|Citizenship Act (Slovakia)|
|Enacted by||National Council|
|Date enacted||19 January 1993|
The Citizenship Act is a law enacted by the National Council of Slovakia in regards to the nationality law following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. In 2010, it was controversially amended to disallow former citizens from voting, which was said to have affected the 2012 election to some degree.
Prior to 1993, the Slovak Republic was a part of the now defunct state of Czechoslovakia. At the time, Slovak citizenship was an internal distinction within Czechoslovakia.
On 19 January 1993, after the Slovak Republic had become a separate state, the National Council of the Slovak Republic enacted a nationality law to establish "the conditions of gain and loss of citizenship" in the newly formed republic. The law came into effect the day after its publication on 16 February. Citizenship application would be issued by the Ministry of Interior after application with a district office. A citizen of Czechoslovakia as of 31 December 1992, who was not already a citizen of the Slovak Republic, had one year to apply for Slovak citizenship. Citizenship was also open to those who had lost Czechoslovak citizenship as a result of territorial dissolution after the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Under the 1993 law, a citizen could lose Slovak citizenship only at his or her own request, after having acquired citizenship in another country. However, release of citizenship would not be allowed for people who owed taxes or who are under criminal sentence in Slovakia.
Neighbouring Hungary passed a resolution on 26 May 2010, amending its own nationality law to allow any ethnic Hungarian living abroad (who was able to speak the Hungarian language) to seek Hungarian citizenship. The new Hungarian law, which was enacted by a majority of 344 votes in favour with three opposed and five abstentions, elicited a reaction in the surrounding region. The strongest reaction was from Slovakia. Prime Minister Robert Fico said Hungary's action was a "security threat," because Slovakia hosts a 500,000-strong Hungarian minority community within its borders that could possibly become citizens of Hungary. That same day, Slovakia passed a motion to amend the Citizenship Act to limit dual citizenship by barring Slovak citizenship for anyone applying to another country for citizenship. The amendment did not, however, bar dual citizenship for those who acquired it at birth or by marriage.
The verbal spat continued the following year when Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister Tibor Navracsics complained to the European Union's Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding that the law allegedly violated the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights in that he believed it was against the free choice of identity and that Slovakia should be punished if it was found to be in violation of the charter:
I believe the European Union must go further than saying this is a Hungarian-Slovak conflict ... because it violates the charter of fundamental rights. If a democracy robs its own citizens of their citizenship by applying sanctions against people who practice their right to a free choice of identity, I believe it becomes a problem of democracy.
Under the Citizenship Act, Slovak citizenship can be acquired by birth, adoption or grant.
A child is a citizen upon birth if one or both parents is a Slovak citizen. Additionally a child born within the nation's territory to noncitizen parents may acquire citizenship if the parents are stateless, if the parents are unknown and there is no proof of foreign citizenship, or if the child does not to adopt the parents' nationality. When one parent is a citizen and the other is not, the child is considered a Slovak citizen even if the citizen parent is later determined not to be the child's actual parent.
Citizenship is given to a child upon adoption if at least one parent is a citizen.
There are several eligibility requirements for a person to be granted citizenship. For example:
Grants of citizenship can be revoked if:
In such cases, the Ministry of Interior would notify the applicants municipality, police, tax office, customs and social insurance and public health insurance institutions. Within 30 days from the date of notice the citizenship would lapse and certificates returned.
Applications are handled by the District Office of the Upper-Tier Territorial Unit or a Slovak diplomatic mission or consular office. The application are scrutinised and sanctioned by the Ministry of Interior. If after approval the citizenship is not taken up within six months of the date of notification the application would be suspended. Rejected applicants must wait at least two years to re-apply.
The oath of citizenship is undertaken by the head of the District Office, a Slovak ambassador or Consul, or their authorised persons. It reads:
Sľubujem na svoju česť a svedomie, že budem verný Slovenskej republike, budem dodržiavať Ústavu Slovenskej republiky, ústavné zákony, zákony a iné všeobecne záväzné právne predpisy a riadne plniť všetky povinnosti štátneho občana Slovenskej republiky.
(I swear on my honour and conscience that I will be faithful to the Slovak Republic, I will follow the Constitution of the Slovak Republic, constitutional laws, laws and other generally binding legal regulations and properly perform all the duties of a citizen of the Slovak Republic.)
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