Citizenship to be acquired with paid water, electricity bills and without knowledge of Macedonian

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The new citizenship bill that is to be discussed by the MPs today envisages 16 ways for the applicant to acquire Macedonian citizenship, and enough proof of that is a document that they finished school in the country, that they went to a doctor’s appointment, that they have property or a savings account, that they paid bills…, writes RFE.

The initial proposal for citizenship for three witnesses to testify is dropped, but that is why paid bills for electricity, water, heating, telephone will be a sufficient condition for obtaining citizenship.

The bill was submitted by the Government under the “European flag” procedure, which means that the deadline for its adoption is shortened and refers to citizens who are from the former Yugoslav republics who remained to live in Macedonia after independence and still do not have Macedonian citizenship. The law was initiated by the Alliance for Albanians and Alternative and first it envisioned citizenship to be proved by three witnesses.

The years of residence in the country required for obtaining citizenship are also shortened from eight to seven. In the previous proposal, the Alliance and Alternative sought to reduce the residence to four years.

Also, emigrants from Macedonia and their children will be able to acquire Macedonian citizenship by naturalization, even if they did not live in the country for eight years until the submission of the application, and without having been released from the citizenship of another country.

Macedonian citizenship can be acquired by a foreigner who has been married to a Macedonian citizen for at least three years and has lived in the country for at least one year, and does not have to know Macedonian.

Authorities say about 3,000 people are seeking citizenship, half of whom do not live here. There are about 800 citizens of the so-called phantoms, citizens who were born here and never obtained citizenship.