San Marino promotes the creation of associations of San Marino citizens living abroad, protects their existence and supports their activities.
The Associations, more commonly referred to as "Communities", are non-profit and originate from a spontaneous initiative of the emigrants themselves, with the intent of fostering bonds of friendship and solidarity among members and at the same time keeping their ties with the motherland alive.
The law providing for and regulating such Communities is Law no. 76 of 30 November 1979. The minimum requirement for the establishment of a Community is the presence of at least 30 San Marino citizens of age, permanently emigrated or resident in a consular jurisdiction or in a State.
A condition for the existence of a Community is its subsequent legal recognition by the Council of the Twelve, after verifying compliance of the Statute with the law establishing the Communities, with San Marino legal system and with the legal system of the foreign State where the Community is located.
To become an effective member of a Community, in addition to the requirement of being of age and resident outside San Marino, it is necessary to express the will to become a member and to annually pay a membership fee, the amount of which is established by the General Assembly of the members.
The Community acts through its own bodies envisaged by law: the President, the Governing Council, the General Assembly of full members, the Auditors. All offices are held free of charge.
San Marino annually provides the Communities with a fixed financial contribution and a variable one, which is established in proportion to the number of members. It also grants a certain number of scholarships, intended for the most deserving young students in each Community.
Currently, there are 25 San Marino Communities, located in Argentina (7), Belgium (1), France (5), Italy (10) and the United States of America (2), for a total of about 7,000 San Marino citizens.
The relations between the Communities abroad and the Department of Foreign Affairs are followed by an Official of the Directorate of Political and Diplomatic Affairs.