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Romanian Citizenship by Descent

Hannah Mejorada

Hannah Mejorada

Last updated: May 9, 2024

Obtaining Romanian citizenship by descent is a pathway for individuals with Romanian ancestry to reconnect with their heritage and gain the benefits it provides. This process is designed for those whose parents, grandparents, or even great-grandparents were Romanian citizens, offering a link to reclaim the nationality. The advantage of Romanian citizenship includes the ability to live, work, and study in any of the European Union member countries.

To be eligible, applicants must provide adequate documentation proving their Romanian lineage. This typically involves birth certificates, proof of the relative’s Romanian citizenship at the time of the applicant’s birth, and other documents that might be required by the Romanian authorities. The process does not require Romanian language proficiency and permits dual citizenship, meaning applicants need not renounce any current nationality held.

Key Takeaways

  • Romanian citizenship can be acquired by descent.
  • Documentation of Romanian ancestry is required.
  • Dual citizenship is permitted and no language proof is needed.

Eligibility and Requirements

To reclaim Romanian citizenship by descent, it is imperative to demonstrate your lineage and satisfy specific legal criteria. Your journey begins with verifying eligibility, gathering necessary documents, and confirming your language proficiency.

Determining Eligibility by Descent

You are eligible for Romanian citizenship by descent if you have a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent who was a Romanian citizen. Crucially, Article 11 of the Romanian citizenship law states that if your ancestors lost their citizenship involuntarily, you could reclaim it. However, if it was your parents who lost citizenship, they must first have their citizenship reinstated before you can apply.

Documentation Requirements

Your application must include a series of documents to establish your ancestral connection to Romania:

  • Birth Certificate: Present a certified copy of your birth certificate displaying the Romanian citizenship of your ancestor(s).
  • Proof of Romanian Ancestry: Provide certified documents that prove the Romanian citizenship of your parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents. This may include their birth certificates or certified copies of their Romanian citizenship records.
  • Historical Records: Depending on changes in citizenship law, such as those recently seen in 2022, you may need to consult historical records.
  • Certified Copies: Ensure all documents are certified and, if necessary, accompanied by a translation into Romanian.

Language Proficiency

Current regulations stipulate that you should possess a basic understanding of the Romanian language and be familiar with the Romanian constitution and national anthem. This demonstrates your willingness to integrate into Romanian society and to acknowledge its cultural values.

The requirements for reclaiming Romanian citizenship by descent are built upon a framework of legal documents and cultural integration, guided by the country’s current citizenship laws, including specific articles like Article 10 and Article 11. Adhering to these criteria is vital for a successful application.

Application Process

Navigating the Romanian citizenship by descent application process requires an understanding of several critical steps. This section provides you with a clear outline of the stages involved, from organizing your documents to successfully submitting your application.

Application Steps

Your journey to obtaining Romanian citizenship by descent begins with confirming your eligibility. If you have a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent who was a Romanian citizen, you can initiate the process.

  1. Gather Evidence of Descent: Collect vital records that demonstrate your lineage, such as birth certificates of your ancestors and yourself.
  2. Complete the Citizenship Request: Fill out the necessary forms that the National Authority for Citizenship in Romania requires.
  3. Prepare Supporting Documents: Make sure you have all other required documents, which may include your ID, proof of address, and any legal changes of name.

Document Authentication

It’s crucial that all your supporting documents are properly authenticated to be recognized by Romanian authorities.

  • Apostille Certification: Secure an apostille for each document, unless an existing treaty exempts you, to certify their legitimacy.
  • Translation: Obtain certified translations of all non-Romanian documents.

Submission and Evaluation

After organizing and authenticating your documents, the final step is to submit and await the outcome.

  • Send Your Application: Forward your request and all supporting documents to the National Authority for Citizenship. This can typically be done via post or through designated consular services.
  • Application Review: The National Authority for Citizenship will evaluate your citizenship application. This process may take several months and might require additional documentation or clarifications.

Legal Aspects and Regulations

In navigating the acquisition of Romanian citizenship by descent, it’s essential to understand the key legal frameworks and policies that govern this process. Your eligibility and the application method hinge on these regulations, so let’s explore the specific aspects of Romanian law that will guide you.

