Official Language Project Law
During this month of September, local and international media have echoed a piece of news that has aroused some controversy in the Principality of Andorra: the obligation to speak Catalan to renew one’s residence permit.
However, these claims proliferated before the publication of the Official Language Project Law on 13 September 2023. The Andorran executive defines that the new regulation does not under any circumstances seek to prevent the arrival of new residents based on their language or, possibly, not to renew the residence permits of those who do not have a sufficient level.
The law aims, among other things, to promote the learning of the Catalan language, to preserve it and to improve customer service in the official language of the State. For this reason, no current or new resident should be concerned, as the law does not require more than a basic knowledge of the language.
In this regard, it should be noted that in the Principality of Andorra, free classes are offered at different levels to learn Catalan.
Although the regulatory text has not yet been published and has not yet entered into force, the Government has anticipated that the requirements for renewing the residence and work permit will be as follows:
- Obligation to accredit basic knowledge of the language to obtain the first renewal of the residence and work permit.
- In public service professions, the law project establishes the minimum obligation to make the initial greeting in Catalan and to know the basic vocabulary according to the profession.
On the one hand, the Project Law also provides that in the field of the Administration of Justice and alternative dispute resolution, the use of translators and interpreters will be required for people who intervene in a procedure and do not understand Catalan.
In addition, the regulation will also take sign language into consideration, introducing references to it, so that the administrations take this reality into account.
It is important to emphasise that those residence permits obtained through an investment in the Principality (non-profit or passive residence permits) will not require any level of Catalan for their renewal.
On the other hand, the Project Law must finally clarify whether the requirements described above will only apply to residence and work permits (for employees) or whether entrepreneurs and self-employed workers established in the country (self-employed) will also have to accredit the minimum competences described above.
In any case, there is no reason to worry about the non-renewal of a residence permit for this reason, as the requirements will be of a very lax nature and, clearly, basic knowledge of a language does not come close to being able to speak it.
Here is a link so that, if you need to learn the basics of the language, do not hesitate to enrol in the free Catalan classes offered by the Principality of Andorra.
Ministry of Culture and Sport
Catalan Language Area
Avinguda François Mitterrand, 13
Phone: +376 875 708
Jennifer Rubio and Pau Augé