In the modern world, nationality has long been not a key characteristic of a person. However, the Constitution of Ukraine obliges the state to support and promote the national needs of those Ukrainians who live in other states. Since they rarely argue with the main law of the country, legislative acts were adopted to define the concept of a foreign Ukrainian, as well as the procedure for obtaining this status.
The law "On Foreign Ukrainians" is relatively new; it was adopted in 2004 and has been repeatedly finalized. Also in 2004, two resolutions of the Cabinet of Ministers were adopted, without which the law could not be implemented. Nevertheless, it took two more presidential decrees, three decisions of the Cabinet and 15 years to fully launch the program.
Who is a foreign Ukrainian
The Law of Ukraine "On the Legal Status of Foreign Ukrainians" defines a foreign Ukrainian as "a person who is a citizen of another state or a stateless person, who has Ukrainian ethnic origin or has originated from Ukraine."
That is, foreign Ukrainians are migrants belonging to the Ukrainian ethnic group, who lived on the territory of Ukraine before, and their descendants. If it is impossible to confirm the Ukrainian origin, the document cannot be obtained.
The status of foreign Ukrainians is issued on the basis of the decision of the National Commission on foreign Ukrainians issues.
What does being foreign Ukrainian mean?
Of course, this status confirms the ethnicity of a person. However, it also has practical benefits, guaranteeing the freedoms and rights provided by the Constitution. A citizen of another country who has the status of a foreign Ukrainian receives the same rights as ordinary Ukrainians.
This status eliminates the need to have a visa or renew a work permit. At the same time, it allows free entry and exit from Ukraine, the opening of private business activities and the organization of any form of legal entity to conduct business.
Especially noteworthy are:
- the right to a free reusable visa for a period of five years;
- the basis for obtaining a permanent residence permit.
Moreover, the right of a free visa applies to the spouse and children of a foreign Ukrainian (in case of their joint entry into the territory of the country).
However, a person who has received the status of a foreign Ukrainian cannot use some constitutional rights – participation in governance, the right to elect and be elected to the state and local government bodies, the right to social security in connection with the loss of working capacity of the breadwinner, obtaining the pension. Nevertheless, the status frees from certain constitutional duties, for example, from military service.
Requirements for registration of the foreign Ukrainian status
According to Ukraine’s legislation, there is a list of criteria that a person must meet in order to confirm her assignment to Ukrainian nationality:
- be older than 16 years;
- not to have Ukrainian citizenship;
- identify herself as a Ukrainian;
- have Ukrainian ethnic origin or should come from Ukraine.
Which documents are needed to become a foreign Ukrainian
The certificate of a foreign Ukrainian is issued for ten years with the possibility of its further re-registration.
The first step is to submit a written application to Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Ukraine’s foreign diplomatic institution.
Here is a list of documents, which should be attached to the application:
- passport or a document replacing it;
- copies of documents certifying Ukrainian ethnic origin (for example, a certificate or other documents about the birth of a person or his relatives on the territory of Ukraine, documents confirming a person’s former Ukrainian residence);
- two color photos 3x4;
- receipt of payment for services.
The status might be denied
Even with a full package of documents, the state has at least two reasons for refusal. The status of a foreign Ukrainian cannot be received if:
- the applicant has committed or is committing acts contrary to Ukraine’s national security;
- the applicant has provided knowingly fake documents.
This status is a new practice for Ukraine, but in the world it is a fairly common. Similar laws exist in Poland, USA, Israel, Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Hungary, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Spain, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Lithuania, Norway, Russia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Finland, Croatia, Czech Republic, South Korea, Japan, Cyprus, and Taiwan.