How can foreigners get an archival certificate in Ukraine?

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For foreigners looking to acquire Ukrainian citizenship, an archival certificate can prove to be a crucial instrument. Mainly, this is because foreigners are in the process of preparing documents for obtaining citizenship based on territorial origin. Specifically, it is required to confirm the fact of birth on Ukrainian territory.

Critical information about birth, death, marriage, or divorce is documented in the civil registry records. However, at times, the information in the registry of civil status acts may need to be present. This is because civil registry records in registry offices are kept for 75 years, after which they are transferred to the archive of the region where the certificate was issued.

As a result, to obtain information about the birth (marriage, death) of a specific individual, one must approach any registry office. However, if more than 75 years have passed since the date of recording the civil registry record, it is advisable to approach the state archive of the corresponding region.

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Obtaining an Archival Certificate in Ukraine

Challenges and Complexities in Restoring Archival Documents on Civil Status in Ukraine

Since 2008, Ukraine has implemented the maintenance of a unified electronic Register of Civil Status Acts, and all manual records made before that time, starting from the 1950s, were manually entered into this Register. Of course, during the transfer from paper records, which were made in different handwriting styles, numerous errors, including typos, were introduced.

Another challenge was the translation of these records into Ukrainian. Just imagine – a multitude of surnames, names, patronymics, and names of settlements. Quite often, each specialist translated them according to their discretion. A similar situation occurred during the issuance of passports from 1995 to 2016 when passport officers translated data from birth and marriage certificates issued in Russian into Ukrainian for inclusion in passport documents. To this day, there are families in Ukraine where surnames can be spelled differently (for example, Belov-Below-Bilov).

Certainly, this has led to numerous errors, which can only be rectified after checking the paper source – the Register of Civil Status Acts. Extracts in the form of archival certificates are derived from these registers, and it is this certificate that serves as the basis for resolving discrepancies. Sometimes, if a birth or marriage record is made before the 1950s, such a certificate is the only document confirming the existence of the civil registry record.

Hence, when seeking a birth certificate for a grandfather or grandmother, it's crucial to understand that only an archival certificate can be obtained.

The process of obtaining an archival certificate in Ukraine requires a specific amount of time and effort. Here is a general procedure to follow:

  1. Find information about the archival institution that holds the data you are searching for.
  2. Submit a request to obtain an archival certificate.
  3. Pay the fee for the issuance of the certificate (although some archival institutions still provide this service for free).
  4. Wait for the processing and issuance of the archival certificate.

However, it's essential to comprehend that the response to the request can be either positive or negative. This is because many civil registry records have not been preserved, so archival institutions may not find the requested document.

You may also like: Acquiring Ukrainian Citizenship Based on Territorial Origin in 2023

How to Apply for an Archival Certificate in Ukraine

You can submit a request to the archive through three common methods – regular mail, email, or directly at the archive (in person or through a representative).

To successfully obtain an archival certificate, you should adhere to specific requirements:

  • Provide full name, date of birth, and residence of the applicant and the person for whom the information is requested.
  • Specify the purpose of the request.
  • Ensure that you have provided your contact information, including a phone number and email, for the archive to reach you regarding the request.
  • Sign the request, indicating the date.

Additionally, for the successful processing of the request, the archive will request the following documentation: a copy of the passport of the person for whom the request is made, detailed information about them, a copy of the passport of the requester, and all supporting documents related to the family relationships.

The response to a request should be provided within 30 days from the moment of its registration in the archive. In general, the speed and effectiveness of the search depend significantly on how fully and accurately the information for the request is specified.

Obtaining an archival certificate in Ukraine can be a complex and costly process, especially for foreigners who are not present in Ukraine. Our legal firm is prepared to take on all necessary steps, including:

  • Drafting a correct request in accordance with the archive's requirements.
  • Monitoring the status of your request and communicating with the archival institution.
  • Receiving and forwarding the obtained archival information to you.

Successful Case of Obtaining an Archival Certificate

We recently assisted a foreign national who intended to apply for Ukrainian citizenship based on territorial origin. His mother, a native of Vinnytsia Oblast, Ukraine, was the key link. To verify his mother's birth on Ukrainian soil, he needed an archival birth certificate.

Upon receiving all the necessary information about himself and his mother, our legal team identified the relevant archive. We made an official request to the corresponding archive, outlining all the required details and the purpose of the request. The subsequent steps involved monitoring the progress and maintaining constant communication with the archival institution.

Following the archive's processing of the request, our company obtained the archival certificate confirming the birth of the client's mother in Ukraine. Our lawyers meticulously verified the documents against the information provided by the client, ensuring their accuracy. We then promptly sent the archival certificate to the Client.

With this documentation in hand, the foreign national can now file a legal claim in court to establish the legal fact of his mother's birth on Ukrainian territory, a crucial step toward obtaining Ukrainian citizenship based on territorial origin.

This case illustrates how our legal firm provides comprehensive support to foreigners seeking Ukrainian citizenship. The process is executed swiftly, with minimal involvement from the Client and without requiring their physical presence in Ukraine.

Our experienced lawyers take all necessary actions to make the citizenship acquisition process more accessible and convenient for you.

You can learn more about our citizenship acquisition service here

Publication date: 03/10/2023
Kuzava Vlasta

About author

Name: Kuzava Vlasta

Position: Junior lawyer

Education: Kyiv National University named after Taras Shevchenko

Knowledge of languages: Ukrainian, English

Email: [email protected]

Joined the company in October 2022 as a legal assistant in the field of economic and migration law. During this time, he actively develops and sets himself the task of professional growth.

Her purpose is to provide high-quality and effective support to lawyers in their daily work. Thanks to the constant study of new legal trends and expansion of his knowledge, he helps to ensure the provision of quality legal services to our Clients. Believes in continuous self-improvement and is always ready for new challenges.
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Marina Losenko
Kuzava Vlasta
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