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Visa, residency, passport
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Ethnic Armenians qualify for citizenship without having to meet any language or residency requirements. You should note, however, that certain formal requirements have to be met to establish Armenian origin. Having an Armenian name or speaking Armenian fluently is not by itself sufficient. You will have to produce a document that clearly states that you are (or one of your ancestors was) an ethnic Armenian. The most common way to do this is to show a baptism certificate issued by a church organization that confirms your or your parents' Armenian ethnicity. In certain countries the Armenian ethnicity may also be mentioned in the government-issued documents (e.g. birth certificate, family records etc.).
The law does not have a complete list of documents that may be submitted to prove the Armenian origin. For example, this can be a statement issued by the local Armenian community or other organization. However, it is important that the document be attested (legalized) by the Armenian embassy/consulate in the country where the document was issued. For example, the Armenian embassy must certify the baptism certificate before it can be used to apply for citizenship.
Please note that an Armenian translation of your birth certificate will also have to be submitted to the Passport Office. It means that you are likely to be required to legalize two documents: the birth certificate and the baptism certificate.
Please note that according to article 47 of the 2015 Constitution, ethnic Armenians can acquire citizenship after moving their residence to Armenia. This restriction is not applied in practice as the Citizenship Law has not yet been brought in line with the Constitution. However, if you consider applying for Armenian citizenship it is advisable that you do so as early as possible.
Basis for Application
Knowledge of Armenian Language
Knowledge of Armenian Constitution
365 days in the last two years, unless have a common child
If you are a spouse of an Armenian citizen you are eligible to apply for Armenian citizenship, provided that you meet the following criteria:
In addition, you will have to pass a test on the knowledge of Armenian Constitution before your application is accepted. It is an easy multiple-choice test with 33 questions, and you need to answer correctly to only 17 of them to pass the test. Because you are exempted from the language requirements you can take the test in a foreign language. Normally a licensed translator will be present to translate the questions for you.
Meeting the above requirements does not guarantee that your application for citizenship will be approved. Acquisition of the Armenian citizenship is not a legal right but a privilege that may or may not be granted by the President, and a rejection cannot be appealed in court.
You are eligible to apply for Armenian citizenship if you have been permanently residing in the country for the last three years. Because the Citizenship Law does not define the term "permanent resident" and does not provide for minimum stay requirements, in practice the three-year period applies to maintaining the residency status (temporary, permanent or special).
In addition to the three-year residency requirement you will have to pass the test on the knowledge of Armenian Constitution. It is an easy multiple-choice test with 33 questions, and you need to answer correctly to only 17 of them to pass the test. However, the test is in Armenian language and you will probably need to spend some time to gain basic knowledge of Armenian language before you attempt to pass it.
In certain cases substantial donations or investments can be considered as “exceptional services” to Armenia for which the President may grant citizenship without any other requirements. Citizenship by exception is granted in an expedited manner as the Prime Minister's office can directly present candidates to the President, without having to go through the inter-agency committee on citizenship issues.
AMD 1,000 (US$2)
AMD 1,000 (US$2)
AMD 25,000 (US$52)
AMD 3,000 (US$6)
AMD 1,000 (US$2)
Fast Issuance of Passport or ID Card
Next Business Day
AMD 20,000 (US$42)
Three Business Days
AMD 10,000 (US$21)
Five Business Days
AMD 5,000 (US$10)
The table below shows the typical procedure for applying for Armenian citizenship and obtaining a passport. The procedure and steps involved may differ depending on your circumstances.
1. Visit Armenia
Most of the applicants come to Armenia to file their applications in person at the Passport Department of the Police (OVIR). It is also possible to file an application at an Armenian embassy/consular office abroad. However, in this case the process may take longer because the documents will have to travel to Armenia and back. Please check the section on visas to see if you need a visa and, if so, if you also need an invitation letter from Armenia.
The duration of your stay in Armenia will depend on your circumstances. Typically 2-3 business days will be sufficient to translate the documents and file the application.
2. Apply for Citizenship
The application for citizenship must be filed in person. A power of attorney will authorize one of our lawyers to accompany you to the Passport Office to make sure the application goes smoothly. Supporting documents will also be submitted at this stage. Please note that you may have to take a test on the knowledge of Armenian Constitution if you apply based on residency or marriage to an Armenian citizen.
3. Track the Status of the Application
An application for citizenship will normally be processed in 4-6 months. It will be reviewed by the Police, the National Security Service, the Foreign Ministry and the Citizenship Committee at the President's Office. If the security officers have any questions about the documents submitted they may contact the applicant/lawyer to request additional information/documents. The Passport Office notifies the applicant/lawyer after the applicant's case is forwarded to the President's Office and after the citizenship is granted. It is also possible to check the status online at http://www.police.am/.
4. Visit Armenia a Second Time
After your citizenship application is granted you will have to make another trip to Armenia to apply for and get your passport and national ID card. You cannot get your first passport at an Armenian embassy/consular office abroad even if you filed your papers through the embassy. Normally you should plan to spend in Armenia 3-5 business days; it depends on whether you need to register with the military office and whether your are ready to pay fast-track service fees to get your passport sooner.
5. Register with the Military Office
If you are a male below the age of 50 you will have to register with a military office. If you served in the military of another country you may want to bring a document confirming this fact. The registration typically takes 1-2 days.
