By Sorin Stratula, Managing Partner
Romanian Citizenship Law no. 21/1991 (“Citizenship Law”) regulates the situations and the conditions in which a person may acquire Romanian citizenship on application, essentially by creating two main categories of such situations, each one with its own conditions:
- A first category refers to persons who are not former Romanian citizens or descendants of former Romanian citizens;
- A second category refers to persons who are former Romanian citizens or are descendants of former Romanian citizens.
- Obtaining Romanian citizenship by persons within the first category:
According to article 8 para. 1 of the Citizenship Law, Romanian citizenship may be granted, on application, to stateless persons or to foreign citizens, provided that they meet the following requirements:
- a) they were born and they domicile, at the date of the application, in Romanian territory or, although they were not born in this territory, they have domiciled under the law in Romanian territory for at least 8 years or, if they are married to and living with a Romanian citizen, for at least 5 years from the date of the marriage;
- b) their conduct, actions and attitude show loyalty to the Romanian State, they do not engage in or support actions against the rule of law or national security and they declare that they have not done such actions in the past;
- c) they have reached the age of 18;
- d) legal means for decent living are ensured for them in Romania, according to the conditions imposed by the legislation on the treatment of foreigners;
- e) they are known to have good conduct and they have not been sentenced, in Romania or abroad, for any criminal offence that would make them unworthy to be Romanian citizens;
- f) they speak Romanian and they have basic knowledge of Romanian culture and civilization, to an extent that is sufficient for them to be integrated in social life;
- g) they are aware of the provisions of the Constitution of Romania and of the national anthem of Romania.
According to para. 2 of article 8, the periods of time in para. 1 a) may be reduced up to half under the following circumstances:
- a) the applicant is an internationally famous personality;
- b) the applicant is a citizen of a Member State of the European Union;
- c) the applicant has acquired the statute of refugee according to the legal provisions in force;
- d) the applicant has invested more than EUR 1,000,000 in Romania.
According to article 81, Romanian citizenship may be granted, on application, to stateless persons or to foreign citizens who have greatly contributed to the protection and promotion of the Romanian culture, civilization and spirituality, with the possibility to establish the domicile in the country or with maintaining it abroad, if they meet the conditions provided under article 8 para. 1 letters b), c) and e).
And according to article 82, Romanian citizenship may be granted, on application, to stateless persons or to foreign citizens who may significantly contribute to the promoting of Romania’s image, through particular performances in the field of sport, with the possibility to establish the domicile in the country or with maintaining it abroad, if they meet the following conditions:
- a) the applicant shall represent Romania at the national lots, according to the statutory regulations of the international sport federation to which Romania is affiliated;
- b) the applicant meets the conditions provided in article 8 para. 1 litters b), c) and e) and expresses his/her attachment towards Romania and towards the values system that is specific to the Romanian society.
- Obtaining Romanian citizenship by persons within the second category:
According to article 10 para. 1 of the Citizenship Law Romanian citizenship may be granted also to persons who have lost such citizenship, as well as to their descendants to the second degree inclusively, who apply to acquire it again, and they may keep their foreign citizenship and establish their domicile in Romania or keep their domicile abroad, provided that they meet the conditions in article 8 para. 1 letters b) – e) accordingly.
And according to para. 2 of article 10 paragraph 1 shall apply also to stateless persons who are former Romanian citizens and to their descendants to the second degree inclusively.
Lastly, according to article 11 para. 1 of the Citizenship Law persons who have acquired Romanian citizenship by birth or adoption and have lost it for reasons that are not imputable to them or whose Romanian citizenship has been withdrawn against their will, as well as their descendants to the third degree, may apply for reacquisition of Romanian citizenship or it may be granted to them, and they may keep their foreign citizenship also, and either establish their domicile in Romania or keep their domicile abroad, provided that they meet the conditions in article 8 para. 1 letters b), c) and e).
With regard to this second category of persons, who may qualify for obtaining Romanian citizenship under article 10 and 11, there are a series of specific documents to be submitted to the competent authority, which may be different from case to case, depending on each persons particular situation. Also, such persons must submit a series of statements, regarding the meeting of the legal conditions under each article.