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In one year, 120 people asked for return of Slovak citizenship

IN LESS than one year – between February 1, 2015 and January 8, 2016 – of the validity of the legal exception, 120 former citizens of Slovakia asked for a return of Slovak citizenship.

Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák during parliamentary session on dual citizenship. (Source: Sme)

So far, 55 of them got it back, the Interior Ministry informed the TASR newswire. Of the total number of applicants, 81 applied at Slovak offices, while 39 asked at Slovak representation offices abroad. The applications came from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Switzerland, Italy, France, the UK, but also from Israel, the USA and Australia.  

Starting in February 2016, it will be easier for people who were stripped of their Slovak citizenship due to the current law on citizenship to request a retrieval when a decree of the Interior Ministry becomes effective on bestowing Slovak state citizenship for special reasons for former Slovak citizens who lost their citizenship after January 1, 1993 to ask for its retrieval. The procedure on re-granting citizenship is impacted by the facts and circumstances that led to the loss, as well as the way in which former Slovak citizen acquired the citizenship and passport of another country – which is the main reason for losing Slovak state nationality.

People wishing to retrieve their Slovak citizenship need to apply in written form or in person at district office, at a diplomatic mission, or a consular office of Slovak Republic. The condition for acquiring it is to have a registered residence with the Alien Police, i.e. residence permit for a stranger in Slovakia, which targets Slovaks of Hungarian ethnicity living in Slovakia.

The controversy over citizenship rules began in 2010 when Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary, in almost his first action after entering office, successfully amended Hungary’s citizenship law to allow ethnic Hungarians living in other countries, including Slovakia, to relatively easily acquire Hungarian citizenship. Around 10 percent of Slovakia’s residents speak Hungarian as their mother tongue.

The Slovak government, then headed by Robert Fico, reacted to the Hungarian law by passing an amendment to its State Citizenship Act specifying that any Slovak citizen who sought to obtain citizenship in another country would be required to report that fact to Slovak authorities who would then automatically strip that person of their Slovak citizenship. Slovak citizens who could show what was termed a “real link” to another country, such as permanent residence or close family relations, were later excluded from losing their Slovak citizenship if they acquired the citizenship of another country.

Read also: Read also:Thirty-three people have regained their Slovak citizenship

Since then, several amendments strove to moderate the impacts of the law but none has been passed so far.

People who accept citizenship of another country lose their Slovak citizenship. – 1,276 people so far. 

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