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I had a few questions regarding dual citizenship.

I was born in Ukraine in 96, moved to the UK in 05 and recently received British Citizenship.

I’m currently in the process of applying for a British passport and my application is being held on the account that the passport office (or at least my case worker) does not know if Ukraine allows dual citizenship and whether it’s lawful for me to obtain a British passport.

I am somewhat at a disadvantage as I do not understand the Ukrainian language, or the law. I am unable to find the latest rules & legislations regarding dual citizenship in English and am somewhat reluctant to ask the consulate as I am afraid of revealing my details to the Ukrainian authorities because of the mandatory national service there, despite me permanently living and working in the UK. ​

1) I voluntarily acquired the citizenship of Great Britain. I haven't renounced any kind of Ukrainian citizenship, am I still considered as a Ukrainian citizen?

2) Does this mean I have dual citizenship?

3) Is dual citizenship allowed in Ukraine?

4) From reading online, I understand that a large number of people that still reside in Ukraine hold at least one foreign passport as well as a Ukrainian one. Is this allowed?

5) Am I able to get a letter from the Ukrainian Embassy in the UK explaining that dual citizenship/ dual passports are allowed in Ukraine? - ideally this is what I need

6) What is the process of renouncing Ukrainian citizenship? How long does the process take?

Is there anyone else in the same situation as me?

I really need some advice as to what to do.

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    "does not know if Ukraine allows dual citizenship" - I am very surprised at this. The UK does allow dual citizenship, and doesn't care whether the other country (or countries) do or not. It is no part of the Home Office's job to enforce Ukrainian citizenship law. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Jun 11 '19 at 10:10
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    @MartinBonner It seems likely that the case worker is worried about the OP accidentally losing their birth citizenship. – Sneftel Jun 11 '19 at 13:04
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    @Sneftel why should the case worker be worried about that? At most, the worry should amount to a warning before naturalizing: "be careful to understand any implications that your naturalization may have for your existing nationality." I am aware of several countries that provide for automatic loss of citizenship on acquisition of another, and if Ukraine's law looks like any of those then OP has already lost his Ukrainian citizenship. On the other hand, if he has not already lost it on naturalization then acquiring a passport is unlikely to change that. – phoog Jun 11 '19 at 21:09
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    @Sneftel that's really none of the passport office's concern. It is not for the passport office to prevent a British citizen from exercising the right to travel on the off chance that doing so might have implications for another country's nationality law. If I were nopassport1 I would press the case worker to identify a passport office policy or UK law that prevents the issue of a passport in his circumstances. There won't be one. – phoog Jun 11 '19 at 21:22
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    @nopassword1 Go to the Ukraine Embassy with your documentation and clarify the situation. They will probably issue a certificate of loss of Nationality. Clarify the National service issue. Have a certified copy of certificate made and take that with you if you travel to the Ukraine. If they consider you a Ukraine citizen, while inside Ukraine, that prevails! The 2nd country can only advise you, but not protect you. This is standard International law since the 1920's. – Mark Johnson Aug 28 '19 at 11:23
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Have a look at Ukrainian nationality law, specifically the Loss of citizenship section.

Automatic loss of Ukrainian citizenship occurs in the event an adult Ukrainian citizen voluntarily acquires a foreign nationality ...

It sounds like the above describes your situation accurately. By my reading, the answers to your questions are:

  1. You are no longer considered a Ukrainian citizen because you voluntarily acquired British citizenship.

  2. You do not have dual citizenship.

  3. Some Ukrainians have dual citizenship under some limited conditions.

  4. What happens in reality may not match what the law says. There are many people in many situations who do hold more than one passport, where that is not allowed by law in one or both of the countries. The following question over on the Travel site explains how you can manage this: I have two passports/nationalities. How do I use them when I travel?

  5. You will probably not be able to get such a letter, because dual citizenship is not allowed in Ukraine in general.

  6. Since your loss of Ukrainian citizenship is automatic (according to the Wikipedia article), you may not need to do anything. However, the Ukrainian government will not be automatically informed of your British citizenship status, so they will not know and if you don't tell them, nobody else will.

It is surprising to me that although you already have British citizenship, you are being denied the opportunity to obtain a British passport. You have the right to a British passport, and it shouldn't be anybody's business what other passports you might have in a drawer at home.

Your next course of action depends on your future intentions. Will you want to be able to travel to Ukraine later? Do you want to try to keep your Ukrainian citizenship for any reason? If you don't intend to travel there and you don't want to keep your Ukrainian citizenship, you probably do not need to do anything else.

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  • "If you don't intend to travel there and you don't want to keep your Ukrainian citizenship, you probably do not need to do anything else": except if nopassport1 does nothing else, the passport office does not appear to be willing to issue a passport. – phoog Jun 11 '19 at 21:24
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    @PeterM if the Ukraine considers a person its citizen, then that citizenship prevails. This is common International law since the 1920's. Contrary advice should be avoided. – Mark Johnson Aug 28 '19 at 11:15
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    @MarkJohnson - Interesting. So just to be sure, OP should confirm with Ukrainian Embassy in UK that after becoming UK citizen, OP is no longer considered to be Ukrainian citizen (according to Greg Hewgill answer), or even renounce former Ukrainian citizenship. So Ukrainian authorities cannot "snatch" him/her when visiting Ukraine, OP will be protected as UK citizen. – Peter M. - stands for Monica Aug 28 '19 at 14:39
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    @nopassport1 - Yup, getting grabbed and submitted to National service (being conscripted to serve in the Ukrainian Army for a year or two) should be on top of OP's mind, and that is possibly the part most readers of this forum would not expect. But then, nobody expects Spanish Inquisition! – Peter M. - stands for Monica Aug 28 '19 at 15:04
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    @PeterM this has nothing to do with the Spanish Inquisition, but with the fulfillment of ones obligation as a citizen. It will not just go away by sticking ones head in the sand. Dealing with it properly now, show his intention of doing so, which will help him later, should something come up later. Remember also that the Ukraine is being bullied by it's big neighbour and is in the middle of a civil war. This is not a situation in where one should act like a Ostrich, but deal with the matter in a responsible mannor. – Mark Johnson Aug 29 '19 at 2:48
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Ukrainian law is vaguely written in this regard.

The constitution says something about single citizenship (“єдине громадянство”), which some interpret as prohibition of dual citizenship and others point out the intent of the legislator was simply to state there’s no such thing as citizenship of something other than the entire country, in particular not of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (this predates its annexation by Russia; however, when the constitution was written, the political status of Crimea was rather complex as well).

The citizenship law is likewise vague because it lists circumstances which are grounds for citizenship loss, but there are no mechanisms by which it’s actually lost.

There have been calls for better written citizenship laws, particularly in the light of the situation with Russia, but nothing has happened so far.

In practice this means that if you go to the Ukrainian embassy and produce your birth certificate (in 2005 you likely traveled by being listed in your parents’ passports, the requirement for people of any age to have a passport to travel is more recent than that, so you are unlikely to possess a passport), you should be able to obtain a Ukrainian passport, whatever value it might hold for you. They won’t care that you might hold another citizenship, and won’t try to determine that. The UK requires you to disclose other citizenships, but it shouldn’t care beyond that.

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