Romanian Citizenship Law

The Romanian Citizenship Act is the primary legal document detailing the conditions under which you may obtain nationality. It stipulates that if you are a direct descendant of a Romanian citizen, you have the right to reclaim this citizenship. The law has been updated to accommodate changes, including the stipulations for former citizens who were involuntarily stripped of their citizenship due to historical territorial changes.

Jus Sanguinis Principle

Under the jus sanguinis principle, a person acquires Romanian citizenship by blood if at least one parent is Romanian. This principle is central to Romanian law and contrasts with jus soli, citizenship by place of birth. The Ministry of Justice handles matters of citizenship and will assess your application based on ancestral connections to Romanian nationals.

Dual Citizenship Policy

As an EU member state, Romania recognizes dual or multiple citizenships, meaning you can retain your current nationality while acquiring Romanian citizenship. This is particularly advantageous within the context of EU membership, enabling you to enjoy rights such as freedom of movement and employment across European Union countries.

Restoring Citizenship

The process of regaining or restoring Romanian citizenship involves submitting an application to the National Authority for Citizenship. Individuals who lost their Romanian citizenship or whose ancestors did, particularly after World War II and due to territorial changes, may restore it without renouncing their current nationality. Applications are evaluated on an individual basis to validate the legitimacy of the ancestral claim.

Please ensure that your documentation is in order, and familiarize yourself with the Romanian constitution and the national anthem, as these may form part of the application process.

Rights and Benefits

Romanian citizenship by descent confers numerous rights and benefits, connecting you with a heritage that offers a high quality of life and opening doors throughout the European Union. You’ll gain access to civil and social rights, the liberty to travel and live within the EU, and the privilege of having a strong and widely recognized Romanian passport.

Civil and Social Rights

As a Romanian citizen, you have the right to live, work, and study in Romania. You’ll have access to public healthcare and educational systems, and the right to vote in Romanian elections. Your civil status as an EU citizen means you’re also afforded the same rights in any EU country. This can be particularly beneficial for children, who will grow up with access to a wide array of opportunities for personal and professional development.

  • Healthcare: You gain access to Romania’s public healthcare system.
  • Education: You have the right to attend public educational institutions.

European Union Access

Upon acquiring Romanian citizenship, you also become an EU citizen, allowing you to travel, live, and work in any of the EU member states without the need for additional visas or permits. This EU citizenship is tied to a collective identity that includes values such as democracy and respect for human rights, all symbolized by the EU flag and anthem. Here’s a snapshot of what you gain as an EU citizen:

  • Freedom of Movement: Reside in any EU country of your choice.
  • Employment Opportunities: Access to a diverse European job market.

Travel and Passport Strength

Your Romanian passport ranks high on the global passport index, offering visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to numerous countries. The possession of a Romanian ID serves as a key to increased global mobility, supplementing your travel convenience with a second passport. As a Romanian citizen, you’ll experience the strength and recognition of a passport that is internationally regarded for its travel benefits.

  • Romanian Passport: Visa-free access to many countries around the world.
  • Second Passport: An additional passport can serve as a backup during travel.

By utilizing your right to Romanian citizenship by descent, you not only connect with your ancestral heritage but also tap into a network of opportunities for a fulfilling life within Romania and across the European Union.

Residency and Naturalization

To secure Romanian citizenship by descent, you may first take up residency in Romania. This process serves as a stepping stone towards your ultimate goal of naturalization.

Establishing Residency in Romania

Before you embark on the journey to naturalization, establishing residency in Romania is a necessary step. If you choose to live in Romania, as a foreign citizen, you must initially obtain a residence permit. There are several types of residence permits, each tailored to different conditions and lengths of stay.

  • Temporary Residence Permit: Typically valid for up to one year, this permit can be extended.
  • Long-Term Residence Permit: Granted after five years of continuous temporary residency, and subject to certain conditions such as possessing a stable personal income to support yourself without relying on the state’s social assistance system.

The Path to Naturalization

Following residency, naturalization allows you to become a full Romanian citizen. The general criteria for naturalization require that you:

  1. Legally reside in Romania for a minimum of 8 years, or 4 years if married to a Romanian citizen.
  2. Show a lawful and stable source of personal income.
  3. Demonstrate integration into Romanian society through language proficiency and an understanding of the country’s culture and laws, which includes knowing the Romanian constitution and the national anthem.

