Czechia

The legal and policy framework in Czechia has some positive aspects and some significant gaps. Czechia is party to most relevant international and regional instruments, including three of the four core statelessness conventions (although with some important reservations to the 1954 Convention). Some data on the stateless population in the country is available, but it is limited to those legally residing in the country.

Since July 2023, Czech law has a procedure for determining statelessness, but it only leads to tolerated stay for the first year and the protection afforded is very limited. The definition of a stateless person is narrower than the 1954 Convention, but the Convention has direct effect. The procedure is insufficient and evidentiary requirements are challenging. Applicants have the right to remain on the territory and are issued an identity document, but the law does not guarantee access to accommodation in reception centres nor access to health insurance. Recognised stateless people are only granted a tolerated stay visa (although they may acquire a permanent residence permit after five years), and limited access to economic and social rights.

There are also gaps in the legal framework to protect stateless people from arbitrary immigration detention, as a country of removal does not need to be established prior to detention, statelessness is not routinely identified in detention decision-making, and, although there are some procedural safeguards, there is no periodic review of detention unless requested by the person detained.

A partial safeguard is in place to prevent children being born stateless in Czechia, but this depends on the actions or status of parents. Provisions protect the right to nationality for foundlings, children born to refugees, and adopted children. Births must be registered, and birth certificates issued to all children. Documentation requirements can be waived in certain circumstances and there are mechanisms in place to determine the child’s nationality. Positively, there are no legal powers for the authorities to deprive someone of Czech nationality, no provisions for automatic loss, and safeguards are in place to prevent statelessness in cases of voluntary renunciation.

Zuletzt aktualisiert: 
Jan. 2024
Landesexperte/n: 

Hana Franková & Adam Stašek, Organisation for Aid to Refugees (OPU)

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ZUSÄTZLICHE INFORMATIONEN

-Rechtsgrundlagen und bewährte Verfahren

 

Internationale und regionale Instrumente

Assesses whether countries are State party to the relevant international and regional instruments, including whether reservations have an impact on statelessness, and whether instruments are incorporated into domestic law. The four core statelessness treaties (1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons; 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness; European Convention on Nationality; Council of Europe Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in Relation to State Succession) carry more weight than other relevant human rights instruments in the assessment.

Czechia generally has a good record on accession to relevant human rights instruments, including both the 1954 and 1961 statelessness conventions, and the European Convention on Nationality. However, it retains significant reservations to the 1954 Convention, which impact on the rights of stateless people on the territory, and it has not acceded to the Council of Europe Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in Relation to State Succession.

  • Czechia is state party to the 1954 Convention, and it has direct effect; but it retains a number of significant reservations, for example, restricting rights to identity papers (Article 27) and travel documents (Article 28) to stateless people holding permanent residence permits.
  • Czechia is state party to the 1961 Convention with no reservations, and it has direct effect.
  • Czechia is state party to the European Convention on Nationality, but not to the Council of Europe Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in Relation to State Succession.
  • Czechia is bound by the EU Returns Directive and is party to all other relevant regional and international human rights treaties (with no relevant reservations), except for the International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.

Statistiken zur staatenlosen Bevölkerung

Examines the availability and sources of disaggregated population data on statelessness. Provides recent figures and assesses reliability of measures countries have in place to count stateless persons, including in the census, population registries, and migration databases. Notes whether statelessness has been mapped in the country and whether there are sufficient measures in place to count stateless persons in detention.

Czechia publishes asylum and immigration data, which contains some disaggregated information on stateless migrants and refugees. The Ministry of Interior also reports monthly on the number of stateless people holding residence permits. However, there are potentially overlapping categories such as ‘citizenship unknown or unidentified’ and ‘Palestinians’, and the data only counts stateless people legally residing in the country, so the figures are likely to be an underestimate of the stateless population. A UNHCR mapping study of statelessness in Czechia was published in December 2020.

