Armenia and Ukraine: Requirements and procedures to renounce and acquire Armenian citizenship after renunciation, including for minors; recognition of dual citizenship in Ukraine (2003-2015) [ZZZ105075.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1.Renouncing Armenian Citizenship

Articles 1, 24 and 26 of the 1995 Armenian Citizenship Law, as amended in 2007, provide the following with regard to the renunciation or cessation of citizenship:

Article 1: Citizenship of the Republic of Armenia ("RA").

The procedure for acquisition and cessation of RA citizenship is set forth in this Law. A person shall lose RA citizenship upon formal cessation of citizenship.

Every person in the Republic of Armenia has a right to acquire citizenship as set forth by law. A person of Armenian ethnicity may acquire RA citizenship pursuant to a simplified procedure.

An RA citizen may not be deprived of RA citizenship or of the right to change citizenship except in cases defined by this Law.

The changing of RA citizenship is regulated by this Law and international treaties.

Renunciation of RA citizenship or acquisition of the citizenship of another state do not automatically lead to the loss of RA citizenship.

Article 24: Changing RA Citizenship.

Any citizen of the Republic of Armenia who is 18 years of age may change RA Citizenship by the renouncing RA Citizenship and acquiring the citizenship of another state.

The request for renouncing RA Citizenship may be denied, if the person renouncing the citizenship:

  1. has been indicted;
  2. has been convicted by the decision or sentence of court that is pending enforcement;
  3. if renunciation contravenes the national security interests of the Republic of Armenia;
  4. has unsettled obligations related to interests of State, commercial and non-governmental organizations, or citizens.

Article 26 : The President of the Republic of Armenia.

The President of the Republic of Armenia takes decisions by his decrees on the issues of the acquisition of RA citizenship, restoration of RA citizenship of the Republic of Armenia, the granting of RA citizenship [to a] group, and cessation of RA citizenship, determines the procedure for consideration of applications relating citizenship. (Armenia 1995)

The Armenian Citizenship Law is attached to this Response (Attachment 1).

The website of the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides instructions for the procedure to "terminate" or renounce Armenian citizenship, which indicate that if the applicant is in a foreign country, the renunciation "application and the documents required by the law" are to be "personally" provided to a "diplomatic representation or consular office of the Republic of Armenia" (Armenia n.d.a). These instructions are included as an attachment to this Response (Attachment 2). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, an official from the consular section of the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to Canada stated that the renunciation or "termination" of Armenian citizenship is a process that takes approximately "seven to eight months" and is "affirmed by a Decree from the president of the country" (ibid. 28 Jan. 2015). The instructions on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs state that the applicant will be given notification of the decree by the president on the termination of their Armenian citizenship by the Passport and Visa Department of the RA [Republic of Armenia] Police or the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs (ibid. n.d.a).

The website of the Armenian Embassy to Canada notes that the "[u]nilateral renunciation of Armenian citizenship or acquisition of the citizenship of another state do not automatically lead to the loss of Armenian citizenship" (ibid. n.d.b). The embassy official stated that "[n]o individual can unilaterally renounce his citizenship" and that a person who "unilaterally renounced his citizenship, continues to be [an] Armenian citizen and can apply to obtain a new passport at any time [and] has the rights and obligations like any other citizen" (ibid. 28 Jan. 2015). A 2013 report published by the European Union Democracy Observatory (EUDO) Citizenship Observatory, a joint project between the European University Institute's Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies and Edinburgh University Law School, reports that in 2007 the Minister of Justice stated to the National Assembly that

those Armenian citizens and their childrenwho had acquired another citizenship since 1 January 1995 and had not renounced their Armenian citizenship according to the procedure established by the Law, or had renounced it unilaterally (and thus, were not released from Armenian citizenship), were still recognized as citizens of Armenia. ... [they] are considered dual citizens but are still required to perform their obligations to the Armenian state, including military service. (EUDO Citizenship Observatory Mar. 2013, 16, emphasis in original)

According to a 2013 report on stateless persons in Armenia by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Armenian government issued the Decree of the Government of the Republic of Armenia No 1552-N of 29 November 2012, which provides that

persons who want to renounce their Armenian nationality must submit a document issued by the competent authority of a foreign country confirming the legal possibility for acquisition of the nationality of that country. (UN Mar. 2013, 35)

