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An individual may acquire Slovenian citizenship by birth, or by naturalisation if they actually reside in Slovenia on a continuous basis for the prescribed period of time. There is also a process of extraordinary naturalisation, which allows Slovenian citizenship to be acquired under less stringent conditions, where citizenship is in the national interest – in particular, where there are justified academic/scientific, economic, cultural, national or similar grounds.

An individual may acquire Slovenian citizenship by birth or by naturalisation

The principle of blood ties applies in Slovenia. This means that a child acquires citizenship at birth through their parents, i.e. not on the basis of place of birth. Newborn children acquire Slovenian citizenship if at least one of the parents is a Slovenian citizen. 

An individual may also acquire Slovenian citizenship by naturalisation if they actually reside in Slovenia on a continuous basis for the prescribed period of time. There is also a process of extraordinary naturalisation, which allows Slovenian citizenship to be acquired under less stringent conditions, where citizenship is in the national interest – in particular, where there are justified academic/scientific, economic, cultural, national or similar grounds.

Acquiring citizenship

There are three ways of acquiring Slovenian citizenship by birth: automatically, by application and by adoption.

A child automatically acquires Slovenian citizenship upon birth:

  • if, at the time of their birth, their father and mother are citizens of Slovenia;
  • if, at the time of their birth, one of their parents is a citizen of Slovenia and the child was born in Slovenia;
  • if, at the time of their birth, one of their parents is a Slovenian citizen and the other parent is unknown, of unknown nationality or without nationality, and the child was born abroad.

If the child is born in Slovenia, registration of citizenship is performed ex officio.

If the child is born abroad, registration of citizenship is carried out ex officio only if there is an agreement with the country of the child’s birth on the reciprocal notification of the birth of a national of the other signatory state. If there is no such convention or if the state does not implement it, the child’s nationality is registered at the request of the parents. There is no deadline for making such a request.

Acquiring citizenship by application

If the child is born abroad and only one of the parents is a Slovenian citizen (the other being a foreign national), the child may only acquire Slovenian citizenship if the parents apply for Slovenian citizenship on its behalf. The parents must apply for Slovenian citizenship on behalf of their child before the child reaches the age of 18. 

If an individual has reached the age of majority and was born abroad, with one of the parents being a Slovenian citizen and the other a foreign national, and the parents have not applied for Slovenian citizenship on their child’s behalf by the time they reach the age of 18, the individual concerned may acquire Slovenian citizenship if they make a declaration by the age of 36 that they are applying for Slovenian citizenship.

A declaration of application on behalf of a child or by an adult is made to a Slovenian diplomatic or consular office abroad, an administrative unit or the Ministry of the Interior.

Acquiring citizenship by naturalisation

An individual may acquire Slovenian citizenship by naturalisation subject to the condition of actual and continuous residence in Slovenia for a certain period of time and to other conditions laid down by law:

  • they have lived in Slovenia for at least ten years, including a continuous period of five years’ residence prior to the application;
  • they have been married to a Slovenian national for at least three years and have actually lived in Slovenia for a continuous period of at least one year prior to submission of the application;
  • they have lost Slovenian citizenship by being released from or renouncing it, and have actually resided in Slovenia for a continuous period of at least six months prior to submission of the application;
  • they are a Slovenian expatriate or a descendant thereof in a direct line up to the fourth degree and have actually resided in Slovenia for a continuous period of at least one year prior to submission of the application;
  • they are stateless and have actually resided in Slovenia as a stateless person for a continuous period of five years prior to submission of the application;
  • they have been granted refugee status and have actually lived in Slovenia for a continuous period of five years prior to submission of the application;
  • they have attended and successfully completed at least higher education studies in Slovenia and have actually lived in Slovenia for at least seven years, including a continuous period of at least one year prior to submission of the application;
  • they were born and have actually resided in Slovenia since birth;
  • they are a minor residing in Slovenia, and their parents, who have acquired Slovenian citizenship, submit an application for Slovenian citizenship on their behalf.

There is also a process of extraordinary naturalisation, which allows a person to acquire Slovenian citizenship where this is in the national interest in a particular area of social life (academic/scientific, economic, cultural, national or similar grounds). Less stringent conditions apply to acquisition by extraordinary naturalisation, as the individual has to prove that they have actually resided in Slovenia for at least one year and have foreign national status. The beneficiary of extraordinary naturalisation may retain their original nationality.

In exceptional cases, an individual may acquire Slovenian citizenship even without meeting the condition of continuous residence in Slovenia of one year and foreign national status, if they have made an exceptional contribution to the development of Slovenia and to enhancing the country’s international reputation or profile. The reasons for acquisition by extraordinary naturalisation shall be established by the Slovenian government on the basis of an opinion issued by the competent departmental authority.

Slovenian expatriates or descendants thereof in a direct line up to the second degree and members of the indigenous Slovenian national community in Slovenian-speaking areas over the border who exercise entitlement to be part of the country on national grounds are not required to meet the conditions of continuous residence in Slovenia, guaranteed means of subsistence or the settlement of any outstanding tax liabilities if they are not liable for the payment of taxes in Slovenia.