  • Czechia gathers and makes available statistical data on asylum, immigration and to some extent, statelessness. 
  • The latest population census (2021) included the categories ‘not identified’ (29,137 people), disaggregated by sex. The category 'stateless' or 'no citizenship' was not included, unlike in the previous population census from 2011 (which recorded 1,502 stateless people).
  • The Czech Statistical Office and Ministry of the Interior publish annual disaggregated data under the combined nationality category 'stateless, not identified, and other' (921 people at the end of 2022, including people who were granted asylum). The category ‘Palestine’ records 211 people, including people granted asylum, at the end of 2022.
  • The Ministry of Interior reports the number of stateless people with legal residence on a monthly basis. On 31 August 2023, it reported 475 stateless people living in Czechia (88 with temporary residence and 387 with permanent residence permits; 156 women and 319 men).
  • The Ministry of Interior also reports figures for the categories 'citizenship unknown or non-identified' (49 people with temporary residence and 21 with permanent residence permits in August 2023), and 'Palestinians' (85 people with temporary residence and 123 with permanent residence permits in August 2023); as well as for asylum seekers and people granted international protection.
  • In 2022, the Ministry of Interior reported that 12 applications for international protection were initiated by people recorded as stateless, and it also reported on the outcome of pending proceedings. As of December 2022, 21 stateless people had been granted asylum status and 44 subsidiary protection status.
  • A UNHCR mapping study of statelessness in Czechia was published in December 2020. As of mid-2023, UNHCR estimates there to be 1,577 stateless people in Czechia.
  • The Government only regularly reports figures for stateless people legally residing in the country, and these numbers are spread across different registries. No government figures are available for the stateless population as a whole, and the UNHCR mapping study also states that in some cases the statistical code lists were inadequately structured and did not indicate statelessness. There are reports of errors being made in the completion of statistical forms and sometimes nationality codes were wrongly assigned to stateless people.
  • Due to a lack of harmonisation of the data categories, and the use of categories such as ‘unknown nationality’, numbers may be inaccurate, and the estimates are likely an underrepresentation.
  • The Refugee Facilities Administration (which manages detention facilities) collects and holds internal data disaggregated by nationality, sex, age and status (e.g. asylum seeker), but this data is not published. A freedom of information request revealed that 1 stateless person was detained in the period between 1 January and 9 November 2021. Another freedom of information request revealed that the Immigration Police does not record statistics disaggregated by nationality.

Verfahren zur Feststellung von Staatenlosigkeit und Rechtsstellung

Identifies whether countries have a definition of a stateless person in national law that aligns with the 1954 Convention, and whether they have a dedicated statelessness determination procedure (SDP) leading to a dedicated stateless status. If an SDP is not place, it assesses whether there are other procedures in which statelessness can be identified or other routes through which stateless people could regularise their stay or access their rights. Countries are subdivided in three groups to enable comparison between those with an SDP leading to protection, those with other procedures, and those with a statelessness status but no clear mechanism to access protection. The existing procedures and rights granted to stateless persons are examined and assessed against international norms and good practice. Assesses whether stateless people fleeing war have access to temporary protection.

The definition of a stateless person in Czech law is narrower than in the 1954 Convention but the Convention has direct effect.  Czech law has established a procedure for determining statelessness under the authority of the Ministry of Interior, but it only leads to tolerated stay for the first year and the protection afforded is very limited. Positively, the application has no fixed form and there is no lawful stay requirement. However, while the burden of proof is shared in principle, in practice greater cooperation is required from the applicant, who must demonstrate that no State recognises them as a national. Applicants have the right to remain on the territory and are issued an identity document, but the law does not guarantee access to accommodation in reception centres nor access to health insurance. Case law applying previous legislation decided that the procedure to determine statelessness and rights conferred to applicants should be analogous to the refugee determination procedure, however, it is not yet known how the Ministry of Interior will take that jurisprudence into account. Recognised stateless people are only granted a tolerated stay visa (although they may acquire a permanent residence permit after five years), and access to work, healthcare, and family reunification is limited.

