Romania is a country of high culture. Featuring a myriad of medieval castles, cosy towns, and neatly planned cities like Bucharest, Cluj-Napoka, or Timisoara, alongside its bustling IT, STEM, and Technological sectors, the question is why you shouldn’t consider obtaining Romanian Citizenship, so you can stay here and take advantage of the perks and benefits the EU citizenship provides?
This article will provide all the necessary information about Romanian Citizenship, from benefits to requirements to practical information and beyond, so you can take your first steps in obtaining EU citizenship and enhancing your personal and professional opportunities.
How Strong Is a Romanian Passport and Why You Should Get It?
The strength of a national passport depends on its visa-free score, meaning that the more countries you can visit visa-free (or visa on arrival), the stronger your passport is. Because Romania has been an EU-member state since 2007, it doesn’t come as a surprise that it issues one of the strongest passports in the world. According to the 2022 Passport Index Ranking, the Romanian Passport is the world’s 17th strongest passport, enabling its holders to visit 174 countries worldwide visa-free. However, the country itself is not so welcome with its entry and exit systems of Schengen zone.
Having Romanian Citizenship enables you to visit all the European countries, including the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well as Asian giants like South Korea or Japan without too much hustle over the visa. Romania also has a visa-free travel to Schengen area.
There are some tangible benefits of holding the Romanian Passport:
- Eligibility for Dual Citizenship – Romanian legislature enables you to obtain a Romanian passport without renouncing your first citizenship.
- Access to European Education, Healthcare, and Job Market.
- Opportunity to legally work in every EU-member country.
- Possibility to live in Romania or any other EU-member state indefinitely.
Considering all these perks, it might be a great idea to consider applying for Romanian citizenship. But how? Let’s head to the next chapter, where we’ll briefly overview three ways of getting a Romanian passport.
Three Ways to Obtain a Romanian Passport
There are three common ways to get your hands on a Romanian passport: Marriage, Repatriation, or Investment. While the first and second options are understandable and directly connected to a person with a Romanian passport or roots, the third option is entirely conventional. Any person, regardless of their connection to Romania, is eligible to apply for it if complying with all the requirements.
Romanian Citizenship by Marriage
Obtaining Romanian citizenship by marriage is one of the most convenient and popular ways to get a Romanian passport. Since 1989, a person would be eligible to apply for a Romanian passport after five years of being married to a Romanian person if they’ve continuously and legally resided in Romania for those five years.
However, in November 2022, the Romanian Parliament endorsed a new legislative package, allowing foreigners to obtain Romanian citizenship by marriage after ten years of the marriage date, regardless of their residence. For example: If you get married to your Romanian partner in December 2022, you’ll be automatically eligible to apply for a Romanian passport in 2032 if you are still married, even in case of living in another country.
Although, you should know that automatic eligibility doesn’t mean you’ll get the passport immediately. You still need to go through several bureaucratic procedures, providing proof and supporting documents, such as marriage certificates, bank account statements, employment confirmations, etc.
Romanian Citizenship by Descent
Another convenient way to secure an EU passport is to obtain Romanian citizenship by descent. The citizenship law of Romania clearly states that any descendant of a Romanian citizen can restore their Romanian citizenship after going through several formal and bureaucratic procedures. Besides, the law makes it clear that biological descendants and adopted children/grandchildren of former Romanian citizens are eligible for Romanian citizenship by descent.
Moreover, if your ancestor was born in the Kingdom of Romania, which controlled many territories of modern-day Ukraine, Hungary, Moldova, etc., you still can apply for citizenship via descent.
Who Can Apply for Romanian Citizenship by Descent?
You can apply for Romanian citizenship by descent, if:
- At least one of your parents was a citizen of Romania at any point in their life.
- At least one of your four grandparents was a citizen of Romania at any point in their life.
- At least one of your eight great-grandparents was a citizen of Romania at any point in their life.
To be eligible for Romanian citizenship by descent, you’ll need well-formulated written proof that your ancestors were born in Romania or lived there. You must translate all documentation into Romanian, including your passport, birth certificate, and other related papers.
Romanian Citizenship by Investment
Obtaining Romanian citizenship by investment or naturalisation is a great way to gain access to the numerous benefits that Romanian citizenship offers, such as access to Romanian healthcare, education, and a right of residence in Romania.
One route to Romanian citizenship is through investment. To obtain Romanian citizenship by investment, an individual must make an economic contribution (in the form of buying or renting the property) worth at least EUR 300,000 and keep it for a minimum of three years. Additionally, they must pass an interview with immigration authorities which assesses their general knowledge of Romanian culture and history. The process can be completed within one year from the application’s submission date.
Another route to Romanian citizenship is naturalisation. A passport can be obtained after staying legally in Romania for seven years with permanent residence status. During this period, applicants must prove that they can sustain themselves financially (by providing proof of employment or other income sources). After seven years of legal residency in Romania, applicants may apply for Romanian citizenship. They must pass a Romanian language exam, written tests on Romanian Constitution rules and cultural values, and a criminal background check. The process usually takes around six months before being granted Romanian citizenship.
For both routes to Romanian citizenship – investment or naturalisation – individuals should ensure that their documents are up-to-date and adequately authenticated before submitting them for consideration by immigration authorities. Documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates or diplomas should be translated into Romanian and have the necessary seals of approval by local authorities to be accepted by the Romanian government as valid documents when applying for Romanian citizenship.
Romanian Citizenship Requirements, Dates, and Costs
Obtaining Romanian citizenship as a foreigner can be an exciting and rewarding experience. There are several ways to become a Romanian citizen, but the general requirements remain the same. In general, obtaining the Romanian Citizenship procedure unites three main stages:
- Residing in Romania legally for at least three years on behalf of a national visa or temporary residence permit card.
- Applying for a permanent residence permit card for ten years.
- Applying for a Romanian passport.
The first requirement is to have legal residence in Romania for at least three years before applying for citizenship. While residing in the country during this period, you must also have proof of a clean criminal record, good moral character, and financial stability. You may also be asked to provide evidence of language proficiency.
Once you meet the residency requirements, you can begin the citizenship application process. The necessary forms and documentation must be completed and submitted to the Romanian Ministry of Justice for review. These documents typically include a birth certificate, marriage certificate (if applicable), educational qualifications, and proof of financial resources. After the application is reviewed and accepted, you must take an oath of allegiance to Romania before formally granting citizenship.
Obtaining Romanian citizenship can be lengthy, but with some perseverance and determination, it is possible to become a citizen of this vibrant and culturally rich country. With citizenship comes the right to vote, access to public services and health care, and the ability to own property. It is a great way to connect with the people of Romania and become part of their culture and society.