Romania as the most eastward of the countries in the European Union receives each year a number of applications for residency from non EU citizens.  Romania is open to granting residency subject to strict guidelines and laws.

The legal framework regarding the possibility to reside in Romania for non EU citizens is established in accordance with current European legislation. The legislation is set out in the Council Directive 2005/71/CE which was transposed into Romanian internal legislation through Emergency Government Ordinance no. 55/2007 regarding the Romanian Immigration Office, and Emergency Government Ordinance no. 194/2002 concerning the condition of residency of foreigners.

These two normative acts provide non EU citizens all that they need to know in order to obtain the right to reside on the Romanian territory.

Reviewing the necessary documents and the conditions requested by the Romanian authorities in order to obtain the right to reside in Romania, it is clear that a non EU citizen has several possibilities.

The first option consists in opening a company in Romania, so that the non EU citizen obtains a long stay visa and then a residence permit for commercial purpose.  A pre-requisite in all cases is the obtaining of the visa before the residency permit.  If the non EU citizen wants to be an associate or a shareholder, having a management or administration position within a Romanian company he must obtain the endorsement of the Romanian Centre for Trade Promotion and Foreign Investments. The endorsement will be issued if the non EU citizen presents a business plan describing the company`s activity, the proof that he will invest a minimum one hundred thousand euro for a limited company or one hundred and fifty thousand euro for joint-stock company and that he will make these investments within twelve months after obtaining the residence permit.  Another requirement is that the companies will create at least ten new working positions for a limited company, and fifteen work positions for a joint-stock company.  The endorsement is available 6 months from the date of issue.

In addition to the endorsement, the non EU citizen must present to the General Inspectorate of Immigrations a  Certificate of Criminal Record or other document having the same legal value; a medical insurance valid during the validity period of the visa and the proof of accommodation in Romania.

After entering on the Romanian territory the non EU citizen begins the phase to obtain the residence permit.  To obtain the residence certificate the non EU citizen needs to provide a number of documents to the relevant authority. These documents are:

  • the application form,
  • their passport and a copy;
  • the endorsement of the Romanian Centre for Trade Promotion and Foreign Investments which was given a the time the company was incorporated;
  • the registration certificate of the company as well as the article of incorporation of the company;  proof of funds to enable the applicant to live in Romania;
  • the title documents over the space designated as registered address of the company;
  • copy of the title of the right over the residence where the applicant will live,
  • proof of payment of social insurance (if any),
  • a current medical certificate;
  • and also proof of payment of the taxes (around one hundred and twenty euro consular fee, two hundred and forty (240) lei for the residence card and four lei, for the legal stamp).

The residence permit is available one year from the date of issue and has to be renewed at least thirty (30) days prior to the expiry date of the previous one. The initial permit is only valid for one year and then it is required to be renewed.  After five years of continuous residence the person can apply for a residence visa of five years.

A second way to obtain a residence permit is to be hired by a Romanian employer (individual or corporate) if the vacancy cannot be filled by a Romanian citizen, a citizen of EU/EES member-states or by a permanent resident in Romania.

Thirdly, a non EU citizen can also obtain a residence permit if he has a close relative (wife, brother, sister, father mother etc. who holds a temporary residence permit, valid for one year.

It is also possible in certain circumstances to obtain a residence for religious purposes or for volunteer activities if these are carried out in accordance with the special conditions requested by the Romanian law.  These are of limited use for non EU citizens

No matter the purpose for which the non EU citizen comes in Romania, if he wants to obtain a residence permit, he must prove that he has a place to live; that he possesses a medical insurance and the he has all the needed means for subsistence.

The obtaining of a residence permit will not allow the holder to take up permanent residence in another EU country although it will enable them to travel to another EU country.  As Romanian is not part of the Schengen area these limitations will also apply.

The obtaining of Romanian residency requires therefore much thought as well as finance before it is obtained. It should only be applied for if there are good business reasons and the financial case can be made for the setting up of a business in Romania.