  • Following amendments in force since July 2023, there is a definition of a stateless person in national law, but this is narrower than the 1954 Convention definition, in that it translates as a person who is not considered a national by any State ‘under its law’ rather than ‘under the operation of its law’. However, as the 1954 Convention has direct effect, the Convention definition and exclusion clauses apply.
  • UNHCR has organised ad hoc training - primarily for legal aid providers - in cooperation with the Czech Ombudsperson's Office, and OPU (in cooperation with ENS) provided training in 2020 for social workers, practitioners, lawyers and attorneys including officials from state institutions.
  • However, the Government does not provide any formal training on statelessness for decision-makers .
  • Following a recent amendment to the Immigration Act in force since July 2023, there is a procedure to determine stateless in Czechia, but it only leads to tolerated stay for the first year and there is no comprehensive protection status for stateless people.
  • An amendment to the Immigration Act in force since July 2023 has introduced a partial procedure to determine statelessness under the authority of the Ministry of Interior, but it does not lead to a comprehensive and dedicated protection status.
  • Even before the amendments, the Ministry of Interior was competent to decide on applications for people to be recognised as stateless under the 1954 Convention and since January 2019 the Ministry has been determining and issuing a certificate to confirm statelessness applications under the Convention. Case law applying previous legislation decided that the procedure to determine statelessness should be analogous to the refugee determination procedure, and further jurisprudence conferred to applicants for statelessness determination the same rights as asylum-seekers by analogy, such as the right to stay on the territory and receive an identification document during the procedure, the right to accommodation in the reception centre for asylum-seekers, and the right to health insurance. It is unclear whether and how the Ministry of Interior will take into account earlier case law developed under the previous legislation. The procedure established since 2023 has several shortcomings and the rights attached to it fall short of international standards, as detailed below.
  • Other routes through which stateless people may regularise their stay include international protection for those who are also refugees. Stateless people may also obtain any other residence permit provided by the Immigration Act, but they face additional obstacles as a travel or identity document is required.
  • The examination is conducted by the Department of Asylum and Migration Policy under the Ministry of Interior. According to the new amendment, there is no lawful stay requirement and no fixed application form, but the application should include information on the applicant’s name, sex, date and place of birth, an address in Czechia for letter delivery, any nationality lost or any evidence showing that no State considers them as a national. The authorities usually consider this in relation to the State of last residence and/or based on the evidence submitted in relation to the State in which the applicant has the highest probability of having nationality. The recent amendment describes the procedure in more details.
  • Jurisprudence states that the rules applying to the refugee determination procedure should apply, although it is unclear how the Ministry of Interior will apply this case law. The Immigration Act provides that authorities have an obligation to consider a claim of statelessness.
  • There is no official cooperation between agencies that may have contact with stateless people to refer cases for determination. UNHCR or the Ombudsperson sometimes refer cases to OPU. UNHCR now has rights similar to those in the asylum procedure, such as the right to information on the number of procedures and the right to contact applicants.
  • If the applicant files both a statelessness application and an application for international protection, the Ministry of Interior shall discontinue the procedure to determine statelessness. If the applicant is granted any type of residence permit or already has another type of residence permit and it is confirmed that they are stateless after conducting the assessment, the Ministry shall only issue a certificate of their statelessness but not any further rights.
  • The burden of proof is in principle shared, by analogy to the refugee determination procedure; however, in practice greater cooperation is required from the applicant. Applicants must prove that no State considers them a national by providing evidence such as an (expired) passport, a birth or marriage certificate, or a document confirming that they are not a national of their country of birth or residence, or that they have tried to obtain the nationality of these countries. Non-documentary evidence, such as testimonies or interviews, are also accepted. The applicant does not have to submit all the documents listed, but only those that, taken together, prove their statelessness. Applicants are required to cooperate with the State of possible nationality to obtain supporting evidence.
  • The requirement that applicants should evidence their statelessness has proved to be difficult and, in some cases, impossible in practice, since it is not in the applicant’s capacity to obtain some evidence, such as documents from the embassy stating that they do not consider them as their nationals. The Ministry of Interior rarely contacts embassies or State authorities directly, they often gather pertinent information, including legislative documents and nationality laws, from the applicant's country of origin. Case law under the previous legislation provides that the Ministry of Interior should conduct steps towards the verification of claims.