According to the UNHCR, this decree was issued as an "apparent effort" to address a "shortcoming" under Article 24 of the Citizenship Law - that the "[r]enunciation of Armenian citizenship is not made conditional upon acquisition of another citizenship or a formal assurance from another State that citizenship will be granted" (ibid.). Further information on the decree, including its implementation, could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

2. Renouncing Armenian Citizenship of a Minor

Articles 21 and 22 of the Armenian Citizenship Law state the following:

Article 21: Retention of Citizenship by a Child who is in Custody or Guardianship.

A child holding RA citizenship who is in the custody or guardianship of RA citizens shall retain RA citizenship notwithstanding his/her parents' renunciation of RA citizenship. In such a case the child may renounce its RA citizenship upon petition of his/her parents provided their parental rights have not been terminated.

Article 22: Circumstances requiring the Child's Consent for Changing its Citizenship.

For a child between the ages of 14 and 18, if a parent's citizenship changes, the child may change his/her citizenship of his/her own on accord as set forth in this Law. (Armenia 1995)

3. Acquiring Armenian Citizenship After Renunciation

Article 13 of the Armenian Citizenship Law provides the following:

Article 13: Citizenship by Naturalization. (as amended on 26.02.2007 by RA Law No. 75-N)

Any person 18 years of age and capable of working that is not an RA citizen may apply to for RA citizenship, if he/she

  1. has been lawfully residing on the territory of the Republic of Armenia for the preceding 3 years;
  2. is proficient in the Armenian language;
  3. is familiar with the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia.

A person who is not an RA Citizen may be granted RA Citizenship without being subject to the conditions set forth in points 1) and 2) of the first part of this article, if he/she:

  1. marries a citizen of the Republic of Armenia or has a child who holds RA citizenship,
  2. has parents or at least one parent that had held RA citizenship in the past or was born on the territory of the Republic of Armenia and had applied for RA Citizenship within 3 years of attaining the age of 18;
  3. is Armenian by origin (is of Armenian ancestry)
  4. has renounced RA Citizenship of his/her own accord after January 1, 1995.

Notwithstanding the provisions of 1st, 2nd and 3rd points as well as the second part of this article, RA Citizenship may be granted to persons who have provided exceptional service to the Republic of Armenia.

An applicant for RA Citizenship shall submit his/her application in person to the authorized body of the Government of the Republic of Armenia.

RA Citizenship shall be granted by the decree of the President of the Republic of Armenia.

An application for RA Citizenship may be denied, if the applicant's activities are deemed harmful to the state and social welfare or public order, the public health and societal mores, or the rights, freedoms, dignity and good reputation of others. The bases for denying an application for RA Citizenship are not required to be given. (Armenia 1995)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs website states that the "[p]rocedure of acquiring Armenian citizenship is simplified for ethnic Armenians, ... for children of former Armenian citizens (must apply within 3 years after reaching adulthood - 18 years) and for persons who have terminated Armenian citizenship after the year of 1995" and that "[c]itizenship of Armenia is awarded upon a decree of the President of the Republic of Armenia" (Armenia n.d.c). The embassy official stated that

[a]nyone can apply for Armenian citizenship. Individuals of Armenian heritage are able to apply with a simplified procedure - without the need of living [a] minimum [of] 3 years in Armenia, knowledge of Armenian language or the Constitution. This includes persons who have applied and terminated their Armenian citizenship before. The decision to grant/decline Armenian citizenship is made by [the] Armenian government on which a special Decree from the President is issued. (ibid. 28 Jan. 2015)

3.1 Acquiring Armenian Citizenship for a Minor After Renunciation

The embassy official stated that the process for applying for citizenship of a child that was a minor at the time of having their citizenship renounced through the application of a/the parent(s) and/or guardian(s) is the same as that of an adult applying for Armenian citizenship (ibid.). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

4. Recognition of Dual Citizenship in Armenia

The embassy official stated that Armenia recognizes dual citizenship (ibid.). Article 13 of the Citizenship Law was amended in 2007 to include Article 131, which includes provisions for dual citizenship (Armenia 1995). Article 131 provides that

... [a] person who holds the citizenship of other countries in addition to RA Citizenship shall be deemed [a] dual citizen of the Republic of Armenia.

