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surviving Slovakia

- I HAVE Slovak parents / grandparents. Can I get Slovak citizenship?

Many of you keep mailing us requiring more information about how to get Slovak citizenship. Filing for Slovak citizenship, if you are of Slovak descent, can be quite easy in some cases, but more difficult in others.

First of all, you need to determine the following: Which of your predecessors had or has Slovak (or at times Czechoslovak) citizenship, your date of birth, and whether or not you have documents that prove your predecessor's Slovak citizenship.

Let us say it was your parents who had Slovak roots and were born here but immigrated some time ago. In this case you have to look at your date of birth and what citizenship your parents held at the time when you were born. In the case that your parents had Slovak citizenship on the day you were born, your Slovak citizenship can be issued very swiftly - you will, however, be obliged to submit your birth certificate and prove your marital status (if married). You will also require the birth certificates and marriage certificates of your parents along with their naturalisation documents.

For those who have no Slovak predecessors but still would like to become "Slovaks", several conditions must be fulfilled, one must:

* Have permanently resided in Slovakia for at least 5 years

* Speak Slovak

* Have a clear criminal record for the past 5 years

After fulfilling these conditions you can apply for Slovak citizenship at the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the Department of State Citizenship. This process can take several years as there is no time limit for approving applications. The fee is €500 plus costs related to the translation of all documents needed to be submitted with the application.

If one's relatives were from Slovakia, the only advantage is that it might take a shorter period of time for the ministry to approve the application.

There is no set of simple rules on how to become a Slovak citizen; the procedure varies for each individual case. Also, keep in mind that even though sometimes it may seem the procedure should be very fast (especially if your parents were Slovaks), gathering the necessary documents can still be quite lengthy. We will be glad to answer your questions in more detail through email.

Ivona Telekiová, general manager of the Bratislava based company Relocation s.r.o. (www.relo.sk), awaits your questions at surviving.slovakia@gpp.sk

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