  • The standard of proof should also be the same as in the asylum procedure according to case law under previous legislation, but it is unclear if the Ministry of Interior will follow it under the new amendment. In practice, more action on the part of the applicant is required to substantiate their claim. The Explanatory Memorandum clarifies that the granting of a tolerated stay permit on the basis of statelessness, like international protection, is a subsidiary status and therefore an exception to the prevailing principle of international law that a State's primary responsibility is to protect its own nationals. The justification for relying on this subsidiary status must therefore be demonstrated.
  • There are no clear guidelines for decision makers on how to identify and determine statelessness. Country of origin information (COI) often includes relevant legislation, nationality acts, translations and summaries from international organisations and/or international NGOs. The Ministry of Interior rarely contacts embassies or State authorities, but, in cooperation with Czech embassies in the country of origin, may seek individually relevant information, such as local political conditions, security issues, or policies targeted at ethnic or social groups. The COI used by the Ministry is not publicly available.
  • Free legal aid is not provided for in law (unlike in the case of the asylum procedure where it is guaranteed); however, free legal assistance has been provided by OPU in practice. 
  • The Ministry of Interior can interview the applicant, who should be notified at least five days in advance. Even before the recent amendment, in practice an interview has always been provided (unless decided positively without interview). According to the law, the Ministry of Interior should provide the applicant with an interpreter free of charge if necessary. The recent amendment confirms that, like asylum seekers, applicants have the right to access their file.
  • The Immigration Act provides a deadline of six months for issuing the decision, which can be prolonged for another six months if the case is complicated. Decisions are given in writing with reasons.  It is not possible to lodge an administrative appeal against a negative decision, but there is a right to appeal to the court, which must decide on the appeal in a priority manner. However, an appeal against a negative decision does not have suspensive effect.
  • Like asylum-seekers, applicants for statelessness determination can obtain a work permit after six months from submitting their application. The procedure now guarantees that applicants have the right to remain in Czechia during their initial application (not in subsequent applications) and be issued an identity document. However, they do not have the right to accommodation in a reception centre or access to health insurance. Applicants are also often denied access to education. Previous case law established that rights of applicants should be the same as asylum-seekers, but it is unclear if the Ministry of Interior will follow it under the new amendment.
  • People recognised as stateless by the Ministry of Interior since 2019 are delivered a certificate confirming their statelessness under the 1954 Convention.
  • Recognised stateless people are granted a tolerated stay visa for one year, which protects them from expulsion, after which, the person can apply for a tolerated stay long-term residence, which may be granted for two years and is renewable. After five years in total, the stateless person may request permanent residence. 
  • A person with tolerated stay can participate in the public health insurance programme if they cannot pay the insurance on their own on the grounds of the special circumstances, but there are barriers to accessing public health insurance in practice.
  • Like applicants to the procedure and asylum-seekers, people granted a tolerated stay visa must apply to obtain a work permit subject to certain criteria set out in the Employment Act. A valid work permit issued during the application remains valid upon recognition as stateless.
  • The right to family reunification is not granted to holders of a tolerated stay visa, but it is possible for holders of long-term residence. Foreigners with a right to reside can in some cases access social services and social benefits in order to secure housing.
  • A travel document accepted by the Czech Immigration Police and some other countries can be requested with tolerated stay, and the recent amendment allows stateless people issued with a tolerated stay visa to travel abroad (while before stateless people who left the country saw their tolerated stay expire and could not return). A 'foreigner's passport' will be issued to those who have acquired permanent residence.
  • The right to education is granted to stateless people regardless of their residence status.
  • The right to vote is reserved to Czech nationals only.
  • Czechia encourages people who do not hold a biometric passport to bring all other available documents proving their identity to enter Czechia. There are unofficial reports that women, children, and elderly people without a passport should be able to enter the country but there are no guarantees.
  • Czechia offers temporary protection and extends it to stateless people who are beneficiaries of international protection or equivalent national protection in Ukraine (which includes statelessness status in Ukraine), their family members, and those with a valid permanent residence permit in Ukraine who cannot return to their country of origin or former habitual residence. People without a passport or a national identity card need to obtain a document proving their identity at the Ukraine Embassy or Consular Office in Czechia to obtain temporary protection.
  • Stateless people who had a temporary residence in Ukraine or who cannot prove their links to Ukraine are excluded from temporary protection. Those who are not eligible for temporary protection may apply for international protection or a "tolerance visa".
  • There were reports of discrimination against Romani people from Ukraine in accessing housing or obtaining temporary protection in the first months after the start of the war. People fleeing Ukraine also face challenges obtaining temporary protection in Czechia, for example where they had previously applied for it in another EU Member State, and risk losing status in Czechia where they have been granted protection in another Member State.