This provision extends also on those who, after January 1, 1995, accepted or were granted citizenship of another country without renouncing RA citizenship as required by law, as well as on those RA citizens who renounced the RA citizenship unilaterally.

A dual citizen of the Republic of Armenia has the same rights, responsibilities and obligations as other RA citizens, except as prescribed by international treaties and law of the Republic of Armenia.

An RA citizen upon accepting or receiving the citizenship of another country shall inform the authorized body of the RA Government, no later than one month thereafter, in the manner required by the RA Government. Failure to do so shall be subject to penalties as defined by law. (ibid.)

Information on the ability of an individual whose RA citizenship has been officially renounced to acquire RA citizenship again, while holding the citizenship of another State, could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

In response to the 2007 amendment to Article 13 allowing for dual citizenship, the US Embassy in Yerevan, Armenia stated in 2008 that

[t]his means, for example, that U.S. citizens who emigrated from Armenia to the U.S. and subsequently acquired U.S. citizenship without explicitly giving up their Armenian citizenship may be able to (re)acquire Armenian citizenship along with all the associated rights and duties, e.g. the right to vote in Armenian elections and/or the duty for certain males to perform military service. (US 11 Mar. 2008)

Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

5. Recognition of Dual Citizenship in Ukraine

Sources state that dual citizenship is not recognized in Ukraine (US n.d.; EUDO Citizenship Observatory Apr. 2013, 1).

Article 9.2 of the Ukrainian Citizenship Law, as amended in 2005, provides the following requirements:

Filing of a declaration of absence of foreign citizenship (for stateless persons) or an obligation of renunciation of foreign citizenship (for foreigners);

Foreigners being citizens (subjects) of more than one state, shall file and obligation to renounce the citizenship of (allegiance to) all such states.

Foreigners granted the status of a refugee in Ukraine, or asylum in Ukraine, shall file, instead of an obligation of renunciation of foreign citizenship, a declaration of renunciation of foreign citizenship by a person granted a refugee status and/or asylum in Ukraine.

Filing of an obligation of citizenship renunciation shall not be required from a foreigner if such foreigner is a citizen (subject) of a state, the laws whereof provide an automatic renunciation of its citizenship (allegiance to it) concurrently with acquisition of a citizenship of (allegiance to) any other state, or if an international treaty between Ukraine and another state the foreigner is subjected to provides an automatic renunciation of its citizenship concurrently with acquisition of a citizenship of Ukraine.

Foreigners having filed an obligation of renunciation of foreign citizenship shall submit to a competent authority of Ukraine a document certifying fulfilment of the obligation hereinbefore, issued by a competent authority of the relevant state, within two years from the date of Ukrainian citizenship registration. A foreigner satisfying all the requirements for such document issued, which are provided by the laws of the relevant state, however, unable to obtain it due to reasons falling beyond the control of such foreigner, shall submit a declaration of renunciation of foreign citizenship (clause 2 of Article 9 hereof is set forth in accordance with the Law N 2663-IV (2663-15) dated 16.06.2005).

Under Article 1 of the Law, the following terms are defined:

"obligation of renunciation of foreign citizenship" shall imply a written declaration of a foreigner, containing a commitment to renounce, in the case of acquisition of the citizenship of Ukraine, the citizenship of (allegiance to) another state, or the citizenship of (allegiance to) more than one other state, and to submit to the relevant authority that has issued the temporary certificate of a citizen of Ukraine, within two years after the date of acquisition of the citizenship of Ukraine, a document certifying the said renunciation of the citizenship of (allegiance to) another state, or the citizenship of (allegiance to) more than one other state (paragraph twelve of Article 1 hereof is set forth in accordance with the Law N 2663-IV (2663-15), dated 16.06.2005).