Upon meeting these requirements, you may apply for citizenship. Naturalization entails a formal process, during which you will submit an application and documents proving your eligibility. You must also take an oath of allegiance to Romania, finalizing the process. Once granted citizenship by naturalization, you enjoy the same rights and obligations as native-born Romanian citizens.

Special Cases and Considerations

When exploring your eligibility for Romanian citizenship by descent, it’s crucial to be aware of particular nuances that may apply to your situation. This involves understanding historical events and specific laws that could affect your application.

Descendants of Holocaust Survivors

If you are a descendant of Holocaust survivors, it’s important to note that Romania acknowledges the injustices perpetrated during World War II, including the Holocaust in areas such as Bukovina and parts of Ukraine. Your Jewish heritage, especially from regions affected by the Holocaust, can be a significant factor in your citizenship application, following Romania’s efforts to rectify past wrongs.

Former Romanian Territories

For those whose ancestors were from territories that were once part of Romania, such as Moldova, northern Bukovina, or certain regions within Ukraine and Bulgaria, there may be entitlements to citizenship. This is particularly poignant for descendants of individuals who involuntarily lost their Romanian citizenship due to historical territorial changes imposed by the Communist regime or other shifts in Eastern Europe’s borders.

  • Moldova: A bilateral treaty with Romania may affect your application.
  • Ukraine/Bulgaria: Specific historical periods, like 1918-1940, are considered.

Adoption Scenarios

In cases where you or your ancestors were adopted, the Roman legal system acknowledges bloodline continuity for Romanian citizenship by descent. It is important for your biological lineage to connect to Romanian citizenship, potentially extending back to great-grandparents. However, the adoption must have been recognized legally in Romania, and records such as birth certificates may be necessary to substantiate the bloodline if it traces back to regions such as Bucharest or Hungarian-ruled parts of Romania.

Cultural Integration

Gaining Romanian citizenship by descent requires not only fulfilling legal criteria but also understanding and integrating into Romanian culture. This includes grasping the basics of the Romanian language and being familiar with the country’s education system.

Understanding Romanian Culture

The culture of Romania is rich and diverse, with traditions that have been shaped by historical influences and regional nuances. You should seek to understand key aspects of Romanian culture such as traditional festivals, cuisine, arts, and social norms. Historical events, national symbols, and cultural personalities are also significant in shaping the identity of a Romanian citizen.

Romanian Holidays and Traditions:

  • Great Union Day (1st December): National holiday commemorating the unification of Transylvania, Banat, Bessarabia, and Bukovina with the Romanian Kingdom in 1918.
  • Martisor (1st March): A celebration marking the beginning of spring, symbolized by giving small trinkets tied with red and white string.

Language and Education

Romanian Language:

  • The Romanian language is a Romance language with Latin roots, similar to Italian, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. It’s the official language of Romania and one of the official languages of the European Union. You aren’t mandated to demonstrate proficiency in Romanian for citizenship by descent, but learning it can greatly help with deeper integration into society.

Education System:

  • In Romania, education is important and highly valued. The system is based on the European model, ranging from primary to tertiary education. Your understanding of the education system could be beneficial if you plan to stay in the country or have children who will enter the education system.

Vocabulary Basics:

  • Hello: “Bună” or “Salut”
  • Thank you: “Mulțumesc”
  • Goodbye: “La revedere”

By embracing the Romanian language and culture and understanding the educational framework, you can enhance your own experience as a citizen and demonstrate your commitment to the country’s societal values.

Business and Investment

When considering obtaining Romanian citizenship by descent, it’s important to be aware of the various opportunities within Romania’s growing economy, as well as incentives specifically available to entrepreneurs.

Economic Landscape

Romania, as a member of the European Union (EU), boasts a free market economy characterized by a diverse industrial sector and a dynamic service sector. As a Romanian citizen, you will have the advantage of participating in this economy, which is the 7th largest in the EU and continues to grow due to foreign investment and internal reforms. The country’s integration into EU structures means that you benefit from free movement of goods, services, capital, and labor. This can be particularly advantageous if you’re looking to expand a business across European markets.

