Ukrainian nationality law
Ukrainian nationality law is the law of Ukraine which concerns citizenship. The body of law is primarily regulated by the Law of Ukraine on Citizenship of Ukraine and certain provisions within the Constitution of Ukraine. The current law was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada after the election of 26 July 1990 together with the Declaration of State Sovereignty.
Definition of Ukrainian citizenship
Citizens of Ukraine typically fall into at least one of the following categories:
- Former citizens of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics who were permanently resident on the territory of the former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic at the moment of the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine on August 24, 1991.
- Stateless people, residing on the territory of Ukraine on November 13, 1991.
- People who came to Ukraine with the intent of taking up permanent residence since 13 November 1991 and who had the endorsement "Citizen of Ukraine" inserted into their 1974-type Soviet passport by Ukrainian authorities, as well as the children of such persons who arrived in Ukraine together with their parents, provided that they had not attained their majority before their entry to Ukraine.
- People who acquired Ukrainian citizenship in accordance with the laws of Ukraine and the international treaties of Ukraine.
Acquisition of citizenship
Citizenship of Ukraine may be acquired in any one of the following ways:
- By descent:
- Being born to parents, at least one of whom is a citizen of Ukraine.
- Being born abroad to stateless parents, but legally residing in Ukraine, and having acquired no other nationality at birth.
- Being born in Ukraine to non-Ukrainian parents, but legally residing in Ukraine and having not acquired the nationality of either parent.
- Being born in Ukraine to parents, at least one of whom is a registered refugee under Ukrainian law, and having not acquired the nationality of either parent or only the nationality of the parent holding refugee status.
- Being born in Ukraine to unknown parents.
- By registration:
- Being adopted as a child by citizens of Ukraine.
- Having no other citizenship and at least one parent or grandparent Ukrainian by birth.
- Having no other citizenship, under certain conditions listed in the Statute on Citizenship.
- By naturalization:
- Having resided in Ukraine for at least five years, being able to function in the Ukrainian language, and being knowledgeable of the Ukrainian Constitution. The individual is required to voluntarily renounce any foreign citizenships they may hold.
Birth within the territory of Ukraine does not automatically confer citizenship.
Loss of citizenship
Voluntary loss of citizenship
According to Ukraine's nationality law, Ukrainian citizenship can be voluntarily renounced by Ukrainian citizens who have taken up permanent residence in a foreign country and who have acquired a foreign citizenship or have received confirmation that they will acquire a foreign citizenship upon successful renunciation of their Ukrainian citizenship. Citizenship can only be renounced in the presence of a Ukrainian consular official at a Ukrainian diplomatic mission and proof of the final/impending acquisition of foreign citizenship is required to do so.
Automatic loss of citizenship
Automatic loss of Ukrainian citizenship occurs in the event an adult Ukrainian citizen voluntarily acquires a foreign nationality or enters into the military or governmental service of a foreign power.
Ukrainian citizenship is not automatically lost in the following circumstances:
- Acquiring a foreign citizenship at birth by descent from a parent when Ukrainian citizenship is also acquired by descent.
- Being adopted by foreign nationals when Ukrainian citizenship was originally acquired by descent from a biological parent.
- Automatically acquiring citizenship of one's spouse upon marriage to a foreign national.
- Automatically acquiring a foreign citizenship upon reaching the age of majority in accordance with the nationality law of a foreign country. In this case Ukrainian citizenship is retained providing that the individual had no formal (documented) knowledge of the automatic acquisition of the foreign citizenship.
Ukrainian law currently does not recognise dual citizenship. However, there are citizens of Ukraine who hold dual citizenship. Ukrainian law states that (after gaining Ukrainian citizenship) the new Ukrainian citizen must renounce its non-Ukrainian citizenship(s) within two years. A 2009 estimate put the number of Ukrainians with more than one passport from 300,000 to a few million. Within Ukrainian boundaries Ukrainian citizens who also hold multiple citizenships are considered to be solely Ukrainian citizens.
|“||If a citizen of Ukraine acquires citizenship (nationality) of another state or states, in legal relations with Ukraine, the person is recognized as a citizen of Ukraine only. If a foreigner acquires the citizenship of Ukraine, then in legal relations with Ukraine, the person is recognized as a citizen of Ukraine only...||”|
|— Article 2. Law on citizenship of Ukraine.|
On February 8, 2014, the Verkhovna Rada proposed a bill to criminalize the act of holding two citizenships.
In June 2017, Ukrainian citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 116 countries and territories, ranking the Ukrainian passport 42nd in the world according to the Visa Restrictions Index.
- Citizenship at the Wayback Machine (archived October 12, 2012). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
- Law on Citizenship of Ukraine at the Wayback Machine (archived October 12, 2012). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
- Ukraine proclaims sovereignty, The Ukrainian Weekly (July 22, 1990)
- How Ukraine Became a Market Economy and Democracy by Anders Åslund, Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2009, ISBN 978-0-88132-427-3 (page 21)
- Citizenship Laws of the World (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Office of Personnel Management, Investigations Service. March 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2003-04-06. Retrieved 2013-12-14.
- Law on Citizenship. Article 22.
- Constitution of Ukraine: Article 4
- (in Ukrainian) З життя українських олігархів – вілла Коломойського на Женевському озері, Ukrayinska Pravda (March 10, 2009)
- Посольство Украины подтвердило гибель трех украинцев в крушении Як-42 (in Russian). Moscow: RIA Novosti. 7 September 2011.
- Saakashvili Slams Georgian Decision To Revoke His Citizenship, Radio Free Europe (4 December 2015)
- Dual Identities, Kyiv Post (July 9, 2009)
- The Law of Ukraine On Citizenship of Ukraine: Article 2