How to achieve the highest level of integration?
Acquiring Czech citizenship represents the highest level of integration into Czech society. The path to citizenship involves obligations, but it brings with it many benefits. If you’re interested in sooner or later obtaining Czech citizenship, then this article is just for you.
Ways of obtaining Czech citizenship
Czech citizenship can be obtained in several ways:
- By birth – at least one of the parents must be a citizen of the Czech Republic
- Determination of paternity – if the father is a citizen of the Czech Republic and the parents declare paternity with the Registry office or court. In some cases, a genetic test is required
- By adoption – if at least one of the adoptive parents is a Czech citizen
- By being found in the Czech Republic – if the child is under 3 years of age and cannot be identified
- Declaration – applies to persons aged 18-21 who are permanent residents of the Czech Republic, have a clean criminal record, and have already resided in the Czech Republic before the age of 10.
- Entrustment to institutional, foster care, or other forms of care – if the child was at the time of birth and continues to be experiencing homelessness, and has been entrusted to foster care
- Awarded for significant contribution to the Czech Republic (contributions: scientific, educational, cultural, sports, humanitarian, fulfillment of the Czech Republic’s international obligations, etc.). The person must have permanent residency in the Czech Republic.
- By granting – subject to the conditions described below
Why apply for Czech citizenship?
Czech citizenship will give you the full rights of a Czech citizen. Compared to permanent residency, you’ll additionally have the right to vote and be elected. If you experience trouble abroad, you’ll have the option of obtaining diplomatic protection of the Czech Republic and the European Union. With Czech citizenship, you can’t be expelled from the Czech Republic. Czech passport also gives more freedom to travel abroad.
What is required for Czech citizenship?
1. Conditions you must meet:
- You must have had a permanent residence permit in the Czech Republic:
- for 5 years (if you are a non-EU national)
- for a period which, along with your immediately previous lawful residence in the Czech Republic, is at least 10 years
- for 3 years if you are an EU citizen
- Your stay in the Czech Republic must be continuous. You will have to submit a so-called history of residence. This document is issued by the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic (OAMP) upon request.
- You have to prove knowledge of the Czech language at a B1 level and knowledge of Czech facts. If you have studied for at least 3 years in primary, secondary or higher education in the Czech Republic in Czech, you do not have to take this exam. You’re also exempt from the exam if you are under 15 or over 65 years old. Other cases and exemptions are defined by law. More information about the exam, including model questions, can be found at http://obcanstvi.cestina-pro-cizince.cz/.
- You have not breached any legal obligations in the 3 years prior to your application. This is particularly related to:
- Paying health insurance
- Paying social insurance
- Paying taxes
- Paying customs fees
- Fulfilling public obligations to the municipality where you are registered for permanent residence
- Submitting levies and other fees
- Carrying out the duty of maintenance towards a child who is a permanent resident of the Czech Republic
- You must prove the amount and sources of income for the past 3 years (not applicable for people under 18)
- In the last 3 years prior to your application, you have not placed a significant and/or unjustified burden on the state social security system and the material needs support system. A significant burden is defined as long-term dependence on state social security benefits or material need benefits. Inability to work due to health, study, maternity or parental leave, or caring for a close dependent person is not considered a significant burden on the system.
- You must prove your actual presence in the Czech Republic (proven by proof of studies, employment contracts and other relevant documents).
- Citizenship of the Czech Republic may be granted if the applicant is fully integrated in the Czech Republic, especially in terms of family, social and labor relations, and meets the legal conditions for granting citizenship.
2. Make sure to prepare the following documents before submitting your application:
- Certified copies of civil registry documents – birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce certificate or dissolution of civil union, death certificate of a deceased spouse or partner
- Residence certificate – i.e. so-called history of residence. You can request this document from the Department for Asylum and Migration Policy of the Ministry of the Interior.
- Proof of passing the Czech language and Czech facts exams (or proof that you’re exempt from these exams – e.g. proof of studies as described above).
