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Global Citizen • Second Passport

How to Get Romanian Citizenship by Descent

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When you look at the world in general, you’ll find popular countries and you’ll find underrated countries that may not be known by most, yet they provide tons of value.

We call these countries, hidden gems.

In the world of RCBI (Residence/Citizenship by Investment), these are the countries with lucrative tax incentives, emerging economies, and some of the best programs for acquiring citizenship.

All the things that are loved and wanted by successful digital nomads, business investors, and entrepreneurs all over the world.

We have written our fair share of content regarding popular citizenship programs in famous or “desired” countries, like the Malta Citizenship by Investment program or certain Golden Visa programs.

But every now and then, we introduce our readers and clients to a “hidden gem” – a country that they may have never even considered under normal circumstances, but one that completely changes their perspective once they get to know about it.

Romania is one such hidden gem of a country.

Whether you want to be a part of an emerging country, outsource your workforce, or set up a business, Romania offers a lot of ease and options for foreigners looking to be a part of this historically rich and diverse country.

Generally, to acquire foreign citizenship, you would need to look at the various investment routes that a country may offer to foreign citizens in exchange for its citizenship.

But there is another option, that is not only far cheaper but also, far more straightforward.

The only catch? You have to prove that your ascendants hailed from that country.

This route to acquiring foreign citizenship is called Citizenship by Descent.

Before we jump into the details of acquiring Romanian citizenship by descent, let’s see what is actually meant by citizenship by descent.

What is Citizenship by Descent?

Countries, with a principle of jus sanguinis (right of blood) in their nationality law, can offer their citizenship to any foreign citizen who can prove his/her bloodline to the said country.

Some countries, like Hungary, have no limits as to how far back you can go to prove your ancestry, but most countries limit their citizenship by descent programs up to three generations at max.

So if at least one of your parents, or grandparents hails from a foreign nation with a nationality law of jus sanguinis, you can be eligible for their citizenship.

Now that you are clear on the concept of Citizenship by Descent, let’s move to the focus of this article – Romania and its Citizenship by Descent program.

The greater Romanian region in the 20th century included parts of Moldova, Ukraine, and even Bulgaria.

So if you currently reside in one of these countries, your chances to be eligible for Romanian citizenship just shot up.

Who knows, you might have an ascendant who hailed from the areas that previously came under Romanian control.

That said, is having an ascendant from a certain foreign country enough of a reason to acquire their citizenship?

Getting citizenship by descent may be a cheaper route, but it certainly is not the easiest.

You need an array of supporting documents to establish your blood-right claim, and that is not as easy as it sounds – especially for people who have never even set foot in the other country.

Just like having an excess of money is not a reason to acquire just any citizenship by investment program out there, only a bloodline is not a good enough reason to go through the trouble of acquiring citizenship of a country.

Before obtaining a second passport, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Will I have to renounce my current citizenship?
  • What will this move mean for my taxes, and overall wealth?
  • Do I want to live in a country whose citizenship I’m aiming for, or is it just for future insurance?
  • Will it increase my freedom of movement or restrict it?

These questions will give you a great idea about your primary motives, and also make the pros and cons of your decision very clear to you.

So let’s apply it all to the country that this article is all about – Romania.

Why Romania?

Why Romania

Considering its war-torn history, and not-so-special tourist appeal, some people may be surprised at the idea of acquiring a Romanian passport.

But, we’ll advise you to not be fooled by the country’s troubled history and rather, focus on where it’s going – the right direction.

The people, especially the younger generation, are very “Americanized” (in a good way), the government has wised up, and the workforce is highly talented and quite affordable.

Not to mention, the internet is one of the fastest in the world.

Romania is also a European Union member state. This means that becoming a Romanian citizen, will also make you eligible for all the benefits enjoyed by EU citizens.

Let’s look at some of the biggest reasons why anyone would choose to obtain Romanian citizenship.

Benefits of Obtaining Romanian citizenship

Strong Passport

A strong passport means more freedom of movement, and there are very few things that top freedom of movement for successful entrepreneurs and digital nomads all around the world.

There is nothing more frustrating than discovering a lucrative business or lifestyle opportunity in a foreign country and later, realizing, that you cannot go to that country without going through a lengthy visa process.

With a strong passport, you don’t have to experience that frustration.

According to Henley and Partners, the Romanian passport ranks 16th in their 2022 Global Passport Index, allowing visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 174 countries.

That’s not bad at all. In fact, Romania’s ranking is higher than its neighboring countries like Moldova, Bulgaria, and Ukraine.

If you are a citizen of a country with a weaker passport, Romanian citizenship might just be the thing for you.

Romania is an EU Member State

If getting EU citizenship, without huge sums involved, is the goal, then Romanian citizenship by descent might just be the route for you.

Being a part of the EU, Romanian citizenship offers the chance to live, study, and work anywhere in the EU countries.

Moreover, European Union is the world’s largest single market, making it highly attractive for business investors and entrepreneurs, especially from countries with restricted access to the EU zone.

Romanian citizens also benefit from the world-class universal healthcare and affordable education system, thanks to their EU membership.

People pay huge amounts for a chance to become an EU citizen, So, if you are positive about your Romanian bloodline and eager to be an EU citizen, then obtaining Romanian citizenship should be a no-brainer for you.

Favorable Tax Situation

The favorable tax situation in Romania, among other factors, makes it an excellent location for starting a business.