6. Apply for a Passport and ID Card
Currently you can apply for a regular passport or a biometric one. It may take up to three weeks for a passport to be issued, unless you pay for a fast-track service to get your passport/ID card the next business day or in three or five business days. At this stage you will also register your address. If you want to register a local Armenian address you may have to show proof of residence in Armenia (e.g. lease agreement, owner's consent etc.).
7. Take the Oath and Collect the Passport and ID Card
You will be given a day and time to appear at the Passport Office to collect your passport and the ID card. Before you collect the documents you will have to sign the oath of allegiance.
Armenian passport allows you to travel visa-free to dozens of countries, including places with limited access to nationals of Western countries, such as Russia, Iran, Uzbekistan etc. The EU/Schengen countries still have a visa regime with Armenia but it is expected that visa-free travel will become possible around 2020. The United States offer 10-year B visas to Armenian citizens as well as E-2 business visas.
Because of the free movement of labor in EAEU countries (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia) citizens of Armenia are exempted from work permit requirements and can take advantage of preferential treatment in areas of labor law, social protection, medical treatment, taxation, immigration etc.
Having a second passport can help you avoid problems resulting from your country’s foreign policy and domestic regulations (for example, difficulties with banking). A second passport can be useful if you seek more privacy or if your first passport is expired, lost or confiscated. Also, you will need a second passport if you ever decide to renounce your current citizenship.
Armenia explicitly allows dual citizenship and you will not be asked to give up your current citizenship. Equally, once you have an Armenian passport you can acquire other passports and travel documents without the need to notify the Armenian government.
Once you acquire Armenian citizenship your minor children can automatically get Armenian passports and your spouse may become eligible to apply for citizenship. Under Armenian law a child born to an Armenian father or mother can easily acquire Armenian citizenship, irrespective of the place of birth or residence. In other words, your children and grandchildren will be able to get Armenian passports even if they never live in Armenia.
The process of acquiring an Armenian passport normally takes less than six months. If the petition for citizenship is filed in Armenia and the case is relatively straightforward the approval is likely to come in about four-five months. Once your petition is approved you can get your Armenian passport and national ID in a matter of days.
You will need to provide only the essential documents and the application form asks for basic biographic information. There is no need to provide police certificates, proof of address, tax returns etc. Government fees are very low even if you use optional fast-track services.
As a citizen of Armenia you can own agricultural, forest and other types of land in Armenia, a privilege that is generally not available to foreigners.
Armenia has a number of social programs for its citizens, including government-financed education and medical treatment, welfare benefits for old, disabled and other classes of socially vulnerable people.
Armenia is generally considered an exceptionally safe country with one of the lowest crime rates in the world. If the economic or political situation in your country gets worse you can use your Armenian passport to temporarily or permanently move to Armenia with your family.
An Armenian passport will also allow you to take a public office and participate in the political life of the country: to elect and to be elected.
If you ever decide to give up your Armenian citizenship it is easy to do so as long as you do not have any outstanding debts and obligation towards the government.
As of 2018 Armenian passport ranks 70th in the world according to Arton Capital Passport Index, and 74th according to Henley & Partners Passport Index, and allows visa-free travel to 62 countries, including Russia, most of CIS countries, and Iran.
Your minor children may be granted citizenship immediately upon your request. Adult children generally have to go through a separate procedure of naturalization. Your spouse can apply for Armenian citizenship if he/she meets the criteria specified above under "Citizenship by Marriage".
After your citizenship is granted your spouse, parent, son, daughter, brother, sister, grandparent or grandchild can get a temporary (one-year) residence permit. A permanent (five-year) residence permit may also be available after three years of residence in Armenia.
Male citizens aged 16 to 50 are required to register with the military office. Males aged 18 to 26 are generally subject to a 2-year military service, unless they are exempted because of health or certain other issues. Therefore, you may want to postpone obtaining your Armenian passport until you reach the age of 27. Those who are 27 and above are not subject to military service in times of peace but may be mobilized if a situation of war is declared.
If you are not comfortable with registering with a military office, you can apply for and obtain a special passport, which is not a citizenship document and does not create any obligations related to military service but will grant you many of the benefits of citizenship, including land ownership.
Armenia does not have citizenship-based taxation, and your citizenship generally has no effect on the taxes. Normally you will have to spend in Armenia at least 183 days in a year to become a tax resident of Armenia.
If there is no primary evidence, such as old government- or church-issued documents showing your Armenian origin, you may use secondary evidence, for example, statements by local Armenian community organizations or churches.
Before you file the citizenship application you will have to take a test on the knowledge of Armenian constitution. However, you are exempt from Armenian language requirements and, therefore, you can take the test in English or another language.
You can apply for citizenship after two years of being in a registered marriage. In addition, you will have to satisfy one of the following criteria:
If your marriage was registered in a foreign country the marriage certificate will have to be legalized (Apostille or consular legalization) and translated into Armenian language.
Please note that the police and national security officers may conduct interviews and checks to make sure that your marriage is real.
We are a team of licensed immigration lawyers based in Armenia. We can provide you with all necessary support and guidance from the very beginning to the very end of the process. For more information on Armenia citizenship programs please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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