- Excerpt from the Criminal Register from the country of origin – to be submitted only if you have lived in the Czech Republic for less than 10 years or if you have lived outside the Czech Republic for more than 6 consecutive months in the last 10 years. You’ll have to request this excerpt from the country where you spent this time. CARE: These excerpts are only valid for 6 months.
- Certificate of no debt:
- from your health insurance company
- from the Czech Social Security Administration
- CARE: These certificates are only valid for 30 days!
- Confirmation of no arrears:
- in the tax records of the Financial Administration of the Czech Republic (tax arrears or debts with the tax office)
- in the customs records of the Customs Administration of the Czech Republic (customs arrears or debts)
- CARE: These confirmations are only valid for 30 days!
- Confirmation of not receiving state social support benefits and material needs benefits – CARE: The certificate is only valid for 30 days!
- Certified copies of all employment contracts, personal records for pension insurance/tax returns/certificates on receiving benefits
- Certified copies of proof of studies in Czech language (confirmation of study period, copy of diploma, etc.)
- List of all trips abroad in the last 3 years
- CV – a free-form text in Czech about your life with emphasis on your gainful and other activities in the Czech Republic – work, studies, family, leisure, activities beneficial to Czech society, etc.
- Citizenship application – a free-form text in Czech explaining why you should be granted Czech citizenship.
Tip: Before beginning to gather all these documents, firstly call the Regional or District Authority office to find out the waiting period for applying for citizenship, and also to find out whether you need to make an appointment to apply or whether you can come anytime during office hours. Also check the list of documents required by your local authority (can be found the authority’s website).
How to apply?
- The application is submitted using the “Form for application for Czech citizenship“. This form is available at the Regional Office or, in the case of Prague, at the District Authority office.
- Submitting the application is free.
- Within 30 days, the Regional or District Authority office will hand over the application including all attachments to the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic, which decides on granting.
- By law, the Ministry of the Interior has 180 days from the date of delivery to issue a decision. However, the procedure generally takes longer.
- The Ministry of the Interior is entitled to request additional documents necessary for the decision, and ask you to provide a statement on other decisive facts that may have occurred since the application submission (the decisive facts may be, among others, a change in marital status, childbirth, change of employment, moving abroad, etc.)
- If your application is rejected, you have 15 calendar days to file a so-called “remonstrance against the decision to reject your application for Czech citizenship”. In terms of its effect, a remonstrance is a form of standard appeal.
- If your application for Czech citizenship is rejected, you can submit a completely new application after two years at the earliest. However, the reasons for the refusal must also be taken into account – if there are any serious obstacles to the granting of citizenship that cannot be removed, it would only make sense to submit a new application after these obstacles are no longer relevant to your new application.
What follows the granting of Czech citizenship?
- You’ll pay a fee for the citizenship application (only if your application is successful). The fee is 2000 CZK for an adult and 500 CZK for a minor or a person with international protection.
- Within 12 months of receiving the notice, you must take the oath of allegiance. The oath is taken in a public, solemn manner. The text of the oath is: „Slibuji na svou čest věrnost České republice. Slibuji, že budu dodržovat její Ústavu a ostatní zákony České republiky.“
- On the day you take the oath, you become a citizen of the Czech Republic. Children under the age of 15 do not have to take the oath.
- Hand in your residence permit card to OAMP.
- Register your residence at the municipal or district authority office.
- Register your birth at the registry office to get your Czech birth certificate. This registration is handled by the Special Registry Office in Brno-střed, which registers matrimonial events of Czech citizens that occurred abroad. You can also obtain a Czech marriage certificate at this registry office if you were married abroad.
- You can apply for a temporary ID card (valid for 3 months) at the municipal office or municipal district and, after obtaining a Czech birth certificate, apply for an ID card valid for 10 years.
If you have any further questions about this topic, we’d be happy to help. Make an appointment for our legal counseling at +420 252 543 846 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.