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Romanian Citizenship by Descent

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Foreign nationals who have an ascendant family member who is a Romanian national can apply for Romanian citizenship by descent, provided that they can offer satisfactory proof of their lineage.
Are you unsure if you can qualify for citizenship by descent? Our Romanian lawyers can evaluate your case and will offer you details about your options and how to move forward with your application.

How to apply for Romanian citizenship by descent

Some foreign nationals who are already living in Romania may choose to do so based on their ties to the country. Others, who are of Romanian origin and may have chosen to return to the country, could wish to apply for citizenship based on their lineage or to regain their lost Romanian citizenship.
The following rules are in place for those who wish to apply for Romanian citizenship by descent if they have either:
  1. Lost their Romanian citizenship and wish to regain it;
  2. Have descendants who are or were Romanian nationals (up to and including second-degree relatives).
All applications for Romanian citizenship by descent are submitted and processed in accordance with the Citizenship Law. The following documents are required:
  • - Original passport and certified copy thereof;
  • - Two recent photographs, size-compliant;
  • - Criminal record issued by the authorities in the country in which the applicant had his or her domicile;
  • - Civil status documents, such as the birth and marriage certificate, divorce certificate, etc. for the applicant who was a previous Romanian citizen;
  • - The parent’s consent for the minor to acquire citizenship – as applicable; Our Romanian immigration lawyer can give you more details about the prescribed form for this consent;
  • - Documents concerning the loss of the Romanian citizenship, as may be the case;
  • - Civil status documents for the applicant’s ascendants (parents or grandparents) showing their Romanian citizenship.
Please note that other documents may be required.

Claiming Romanian citizenship through a​ncestors’ lost citizenship 

Obtaining Romanian citizenship through ancestry is mentioned in both Article 10 and Article 11 of the Romanian Citizenship Act. This means individuals can obtain citizenship even if their Romanian ancestors lost their citizenship in some historical contexts.
Article 10 of the Romanian Citizenship Act addresses individuals who voluntarily renounced their Romanian citizenship. This includes those who emigrated from Romania during the 20th century or later. The provision allows these individuals, as well as their descendants up to two generations later (such as grandchildren), to get Romanian citizenship through heritage. The article applies regardless of the specific reason for the initial loss of citizenship. Whether an ancestor left Romania during the Communist regime or after 1990 when the country transitioned to a free market economy, descendants are still eligible to reclaim citizenship under Article 10. The ethnicity of the ancestor is not a determining factor, all descendants can still obtain citizenship under this article. Our immigration lawyers in Romania offer assistance in such cases.
On the other hand, Article 11 addresses a different group of individuals, specifically former Romanian citizens who lost their citizenship involuntarily due to territorial changes during the 20th century, particularly after World War II. This provision applies to individuals who resided within the borders of Greater Romania (Moldova, and some parts of Ukraine and Bulgaria) between 1918 and 1940. These individuals and their descendants up to the third generation later can reclaim Romanian citizenship through origin. It is also worth noting that even if the descendants continued to reside in Moldova, Ukraine, or Bulgaria, they can still claim Romanian citizenship under this provision.
Once these connections are established through documentation or other means, both the Romanian emigrant and his/her eligible descendants can begin the application process to reclaim citizenship. 

How you can gain citizenship in Romania through other options

An option to gain Romanian citizenship by descent can be extended to the child born of foreign parents (who is younger than 18 years of age) and whose parents become Romanian nationals. In this case, the child receives his or her Romanian nationality at the same time as the parents.
You can still apply for citizenship even if you are not of Romanian descent. In this case, your citizenship application will be through naturalization. This can be a suitable option for many foreign nationals who plan to immigrate to Romania, and it represents the final step in their residency, and then permanent residency status.
The main conditions for this route are briefly outlined below by our Romanian lawyers:
  • - The applicant has at least 18 years of age;
  • - He or she has lawfully resided in Romania for at least 8 years;
  • - A foreign national married to a Romanian citizen has been married and cohabiting with his or her Romanian spouse for at least 5 years from the date of the marriage;
  • - The applicant has a proven good behavior and loyalty towards the Romanian state;
  • - He or she can provide satisfactory proof of knowing the Romanian language; additionally, he knows the provisions of the Romanian constitution and the national anthem (needed for the naturalization ceremony).
Even if you do not qualify for the process of obtaining Romanian citizenship by descent, the usual 8-year period can be reduced by half in the following cases:
  • - The applicant has made substantial investments in Romania, of more than 1 million EUR; If you plan on obtaining a resident permit in Romania for investment purposes, our team can assist;
  • - He or she is an international personality;
  • - He or she is a national of an EU Member State or has refugee status (awarded according to the provisions in force).
Please note that each application for this reduction is subject to a case-by-case evaluation, and the applicant is required to submit adequate proof of qualification for this reduction.
Our immigration lawyer in Romania can give you more details about the requirements for citizenship by naturalization, as opposed to the option of being granted this status through descent.

Benefits of obtaining Romanian citizenship through descent

Getting Romanian citizenship through ancestry can offer plenty of benefits. 
Romania's EU membership means Romanian citizens can live, work, and study without visas or or work permit in another EU member state. Romanian citizens have visa-free access to many countries worldwide, simplifying travel, making travel more accessible.
Citizens have access to education in Romania, which includes access to scholarships and free tuition programs. Citizenship provides access to the job market, increases employment opportunities, and offers new career perspectives. Another advantage of Romanian citizenship through origin is access to free healthcare services. Also, citizens have the right to own property in the country without restrictions. 
Citizenship also allows you to bring your family members, such as relatives or your children, to Romania. Through the family reunification process, you can sponsor their immigration by applying for a family reunification visa on their behalf. Once the visa is approved, your family member can then apply for a residence permit in Romania.  
Lastly, moving to Romania allows individuals to reconnect with their Romanian heritage and culture. 

Statistics about Romanian im​migration

Individuals interested in getting Romanian citizenship through heritage can learn more about the immigration trends in the country from these statistics:
  • In 2021, approximately 148,000 foreign citizens were registered with a legal stay in Romania;
  • Around 96,000 were not citizens of EU or EEA member states;
  • In 2021, over 59,550 requests for work permits were registered;
  • About one-third of the total non-citizens of EU or EEA member states population immigrated to Romania in Bucharest and Ilfov county.
Are you ready to submit your application or do you need more information and assistance with your submission? Contact us if you want to know more about how you can apply for Romanian citizenship by descent.