Haft

Analyses law, policy and practice relating to immigration detention generally, but focusing on protections in place to prevent the arbitrary detention of stateless people during removal and deportation procedures. Subthemes examine areas such as the identification of statelessness and assessment of whether there is a reasonable prospect of removal, procedural safeguards such as time limits, judicial oversight, and effective remedies, as well as the rights granted to stateless people upon release from detention and protection against re-detention.

There are gaps in the legal framework to protect stateless people from arbitrary detention in Czechia. A proposed country of removal does not need to be identified prior to detaining someone, but authorities must release detainees where there is no reasonable prospect of removal. Statelessness is not assessed during the decision to detain nor considered relevant in vulnerability assessments, and, although there is a requirement to consider alternatives to detention, there is no need to exhaust all alternatives prior to detention. There are some procedural safeguards (time limit, written decisions, free legal aid), but there are no automatic periodic reviews of detention, and no identification documents or legal status are issued to people on release from detention. Statelessness is considered in most bilateral return or readmission agreements entered into by Czechia, most of which explicitly permit the readmission of stateless people.

  • Powers for immigration detention are provided for in law and are restricted to purposes allowed under ECHR 5(1)(f).
  • There is a requirement to consider alternatives established in law in each individual case prior to rendering a decision to detain, but not for the authorities to exhaust all possible alternatives prior to detaining someone.  Alternatives vary depending on the type of detention (i.e. deportation, Dublin transfer, asylum-seekers) and include, stay at an address designated by the Immigration Police, regular reporting to the Immigration Police, and obligation to stay at the asylum reception centre. 
  • However, there is evidence that detention is used prior to all alternatives being considered in practice.
  • A proposed country of removal does not need to be identified prior to detention. The only obligation is that a reasonable prospect of removal exists in practice. The authorities generally identify a country or countries of removal in the detention decision, but these may change during the procedure.
  • There is a clear obligation on authorities to release a person when there is no reasonable prospect of removal, as part of the police’s obligation to examine whether the reasons for detention still exist. Detention must be terminated without undue delay when there is no longer a reason to detain, the detention decision was annulled by the court, or the detainee was granted international protection or a long-term residence permit. However, in practice, the police usually only assess this when they decide to prolong detention and issue a new decision.
  • Statelessness can be put forward by the individual as an argument for removal being impossible, but in practice no assessment of statelessness is carried out by the authorities during the decision to detain. 
  • There is a definition of vulnerability in the Asylum Act, but it does not mention statelessness.
  • Vulnerability assessments are carried out by the Ministry of Interior when detaining asylum seekers, but not by the Immigration Police in other immigration detention decision-making. Statelessness is not considered relevant in vulnerability assessments, neither in the context of immigration detention, nor for the purpose of detention of asylum-seekers. No special treatment for stateless people is provided for in law.
  • A maximum time limit on detention of 180 days is set in law. This can be extended if the person or country of origin does not cooperate but cannot exceed 545 days in total. For minor and families with children, the maximum time limit is 90 days. For asylum seekers the maximum is 120 days.