Most corporations pay a flat 16% corporate tax, while personal income is taxed at a rate of a flat 10%.

Moreover, the government of Romania has established certain categories of employees as “income tax-exempt”, for example, IT specialists and employees with disabilities, etc.

That’s not all. Romania is also one of the fastest growing economies in the EU right now, with impressive GDP growth of 5.9% in 2021.

An emerging country like that could prove to be extremely beneficial for foreign investors.

Now that you know the biggest benefits of Romanian citizenship by descent, let’s see what the Romanian citizenship law states.

Romanian Citizenship by Descent 2022

Romanian Citizenship by Descent 2022

The foundation for Romanian citizenship by descent is found in the Romanian Citizenship Law No.21/1991.

The law was first passed by the President of Romania on 1st March 1991 and was officially published in the Official Gazette of Romania on 6th March 1990.

It was later amended and published in the Official Journal of Romania on 10th August 2010.

Foreign citizens can apply for Romanian citizenship on the basis of Article 5, Article 10, and Article 11 of the Romanian citizenship law.

Let’s see what these articles state about getting Romanian citizenship through ancestry.

Article 5 of the Romanian Citizenship Act

Chapter II Article 5 of the Romanian Citizenship Act discusses the acquisition of Romanian citizenship by birth.

According to Article 5, the following individuals acquire Romanian citizenship by birth:

  • Children born in Romanian territory, to parents who are Romanian citizens
  • Children born in Romanian territory or abroad, with at least one parent who is a Romanian citizen
  • Children who are found in Romanian territory whose parents aren’t known

According to the second point, foreign citizens with at least one Romanian parent can claim Romanian citizenship by descent.

Article 10 of the Romanian Citizenship Act

In the 20th century, when Romania was under the Communist regime, a great number of people immigrated to other countries and thus lost their Romanian citizenship.

Technically speaking, former Romanian citizens who left Communist Romania gave up their citizenship voluntarily, because back then, leaving the country resulted in automatic citizenship revocation.

Article 10 applies to all such former Romanian citizens who lost their citizenship due to immigration under Communist rule.

But even if your ancestors moved out from Romania after it became a free country, Article 10 still applies.

In essence, if you can prove that at least one of your parents or grandparents were Romanian citizens, you can be eligible for Romanian citizenship by descent.

Article 11 of the Romanian Citizenship Act

According to Article 11, if at least one of your parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents were Romanian citizens and lost their citizenship against their will, then you can apply for Romanian citizenship by descent.

Note, however, that your parents will have to restore their citizenship first.

It may sound confusing because Article 10 limits the citizenship right to two generations.

So, what was the need for Article 11 and throwing another generation into the package?

After World War II, Romania lost a significant number of its territories. Many parts of current-day Moldova, Ukraine, and Bulgaria previously belonged to Romania.

Subsequently, the citizens of those lost territories also lost their Romanian citizenship involuntarily.

Thus, Article 11 offers a huge second passport opportunity, especially to the citizens of Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Moldova. Why?

Because pretty much everyone born in those lost territories between 1918 and 1940, and their descendants up to three generations, are eligible for Romanian citizenship by descent under this article.

In essence, individuals can obtain Romanian citizenship by descent on the basis of the following factors:

  • One or both parents are Romanian citizens
  • At least one of the parents or grandparents was a Romanian citizen who lost their citizenship
  • At least one of the parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents was a Romanian citizen who lost their citizenship against their will

How to Apply for Romanian Citizenship?

Acquiring Romanian citizenship by descent may be a cheaper route but it’s definitely not the easiest.

You will have to navigate a complex maze of Romanian bureaucracy, appear for interviews and submit an application (written in the Romanian language).

Furthermore, you will have to learn the Oath of Allegiance (also in the Romanian language). The oath has to be taken in front of a Romanian official.

Foreign citizens already have to face a lot of stress acquiring official Romanian documents like birth certificates and civil status documents that support their claim of Romanian origin, and all of this only adds to their frustration.

That’s where we come in. Nomad Capitalist has helped many clients realize their dreams of second citizenship in a stress-free manner, and we would love to do it for you too.

Romanian Citizenship by Descent 2022 – FAQs

Does Romania allow dual citizenship?

Yes, Romania is one of the EU countries that allow dual citizenship.

Who is eligible for Romanian citizenship by descent?

Individuals can be granted citizenship in Romania (by descent) on the basis of the following factors:

  • One or both parents are Romanian citizens
  • At least one or both of the parents or grandparents were Romanian citizens who lost their citizenship
  • At least one of the parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents was a Romanian citizen who lost their citizenship involuntarily

Are my children eligible for Romanian citizenship by descent?

Children under 18 will acquire Romanian citizenship along with their parent(s), but any children over 18 will have to apply separately to obtain their citizenship.

Become a Romanian Citizen

Very few people in the world ever get a chance to acquire foreign citizenship based on their bloodline – fewer still, are eligible for foreign citizenship that offers them so much in return.

Romania offers EU citizenship, an emerging economy, a reliable workforce, and natural beauty that makes your jaw drop.

With so much on the table, it will be a poor decision to let an opportunity like this pass by.

If you think that you are eligible for Romanian citizenship by descent, contact us.

We will help you navigate the whole process in the best way possible so that you can go where you are treated best, and live the life of your dreams.


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