK 100.
- The administration fee for granting Czech citizenship to an asylum-seeker amounts to CZK 500.
- The Ministry of the Interior may reduce the administration fee for a minor for reasons deserving special consideration to up to CZK 100.