"declaration of renunciation of foreign citizenship by a person granted a refugee status and/or asylum in Ukraine" shall mean a document, containing the testimony of the relevant foreigner, who is granted a refugee status and/or asylum in Ukraine, to renounce the citizenship of (allegiance to) another state, which is treated as his/her country of citizenship in accordance with the Law of Ukraine On Refugees (2557-14) (Article 1 hereof is supplemented by the paragraph hereinbefore in accordance with the Law N 2663-IV (2663-15), dated 16.06.2005). (Ukraine 2001)

The Ukrainian Citizenship Law is attached to this Response (Attachment 3).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Armenia. 28 January 2015. Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to Canada. Correspondence from an official to the Research Directorate.

_____. 1995 (amended 2007). Law of the Republic of Armenia on Citizenship of the Republic of Armenia. <http://www.canada.mfa.am/u_files/file/citizenship/dualcitizenship-final-eng.pdf> [Accessed 27 Jan. 2015]

_____. N.d.a. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "Instructions on the Procedure for Terminating Armenian Citizenship." <http://www.mfa.am/u_files/file/citizenship/Citizenship%20Cease%20-%20Eng.pdf> [Accessed 28 Jan. 2015]

_____. N.d.b. Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to Canada. "Citizenship." <http://www.canada.mfa.am/en/citizenship/> [Accessed 27 Jan. 2015]

_____. N.d.c. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "Citizenship." <http://www.mfa.am/en/citizenship/> [Accessed 27 Jan. 2015]

European Union Democracy Observatory (EUDO) Citizenship Observatory. April 2013. Oxana Shevel. Country Report: Ukraine. <http://eudo-citizenship.eu/docs/CountryReports/Ukraine.pdf> [Accessed 4 Feb. 2015]

_____. March 2013. Shushanik Makaryan. Country Report: Armenia. <http://eudo-citizenship.eu/docs/CountryReports/Armenia.pdf> [Accessed 27 Jan. 2015]

Ukraine. 2001 (amended 2005). Law of Ukraine on Citizenship of Ukraine. Translation by UNHCR. <http://www.refworld.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/rwmain?page=search&docid=44a280fa4&skip=0&query=citizenship of Ukraine> [Accessed 29 Jan. 2015]

United Nations. March 2013. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Questions of Nationality and Statelessness in Armenia. <http://www.refworld.org/docid/54817cb44.html> [Accessed 29 Jan. 2015]

United States (US). 11 March 2008. Embassy of the United States in Yerevan, Armenia. "Armenian Dual Citizenship." <http://armenia.usembassy.gov/warden031108.html> [Accessed 28 Jan. 2015]

_____. N.d. Embassy of the United States in Kyiv, Ukraine. "Dual Nationality." <http://ukraine.usembassy.gov/dual-nationality.html> [Accessed 4 Feb. 2015]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Attempts to contact the following individuals and organizations were unsuccessful within the time constraints of this Response: post-doctoral fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies at European University Institute in Florence, Italy; Armenia – Armenian Embassy to the UK, Armenian Embassy to the US, Ministry of Diaspora, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Coordinator of the Armenian Genocide Program at the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights at Rutgers University; Ukraine – Ukrainian Embassy to Canada.

Internet sites, including: BBC; ecoi.net; Factiva; Human Rights Watch; International Observatory on Statelessness; International Organization for Migration; PanARMENIAN.net; RepatArmenia; Tundarc.am; United Kingdom – Home Office; United States – Department of State.

Attachments

1. Armenia. 1995 (amended 2007). Law of the Republic of Armenia on Citizenship of the Republic of Armenia. <http://www.canada.mfa.am/u_files/file/citizenship/dualcitizenship-final-eng.pdf> [Accessed 27 Jan. 2015]

2. Armenia. N.d.a. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "Instructions on the Procedure for Terminating Armenian Citizenship." <http://www.mfa.am/u_files/file/citizenship/Citizenship%20Cease%20-%20Eng.pdf> [Accessed 28 Jan. 2015]

3. Ukraine. 2001 (amended 2005). Law of Ukraine on Citizenship of Ukraine. Translation by UNHCR. <http://www.refworld.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/rwmain?page=search&docid=44a280fa4&skip=0&query=citizenship of Ukraine> [Accessed 29 Jan. 2015]