In April, Russian President Vladimir Putin, along with the country’s new Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, signed a law allowing the simplification of obtaining Russian citizenship. Now, foreigners who apply for Russian citizenship do not have to renounce their current one or reside in Russia for three years before applying. To date, foreign nationals were required to renounce their current citizenship in their native countries when seeking to obtain a Russian passport.
Why is Russia easing its laws?
The new legislation was voted through by parliament and aims to create millions of new Russians, the majority likely to be from the former Soviet republics, to add to its existing 146 million people, about two million fewer than at Russia’s peak in 1992.
The country aims to allow ten million foreigners to obtain citizenship in an attempt to reverse a long-term population decline.
Who can apply?
The simplified procedure for obtaining Russian citizenship is for residents of Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan who have a valid Russian residence permit, as well as to Russian speakers residing in Russia.
Applicants can also be foreigners married to Russians, given that they live in Russia and have common children, foreigners who have at least one parent that is a citizen of Russia and lives there, and foreigners who were educated at Russian state institutions after July 1, 2002.
A Brief History
Dual citizenship came into Russian law almost 25 years ago on the grounds of Russia’s agreement with another country. However, all other cases of attaining foreign citizenship that is not limited to treaty countries are subject to some restrictions and control. Persons who obtain second citizenship are limited in their civic opportunities, e.g. they can’t have access to civil service or establish mass media and control mass media in Russia, and should declare their foreign citizenship to the Russian authorities within 30 days of getting the second citizenship.
What does this mean for you?
Though the above-mentioned measures may restrict investment citizenship, many Russians strive for dual or second citizenship for more political and economic stability.
On the podcast Plan B, Natalia Van, a business development executive working on CS Global Partners’ Russia department, said that this new legislation is important because people are going to be “given a ‘choice’, and this means freedom.”
This ability to travel, she said, is essential now with the Covid-19 lockdowns, as most countries are still letting their citizens and residents’ cross borders to come home.
Van also added that this change might lead to an increased demand for Citizenship by Investment programmes. The most attractive options she has seen for high net worth individuals in Russia are in the Caribbean, especially in Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis, as they offer affordability, increased global mobility, remote processing, ease of application and lifestyle benefits.
“A second citizenship gives you the opportunity to be the master of your own destiny. It means not being dependent on one country’s politics, economy, or medical or educational systems,” she said.
“It also means being able to choose a better place for your family to live in, for you or your children to study in, and for you to run your business.”
Click here to listen to Plan B’s full episode about the Unique Features of the Russian CBI Market.
The new law will enter into force in July 2020, 90 days after its official publication.