In the procedure, they must demonstrate a personal active connection with Slovenia of several years and at least five years’ active involvement in Slovenian associations abroad or other Slovenian expatriate, emigrant or minority organisations, or show that they have been released from Slovenian citizenship for understandable reasons and are reapplying for Slovenian citizenship. The application must be accompanied by recommendations from the organisations confirming their active connection with Slovenia, and proof from the relevant organisations confirming at least five years’ active involvement. If possible, they should also produce official documents issued abroad that demonstrate that they are of Slovenian nationality.

Terminating citizenship

Slovenian citizenship may be terminated by release or renunciation.

Slovenian citizenship is terminated upon release if the individual requests it and:

  • they have reached the age of 18;
  • they actually reside abroad;
  • there are no obstacles resulting from the requirement to undertake military service;
  • they have settled all their tax and maintenance liabilities arising from marriage and from the relationship between parents and children towards persons residing in Slovenia;
  • no criminal proceedings are under way against them in Slovenia for a criminal offence prosecuted ex officio and, if they have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment in Slovenia, that they have served that sentence;
  • they already have citizenship of another country or can prove that they will acquire it.

A child under the age of 18 shall cease to be a Slovenian citizen at the request of both parents whose citizenship has ceased by way of release, or if Slovenian citizenship has ceased in this way for one of the parents and the other parent does not have Slovenian citizenship.

If the parents live separately, the child ceases to be a citizen of Slovenia by means of release at the request of the parent with whom the child lives or to whom care and upbringing of the child have been entrusted, and if they also apply for release from Slovenian citizenship themselves. Slovenian citizenship shall also cease if the parent with whom the child lives is a foreign national. In both cases, the consent of the other parent is required. If the other parent does not consent to the release of the child from Slovenian citizenship, the child shall be released if, in order to secure the child’s best interests, consent is given by the ministry responsible for family and social affairs. Consent must be enclosed with the application for release of the child from Slovenian citizenship.

For the purpose of full adoption, Slovenian citizenship shall cease upon the release of an adopted child who is under the age of 18 if the adoptive parent who is a foreign national or the adoptive parent applying for release from Slovenian citizenship so requests.

An application for release from Slovenian citizenship shall be submitted in person to a Slovenian diplomatic or consular office abroad or to an administrative unit.

Citizens of Slovenia who have reached the age of majority, who were born abroad and who also live there under the citizenship of another country may renounce Slovenian citizenship before they reach the age of 25. They must make a personal written declaration at a Slovenian diplomatic or consular office abroad or at an administrative unit in Slovenia.

Dual nationality

If an individual is a citizen of the European Union, they are not required to provide proof, in the course of the procedure of naturalisation as a Slovenian citizen, that they have been released from their previous citizenship if reciprocity exists between the two countries.

Likewise, an individual shall not be required to provide proof of release from their previous citizenship if:

  • they are stateless; 
  • they can prove that, under the law of their country, they lose citizenship of that country by becoming naturalised as a Slovenian citizen;
  • they can prove that their country does not decide on an application to terminate citizenship within a reasonable period of time;
  • they can prove that their country does not grant release or that the voluntary acquisition of citizenship of another country constitutes an act of disloyalty sanctioned under its legislation.

Slovenia does not require minors to be released from their previous citizenship, nor do they have to renounce their previous citizenship or decide between Slovenian citizenship and that of another country at a later date.

An individual is not required to provide proof of release from previous citizenship if they have submitted an application for Slovenian citizenship on the basis of Article 12 of the Citizenship Act and:

  • they are a Slovenian expatriate or a descendant thereof in a direct line up to the fourth degree;
  • they have lost Slovenian citizenship as a result of release or renunciation; 
  • they were born on the territory of Slovenia and have actually resided in Slovenia since birth;
  • they have refugee status in Slovenia;
  • they are a stateless person;
  • they are married to a Slovenian citizen, although the Slovenian government must give its consent if the country of origin prescribes conditions for the termination of citizenship that would put the individual’s life or livelihood at risk, or if termination of the original citizenship would result in the loss of ownership of immovable property or of the right to own immovable property.

When a foreign national is naturalised as a Slovenian citizen by extraordinary naturalisation, they may retain their previous citizenship.

In the case of acquisition of citizenship by birth, dual nationality may be acquired in cases where the child is born to a marriage involving a Slovenian citizen and a citizen of another country. A child acquires citizenship of Slovenia through the parent who is a Slovenian citizen, and may acquire citizenship of the country of which the other parent is a citizen if the rules of that country so allow. 

Slovenian legislation does not provide for automatic loss of Slovenian citizenship when a Slovenian citizen acquires citizenship of another country. As no country is permitted to interfere in the sovereignty of another country, Slovenia cannot recognise its own nationals’ citizenship of another country (it is up to the other country to decide whether to ask the applicant to renounce their Slovenian citizenship in order to acquire citizenship of that country). In order to prevent dual nationality, most countries require you to renounce your existing citizenship in order to acquire theirs, or automatically terminate citizenship if one of their citizens accepts citizenship of another country voluntarily or at their own request.