Citizenship based on Residence (last updated December 19, 2022)
Requirement No. 1: Proof of Residence
You can qualify for Armenian citizenship if you have permanently resided in Armenia for the last 3 years (i.e. the 3 years preceding the application for citizenship). The Citizenship Law does not define the term "permanent resident." In practice, the Police accepts and processes a citizenship application if the applicant has maintained an Armenian residence permit (temporary, permanent or special) during this 3-year period, irrespective of the number of days he/she actually spent in Armenia. However, it is important to leave no gaps between the residence permits. In other words, the Police may reject your application if your status as a resident of Armenia was interrupted (e.g. your first residence permit expires on October 15th but the second permit is issued on November 1st).
Requirement No 2: Knowledge of Armenian Language and Constitution
You will need to pass a test on the knowledge of the Armenian Constitution before the citizenship application is accepted (normally this happens on the same day). It is an easy multiple-choice test with 33 questions, and you need to answer correctly to 17 of them. However, the test is in Armenian, and you will also be asked to fill out an application-questionnaire in Armenian language. Thus you may have to spend some time learning basic Armenian (probably around 20-30 lessons with a tutor) before attempting to apply for citizenship.
Step 1. Citizenship Application
You will need to submit your application in person in Armenia at the Passport and Visa Department of the Police (also known as "OVIR"). The main documents to be presented will be your passport, a legalized and translated birth certificate and your residence permit(s) showing three years of residency. The application process (including taking the test) normally takes one day. However, the documents (passport, birth certificate, etc.) have to be translated and notarized in advance, hence it is recommended to plan to stay in Armenia for 3-5 business days. The processing of the citizenship application normally takes four months (90 business days) and involves agencies such as the Police, the National Security Service and the President's Office. If the Police intends to reject the application it will forward the case to the inter-agency committee on citizenship matters under the Ministry of Justice. In this case, the process may take up to six months.
Step 2. Obtaining a Passport
After (if) your citizenship application is granted by the President you will be notified of it (typically, through a text message) and will be invited to apply for a passport and/or a national ID card. If you are a male under the age of 55 you will also have to register with the military office. For more information on military registration please check the page on citizenship (under #11. Military Registration & Service). It is possible to get the passport and the national ID card in only 1, 3, or 5 business days by paying the corresponding fast-track service fees. You will have to sign the oath of allegiance before you collect the documents. Military registration, if applicable, may take 1-3 business days and it precedes the issuance of document.
Frequently Asked Questions
#1. Can I use a translator or a digital translator app to take the test?
#2. How can I prepare for the test? How long it will take?
#3. Are the questions always the same and is the order of the questions the same each time? Or are they mixed up?
#4. Is the test taken on the same day on which the application is filed? When will I know the results of the test?
#5. How will I take the test? Am I required to speak Armenian?
#6. How many times shall I visit the Passport Office?
#7. What are the military duty obligations?
#8. How can the family members acquire citizenship?
#9. When can the citizenship application be rejected and what is the process for appealing the rejection?
LL.M. Georgetown University
New York Bar | Armenian Chamber of Advocates
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