Naturalization in Romania

It goes without saying that the process of naturalization represents an important part in obtaining a citizenship, whether it is a foreign one, or a Romanian one. Nationality can be mainly acquired either by birth or naturalization. In this article, we are going to discuss the process of receiving the Romanian citizenship through the process of naturalization.

What is citizenship?

Whenever we think about citizenship, we should have in mind that it represents the permanent political and legal connection between a person and a particular state. This connection is expressed through all the mutual rights and obligations between a person and the State of which he belongs to. Moreover, it is a special legal affiliation, reflected externally, as well as maintained and prolonged wherever the person is.

What about the naturalization?

Acquiring a citizenship in this context, via naturalization, requires a previous inexistence of a Romanian citizenship and the request of the interested person in obtaining one. There are three different types of naturalization procedures in Romania, meaning the regular naturalization, the de-naturalization by request and the de-naturalization without fault.

The conditions that the applicant must meet

First of all, according to the Romanian Citizenship Law, which was adopted on November 21/1991, the regular naturalization procedure requires that the non Romanian citizen in question should fit any of the criteria found in the previously mentioned law.

Therefore, in order to legally become a Romanian citizen, one should either have been born and living in Romania at the moment of the request or not have been born in Romania, but have been legally residing for the past 8 years on its territory. Furthermore, one can obtain this citizenship if he is married and has been coliving with a Romanian citizen, in Romania, for the past 5 years.

The mentioned time periods can be reduced in half if the applicant is:

  • an internationally renowned personality, a citizen of a member state of the European Union,
  • a person that has received the refugee status according to the existing legislative provisions,
  • a person that has invested over 1 Million Euro in Romania or a person that has offered a special contribution to promoting the Romanian culture and civilization.

If the foreign citizen or the person without a citizenship that has requested the Romanian citizenship finds himself outside Romanian’s state territory, for a period of time longer than 6 months within a year, the respective year will not be added when establishing the above period of time.

Another criteria that can be met is that:

  • he is either 18 years of age,
  • or proves through behavior, actions and attitude, loyalty to the Romanian state,
  • does not undertake or support any actions against the law order or national security,
  • declares that he did not take such actions in the past, either.

In addition to this, regarding the regime of foreigners, other terms require that he has the necessary legal means for a decent existence in Romania, in accordance with the terms stated by the law or that he is well-known and has not been convicted at home or abroad for an offense that makes him unworthy of being a Romanian citizen.

The last two conditions are that he is familiar with the Romanian language and possesses basic, elementary knowledge regarding the Romanian culture and civilization, to a reasonable extent that he can integrate into the social life and that he also knows the national anthem and the legal conditions of the Romanian Constitution.

How can the citizenship be lost?

According to the international practice of most States, the citizenship of a state can be lost by renouncing it or by having it withdrawn from you. On one hand, the waiver represents an “amicable form” of terminating the legal connection established by nationality between a person and a State and on the other hand, the withdrawal of citizenship frequently occurs as a sanction and typically applies to persons who have committed serious acts against the State of origin or obtained other citizenships fraudulently.

According to Romanian law, the circumstances in which the loss of the Romanian citizenship can occur are by its withdrawal, by the approval of the renunciation of the citizenship and in other clearly stated by law cases.

Second of all, the voluntary de-naturalization process implies that either you or one of your ancestors, up to the second degree, lost the Romanian citizenship due to your/their own will.

This often occurs for the people that left Romania during the Communism Regime, with the sole purpose of finding a better life elsewhere or to escape the strict leadership they were under. Therefore, one can easily lose their citizenship by moving to another country, if this state naturalizes their previous citizenship or if it forbids dual citizenships. Either way, the previous Romanian citizen is no longer bound to its original state by their nationality.

In the event that the former Romanian citizen desires to reobtain his citizenship, the Romanian law states that the previously mentioned criteria and documents have to be met and presented.

Can I have another citizenship?

It should be stated that a Romanian citizenship can co-exist with another external citizenship. Thus, Romania admits the concept of dual citizenship, as well as the possibility for the person in question to maintain their domicile in Romania or abroad. Acquiring the Romanian citizenship for one of the spouses bears no consequence for the other. Thereby, supposing that the non-Romanian spouse also wants to become a Romanian citizen, he or she needs to meet the mentioned criteria as well.

Third of all, de-naturalization without fault implies that the previously Romanian citizens lost their citizenship for reasons not imputable to them or by having their citizenship revoked without their consent. In the event that they or their descendents up to the third degree desire to reclaim their lost citizenship, the requirements are as previously stated. Likewise, they can maintain their foreign citizenship and their domicile in Romania or abroad.

The stages of the naturalization process

The naturalization process has certain stages which you will need to comply with. Evidently, one is required to submit an application, whether it is personally handed in or sent to the headquarters of the National Citizenship Authority in Bucharest, to the Territorial Offices in Iasi, Galati, Suceava and Timișoara or the Romanian embassy in the country where you have legal residency.

On top of that, one is required to take an interview in order to justify he’s knowledge of the Romanian language (written and spoken), culture, civilisation, Constitution (including knowledge of the national anthem).

Naturally, during the interview, the Commission will draw up a report in which it will be stated whether the applicant has fulfilled all the required legal prerequisites for the Romanian citizenship. Immediately after the interview has been passed, the applicant will receive an order by certified letter by the National Citizenship Authority.

Within 3 months of being granted citizenship, the applicant is required to take an oath of allegiance to Romania at the headquarters of the National Citizenship Authority. During this ceremony, the applicant will receive their certificate of citizenship. do note that simple Romanian conversation should be held during the ceremony.

In addition to fulfilling the above conditions, the following documents should be provided:

  • Original passport as well as notarised copy.
  • A statement showing legal residence in Romania for at least 8 years or, if married to a Romanian citizen for at least 5 years of marriage. This can be a copy of your permanent residence permit for foreigners issued by the General Inspectorate for Immigration.
  • An affidavit, certified by a notary, showing that you currently do not support the actions taken against the legal order or against national security and have never conducted any such activities.
  • Original and certified copies of documents stating civil status, i.e. birth certificate, marriage, change of name/first name or divorce, etc. translated into Romanian. Documents must include name, city of birth, name/surname of parents and be authenticated by a notary.
  • Original and certified copy of criminal record in Romania (valid for 3 months from day of issuing).
  • A character reference from the country in which applicant resides at time of application. This will be valid in Romania for one year from the date of issuing. Original and certified copy translated into Romanian.
  • Certified copy of proof of residence in one of the following forms: a lease agreement registered by financial administration or paperwork relating to the purchase of a property.
  • Proof of legal means for a decent existence in Romania under the conditions set by the law on aliens (if applicable); This proof must include income realised in Romania in the last 3 years.

The documents required if the applicant has a spouse and/or children are a certified copy of spouse’s proof of Romanian citizenship (identity card), if applicable; certified copies of birth certificates of children translated into Romanian; certified copy of agreement granting citizenship to applicant’s child; consent of minor over the age of 14 and certified declaration of minor in the presence of a parent.

To conclude, by gaining citizenship in Romania, one is entitled to all the rights and duties associated with the Constitution and the Romanian laws.

Andra Constantin

Legal intern R&R Partners Bucharest


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