Why has renouncing Ukrainian citizenship become so relevant during the war?

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Unfortunately, a significant number of Ukrainians have emigrated due to the Russian invasion. For an extended period, our citizens have lived abroad, where they've had to adapt and fulfill all the requirements set forth by their host countries. Many Ukrainians have learned foreign languages, secured employment and social benefits, and enrolled their children in educational institutions.

The pursuit of stability and certainty for the future has led many to seek legalization abroad, primarily by obtaining residency documents. Some have based their decision on employment or entrepreneurial ventures, while others have married or had children who gained foreign citizenship at birth. Over time, whether by choice or due to the conditions of war in our country, many who have left Ukraine have made the momentous decision to renounce their Ukrainian citizenship. This decision raises several questions for them:

  • Why is this important for those already abroad?
  • How does one renounce Ukrainian citizenship, and what documents are required?
  • What is the procedure for renouncing citizenship, and is it possible during wartime?

These questions will be addressed in the article. However, if you not only seek informative content on renouncing citizenship but also require assistance with the process, do not hesitate to contact us. With years of experience in migration law, our company is prepared to offer comprehensive consultations, assist with document preparation and submission, and provide steadfast support at every stage.

You may also like: What is Citizenship Renunciation?

Why renouncing Ukrainian citizenship can be important for Ukrainians abroad?

When Ukrainians have the opportunity to obtain citizenship in another country, they may not always be required to renounce their Ukrainian citizenship, as many countries allow dual citizenship. However, there are reasons why determining one's citizenship is crucial. For instance, there are several risky aspects that we recommend taking into consideration, particularly the obligations imposed on Ukrainian citizens by the Constitution:

1.   Tax obligations: An individual who hasn't renounced Ukrainian citizenship but resides abroad is considered a tax resident of both countries. Consequently, taxes must be paid in both places. This has become even more significant since Ukraine joined the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and the Country-by-Country Reporting (CbCR) standard. It's worth noting that foreign banks now collect information on Ukrainian residents (both individuals and organizations), compile corresponding reports, and provide this information to Ukraine. This entails the automatic exchange of information, making it nearly impossible to conceal one's income. The consequences include not only additional taxes owed but also substantial fines and, in some cases, criminal liability.

2.   Homeland defense: Holding dual citizenship still primarily identifies an individual as a citizen of Ukraine. Therefore, as a Ukrainian citizen, certain restrictions on leaving Ukraine apply to all conscripted individuals, requiring them to update their data in the military registration and, in the event of mobilization, to serve in the Armed Forces.

From the above, it becomes clear that residing abroad does not exempt Ukrainians from their obligations as Ukrainian citizens. At the same time, while in a foreign country, especially after acquiring citizenship of that country, Ukrainians fall under the laws and regulations of their country of residence. As a result, the question of tax payment becomes acute, with rates significantly higher than what they are accustomed to in Ukraine. For example:

  • In Canada — up to 33%;
  • In the USA — up to 39.6%;
  • In Germany and the United Kingdom — up to 45%;
  • In Spain — up to 47%.

Furthermore, Ukrainian taxes or expenses for an accountant and lawyer to help avoid double taxation or alternatively prepare documents indicating non-residency for tax purposes in Ukraine are necessary. This, believe us, is quite a quest. Why? The tax authorities are reluctant to lose taxpayers and, therefore, create numerous bureaucratic obstacles, exploiting the fact that such a procedure is almost not officially established or regulated by legislative acts.

It is precisely because of this that our company has started to receive numerous requests from our clients regarding obtaining documents for permanent residency abroad, as this is the first step toward renouncing Ukrainian citizenship. Next, we will consider how this process works.

The procedure for renouncing Ukrainian citizenship

As mentioned earlier, renouncing citizenship occurs after obtaining documents for permanent residence abroad. You can learn more about this procedure here. The process itself is meticulous, although it involves a relatively small package of documents. So, the document package for renouncing citizenship will include the following:

  • Application;
  • International passport;
  • Document confirming residence abroad;
  • Photo.

It is also desirable to provide the national passport of the Ukrainian citizen and the identification code, if available.

Where to submit documents for renunciation of citizenship?

Documents are submitted to the Ukrainian consulate at the place of residence. If it is necessary to submit documents for a child, a separate application and a birth certificate are mandatory.

Please note!  If a child is 14 years old or older, then a notarized consent of the child is required.

Of course, there are fewer bureaucratic obstacles when the entire family submits documents together. However, it should be noted that a separate case is opened for each family member, so the application and document package for each family member must be fully prepared. The required document package is not complicated. However, attention should be paid to its correct preparation. For example, if a document is issued in a foreign country, it may require apostille or legalization and translation into Ukrainian. This may apply to a birth certificate or a notarized statement.

The application for renouncing citizenship is submitted to the President of Ukraine at the consular office at the place of residence. The application is usually filled out in two or four copies (depending on the requirements of the specific consulate). It is accompanied by a photo and a properly certified passport of the foreign country. The consideration of such an application does not exceed one year. The final result will be the corresponding Decree of the President of Ukraine and a certificate of renunciation of Ukrainian citizenship.

You may also like: Reinstating Birth Certificate for Foreign Citizenship Acquisition

Legal assistance for Ukrainians abroad during citizenship renunciation

In reality, the process described in this article is lengthy and complex. However, with a clear understanding of which documents to submit and where, how to properly format, certify, and fill out the necessary documents, the path to renouncing Ukrainian citizenship can be navigated without major complications. This is precisely what the lawyers at "Legal Aid" have been providing for over 15 years. Our clients always understand why they are taking certain actions, what outcomes they are expecting, where and which documents need to be submitted, and what results they will achieve.

We understand that during the process of renouncing Ukrainian citizenship, many questions and needs arise that need to be addressed. Therefore, we are prepared to provide you with comprehensive support and a personal client manager who will be in constant communication with you. Our services include:

  1. Consultation to analyze your situation, assess risks, and develop an action plan.
  2. Full support for the procedure of relocating for permanent residence abroad or settling abroad permanently, as well as renunciation of Ukrainian citizenship.
  3. Planning relocation or business establishment abroad.
  4. Opening a bank account for personal and corporate needs.
  5. Preparation and submission of documents for successful acquisition of permanent residency abroad.
  6. Resolution of tax and other administrative matters in Ukraine upon departure.
  7. Consultative support for procedures of obtaining foreign citizenship and renouncing Ukrainian citizenship.
  8. Document legalization and apostille services required for staying abroad.
  9. Assistance in resolving other legal aspects related to changing residency and citizenship.

If you have decided to renounce Ukrainian citizenship, seek legal support from our specialists. Call our toll-free hotline at 0 800 213 479 or submit a consultation request using the "Request a Call" button. Our lawyers guarantee a successful outcome!

Publication date: 14/02/2024
Ryzhova Tatiana

About author

Name: Ryzhova Tatiana

Position: Lawyer


Knowledge of languages: Russian, Ukrainian

Email: [email protected]

Tatiana joined Pravova Dopomoga team in February 2022 as a migration and corporate law lawyer. Has experience in the field of migration law, including in state-owned companies for more than 20 years. During this time she gained practical experience in the fields of migration, corporate, labor, criminal criminal procedure, inheritance, notary and pension law.

Tatiana is constantly evolving, monitors changes in legislation, analyzes case law.
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