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Dual citizenship. Good to know

What is dual citizenship?

dual citizenship

Lawyers distinguish between dual citizenship and second citizenship Russian citizen.

Dual (multiple) citizenships is a person who simultaneously has the citizenship of two or more states. In addition, each of the states may require a person to perform all his civic duties. This status becomes possible for citizens of those countries between which an agreement on dual citizenship, that is, the mutual recognition of both citizenships is concluded. At the same time, both countries recognize for their citizens the existence of both citizenships as equivalent, and “dual citizens” – retain the civil rights of both states.

What is second citizenship?

Second citizenship (third, fourth, and so on) is a situation where a person acquires second citizenship without the knowledge of the “native” state, of which he was originally a citizen.

Can citizens of Ukraine have passports of several countries?

It is believed that dual citizenship is prohibited in Ukraine. In parallel with this, the mass media repeatedly reported that deputies, officials, well-known businessmen had passports of foreign states. The sarcastic remark of the former Dnepropetrovsk governor Valery Kolomoisky has become widely known: “Dual citizenship is prohibited, and triple is not prohibited.”

The replica sounded after the recognition of the presence of three passports – Ukrainian, Israeli and Cypriot.

The fact is, the current legislation does not prohibit having multiple passports. 

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The Law of Ukraine “On Citizenship”: “If a citizen of Ukraine 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 has acquired citizenship of Ukraine, then in legal relations with Ukraine he is recognized only as a citizen of Ukraine “.

This means that a Ukrainian with a passport of Ukraine and, for example, Cyprus, in Ukraine will be recognized only as a citizen of Ukraine. In Cyprus – only a citizen of Cyprus. And when entering the territory of third countries, a person can decide for himself which passport to show him at customs. That is, in Ukraine, dual citizenship is not prohibited, it is simply not recognized.

Is there a penalty for having two or more passports?

The current legislation does not oblige citizens to report on obtaining a passport of another state. But the Ukrainian government agencies can send a request to other states in order to identify information on citizens of Ukraine who have received foreign passports. Information about the presence of several passports can be considered a reason for termination of citizenship of Ukraine, but automatic termination does not occur. The president has the right to deprive the citizenship of Ukraine but is not obliged to do so. This opens up broad opportunities for applying the principle of double standards. For example, in 2017, people’s deputy Andrei Artemenko was deprived of Ukrainian citizenship on the basis of the acquisition of Canadian citizenship in 2005. At the same time, information disseminated in the media about the presence of two or several passports for 49 deputies remained without consequences.

How many Ukrainians have foreign passports?

According to various estimates, in Ukraine, about half a million people have passports of foreign countries – mainly Poland, Russia, Hungary, Romania. The facts of issuing Hungarian passports to citizens of Ukraine in the Transcarpathian region, where more than 150 thousand Hungarians live, and Romanian passports in the Chernivtsi region, whose territory is inhabited by more than 180 thousand Moldovans, have been recorded.

And how are they?

In the world, there is a whole happy state in which dual or multiple citizenships is allowed. Dual citizenship treaties exist between the former centers of the colonial empires and their former colonies: Great Britain has such an agreement with Canada, India, Australia. France – with Canada, Portugal – with Brazil, Spain – with a number of Latin American countries.

Green indicates countries where dual citizenship is allowed. One of the champions is Pakistan, which has dual citizenship treaties with 16 countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Iceland, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States and a number of others. So theoretically, a Pakistani citizen can be simultaneously a citizen of 17 states.

What can change for the citizens of Ukraine?

Dual citizenship is established on the basis of bilateral agreements. Bilateral agreements should regulate such matters as taxation, pensions, social security, military service, and so on. That is, to bear obligations or to use social guarantees, as a rule, is possible at the choice of a citizen only in one of the states that have signed the agreement. For example, if such an agreement existed between Ukraine and Poland, then a person who has dual citizenship could choose where to receive a pension: in Poland or in Ukraine.

It is also necessary to regulate such a question as to the possibility or impossibility of having dual citizenship for officials, deputies, employees of special services, army, and police officers.

According to the current Law on State Service, a person who has citizenship other than Ukrainian does not have the right to apply for the civil service. This is due to the fact that citizens of other countries should not have access to state secrets. 

However, while the presence of dual citizenship by Ukrainian legislation is not regulated at all, this rule is sometimes ignored.

Some features of obtaining foreign citizenship may be theoretically incompatible with Ukrainian citizenship. For example, the oath of allegiance is an indispensable element for accepting US citizenship.

The oath-taker declares the complete renunciation of “loyalty and devotion to any foreign monarch, sovereign, state or sovereign power, of which I was a citizen until this day.”

That is, such a citizen is obliged to act in the interests of the United States, even if they conflict with the interests of other countries whose citizens are the oath-taker. That is, persons who have both Ukrainian and American passports, according to the oath, are obliged to act in the interests of the United States.

What are the prospects for the introduction of the law on dual citizenship?

In order to introduce a law on dual citizenship, it is imperative that changes be made to the Constitution. This requires the support of at least 300 deputies of the Verkhovna Rada, and during two votes.