Dual citizenship in Ukraine

The topic of dual-nationality in Ukraine from year to year is one of the most discussed not only in the media, but also among ordinary habitants. For today, it is an example of the most controversial and unsettled issue, very largely because of imperfections in the legislative framework.

Ukrainian legislation and dual-nationality

The Ukrainian law position towards the dual-nationality is “foggy”. The norms of the law do not specify the possibility of Ukrainian residents to have an “alien” passport.

Thus, Article 2 of the Law of Ukraine “Citizenship of Ukraine” provides: «If a resident of Ukraine acquires foreign nationality, then in legal relationship with Ukraine this person is recognized only as a resident of Ukraine. If a foreign person acquires nationality of Ukraine, then this individual is recognized only as a resident of Ukraine».

However, the norm described above does not forbid Ukrainians to become residents of alien countries, since the obtaining of one more passport doesn’t lead to an automatic loss of the Ukrainian passport.

It would be more correct to say that the Ukrainian legal system doesn’t restrict dual-nationality, it simply does not recognize it.

Is there a penalty

The law on the imposition of a fine was adopted by Verkhovna Rada. However, later the document was referred back to the parliament. Draft plan for a law provides for a fine in the amount of 100 tax-free minimum incomes or imprisonment for a term of three to ten years, depending on the degree of dual citizenship misapplication.

At the moment, this draft law hasn’t been considered by the deputies, so the dual citizenship fine cannot be imposed either theoretically or practically.

What is more, dual-nationality as a legal term implies that specific states have an international agreement for the political status of their residents. Ukraine doesn’t have such agreements.

Lost of Ukrainian citizenship

A Ukrainian does not lose his passport if he obtains the second legal nationality. Article 19 of the law on nationality lists the grounds for the forfeit of political nationality:

  • voluntary coming into the national status of the alien country upon reaching the age of majority;
  • gaining aUkrainian legal nationality by fraudulent or illegal means;
  • joining the ranks of the foreign armed forces (if the army service is not critical to obtain the foreign political nationality).


The law says that the loss of legal nationality is possible with the voluntary entry into the “alien” citizenship. Exceptions are the cases of automatic nationality obtainment by accident of birth, in the event of marriage, plus adoption of children by foreigners. In these cases people cannot lose their Ukrainian political nationality. Yet at the same time, Ukraine considers them only as its citizenry and doesn’t recognize belonging to another country.

Advantages of dual-nationality

Why do Ukrainians need a dual-nationality? — To get certain advantages and prospects.

The presence of “alien” passport affords such opportunities to its owner:

  • reside and labor in the country, which provides citizenship;
  • take part in elections;
  • use the full social package.

So, people often formalize the second legal nationality because of mercenary interests. However, it should be remembered, that along with the rights, the owner receives duties of the second country, too.

How many Ukrainians have dual-nationality

According to unofficial statistics, at the moment thousands upon thousands of Ukrainians have several passports. Most often Ukrainian residents received Russian identification documents – from 140 to 350 thousand. In addition, it is not a secret that about 100 thousand of residents of the Chernivtsi region have Romanian passports, Lviv region – Polish passports, Zakarpattia – Czech, Slovak and Hungarian documents. The reason for this is the presence of close ties (including links to relatives) among residents of border areas with residents of neighboring countries.

According to social surveys, about 50% of Ukrainians are against dual-nationality. Another 30% of respondents want to legalize persons with two or more passports. The rest part of the citizenry doesn’t have any position on this issue.

Dual citizenship in Ukraine for foreigners

Though Ukrainian law doesn’t recognize dual nationality and states that after gaining Ukrainian citizenship foreigner must renounce his other citizenships within two years, at present there is no way for new Ukrainian citizen to be convicted by the courts.

So if foreigner has a passport of a country, that allows dual citizenship, and Ukrainian passport, he will not be in conflict with the law.

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