Ukraine’s dual citizenship remains a topic of significant debate as the nation grapples with its identity and the needs of its global diaspora. Historically, Ukrainian law has only recognized single citizenship, a stance rooted in the Constitution that is now under reconsideration. With a draft law on multiple citizenships on the table, Ukraine is poised to reshape its approach to nationality. This transition speaks to the complexities of modern geopolitics and the lived realities of Ukrainians both at home and abroad. So, of course, people are starting to ask themselves, “How do I obtain Ukrainian dual citizenship?”
As questions and discussions evolve, the implications for those holding or seeking dual citizenship are profound, touching on everything from legal status to cultural connections. We look into the nuances of Ukraine’s citizenship laws, explores popular citizenship by investment programs, and outlines for Ukrainians navigating a world that may soon acknowledge their multifaceted national affiliations.
Ukraine’s stance on dual citizenship has been a hot topic and is currently at a turning point. The Ukrainian Constitution recognizes only one national citizenship, which has traditionally meant that you can’t hold dual citizenship. However, recent talks within the Ukrainian government suggest they’re warming up to the idea of allowing it.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, has been pushing for the adoption of multiple citizenship as a state policy. He points out its significance for Ukrainians around the world. This shift is partly because dual citizenship has become a necessity for many Ukrainians, especially those displaced by conflict.
The changes being considered for Ukraine’s citizenship laws come with some strings attached. For example, dual citizenship with aggressor states will probably be off the table, reflecting Ukraine’s geopolitical concerns and security needs. Also, the government is considering a more open dual citizenship policy, but with certain limits for high-ranking officials to avoid conflicts of interest and ensure their loyalty to Ukraine.
Even though President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has put forward a draft law on multiple citizenship, the process has been dragging. The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, has put off the debate on the draft law, arguing that constitutional changes are needed to tackle the issue properly.
For Ukrainians juggling multiple citizenships, things can get pretty complicated. If you pick up citizenship in another country, you’re still seen as a Ukrainian citizen back home. But this creates a legal gray area, as men with Ukrainian citizenship aren’t supposed to use a foreign passport to leave the country, and doing so is technically fraud, even though there’s no penalty for it.
Since there’s no straightforward way for Ukrainian authorities to find out about citizens getting foreign citizenship, some people keep their Ukrainian citizenship even after getting a passport from another country. If you want to give up your Ukrainian citizenship, it’s a complex process and doesn’t happen automatically when you become a citizen elsewhere.
For Ukrainians living overseas, the connection to their homeland is important. Keeping a Ukrainian passport is a crucial link to their cultural and family roots. If the laws change, millions of Ukrainians abroad could keep or get Ukrainian citizenship, which would strengthen the diaspora’s ties to Ukraine.
If you’re a foreigner trying to become a Ukrainian citizen through naturalization, you’re supposed to give up your original citizenship. But you get a two-year window to do this, during which you get a temporary ID instead of a Ukrainian passport.
For dual nationals, entering Ukraine can be a headache. They’re treated as Ukrainian citizens, which might mean having to serve in the military. Plus, if you don’t give up your Ukrainian citizenship after getting a new one, you could be hit with fines.
The dual citizenship issue also ties in with international agreements, like the European Convention on Nationality, to which Ukraine has agreed. This treaty sometimes requires member states to accept multiple citizenships, adding another layer of legal complexity to Ukraine’s citizenship laws.
Grenada’s CBI program is an option for Ukrainians seeking a second nationality. Due to current geopolitical tensions, since March 31, 2023, individuals from Russia and Belarus are excluded from applying. Grenada’s program is built on six principles that ensure integrity and compliance, particularly with the expectations of the United States Treasury.
Applicants over 17 years old must undergo a mandatory interview. Ineligibility arises for those for whom other CBI initiatives have been turned down.
Investment choices include a contribution to a national fund or purchasing in approved real estate. The government has established financial thresholds for these investments. It warns against engaging with unlicensed agents who propose discounts below these minimums. A family of four can invest a minimum of $220,000 in real estate, plus additional government and processing fees.
The investment must be maintained for a minimum of five years. For sole ownership, the investment begins at $350,000. Applicants must have a clean criminal record, no visa denials from countries with which Grenada has visa waiver agreements, and satisfy the financial criteria.
Vanuatu’s CBI program, also known as the DSP or VCP, is distinctive in the South Pacific. Established in 2017, it provides a swift path to citizenship, typically within two months, without the need to visit Vanuatu.