  • The police must always examine if the reasons for detention are lasting and detention must be ended without undue delay if there is no reason to detain anymore, the court annulled the decision of detention, the person was granted asylum or subsidiary protection, or the person was granted a long-term residence permit with the purpose of protection on the territory. No special application for release from detention is needed.
  • Decisions to detain setting out the reasons for detention and initial duration must be rendered in writing within 48 hours. 
  • The Police must notify detainees how to challenge their detention and request release and provide information about free legal counselling. No information is provided about statelessness determination.
  • There is no regular periodic review of the necessity for continued detention unless the detainee requests this. The detainee may appeal to the court against the detention decision within 30 days, and again 30 days after the previous court decision. The detainee must be released immediately if the court gives a positive decision. There is also a possibility to request release to the authority that made the initial detention decision (i.e. the Immigration Police or Ministry of the Interior) every month. 
  • Free legal aid is provided weekly in every detention facility. NGOs provide free legal assistance under State legal aid programmes, although between 2022 and March 2024, NGOs no longer benefitted from these programmes, which limited their ability to provide legal assistance. During that time, a private law firm appointed by the Ministry of Interior provided free legal aid instead of NGOs, although it did not have experience in working with vulnerable groups in those areas.
  • No public information is available about any guidelines in place governing the process of re-documentation/ascertaining nationality, which is carried out by the Immigration Police.
  • No identification documents or legal status are issued to people on release from detention. A one-month departure order visa is issued if the person does not hold a travel document, but the law does not currently provide a route to regularisation if the person cannot be removed.
  • Cumulative time spent in detention is not counted towards the maximum time limit.
  • As an EU Member State, Czechia mostly implements EU Readmission Agreements in which stateless people are considered (e.g. Readmission Agreement with Serbia or Ukraine).  
  • In bilateral agreements, statelessness is generally considered. For example, a procedure to determine nationality or statelessness is considered in the agreement with Kosovo, which includes reference to safeguards for people born on the territory of ex-Yugoslavia, and interviews to determine nationality. In most bilateral agreements, there are paragraphs explicitly permitting the readmission of third country nationals including stateless people (e.g. Poland, Romania, and Moldova). The only bilateral agreement that does not mention stateless people at all is the one with Vietnam.
  • No information is available about how these provisions are implemented in practice.
  • According to the legal framework, the child’s right to a nationality and their fundamental rights should be considered, in line with the child’s best interests. However, in practice, the child’s right to a nationality is not always taken into account, especially when the removal of the child is considered in the context of the whole family or in the case of unaccompanied minors who are close to the age of majority.

Prävention und Reduktion

Assesses the adequacy of safeguards in nationality laws to prevent and reduce statelessness, including facilitated routes to naturalisation for stateless people, and protections for otherwise stateless children born on the territory or to nationals abroad, foundlings and adopted children. Examines law, policy, and practice on birth registration, including access to late birth registration, and reduction measures taken by States to prevent and reduce in situ statelessness. Analyses provisions on deprivation of nationality and whether there are safeguards related to renunciation and deprivation of nationality to prevent statelessness from occurring.

