• Naturalisation (Citizenship)

    Posted by Zsolt Szemerszky on August 27, 2023 at 8:07 am

    Many people’s dream, including myself as well, is to become a citizen of Monaco. It is not about loyalty or a passport; it is more about being a part of an ideal community. 

    There are many possibilities for gaining citizenship, however, in many cases the process can be extremely hard since naturalisation is granted only by sovereign ordinance. And once the Prince has made his decision, it is incontestable. 

    Decisions of rejecting or deferring the request are not subject to appeal, and it can happen that your request is always rejected, even if your request satisfies all the pre-conditions laid down, as these merely confer the right to make the request for naturalisation. 

    It may seem very personal… well it is. 

    In general, any person who has been ordinarily a resident in Monaco for at least ten years after reaching the age of eighteen may apply to H.S.H The Sovereign Prince for naturalisation as a citizen of Monaco. 

    The Department of Justice is responsible for examining applications for naturalisation and presenting a report to H.S.H. The Sovereign Prince in accordance with the provisions of the organic law of 9 March 1918. 

    During the examination phase, a number of other authorities are consulted, in particular the Minister of State. 

    Monégasque citizenship is generally granted to those who fulfilled one of the following criteria: 

    − Individual with family ties to the Monégasque community 

    − Individual who is well integrated into the economic, social, or cultural life of the Principality 

    − Individual deemed worthy of this favour by H.S.H. The Sovereign Prince 

    The French authorities are consulted on all applications that have received a favourable response from H.S.H The Sovereign Prince prior to the publication of the Sovereign Ordinance.

    Once your nationality has been successfully granted, a certificate of nationality will be provided to you, which is required for certain administrative documents in Monaco. In such cases, you can request that the Town Hall Nationality Department send the certificate directly to the relevant department. 

    Acquisition by marriage 

    Marriage certificates apply to anyone who marries in Monaco, however, a marriage certificate does not automatically grant you the Monégasque citizenship. Unlike many other countries, in Monaco there are no “green-card” marriages, maybe only “good life” marriages. 

    The marriage of a Monégasque national has no effect on nationality. 

    For many decades in the past, there was a common rule that only a Monégasque man was able to acquire citizenship. Therefore, if a foreign man married a Monégasque woman, he was not entitled to acquire the Monégasque nationality. 

    It seemed too harsh for the man and gave an almost unfair advantage to the women. Currently, the rules are not as binding as before, but still any foreign man needs to be married at least ten years before he can apply for the naturalisation. Therefore, marriage does not change the overall naturalisation conditions for men. 

    A foreign woman, who marries a Monégasque is able to acquire the Monégasque nationality. Once it is granted, she will have the Monégasque passport and nationality, however, she does not become an elector or eligible to be a candidate in elections until a period of five years has passed since the date of the marriage. Therefore, foreign women still have a minimum five-year advantage over foreign men. 

    A Monégasque woman who marries a foreigner man retains her Monégasque nationality unless she expressly states that she wishes, in conformity with the arrangement of the national law of her husband, to acquire the nationality of the latter. 

    This declaration must be made at the time of the celebration of the marriage in order to answer the questions posed by the Registrar, otherwise, it is invalid; such a declaration is to be noted on the marriage certificate. 

    If the marriage is celebrated abroad, the declaration must be made before the marriage is celebrated, specifically before a diplomatic or consular representative of the Principality of Monaco; otherwise, it is invalid. 

    Acquisition by declaration 

    By reason of birth 

    During the year following his majority, any person listed below may acquire Monégasque nationality by means of a declaration made before a registrar, provided that he lives in the Principality and proves that he has had his legal domicile or habitual residence there during his minority: 

    • Any person born in Monaco of a parent born as a Monégasque, even if this person has lost this nationality;
    • Any person born in Monaco of a Monégasque parent and of whom one of the ancestors of the same branch was born Monégasque, even if the parent or ancestor has lost this nationality.

    This right is also open, without conditions as to the place of birth or habitual residence or legal domicile to a minor, born before 11 July 1975. 

    By reason of adoption 

    A foreigner who has reached his majority and has been adopted by a Monégasque may acquire the Monégasque nationality by means of a declaration made before the registrar, provided that he proves loss of his previous nationality and has established his domicile or habitual residence in Monaco for at least ten years. 

    If the adopted person is a minor, it is his legal representative who acts in his name. In the year following his majority, the minor whose consent was not sought has, however, the opportunity to repudiate his Monégasque nationality. 

    In the case of a Monégasque adopted by a foreigner, he retains his nationality if he does not acquire that of the person adopting him. 

    Municipal rule 

    The person obtaining the Monégasque nationality does not possess political rights, that is, may neither be an elector nor present himself as a candidate, until the fifth year following the date on which he acquired this nationality.

    Acquisition by naturalisation 

    The person who wishes to acquire the Monégasque nationality must prove: 

    • That taking the Monégasque nationality will cause him to lose his previous nationality;
    • That naturalization will definitely relieve him of the obligation to perform military service abroad;
    • That he has resided ten years in the Principality after reaching the age of twenty one; this residence must be unbroken and in effect at the moment the request for naturalization is made and not be mere residence at an earlier period.

    The following are exempt from fulfilling the condition of requiring ten years residence: 

    • A foreigner whom the Prince judges worthy of this favor;
    • A woman married to a foreigner, whose husband requests naturalization or who has already obtained it;
    • Children, who are still minors, of a naturalized foreigner, provided that they reside in Monaco at the moment of their request.

    The request must be addressed, on stamped paper, directly to the Prince. 

    Monégasque nationality is granted automatically to children who are minors of a father or a mother surviving her husband (in the event of the death of the latter) who obtains naturalization. 

    These children have, however, the opportunity to renounce their nationality by making a declaration before the registrar in the year which follows the date on which they reach their majority. 

    In all other cases naturalization is granted by sovereign ordinance. Decisions rejecting or deferring the request are not subject to appeal; the request may always be rejected, even if the person making the request satisfies the conditions laid down, as these merely confer the right to make the request for naturalization. 

    This also means that even if you had ten years of residency with all the requested wealth to live in the Principality of Monaco, your naturalisation could be refused. You can be entitled for long-term residency, but to successfully acquire a Monégasque passport, you have to prove that you are a valuable member of the society. What you personally bring to Monaco is always considered a major decision factor. 

    Zsolt Szemerszky replied 1 month ago 1 Member · 0 Replies
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