Ukrainian nationality law

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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.[1][2] The current law was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada after the election of 26 July 1990 together with the Declaration of State Sovereignty.[3][4]

The front cover of a biometric Ukrainian passport.

Definition of Ukrainian citizenship[edit]

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[edit]

International travel biometric passport details page

Citizenship of Ukraine may be acquired in any one of the following ways:[5]

  • 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[edit]

Voluntary loss of citizenship[edit]

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[edit]

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.

The decision on involuntary termination of Ukrainian citizenship must be taken by the President of Ukraine.[6]

Dual citizenship[edit]

Ukrainian law currently does not recognise dual citizenship.[7] However, there are citizens of Ukraine who hold dual citizenship.[8][9] Ukrainian law states that (after gaining Ukrainian citizenship) the new Ukrainian citizen must renounce its non-Ukrainian citizenship(s) within two years.[10] A 2009 estimate put the number of Ukrainians with more than one passport from 300,000 to a few million.[11] Within Ukrainian boundaries Ukrainian citizens who also hold multiple citizenships are considered to be solely Ukrainian citizens.[12]

On February 8, 2014, the Verkhovna Rada proposed a bill to criminalize the act of holding two citizenships.[13]

Visa requirements[edit]

Visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens

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.


External links[edit]