Slovak Citizenship by Descent - How to Prepare!
Updated: Jan 20
By Parviz Malakouti-Fitzgerald, Esq.
Last updated: February 17th, 2022
On the heels of Slovakia passing its recent citizenship by descent amendment on Wednesday, February 16th, my office has been inundated with emails and messages asking a number of questions, the most frequent of which is:
What documents should I start gathering to prepare?
It’s a good question and an important one because some of these documents can take several months to even identify, let alone to obtain. In matters of immigration and citizenship, as I’ve written before, it's the early bird that gets the worm.
Slovak authorities haven’t yet published which documents will be necessary so the best we can do is make an informed guess based on previous immigration experience.
In this short article, we’ll list which documents will be most likely to be required for future applicants of Slovak citizenship by descent.
This prediction is based on our experience seeing which documents are requested for 1) the Slovak living abroad certificate, and 2) applications for citizenship by descent in other European countries.
Note: this article is a speculative analysis. We can’t guarantee these will be the documents needed.
The following list is written for people who want to get the early jump on gathering and preparing documents and don’t mind obtaining some documents which possibly might not end up being used.
Documents to Gather for Slovak Citizenship
In many instances, ancestral documents will be necessary to determine eligibility for Slovak citizenship under the new amendment as well as to make the application itself if one qualifies.
These documents are doing double duty!
In my estimation, these are the documents all applicants will likely need to apply:
The applicant’s birth certificate (or at least certified baptismal record)
Birth records (birth certificate or certified baptismal record) of all ancestors of the applicant in the direct line to and including the qualifying Slovak ancestor
Ex: If you are qualifying through your great-grandfather, then you would collect birth records for great-grandfather, his child (your grandparent), your parent, and then yourself.
3. Your marriage certificate (if you are married);
4. Your divorce/dissolution of marriage decree (if applicable);
5. Certified final criminal disposition i.e. “minutes of hearing (if applicable)
Documents Which MAY Help Prove Eligibility for Some Applicants
One of the requirements for applicants to prove eligibility is that they must have a qualifying ancestor that was a Slovak or Czechoslovak citizen (from the current day area of Slovakia). Documents to help prove this may be as follows:
Slovak or Czechoslovak passport of your qualifying Slovak ancestor;
Ship manifest records of your qualifying Slovak ancestor’s emigration journey (if applicable);
Naturalization petition or certificate of your qualifying Slovak ancestor if he/she naturalized abroad.
Documents to Refrain from Obtaining (For Now)
As part of security checks, it’s a near certainty that applicants will have to obtain a police background check in their home country (known as an FBI identity history summary in the U.S.).
However, most citizenship programs put an expiration date on the background checks (such as 90 days for the Slovak Living Abroad application) so this is something you’ll likely want to refrain from obtaining until you are close to applying.
There will certainly be an application form for Slovak citizenship by descent. But it’s not available yet so on this, we wait!
Most residency and naturalization processes require two to six passport sized photos of the applicants taken recently. “Within the last 30 days” is a common required time frame so you may want to refrain from obtaining these until you are close to applying.
Apostilles & Super-Legalization
Slovak authorities have not definitively stated whether official documents from abroad must be apostilled or super-legalized.
However, based on requirements for the Slovak Living Abroad application and Slovak residency applications, we believe it is highly likely that foreign documents will have to be apostilled or super-legalized as part of the citizenship by descent application.
You can decide to obtain apostilles or super-legalization (depending on the document’s country origin) or not at your own discretion.
Slovak Language Translations
It’s very likely that all documents an applicant submits as part of their application that are not in Slovak will have to be translated. We do not know yet whether the translations will have to be official or whether unofficial translations will suffice.
You can decide to obtain translations or not at your own discretion.
Applicants with an Arrest or Criminal Conviction
Applicants with any criminal record may have to take steps to either explain previous arrests and convictions or possibly even explore the possibility of post-conviction relief (i.e. “expungements” or “cleaning your record”). Being properly screened for post-conviction relief options is the realm of legal professionals i.e. licensed attorney.
If you know you’ve had a previous arrest or conviction, you may want to get the jump on finding out if the issue will prevent you from eligibility for Slovak citizenship and if any post-conviction relief measures are available. You can book a consultation with my office right away.
Cleaning your record can be a lengthy process so one should account for that if you’re eager to apply for Slovak (or any other) citizenship.
Have questions about what it means to become a dual citizen? Check out our 101 dual citizenship FAQs. Also, we’ll be posting a number of additional articles about Slovak citizenship by descent in the coming weeks as more information becomes available so make sure to check in regularly.
If you don’t want to deal with figuring out this stuff on your own, you can book a consultation with us to figure out your eligibility, and get our help in applying for citizenship if you’re eligible.
The Law Office of Parviz Malakouti does not guarantee the accuracy of information presented nor assume responsibility for actions taken in reliance of this information. The information in this page could become outdated. Each immigration case is particular and you should consult with a qualified, licensed immigration lawyer about your case before taking any steps.