On October 26, 2023, the new federal law “On Citizenship of the Russian Federation” No. 138-FZ («О гражданстве Российской Федерации» № 138-ФЗ)
came into force. It introduces some changes, including significant ones, to the procedure for getting temporary / permanent residence and citizenship that was used in Russia for more than 20 years (under Law No 62-FZ).
WHAT’S NEW?LIST OF PERSONS ENTITLED TO BECOME CITIZENS UNDER A SIMPLIFIED PROCEDURE CHANGED 1. NEW CATOGORIES
For example, this list included those who graduated with a “red diploma” from a Russian accredited university; as well as those who have relatives in a direct ascending line who permanently resided in the territory that belonged to the Russian Empire or the USSR (within the state border of the Russian Federation). 2. EXCLUDED CATEGORIES
For example, it is not possible anymore to obtain citizenship under a simplified procedure by investment and entrepreneurship. 3. CORRECTED CATEGORIES
The previous law No 62-FZ allowed getting citizenship under a simplified procedure if the foreign national had an adult child who is a Russian citizen, while the new law allows it even the child is minor.
According to the old law, a foreign national who had been married to a Russian citizen for more than 3 years were entitled to also become a citizen of Russia under a simplified procedure. Now, the duration of the marriage to a Russian does not matter, the only important criterion is a child in this marriage (incl. adopted).
Previously, those who had citizenship of the USSR and were born in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic could apply for Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure. Under the law No. 138-FZ not only those who were born there, but also who permanently resided there have this right.REVOCATION
Now citizenship can be revoked on the following grounds:
• voluntary renunciation of Russian citizenship;
• provision of knowingly false information resulting in the commission of a crime;
• provision of knowingly false information, expressed in actions that create a threat to the national security of Russia;
• establishing of the fact that forged or invalid documents were provided or knowingly false information was reported, on the basis of which a decision on citizenship was made (we will talk about this clause later);
• other grounds provided for by international treaties.
Beginning from October 26, if 10 years passed from the date the foreigner became a Russian citizen, he/she cannot be stripped of it due to “establishing of the fact that forged or invalid documents were provided or knowingly false information was reported, on the basis of which a decision on citizenship was made”. That is, for example, if a court found out the fact the applicant had not indicated his/her relatives in the application, but the person was granted citizenship more than 10 years ago, and there are not any other grounds to deprive of it, and, which is important, he/she lived in Russia within that period, he/she will remain Russian citizenship.MORE CRIMES RESULTING IN REVOCATION OF CITIZENSHIP
You can lose it if you committed a crime listed in Subclause A, Clause 2, Part 1, Article 22 of Law No. 138-FZ. In particular, there appeared banditry, discrediting the armed forces, organizing mass riots, treason and drug trafficking. In addition, “committing actions that pose a threat to the national security of the Russian Federation” has also become a ground to deprive a person of Russian citizenship; the Federal Security Service (FSB) makes a decision on revocation of citizenship due this crime (Subclause B). Note that in case of such offences, the above 10 year period is not applicable.CITIZENSHIP WILL BE ESTABLISHED UNDER APPROVED PROCEDURE
It used to be often the case that a person who obtained Russian citizenship very long ago lost it because, for instance, the citizenship application was lost in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, or the registration at a certain address as of August, 2001 was not confirmed. Many people found it unfair. Now, before making a decision on revocation of citizenship, an inspection must be carried out.PRESIDENT PRIVILEGES
The Law 62-FZ (Art. 29) stated the president was responsible for granting citizenship to everyone, incl. those who applied according to the standard procedure (в общем порядке). Pursuant to the Law No. 138-FZ (Act. 17 and 28), the president deals only with citizenship on an exceptional basis, of those who have special merits to Russia or are of interest, for example, due to their profession or qualifications. The other cases are considered by the Ministries of Internal and External Affairs. As a result, applications will be considered not a year, as it used to be, but 3 months.MULTIPLE CITIZENSHIP
In Russian legislation, there was allowed dual citizenship, however, Russia concluded a Dual Citizenship Treaty with Tajikistan only. Beginning from October 26, the government has introduced the concept of Multiple Citizenship (множественное гражданство)
, if a person has second citizenship other than Russian. Such individuals are considered as exclusively Russians, with all the corresponding rights and responsibilities. Before that, the fact a person became a citizen of another country (not Tajikistan) resulted in him/her losing Russian citizenship. Note that “dual” and “multiple” are different things, in the first case, the individual pays taxes and does military service only in his/her country of permanent residence.INVALIDITY OF PASSPORT
Now, an internal passport is considered invalid if it became unreadable or the holder’s personal details have changed (such as name, date / place of birth or sex). 90 days are given to replace it. In addition, a passport can be not only physical, but also electronic now. The previous law did not mention that.REGISTRATION AT RESIDENTIAL ADDRESS ONLINE
Pursuant to the new law, foreigners can register themselves at their residential address through Gosuslugi web portal.NEWBORNS FROM MIXED COUPLES
Now it is easier for children born in transnational families to become citizens of our country. Before that, it was required to get the second parent’s consent, who was a foreign national, which was sometimes impossible. The new law allows applying for Russian citizenship for a baby if at least one of the parents agrees.EASIER RETURN TO RUSSIA FOR COMPATRIOTS
Participant in the Program for the Return of Compatriots to Russia can become citizens without a temporary / permanent residence permit. All they need is to pass the Russian language, fundamentals of Russian law and history proficiency test.
There are other, less considerable changes in the law, which cannot be cover in one article. Should you need legal advice on migration issues, feel free to contact us:Tel:
+7 909 961-19-09Email:
Moscow, Zubovskiy bulvar, building 4/1, office 308
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