Like many of its European neighbors, the Czech Republic has its own citizenship by ancestry program.
And it’s a recent program too, having launched in 2014 with the ACCR (Act on the Citizenship of the Czech Republic).
Czechia’s citizenship by ancestry program has since expanded with a change in 2019. The expansion allows second generation individuals with Czech ancestry access to the program.
That is, if your grandparent was a Czechoslovak citizen, you’re eligible to sign up!
Czechia’s 2019 amendment is considered one of the biggest among Visegrad countries, and has been seen as a huge step towards liberalizing citizenship by ancestry.
As a result, many countries surrounding Czechia have been motivated to amend their own ancestry laws. One is Slovakia, which is drafting an amendment that’ll expand its program to 3rd generation descendants!
But Let’s Get Back to Czechia for a Second…
Czechia’s 2019 amendment was to the ACCR, which saw the addition of Article 31(3)
Article 31(3) targets descendants of Czechoslovak or Czech citizens, up to the second generation. It focuses on descendants whose ancestors had lost their former citizenship.
A key element to that law is that each descendant can acquire citizenship through “declaration.”
That is, they already have the right to citizenship by law. And Article 31(3) is drafted to affirm that right.
Even better, Czech authorities aren’t allowed to dispute that right from qualified applicants (assuming they meet the requirements).
This makes the process easy for applicants. Each qualified applicant isn’t required to possess Czech language fluency, or show evidence of proper character.
So Who Qualifies for the Ancestry Program?
There are two types of accepted applicants. Those would be:
For example, let’s say that a Czechoslovak citizen originating from a region of modern Czechia immigrated to the US in the 1920s.
If that individual naturalized in the US, they would have lost their prior citizenship. And that citizenship would not be passed down to future descendants born in the US.
But through Article 31(3), descendants today (up to grandchildren) are allowed to reclaim that lost citizenship again.
Easy Qualification Requirements
As an applicant, you don’t have to pass any tests. And the program accepts a long enough descent.
And this has made the 2019 Amendment a success since inception, right?
Not really. Here’s what the data has to stay about the program’s success…
The Reality: Low Naturalization Rates
Based on numbers published from the Czech Ministry of Interior, the ACCR had low worldwide signup rates between September 2019 and April 2021.
Only 280 descendants applied for citizenship during that time, an abysmal rate for a supposedly accessible ancestry program.
For comparison, a US national consensus in 2000 showed that 1.2 million individuals claimed partial or full Czech descent. 280 individuals is a small number in comparison.
And this means that the program hasn’t received much attention in the US, or worldwide at all!
Possible Causes of Low Application Rates
It’s definitely not the signup fee. The fee for an application is $23, a cheap price for anyone seeking to relocate overseas.
Most assume that the main issue with the program is its main requirement. That is, the descendant must have had an ancestor who lost their citizenship by immigrating to an antagonistic country during that time.
But Article 31(3) was drafted to tackle that requirement, expanding citizenship rights to any descendant who lost citizenship, regardless of date.
Thus, the key cause seems to be lack of awareness.
We’re assuming that the majority of qualified applicants aren’t aware of their ancestry or their eligibility for citizenship. And as a result, they may not be interested in the program at all!
And this is quite the shock! The US hosts the world’s largest Czech community. It’s surprising that more individuals there aren’t exploring the program for travel options.
In fact, Czechia’s ancestry program gives access them not just to the country, but to the EU in general!
How Will the CBI Market Respond to the Amendments?
CBI clients want more mobility assets. With more awareness, we think they’ll explore the opportunity for a citizenship-by-descent route.
Why? It’s because Ancestry routes are cheaper. They cost investors seeking to access the EU no startup or investment capital.
Thus, we expect that investors will look more at their family trees to check for qualifying ancestors.
On a US level, we expect most interest to come from states that are home to large Central European descents, such as Texas, Illinois, and Chicago.
But this won’t apply to investors only. Migration firms will also be interested in the growing demand for ancestry citizenship, us included!
Making the Process Simpler
Are you an individual looking to acquire citizenship by descent? If so, our firm can help you out.
Knowing whether you qualify or not is the hardest part of the process. You’ll need to go through a research process to find out if you have an ancestor that fits Czechia’s requirements.
Plus, you’ll need to submit legally certified evidence of your ancestry.
With Global RCG, you make the process simpler. We’ll go through the analysis to check that you qualify. And, we’ll prepare your application package (while instructing you on each following step), letting you finish the process in record time!
Simply contact us, and get started today!