A Vanuatu passport grants visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to numerous countries, including the UK, for up to six months annually. The program necessitates a non-refundable contribution to a local development fund. For a single applicant, the minimum contribution is $130,000, and for a family of four, it’s $180,000, with additional fees for any extra dependents.
Applicants must demonstrate a net worth of at least $250,000. The program is attractive for those seeking jurisdiction without taxes on worldwide income, personal income, inheritance, or gifts.
Turkey’s CBI program provides an opportunity to establish a presence in both Europe and Asia. Initiated in January 2017, it requires a minimum investment of $400,000 with various investment avenues, such as real estate, fixed capital contributions, and deposits in Turkish banks.
The application timeline is typically three to five months, after which the investor and their immediate family are granted citizenship. This includes the spouse, dependent children under 18, and children with disabilities regardless of age. A Turkish passport allows for visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to over 110 destinations.
An added benefit is the potential to apply for an E-2 Investor Visa in the USA after residing in Turkey for three years, which is renewable every five years. Applicants must visit Turkey to provide biometrics as part of the residence application process.
Turkey’s strategic position, favorable climate, and robust economy make it an appealing choice for investors.
Malta’s CBI Program is recognized for its rigorous due diligence. Applicants are required to hold a residence card for 1-3 years before applying for citizenship. The program grants an EU passport, enabling visa-free travel to 185 countries, including the UK, the US, and Japan.
Holders of a Malta passport also gain the right to live, work, and study in any EU country and access Malta’s healthcare and social services. Qualification involves renting or purchasing property in Malta, contributing to the NDSF, and making a charitable donation.
The minimum contribution for a single applicant is $660,000, with an additional $55,000 for each family member. A $11,000 donation to a local NGO is also required. The program may limit the number of applications accepted each year.
Applicants can include their spouse, children up to age 30, and parents or grandparents over 55. After obtaining a residence permit and passing an eligibility test, one can apply for citizenship and eventually collect the passport in person. Malta passport holders are also eligible to vote under certain residency conditions.
The UAE offers a lifestyle characterized by economic stability and a diverse cultural landscape. The nation’s tax system is advantageous for business owners, with no levies on personal income, capital gains, or inheritance. A new corporate tax rate of 9% was introduced in June 2023.
Ukrainians can enter the UAE without a visa for up to 30 days, extendable to 90 days. Those seeking longer stays might consider the Golden Visa, which caters to various categories, including investors and property owners, and is valid for up to 10 years with the possibility of indefinite renewal.
Entrepreneurs can start with investments from $136,000. Real estate opportunities include purchasing properties in Dubai, where the average cost is $3,200 per square meter.
Despite higher living expenses, estimated at $3,500 monthly for a couple, the substantial average monthly income of $7,000 helps offset costs. The UAE also extends long-term visas to retirees, freelancers, and students, enhancing its attractiveness for residency by investment.
The MPRP offers Ukrainians a path to residency with requirements including a clean criminal record, comprehensive insurance, and a commitment to Malta’s social and economic welfare. The program mandates a property investment maintained for a minimum of five years.
Contributions to the national fund and a donation to a local entity are also part of the program, which allows for the inclusion of family members under specific dependency conditions.
Successful applicants gain benefits such as access to Malta’s healthcare and education and the ability to travel within the Schengen Zone. The application process involves a thorough due diligence procedure and must be completed through a Licensed Authorized Agent.
The total investment cost depends on the property choice and the number of dependents included.
Portugal’s Golden Visa provides a residency route through investments in designated areas, with options starting at $307,000.
The program extends to family members and offers the same access to healthcare and education. Holders of the Portuguese Golden Visa can also enjoy visa-free travel within the Schengen Area.
Eligibility for permanent residency or citizenship can be sought after five years, contingent on maintaining the investment and establishing ties to Portugal. The application process is known for its clarity and efficiency, potentially leading to residency within months.
Greece’s Golden Visa program requires a minimum real estate investment of $275,000, making it one of the more accessible European options. The program grants a renewable five-year residency permit, provided the investment is maintained.
Family inclusion and visa-free travel within the Schengen Zone are additional benefits. Greece’s strategic location offers a gateway to the EU, and its real estate market presents various investment possibilities.
The application process is investor-friendly, with assistance available from local agents to help with legal and administrative procedures.
