17 Jan 2024 18:46

Moldova to tighten rules for granting citizenship to foreigners

CHISINAU. Jan 17 (Interfax) - Moldova has brought a bill on tightening rules for granting citizenship to foreigners up for public discussion, the bill is aimed primarily at extending the procedure to ensure a more detailed application review procedure.

An explanatory note to the bill says that the geopolitical situation in the region has prompted an increase in the number of foreigners seeking Moldovan citizenship.

"Statistical data show that, in the past two years, citizens of Russia have accounted for over 70% and citizens of Ukraine for about 20% of all applicants for the Republic of Moldova's citizenship. This process involved instances of forged documents submitted and attempts to obtain Moldovan citizenship in a fraudulent way," it said.

The current rules stipulate that applications for Moldovan citizenship cannot be considered for longer than six months. The Agency for Public Services (ASP) carries out the document approval procedure within up to 20 working days, and the service of recognizing a person as a Moldovan citizen is to be granted on the day of application.

At the same time, during the state of emergency that was in effect in Moldova from February 24, 2022 to December 31, 2023, the procedure for granting Moldovan citizenship was complicated, thereby requiring applicants to submit their autobiography and a non-conviction certificate in addition to the principal package of documents, which were accepted for review only after clearance by the Security and Intelligence Service.

"Now that the state of emergency has been repealed, the standard procedure does not ensure the appropriate level of security, as citizenship may be granted to persons posing a threat to national security and public order," the explanatory note says.

In the authors' view, the main problem is "the limited timeframes" for reviewing documents for granting Moldovan citizenship. Therefore, they have proposed increasing the term within which the service for approving Moldovan citizenship must be granted to six months from 20 working days, and the term within which a person may be recognized as a Moldovan citizen to six months from the day of application.

The public discussion is to last until January 25, after which the bill should be submitted to the parliament.