What should Republic of Belarus citizens know about obtaining Ukrainian citizenship?

The procedure of obtaining Ukrainian citizenship for the Republic of Belarus citizens is somewhat different from the general procedure due to the existence of the Agreement “On a simplified procedure for changing citizenship by citizens of Ukraine who permanently reside in the Republic of Belarus and citizens of the Republic of Belarus who permanently reside in Ukraine”.

In general, obtaining of Ukrainian citizenship provides the renouncement of foreign citizenship. This occurs by submitting an obligation to renounce of foreign citizenship within two years or a declaration of renouncement of foreign citizenship. When the applicants are citizens of the Republic of Belarus, this two-year term will not apply to them. There will be an automatic renouncement of one citizenship as a result of obtaining another, because under the Agreement, the date of obtaining one Party`s citizenship will be the date of termination of the other Party`s citizenship.

However, there are other features of this Agreement implementation. The fact is that in order to renounce citizenship and directly to implement its norms, persons must permanently reside in the territory of a state. This is about obtaining a permanent residence permit in one of the countries that are parties of the Agreement. Such a requirement follows directly from its name.

Departure for permanent residence abroad (PR) by the Republic of Belarus citizens who permanently reside on its territory shall be done at the place of residence. Based on the results of the consideration of the application for permanent residence departure, the internal affairs bodies make a decision on the passport of the PP series issuance. On this document, person shall enter the territory of Ukraine and apply for consular registration.

If the Republic of Belarus citizen temporarily resides in Ukraine, he/she can apply for permanent residence at the appropriate diplomatic missions / consular offices on its territory. In this case, the decision is made by the diplomatic mission/ consular office, which accepts the applicant for consular registration. Only after completing this procedure it is possible to proceed to the stage of obtaining Ukrainian citizenship.

Despite the existence of the Agreement, the list of required for obtaining Ukrainian citizenship documents is the same for all foreigners. It can only change depending on the ground of its obtaining. As for the terms, this Agreement creates some features for the Republic of Belarus citizens. As already noted, they cannot use the two-year rule to renounce citizenship, because this occurs automatically. Specific are not only the terms, but also the procedure for renouncing their previous citizenship. In this way:

  • Within ten days after granting the person a new citizenship, the competent authorities of the Party that granted this citizenship shall issue a document confirming the obtained citizenship to the person. At the same time they seize the document confirming the previous citizenship and send it through the diplomatic channels to the Party whose citizenship is renounced together with a notification about a new citizenship and indicating the date of its obtaining.
  • Within two months after receiving a notification about obtaining the new citizenship by the person, the Party whose citizenship is renounced shall draw up the renouncement of citizenship and notify the Party whose citizenship is obtaining.

Please remember about the automatic obtaining of the citizenship by the child. This is a paragraph of the Agreement, which provides that:

  • upon obtaining citizenship by parents, adoptive parents, guardians, trustees, as a result of which both become citizens of the other Party, the citizenship of their minor children, as well as minors who are under their care changes accordingly.

The necessity of implementing norms of such an Agreement is connected with the fact that the Republic of Belarus, like Ukraine, would like to prevent cases of statelessness. However, it only partially changes the procedure of obtaining Ukrainian citizenship. This in no way influences the rights and obligations which entails obtaining the status of a Ukrainian citizen.

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