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First applications for retrieving Slovak citizenship filed

SOME Slovaks who had their citizenship stripped by a hastily conceived 2010 law have already filed applications for their citizenship to be restored after a February 1 decree by the Interior Ministry cleared the way. 

Interior Minister Róbert Kaliňák (Source: Sme - Pavol Funtál)

Thus far ministry does not have precise statistics about the number of applications, as these are filed at district offices in regional cities and also at Slovak embassies abroad.

“We have information that first applications have already been filed, for example at Slovak Embassy in Prague or at District Office in Bratislava,” the Interor Ministry Office informed the SITA newswire February 10.

The 2010 law of the first government of Prime Minister Robert Fico – which came as a reaction to a Hungarian law on dual citizenship – stripped many of their Slovak citizenship. The strict law should be eased by an amendment, which is already prepared. However, Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák did not want to wait until it is passed and by the end of last year, he announced the re-granting of citizenship based on individual exceptions.

For such an exception, however, special conditions must be fulfilled: it must be in the interest of Slovakia, the persons involved must have been Slovak citizens after 1993 and only then lost their citizenship, and have gained the foreign citizenship due to their long-term stay abroad. A physical stay of at least three years in Slovkaia is also part of the condition, making the citizenship harder for Slovak expats.

Due to the harsh current law, some one thousand people lost Slovak citizenship in the four-and-a-half years since it is valid. Though the law was meant to punish those who opted to take up Hungarian citizenship, it most affected Slovaks with dual Czech citizenship.

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