Obtaining an Identity Certificate for Returning to Ukraine

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During the full-scale war in our country, numerous Ukrainians, including those without citizenship who have been residing permanently in Ukraine, were forcibly moved to the territory of the aggressor state. This situation has left hundreds of thousands stranded in the Russian Federation without any form of identification. The crux of this issue is that these displaced individuals find themselves unable to return to their homeland if lacking identity documents and proof of Ukrainian citizenship.

In this article, we will elaborate on the methods of returning to Ukraine for those who have either lost their documents or are unsure about their eligibility for such a return.

Please note! Our article specifically addresses Ukrainian citizens who have been living in Ukraine but were forcibly displaced to Russia during the military conflict and are now there without any documents.

What's the problem?

Generally, Ukrainians abroad who lose their documents have the option to directly approach a foreign diplomatic mission to arrange for an identity certificate enabling their return to Ukraine. However, this standard procedure doesn't apply to those citizens currently in Russia. The reason is that Ukraine, following the outbreak of the full-scale war, cut off diplomatic relations with Russia. This led to the closure of Ukrainian embassies and consular offices within Russian territory, thereby eliminating the option of in-person document recovery there.

Nonetheless, there are legal avenues to address this dilemma. For example, for individuals who were forcibly taken to Russia and are still there, their close relatives or legal representatives in Ukraine can undertake the process of obtaining the identity certificate for them. The state has a defined list of who qualifies as close relatives.

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What is an Identity Certificate for Returning to Ukraine?

The Identity Certificate for Returning to Ukraine is a document that verifies an individual's identity and confirms their Ukrainian citizenship, as well as granting them the right to enter Ukraine. 

This certificate can be issued to persons who have been forcibly displaced to the territory of the aggressor country, especially in cases where they have lost their personal documents.

Please note! Issuing this certificate requires a specific set of documents. Among these is a document confirming the birth of the person obtaining the certificate, such as a birth certificate. For children under 14, an e-birth certificate, available through the Diia app, is necessary. In situations where a birth certificate is unavailable or it's impractical to issue a power of attorney in the Russian Federation to send it to Ukraine, this information can be entered by an official of the State Migration Service (SMS) based on the data provided in a written statement, which is subsequently verified by an SMS employee.

For relatives applying on behalf of someone, a document proving their family relationship is needed. Legal representatives must provide a document establishing their authority. Additionally, a document confirming the applicant's own citizenship and the birth details of the individual receiving the certificate is essential.

What is the processing time?

Within five business days of submitting the required documents, the identification for a person returning to Ukraine can be collected from the local migration service office. The task of delivering the identification to the individual in Ukraine falls to the person who originally received it. It’s advisable to plan this ahead, as you will need to specify a delivery method when submitting your application to the migration service. Commonly, in our experience, this involves methods such as through family members, volunteers, or international organizations like the UN Refugee Agency and the International Organization for Migration.

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What is the validity period of the certificate?

The identity certificate for returning to Ukraine is valid for a period of up to three months, giving you precisely three months to return to Ukraine. During this period, you can also apply for the restoration of your passport.

How does it work in practice?

A case in point: A client, the father of a Ukrainian citizen, came to us for assistance. His daughter had been forcibly moved to the territory of the aggressor country at the start of 2023, leading to the loss of her Ukrainian passport and other identity documents. Consequently, she spent an extended period in Russia, unable to return home.

After a rapid assessment of the client's situation, our legal team prepared the necessary documentation and facilitated the issuance of an identity certificate for his daughter to return to Ukraine.

Following the provision of our services, the father received the certificate and arranged its delivery to his daughter with the aid of volunteers. This certificate for returning to Ukraine enabled the daughter to leave Russia and safely make her way home, passing through Latvia as an intermediary country.

Our legal team offers complete legal assistance in obtaining the identity certificate for returning to Ukraine. This service encompasses everything from preparing all necessary documents to their submission at the territorial office of the migration service, and finally, the issuance of the certificate. A key benefit of our service is that the entire document processing procedure can be completed without the need for the individual's presence.

Our services include:

  • Providing advice on the process of obtaining the identity certificate for returning to Ukraine.
  • Examining the circumstances that led to the need for such a certificate.
  • Compiling the document package required for the application.
  • Assisting in obtaining any missing documents.
  • Addressing the confirmation of powers for legal representatives or establishing the fact of kinship.
  • Discussing the method for transferring the processed certificate to the person for whom it is intended.
  • Assisting with the submission of documents to obtain the identity certificate for returning to Ukraine.

Detailed information about Ukrainian citizenship and the process of returning from permanent residence abroad.

Contact our specialists for information about the cost of obtaining the certificate.

Publication date: 13/11/2023

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