Dual Citizenship Russia

The Russian Federation was one of the fifteen republics that belonged to the Soviet Union, and was then known as the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), before declaring its sovereignty in 1990. This lead to the formation and declaration of a distinct Russian citizenship, which was made official once the Russian Constitution was adopted by national referendum on December 12, 1993, and replaced the one that was established during the Soviet-era.

In the summer of 1991, the Russian nationality law was drafted and immediately put into effect by the Supreme Council in November of the same year. The Russian Federation’s law on citizenship comprises of the Constitution of the Russian Federation (1993) and the Federal Act on Citizenship of the Russian Federation, 2002 (with amendments of 2003, 2003 and 2006) and acts on matters of Russian nationality, Russian citizenship and Russian dual citizenship.

In light of the dissolution of the USSR, the Russia citizenship laws were specially written to make provisions for the different scenarios that arose in regards to the citizenship of Russia according to the people’s professional or immigrant status, date and place of birth. For example, all former citizens of the former USSR, with the exception of those who expressly refused to acquire Russian citizenship, permanent residents, persons who left before February 6, 1992 for medical or personal reasons, to pursue studies or military missions abroad, acquired Russian citizenship. Russian citizenship was also automatically conferred to persons born on or after December 30, 1922 on Russian territory or to a permanent resident with USSR citizenship.

The Russian nationality law sought to afford everyone the right to acquire or renounce Russian nationality in conformity with the stipulations of the Russian Citizenship Act, thus making persons citizens of Russia through the principle of jus soli, registration, naturalization, resumption of citizenship, choice and ancestry. This, however, was amended in 2002, reducing the possibilities of becoming Russian by only birth, naturalization, resumption of Russian citizenship and ancestry, through a Russian parent. Russian citizenship was no longer conferred by registration or choice.

Since then, acquiring Russia citizenship by birth tended to be on the basis of “right of blood” (jus sanguinis), but was also applicable to a child who was stateless and unclaimed by anyone for more than 6 months, as well as children who did not acquire the citizenship of any other country and were born in Russia to a parent with permanent residency in Russia.

The provisions of the Russian Federation Nationality Act also allowed individuals to become Russian citizens through naturalization if they were permanent residents in Russia for at least five years, not in breach of Russia’s laws, had a legal source of income, applied to renounce their current citizenship (though dual citizenship is permitted and could be maintained) and communicated effectively in the Russian language. Some of these requirements may be waived in certain instances by the discretionary power of the competent authority.

Conferring Russian citizenship by the resumption of citizenship follows the same requirements as the Russian naturalization process, with the exception that the residency period is reduced from 5 to 3 years. Persons who still have USSR citizenship are allowed a grace period of up to 2009 to apply for Russian citizenship in the event that they hold temporary resident permits or were registered with permanent residency status in the Russian Federation on or after July 1, 2002.

Children will automatically lose Russian citizenship along with their parents, if the parents apply for the renunciation of Russian citizenship, while children who wish to renounce Russian citizenship may do so through an application sent in on their behalf by the parents.

In order to deal with several of the immigration and nationality matters that affect the country, Russia has over the years entered into several international agreements such as the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (1951), Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees (1967), Convention on the Nationality of Married Women (1957), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965), and the Convention of the Rights of the Child (1989).

Other agreements that were geared towards maintaining and establishing mutual understanding in matters concerning the dual nationality policies of both Russia and other countries include the Convention between the USSR and the government of the People’s Republic of Mongolia, the Socialist Republic of Romania and the Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia on the avoidance of cases of dual nationality, which were signed in 1975, 1978 and 1980 respectively.

The Russian Federation is the largest country in world, occupying 17,075,400 square kilometers, which extends across all of northern Asia and covers about 40% of Europe; representing more than 1/8 of the Earth’s surface. Russia contains approximately ¼ of the Earth’s unfrozen fresh water and has the largest mineral, energy and forest reserves in the world. Preliminary estimates in 2008 also show that the resident population was roughly 142,000,000.

Russia has a diverse cultural heritage with about 160 different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples who all have distinctive traditions of folk music. Russia’s culture is also marked by a wealth of composers, artists, ballet dancers and cinematographers whose works all range from classic and romantic, to as far back as Byzantine, which dates as early as 500 of the medieval period.


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