Naturalisation

Romania

Country Report: Naturalisation Last updated: 31/05/22

Author

Felicia Nica with support from JRS Romania Visit Website

The main criteria for naturalisation are laid down in Article 8(1) of the Act on Romanian Citizenship.[1] The applicant must:

  1. Have legally resided in Romania continuously for at least 8 years, or at least 5 years since the day of marriage to a Romanian national;
  2. Prove, through behaviour, actions and attitude, loyalty to the Romanian State, and not undertake or support actions against the rule of law or national security and declare that he or she has not taken such actions in the past;
  3. Have reached the age of 18;
  4. ave legal means for a decent existence in Romania, under the conditions established by the legislation on the regime of foreigners;
  5. Be known for good behaviour and have not been convicted in the country or abroad for an offense that makes him or her unworthy of being a Romanian citizen;
  6. Know Romanian language and possess basic notions of Romanian culture and civilisation, sufficient to integrate into the social life.

The minimum period of residence prior to the naturalisation application is shorter for a number of categories of applicants treated preferentially.[2] Recognised refugees are one of the categories required to have resided in Romania continuously for a period of at least 4 years prior to the submission of the application. Therefore, the aforementioned provision clarifies the distinction between refugee status and subsidiary protection, which means that preferential treatment is afforded only to those bearing refugee status, while persons with subsidiary protection need to fulfil the condition of living 8 years prior to submitting the application.

However, the Act on Romanian Citizenship has introduced two additional articles which extend the right to apply for nationality to stateless persons or foreigners who have “particularly contributed to the protection and promotion of Romanian culture, civilization and spirituality”[3] or “who can significantly promote the image of Romania through outstanding performance in sports”.[4] The Romanian Government considered these amendments “necessary” and found that “not adopting them urgently will significantly affect the nationality acquisition and reacquisition process”.[5]

The competent authority is the National Authority for Citizenship (NAC).[6]

CNRR mentioned several issues in regard to the citizenship acquisition process, such as the lack of a separate procedure for beneficiaries of international protection. Given the high volume of applications, there are long delays in scheduling the interview and there are situations in which officials of the NAC request civil status documents, which would involve contacting the authorities of the country of origin by beneficiaries. The request for documents from the authorities of the country of origin may be considered as voluntarily re-availing him or herself of the protection of the country of nationality, a ground for cessation of refugee status or subsidiary protection.[7] Furthermore, it was acknowledged that there is a lack of an adequate procedure for vulnerable persons. All applicants (regardless of their status) must go through an interview to test their knowledge of the Romanian language, Romanian History, Romanian Geography, Romanian Culture and Constitution. Although the beneficiaries did not express their dissatisfaction with the difficulty of the test, there are people who for objective reasons (illness, the elderly, those with a disability, etc.) cannot pass the interview, although they meet all the substantive conditions. For example, a person with severe Down syndrome cannot pass the interview, and there is no exception or special procedure for such cases.[8]

AIDRom reported that they have no statistics on the total number of citizenship acquisitions. 5 persons were assisted in this process by them, out of whom only 1 received Romanian citizenship. As regards issues encountered AIDRom mentioned the long waiting time. For example, a file was submitted in April 2018 and the decision was received after 4 years and it was negative.[9]

In Timișoara, one refugee applied for citizenship and he acquired it, according to the director.

Galaţi: 1 application for naturalisation was made in 2021 and it was rejected because he/she could not prove his/her financial means in the last 3 years.

Rădăuţi: the JRS representative reported that there was one request and it is still pending.

Şomcuta Mare: in 2021 no beneficiary requested assistance for obtaining the Romanian citizenship.[10]

Bucharest: IOM Romania assisted around 15 persons interested in obtaining Romanian citizenship. In general, these were new beneficiaries of international protection. 3 persons obtained citizenship in 2021. The main difficulty reported by IOM Romania was obtaining the required documents. Some of the beneficiaries are unemployed or cannot prove their financial means over the last 3 years.[11]

IGI-DAI does not keep statistics on citizenship granted to beneficiaries of international protection.[12]

 

 

 

[1] Act 21/1991 of 1 March 1991, available in Romanian at: http://bit.ly/2xafo6v.

[2] Article 8(2) Act on Romanian Citizenship.

[3] Article 8^1Act on Romanian Citizenship, as amended by Government Emergency Ordinance No. 37/2015 of 15 September 2015.

[4] Article 8^2Act on Romanian Citizenship, as amended by Government Emergency Ordinance No. 37/2015 of 15 September 2015.

[5] Government Emergency Ordinance No. 37/2015 of 15 September 2015.

[6] For further details, see European Statelessness Network, Ending Childhood Statelessness: A case study on Romania, 2015, available at: http://bit.ly/2DxDsiz.

[7] Information provided by CNRR, 15 February 2022.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Information provided by AIDRom, 14 January 2022.

[10] Information provided by LADO/ASSOC, 3 February 2022.

[11] Information provided by IOM ROMANIA ROMANIA Romania, 19 February 2022.

[12] Information provided by IGI-DAI, 20 February 2020.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the first report
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation