How to obtain Ukrainian citizenship for foreigners fighting for Ukraine?

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An increasing number of foreign nationals are coming to Ukraine to serve in our military and defend our country. After their military service, regardless of their citizenship in countries such as Russia, Belarus, Afghanistan, Poland, Turkey, or elsewhere, they can obtain Ukrainian citizenship. 

There is a simplified procedure specifically designed for foreign military personnel in Ukraine. However, it is important to note that compliance with Ukrainian laws and Constitution is a mandatory requirement to avail of this procedure.

Family members of foreign military personnel, including spouses and minor children (under 18 years old), also have the right to obtain Ukrainian citizenship through this procedure. 

It's worth noting that for children aged 14 to 18, their consent is required for obtaining Ukrainian citizenship. 

Individuals who have committed serious crimes, including crimes against humanity or genocide, cannot obtain Ukrainian citizenship, regardless of where the crimes were committed, whether in Ukraine or abroad. 

However, this requirement may not apply to foreign nationals serving in the Ukrainian military. For example, if a foreign national who is a citizen of Russia participated in activities to defend Ukraine against aggression by Russia in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, they may not need to provide information about their criminal records in Russia. 

Our legal experts can help you navigate this issue.

You may also like: Can You Stay in Ukraine While Waiting for Citizenship?

The process of obtaining Ukrainian citizenship for individuals who defend it

What documents do foreigners who are serving in the military need to provide to the immigration authorities? 

Firstly, a valid passport of the foreigner, along with a certificate confirming their status as a servicemember in the Armed Forces of Ukraine (currently serving), and a copy of their contract.

Secondly, depending on the specific situation, this may include:

  • A document proving that the person has continuously resided in Ukraine for at least three years after signing a contract for military service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. For example, this could be a military ID or a passport with relevant stamps from the border service indicating crossings of the state border.
  • A copy of a document confirming that the person has been awarded a state award in Ukraine.
  • Obligations regarding the termination of foreign citizenship or a declaration of renunciation of citizenship of a foreign state. 

Please note that individuals who have acquired Ukrainian citizenship and have submitted a declaration of renunciation of foreign citizenship are required to return their passport to the authorized authorities of the respective foreign state. 

Attention: No immigration permit is required for Ukraine, and in certain cases, information about the absence of convictions in the country of origin is not necessary.

  • language proficiency, 
  • immigration permit, 
  • confirmation of financial means for residence in Ukraine.

One of our company's clients is a foreign national who signed a contract more than two years ago and is currently serving in the military. They have expressed the desire to apply for Ukrainian citizenship as soon as they complete three years of service, as stipulated in the contract. 

The company's lawyers have prepared documents that the client can issue today:
  • pass an exam on knowledge of the Ukrainian language;
  • a copy of the service contract, etc.

They provided a separate explanation on the specific documents that need to be obtained directly before submitting the application to the migration service. These may include: 

  • a certificate from the place of military service;
  • an income certificate;
  • information on recent border crossings, and more.

The processing time for our client's documents is expected to be around 2 years, as the decision is made by the President of Ukraine based on their Decree, and it is this Decree that grants citizenship. 

However, our client has a simplified process for renouncing their citizenship, where they only need to submit a declaration of renunciation.

Foreign military personnel seeking Ukrainian citizenship will need to provide the following documents:

  • Application for citizenship acceptance;
  • Passport and its translation into Ukrainian;
  • Passport-sized photos (35x45mm);
  • Certificate confirming sufficient proficiency in the Ukrainian language;
  • Information on lawful sources of livelihood (such as an income certificate and personal financial savings);
  • Confirmation of military service in the armed forces (including the contract and certificate from the place of service);
  • Information on continuous residence in Ukraine for the past 3 years (which may include a military ID, passport, or information from the border service).

Additionally, a commitment to terminate foreign citizenship or a declaration of renunciation of foreign citizenship must be submitted as well. Our experts can assist in determining the specific document requirements for your case.

The process of obtaining Ukrainian citizenship for foreign military personnel can be complex and varies depending on individual circumstances, but our team of lawyers is here to assist you every step of the way:

  • finding the best solution that fits your situation;
  • preparing the required documents;
  • resolving any issues related to renouncing foreign citizenship, including returning passports to the relevant foreign authorities.

Please note! The Ukrainian government is actively working on developing additional legislative and regulatory measures to make it easier for foreign military personnel who defend Ukraine's independence to acquire Ukrainian citizenship. 

Our lawyers are staying updated on any changes in this area to provide you with the most straightforward and efficient process for obtaining Ukrainian citizenship.

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Publication date: 04/04/2022

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