Ukrainians must fulfill specific requirements to participate in investment programs for residency or citizenship. Applicants should be adults with no history of criminal activity, substance dependencies, or contagious diseases. A financial commitment starting at $100,000 is typically required, often involving the establishment of a business within Ukraine. The investment can be directed towards business activities such as purchasing property, which must be in the name of the company. As Ukraine’s laws currently stand, those seeking Ukrainian citizenship through investment must be prepared to relinquish any other nationality they hold.
Initiating an RBI process in Ukraine involves several steps. Establishing a company can be accomplished within a single day. The investment, which should be no less than $100,000, can be deposited in a Ukrainian bank or transferred from a personal account to the company’s account.
The procedure could be more swift, often encompassing about four months of administrative work and necessitating multiple visits to Ukraine. The immigration permit’s processing time ranges from three months to a year. Successful applicants can enjoy visa-free access to Schengen countries and the opportunity to seek a Ukrainian passport after maintaining permanent residence for five years.
Applicants must submit extensive documentation and undergo a comprehensive due diligence process. This includes verification of the investment and the establishment of the Ukrainian enterprise. Additional costs, such as advisory and banking fees, can total approximately $20,000, excluding travel expenditures. Family members will require separate residence permit applications, entailing further time and documentation.
The due diligence process is rigorous, screening for any major legal infractions or crimes against peace and humanity, as well as health assessments for alcoholism, drug addiction, or infectious diseases. Once the business is operational, it will be subject to local taxation, which includes profit and real estate taxes, if applicable, and income and social security taxes on the director’s salary.
Despite challenges such as currency fluctuations and political issues, Ukraine offers benefits like the absence of global income tax for non-tax residents, visa-free access to the EU, and a cost-effective, skilled labor force. For those desiring to maintain dual citizenship or seeking a broader array of investment options, other CBI programs may be more suitable.
These programs, available in nations such as Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and Turkey, provide diverse investment opportunities, including donations and real estate acquisitions. They feature passports that facilitate extensive visa-free travel and are designed for simplicity and transparency, allowing for the acquisition of a new nationality without the necessity for prolonged residency or an intricate application process. These options are ideal for individuals aiming to enhance their international mobility and secure a reliable future.
Understanding tax residency is crucial for individuals with financial interests in multiple countries. This status determines where you owe taxes. In the US, for instance, resident aliens are subject to tax on their global income. In contrast, non-resident aliens are only taxed on income earned within the country. To mitigate the risk of being taxed twice on the same income, the US provides certain exclusions and credits, and many nations have treaties to prevent such scenarios.
Mandatory reporting of foreign accounts and assets is a measure adopted by numerous countries to enhance transparency and combat tax evasion. Engaging a tax expert with cross-border expertise is advisable to navigate these complexities and remain compliant.
Navigating the legal intricacies of holding citizenships in more than one country requires understanding both nations’ legal systems. Totalization Agreements can alleviate the burden of paying Social Security and Medicare taxes to two countries. Keeping abreast of legislative changes, such as Ukraine’s potential adoption of a more inclusive citizenship policy, is essential for dual citizens.
Financial planning with dual citizenship necessitates a thorough understanding of the tax landscapes in both countries. While CBI programs can provide a new nationality and associated benefits, they also introduce tax considerations that can affect overall liabilities. Investment decisions should factor in the rights and responsibilities associated with each citizenship, including residency rights and potential income sources.
Ukraine’s legislative body is considering amendments to its citizenship regulations, potentially allowing dual citizenship with EU nations but not with Russia. This move is indicative of Ukraine’s westward orientation and its intent to solidify connections with Europe. The proposed legislation also underscores the importance of understanding Ukrainian history and the Constitution for new citizens, with some exemptions for individuals of state interest.
The ongoing conflict has prompted a reassessment of Ukrainian identity, underscoring the difference between legal citizenship and cultural nationality. These anticipated reforms are part of a global trend of nations reevaluating their citizenship policies to align with current values and geopolitical shifts.
Embarking on the journey toward dual citizenship is a significant decision for any Ukrainian, intertwined with both opportunity and complexity. Whether driven by the desire for greater global mobility, the pursuit of business growth, or the quest for security amidst geopolitical shifts, the options laid out present a wealth of possibilities. From the sun-kissed beaches of Grenada to the historic crossroads of Turkey, each program offers unique pathways to enrich your personal and professional life.
As Ukraine’s legislative landscape evolves, staying informed and working with trusted advisors will remain key in navigating the intricacies of dual citizenship. For Ukrainians around the globe, the promise of expanded horizons beckons—a future where holding multiple passports opens doors to a world of new experiences and opportunities.