Incentives for Entrepreneurs

In Romania, there are a number of incentives aimed at fostering entrepreneurship and attracting business investment. By becoming a Romanian citizen, you can gain access to various EU-funded programs designed to support startups and innovation. Here is a concise list of these incentives:

  • Reduced taxation: New startups may be eligible for tax incentives such as reduced VAT and income tax rates.
  • Access to funding: Availability of EU grants and local funding opportunities to support business growth.
  • Supportive infrastructure: Growth of business incubators, accelerators, and tech parks to support startups and SMEs.

By leveraging these incentives, along with the economic freedoms afforded by the EU, you can take your business ambitions to new heights with the strategic advantage of Romanian citizenship.

Legal Representation and Assistance

Navigating the process of obtaining Romanian citizenship by descent can be complex, especially with regulatory nuances and bureaucratic requirements. Enlisting professional legal assistance simplifies this procedure, ensuring compliance with Romanian laws and regulations.

Role of Attorneys

When you seek to acquire Romanian citizenship by descent, an attorney plays a crucial part. Your legal representative should have a thorough understanding of the Romanian National Authority for Citizenship‘s procedures. They can guide you through submitting the required documentation, including proof of Romanian ancestry and any necessary name changes. Attorneys can represent you before the Romanian authorities, advocating on your behalf and ensuring that your application abides by all legal stipulations.

Intermediary Services for Citizenship

Intermediary services can help liaison between you and the Romanian authorities to streamline the citizenship process. They can offer valuable insights into the application stages and help collect, prepare, and submit all the required documents accurately. These services often involve an attorney who is versed in citizenship laws and can directly engage with the National Authority for Citizenship to monitor your application’s status and resolve any potential issues that may arise.

Historical Context

The historical trajectory of Romania has direct implications on your right to claim Romanian citizenship by descent. If you are a grandchild or a third-generation descendant of an original Romanian citizen, understanding Romania’s political history and migration patterns is crucial to your claim.

Romania’s Political History

Romania’s journey as a nation-state began in 1859 with the unification of the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia. Over the years, its territorial boundaries and governance structures have seen significant changes, impacting citizenship laws. Greater Romania, a term often used to describe the country following World War I, saw the largest Romanian state in history, including territories now part of Ukraine, Moldova, and Hungary. If your ancestors were Romanian citizens during this era, you might be eligible for citizenship by descent.

Migration and Citizenship Patterns

Throughout the 20th century, various political and economic factors led to waves of Romanian migration. Notably, the post-World War I period and the communist era from 1947 to 1989 saw significant changes in citizenship policies. Romanian heritage was occasionally lost or relinquished, sometimes against the individual’s will due to these turbulent periods. If your grandparents or great-grandparents lost their Romanian citizenship during these times, you may be part of the third generation eligible for restoration of citizenship, provided they did not willingly renounce their nationality.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re exploring your options to obtain Romanian citizenship through descent, it’s crucial to know the specific requirements and steps. Below are detailed responses to some common queries to guide you through the process:

What documents are required to apply for Romanian citizenship based on ancestral descent?

To apply, you’ll need valid identification, birth certificates, marriage certificates, and documents proving your Romanian ancestry. All documents must be translated and apostilled or authenticated, depending on the issuing country’s agreements with Romania.

What is the typical processing time for a Romanian citizenship by descent application?

The processing time can vary but it generally takes between 18 to 22 months, provided that the application is complete and requires no additional information or documents.

How can I prove my descent from a Romanian grandparent for citizenship purposes?

You must provide documents such as birth and marriage certificates connecting you to your Romanian ancestors. These records must demonstrate a direct lineage to a Romanian citizen and are subject to verification by Romanian authorities.

What are the eligibility criteria to qualify for Romanian citizenship by descent?

To qualify, you must have a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent who was a Romanian citizen. Additionally, your ancestors must not have renounced their Romanian citizenship or had it revoked under duress.

How does Article 11 pertain to obtaining Romanian citizenship through ancestry?

Article 11 caters to individuals whose Romanian parents or ancestors lost their citizenship against their will. To apply under Article 11, you will often need to prove the involuntary loss before reclaiming your right to citizenship.

What are the steps involved in applying for Romanian citizenship if I have Romanian ancestors?

First, gather all necessary documents proving your descent. Then submit the application to the National Authority for Citizenship. You may need legal assistance to navigate the verification process, especially regarding document legalization and potential interviews or validations by the Citizenship Commission.

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