Czechia performs relatively well on the prevention and reduction of statelessness. Naturalisation is possible after five years’ permanent residence and may be facilitated for stateless people at the discretion of the Ministry of Interior. There is an important gap for children born stateless in Czechia, as the child’s ability to acquire Czech nationality depends on the actions or status of the parents. There is a specific provision to protect the right to a nationality of children born to refugees, foundlings, and to prevent statelessness in the adoption process. The law also provides that all births must be registered within three days and birth certificates issued to all children within 30 days. However, there are discriminatory practices in the registration of birth of children of same-sex couples or born through surrogacy. Documentation requirements may be waived in certain circumstances (for refugees and asylum-seekers) and a solemn declaration provided instead. The child's nationality is not recorded on the birth certificate and a procedure is in place for determining nationality later. There are no legal powers for the authorities to deprive someone of Czech nationality, no provisions for automatic loss, and safeguards are in place to prevent statelessness in cases of voluntary renunciation.

  • Generally, it is possible to naturalise after five years’ permanent residence, so, in the case of someone with tolerated stay, this would be five years of tolerated stay plus five years of permanent residence. However, for stateless people (and refugees), naturalisation may be facilitated at the discretion of the Ministry of Interior once the person holds permanent residence.  
  • It is also possible for the Ministry of Interior to waive the requirement that a person wishing to naturalise is not a burden on the social security system in the case of stateless people and refugees.
  • Other requirements for naturalisation must be met (i.e. language and citizenship test (not required if the person has studied in Czech for three years, is under 15, over 65, or mentally disabled)); proof of income; no criminal record).
  • The application for naturalisation is free, but if granted, there is a fee of 2.000 CZK for adults and 500 CZK for minors and refugees. At the discretion of the Ministry, the fee can be reduced to 500 CZK in exceptional cases and 100 CZK for minors and refugees. There is no specific exemption for stateless people, but they can apply as an exceptional case.
  • Czech nationality cannot be obtained if the person has a criminal record, and there is no exemption from this requirement for stateless people.
  • There is no discrimination in the nationality legislation.
  • There are provisions in law for children born in Czechia who would otherwise be stateless to acquire Czech nationality, but they do not constitute a full safeguard to prevent statelessness in all cases. 
  • In the case of children born on the territory whose both parents are stateless, the provision is automatic, by operation of the law. In other cases, an application must be made to the Ministry of Interior for a Certificate of Czech Citizenship, in which parents must prove that the child has not become stateless because they failed to take necessary steps to confer their nationality to the child.
  • In both cases, for the child to acquire Czech nationality, at least one of the parents must have held legal residence in the country for at least 90 days at the time of the child's birth.
  • Nothing indicates that parents are provided with information about specific procedures for stateless children.
  • There is no age or time limit by which the stateless child/person born on the territory must apply. There is a fee for making the application of 500 CZK for a minor, which can be reduced to 100 CZK, and 2.000 CZK for an adult. There is a specific provision to protect the right to a nationality of children born to refugees. Being a refugee is considered relevant grounds for a parent not to take steps for their child to acquire their nationality if this requires contact with the authorities of their country of origin. However, children born to parents who changed their residence status (e.g., subsidiary protection to permanent residence) can face barriers to acquiring nationality.
  • A foundling acquires Czech nationality on the day they are found, if they are under three and the authority has not established that they have acquired another nationality within six months. If they are over three years-old, and their identity cannot be established because of their young age or disability, they acquire Czech nationality upon application lodged by a guardian. 
  • There is no age limit for foundlings to acquire nationality and it may not be withdrawn.
  • For an adopted child to lose Czech nationality, the parents of the adopted child must prove the child has or will acquire another nationality, and there are safeguards in place to prevent statelessness in the process.
  • If at least one parent is a Czech national, the adopted child acquires Czech nationality upon confirmation of the adoption by the Czech authorities.
  • If at least one parent is a Czech national, children born abroad acquire nationality by descent and there are no discriminatory conditions.
  • The law provides that all children must be registered within three days of birth. The registration is carried out by the facility where the child is born or, in the case of a home birth, the parents must register the child at the registry office in their place of residence within three days (in the case of the mother, within three days of being capable of doing so). Not registering a birth is an offence and punishable by a fine of up to 10.000 CZK . The obligation to present documentation for birth registration can be waived in special circumstances and a solemn declaration provided instead (e.g. in the case of refugees/asylum-seekers). 
  • All children, regardless of legal status or nationality will be issued with a Czech birth certificate by the Birth Registry within 30 days of notification of the birth.
    The child's nationality is not recorded in the birth registry nor on the birth certificate, but the parents' nationality is recorded. The child's nationality will be determined when they apply for a Czech passport, identity document or visa. The parents of a child who does not acquire Czech nationality at birth should apply for a visa on their behalf within 60 days at which point the Czech authorities will determine the child's nationality. If there is any doubt about the child acquiring Czech nationality at birth, parents must apply for a Certificate of Czech Citizenship (CCC) at the local birth registry in the place of birth. In that case, the best interest of the child is not always taken into consideration as the child's right to acquire a nationality is conditioned by the residence status of the parents.
  • There are no credible reports of children being prevented from having their births registered. However, only one parent can be listed on the birth certificate of children born same-sex couples, and only the surrogate mother is listed as a parent on the birth certificate of children born through surrogacy.
  • There is no clear firewall to prevent the sharing of information with immigration authorities and it is not known whether this happens in practice.
  • There is no evidence of proactive action or campaigns on the part of the Czech authorities to reduce statelessness or promote birth registration among high-risk groups.
  • Statelessness has primarily been considered a migratory issue in Czechia. UNHCR has recommended the Government commission research on in situ statelessness.
  • There are no provisions on deprivation of nationality in Czech law.
  • In case of voluntary renunciation of nationality, the person concerned must prove that they have or will acquire another nationality and a safeguard is in place to prevent statelessness in the procedure.

