What does the NSDC decision provide for countering threats to national security?
On February 26, the National Security and Defense Council adopted a decision at its meeting, by which it instructed the Cabinet of Ministers to develop criteria for the application of dual citizenship.
The NSDC decision obliges the Cabinet of Ministers, together with the Central Election Commission and the Security Service, to conduct an inventory and analyze the legislation of Ukraine on issues related to dual (multiple) citizenships within two months.
According to the document, within six months the government should submit to the Verkhovna Rada for consideration draft laws that would prohibit citizens of Ukraine who have citizenship (allegiance) of a foreign state to claim to perform the functions of state or local self-government, to occupy leading positions at strategic objects of state property, access to state secrets, work as a member of an election commission, an official observer, campaigning in elections, membership in a political party.
In addition, according to the decision of the NSDC, the government should begin an interstate dialogue to conclude bilateral agreements with states, except for the aggressor state, on the settlement of problematic issues related to dual (multiple) citizenships.
The issue of submitting declarations on the acquisition of foreign citizenship by Ukrainians should also be regulated by law.
In turn, NSDC Secretary Oleksiy Danilov stressed that Ukraine should have a body that will monitor and track the issue of dual citizenship.
Today during a briefing, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Ukraine is planning to allow dual citizenship with the countries of the European Union. The Minister noted that he supports the idea of legalizing dual citizenship with friendly countries and the countries of the European Union. However, the Foreign Ministry is against dual citizenship with the Russian Federation.
According to Kuleba, after the introduction of dual citizenship, a Ukrainian who has left for permanent residence, for example, to the EU countries, in the future will be able to become a citizen of this EU country, and at the same time remain part of the Ukrainian space, will retain a Ukrainian passport. However, a citizen with two passports will not be able to hold public office.
Why is dual citizenship not allowed in Ukraine now?
The current legislation of Ukraine does not yet recognize "two passports." Article 4 of the Constitution states that there is single citizenship in Ukraine, the grounds for the acquisition or loss of which are determined by law. The law provides, in particular, for the automatic loss of a Ukrainian passport in the event of voluntarily obtaining a form of another country (subject to reaching the age of majority).
However, in Art. 25 of the Constitution states that a citizen of Ukraine cannot be deprived of citizenship.
The Law of Ukraine "On Citizenship of Ukraine" assumes: "If a citizen of Ukraine has acquired citizenship (citizenship) of another state or states, then in legal relations with Ukraine he is recognized only as a citizen of Ukraine. If a foreigner acquired citizenship of Ukraine, then in legal relations with Ukraine he is recognized only a citizen of Ukraine." That is, now the citizens of Ukraine have no grounds and no opportunity to own a passport of another country.
It is also impossible to automatically acquire Ukrainian citizenship by a foreigner or stateless person as a result of marriage with a citizen of Ukraine or the acquisition of Ukrainian citizenship by his wife (husband). And also the automatic termination of Ukrainian citizenship by one of the spouses due to the termination of a marriage or the termination of Ukrainian citizenship by the second of the spouses.
It should be noted that the loss of Ukrainian citizenship does not occur automatically with the acquisition of citizenship of another state, but only from the date of the issuance of the decree of the President of Ukraine on the termination of citizenship in relation to a certain person.
What bills concerning dual citizenship have been registered in the Verkhovna Rada?
On December 13, 2019, draft law No. 2590, defined by President Zelensky, was submitted to the parliament for consideration. According to the explanatory note, the purpose of the adoption of the document is to settle, update and comply with the norms of the current legislation of issues related to the acquisition and loss of citizenship. In fact, we are talking about simplifying the receipt of a Ukrainian passport by foreigners of Ukrainian origin and people in whom the state is interested.
The bill proposed to expand the circle of persons who can apply for a Ukrainian passport. These were planned to include people whose ancestors lived on the territory of Ukraine (within modern borders) under any government from the late 19th - early 20th centuries. The document prescribed the obligation to submit a declaration of renunciation of foreign citizenship to a certain circle of persons. The president proposed to include among these, for example, contract servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and people who have outstanding services to the state. They also planned to enroll refugees and asylum seekers, whose status will be confirmed by the Foreign Ministry.
However, later consideration of the bill was postponed.
On January 25, 2021, another draft law No. 4640 was registered in parliament, which is proposed to allow Ukrainians to have dual citizenship, in particular Russian. According to the document, Ukrainians have the right to acquire citizenship (citizenship) of a foreign state without losing the citizenship of Ukraine. In addition, foreigners can acquire Ukrainian citizenship without renouncing the citizenship of their country.
Citizenship of the "aggressor state" is also allowed for Ukrainians, however, the said citizens are prohibited from exercising their electoral rights. Such a prohibition is in effect until the moment the status of "aggressor" from a certain state is canceled or the citizenship (allegiance) of that state is terminated by the said citizens.
Ukrainian citizenship for foreigners
Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his inaugural speech said that he was ready to give Ukrainian citizenship to everyone who intends to return to Ukraine and work for the good of the country.
On August 13, 2019, the President simplified the procedure for acquiring Ukrainian citizenship for foreigners and stateless persons who defended the country, and for Russian citizens who were subjected to political persecution.
The procedure for acquiring Ukrainian citizenship has been simplified for citizens of the Russian Federation who have been persecuted for political beliefs, and foreigners and stateless persons who, in the manner prescribed by the legislation of Ukraine, have undergone (are) military service under a contract in the Armed Forces of Ukraine or were directly involved in an anti-terrorist operation, providing its conduct, being directly in the areas of the anti-terrorist operation during the period, who took part in the performance of combat and service tasks of the anti-terrorist operation or took (are) taking part in the implementation of measures to ensure national security and defense, repulse and contain the armed aggression of the Russian Federation in Donetsk and Luhansk areas.
However, according to the decree, in order to obtain Ukrainian citizenship, foreigners will have to give up the one they have. In addition, Russians who are persecuted for political reasons must provide a document confirming this.
Issuance of Russian passports to residents of occupied Donbas and Crimea
On April 24, 2019, Russian President Putin signed a decree that simplifies the procedure for obtaining Russian citizenship for residents of the occupied areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. And from May 3, the responsible bodies of the Russian Federation began to accept the relevant statements.
After signing the decree, Ukraine turned to the UN Security Council. Her main argument is that the issuance of Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens living in the temporarily occupied territory of Donbas is contrary to the Minsk agreements.
In addition, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine decided to invalidate Russian passports issued to Ukrainians at two passport issuance points in the Rostov region.
As of February 2021, Russia issued more than 400,000 of its passports in the occupied Donbas, as well as over 2.5 million in the annexed Crimea.
In turn, Deputy Prime Minister – Minister for the Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories Oleksiy Reznikov said that residents of the Donbas territory not controlled by Ukraine with Russian passports should be able to determine their citizenship.
In which countries is dual citizenship allowed?
Dual citizenship exists in over 100 countries. Among them are Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Cyprus, El Salvador, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Mexico, New Zealand, Sweden, UK.
Since 2007, Germany has allowed citizens of the EU, as well as Switzerland, to acquire German citizenship and at the same time retain the former. Most other European states have legalized dual European citizenship, either in full or with restrictions.
In Georgia, only the president can allow dual citizenship if it matters for the country's national interests (similar conditions in Austria and South Korea). In Liechtenstein, Namibia, El Salvador, Estonia, Nigeria, and Slovenia, those who have received a passport from birth have the right to dual citizenship.
In Egypt, the intention to obtain second citizenship must be reported to the authorities, if it is obtained, it is forbidden to do military service, be elected to parliament, and study at police academies.