Slovaks abroad

Because of my academic work, I meet people who proudly claim Slovak heritage everywhere around the world. Often they wonder: how can I strengthen my family’s bond with the country of my ancestors? This page is my answer to that question.

Slovakia is a modern country. For almost two decades, it is a member of the European Union. Culturally and geographically, it is in the middle of the European continent. Here is how it might be attractive for you:

  • For retirees, it offers amazing opportunities to enjoy the vibe of smaller towns, nice countryside and mountains. The crime rate is ultra-low, and health care costs and cost of living are much lower than in many other OECD countries.
  • For professionals, it offers endless possibilities to build and improve things. You can get involved in high profile challenges that are hard to get by in bigger countries. Universities and NGOs are always open to international collaborations. It is the ideal place for your gap year, sabbatical or your period of digital nomading. With Slovak citizenship, you can travel and stay around Europe easily.
  • For professionals with kids, the child-care costs are very low; maternity and parental leaves are very generous.
  • For students, it offers tuition-free higher education for citizens (mostly in Slovak; however, English-taught programs are on the rise too, but they are usually subject to fees). With Slovak citizenship, you have access to higher education in any other EU member states, many of which have tuition-free education too (eg Germany, Nordics, etc.).

To stay in Slovakia, as a descendant of Slovaks, you have a few legal options. They make your life easier and grant you wide-ranging rights in Slovakia and the European Union. Bonus: once you become a Slovak citizen, your kids born after acquiring it, will gain Slovak citizenship automatically too.

Slovak Citizenship by descent

These are some basic rules of thumb. The actual legal rules and routes are obviously a bit more complex. Zip-Citizenship provides various services to people with Slovak heritage who wish to obtain Slovak citizenship. Generally speaking:

  • If one of your parents was a Slovak citizen, the chances are that you yourself are a Slovak citizen already. You only do not know about it yet because you don’t hold any passport or similar documents. It does not matter that you were born abroad.
  • If your grandparents or great grandparents were Czechoslovak citizens who were also born in today’s territory of Slovakia, you can gain Slovak citizenship. However, you will have to first spend some time in Slovakia. (if your ancestors were born in the territory of today’s Czechia, you can gain Czech citizenship and many rights for Slovakia through EU or Czech citizenship)
  • Finally, if any of your direct ancestors had Slovak nationality, even though they lacked Slovak or Czechoslovak citizenship, you can gain Slovak citizenship after a while. However, you will have to first spend some time in Slovakia.

Thus even if you are not planning to leave your new home country behind, if you have a brief period when you decide to leave — for sabbaticals, gap years, and digital nomading — you can use it productively; namely, you can use it to gain Slovak citizenship.

Certificate of a Slovak Living Abroad (SLA)

Even if you don’t plan to come to Slovakia, you can formalise your bond with your Slovak ancestors. You can gain a certificate of a Slovak Living Abroad, which gives you some additional rights in Slovakia (eg easier access to the right of residence). You can always convert it to citizenship later if you decide to stay in Slovakia for a while at any point in your life.

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