Ressourcen

Library of resources, legal instruments, publications and training materials on statelessness, specifically relevant to this country. More regional and international materials, as well as resources from other countries, are available on the Resources library. Domestic case law can be consulted in the Statelessness Case Law Database (with summaries available in English).

Please note that we are in the process of adding new resources, so check back soon.

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22 März 2024 / Albania / Austria / Belgium / Bosnia-Herzegovina / Bulgaria / Council of Europe / Croatia / Cyprus / Czechia / Detention / European Union / France / Georgia / Germany / Global / Greece / Hungary / International and Regional Instruments / Ireland / Italy / Kosovo / Latvia / Malta / Moldova / Montenegro / Netherlands / North Macedonia / Norway / Poland / Portugal / Prevention and reduction / Romania / Serbia / Slovenia / Spain / Statelessness determination and status / Statelessness population data / Sweden / Switzerland / Türkiye / Ukraine / United Kingdom

WEBINAR: 2023 State of Play Assessment on Statelessness in Europe

Join us for the online launch of our annual StatelessnessINDEX state of play assessment and hear about key trends from several experts working on the…
23 März 2023 / Albania / Austria / Belgium / Bulgaria / Council of Europe / Croatia / Cyprus / Czechia / European Union / France / Germany / Global / Greece / Hungary / International and Regional Instruments / Ireland / Italy / Latvia / Malta / Moldova / Montenegro / Netherlands / North Macedonia / Norway / Poland / Portugal / Romania / Serbia / Slovenia / Spain / Sweden / Switzerland / Ukraine / United Kingdom
SDP briefing

New Index Thematic Briefing: Statelessness determination and Protection in Europe

This briefing summarises how countries perform on stateless determination procedures.
15 Sep 2021 / Albania / Austria / Belgium / Bulgaria / Croatia / Cyprus / Czechia / France / Germany / Greece / Hungary / Ireland / Italy / Latvia / Malta / Moldova / Netherlands / North Macedonia / Norway / Poland / Portugal / Serbia / Slovenia / Spain / Statelessness determination and status / Switzerland / Ukraine / United Kingdom

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