This week the Ukrainian parliamentarians proposed to amend the nations’ legislation to allow citizens to have dual citizenship. If passed, the bill will provide Ukrainian citizens the right to obtain citizenship of a foreign state without losing the citizenship of Ukraine. The amendments will also allow foreigners to obtain Ukrainian citizenship without renouncing their country of origin’s citizenship.
The draft law also calls for the limitation of rights for passport holders of so-called ‘aggressor nations’ (such as Russia). If a Ukrainian citizen has second citizenship of a nationally recognised as an aggressor to Ukraine, they will be restricted from exercising electoral rights, running for parliament or applying for government jobs.
Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba said civil servants would not be allowed to hold dual citizenship if the law is adopted in its current form.
“This issue [dual citizenship] raises discussions. I personally believe that we should find a balanced solution. Let’s face it: millions of Ukrainians for different reasons went abroad but want to remain citizens of Ukraine and helped Ukraine in the hardest of times,” said Kuleba.
According to Maksym Sokolyuk, the head of the State Migration Service, the bill has come about in an attempt to lure citizens back to the country.
Upon regaining independence in 1991, Ukraine had close to 52 million inhabitants. However, that number has dropped, and the European Commission currently places the number at 42 million. Since the EU allowed Ukrainians to travel visa-free to most of its countries in June 2017, Ukrainians have migrated abroad, mainly for economic reasons.
“Dual citizenship is a kind of immigration program to Ukraine. We are losing our population. We have lost a lot of economic migrants. Therefore, we have to offer certain categories of migrants. We need an economic program that would encourage them to do it,” Sokolyuk stated.
Ukraine’s Law on Dual Citizenship
According to Ukrainian legislation, if a citizen of Ukraine acquires another nation’s citizenship, such a person is still only recognised as a citizen of Ukraine in legal relations.
“If a citizen of Ukraine acquires citizenship (nationality) of another state or states, in legal relations with Ukraine, the person is recognised as a citizen of Ukraine only. If a foreigner acquires the citizenship of Ukraine, then in legal relations with Ukraine, the person is recognised as a citizen of Ukraine only…”
— Article 2. Law on the citizenship of Ukraine.
How to Obtain Ukrainian Citizenship
Citizenship of Ukraine can be acquired by descent, registration, or naturalisation. Birth within the territory of Ukraine does not automatically confer citizenship.
- 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
- 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 of Citizenship
- 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
Investing in Second Citizenship
Citizenship by investment programmes offers the opportunity to legally acquire a new nationality in return for an investment in the host country’s economy. Such programmes confer citizenship status without causing any major disruptions to an investor’s life, provided they pass all the due diligence checks first, make a qualifying investment and provide all the correct documentation.
Just over a dozen countries in the world currently offer citizenship by investment. There is a higher concentration of economic citizenship programmes in the Caribbean; a region considered the cradle of second citizenship by investment.
There are many benefits to having dual citizenship, including greater global mobility, new economic opportunity, a better quality of life, and improved personal security.