The legal and policy framework in the Czech Republic has some positive aspects and some significant gaps. The Czech Republic 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.
The Czech Republic does not have a dedicated statelessness determination procedure. Since 2019 the Ministry of Interior has issued decisions confirming statelessness under the 1954 Convention and until 2021, jurisprudence conferred by analogy the same rights that asylum-seekers had to applicants for statelessness determination. However, in August 2021, a legal amendment moved the possibility to determine statelessness to the Immigration Act, making it more difficult for stateless people to have their status recognised. Even though the analogy with rights under the asylum procedure should be preserved according to jurisprudence, the procedure to determine statelessness is very unclear, and the rights granted to stateless applicants are weaker. There are no provisions to regulate the status of stateless applicants, nor procedural safeguards, and the right to remain on the territory is not guaranteed. A recognised stateless person will be granted a renewable ‘tolerated stay’ visa for one year. 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 the Czech Republic, 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.