On April 21, 2023, the President of Ukraine signed the Law on Amendments to the Laws of Ukraine "On the Citizenship of Ukraine" and "On Ensuring the Functioning of the Ukrainian Language as a State Language" regarding the conditions for accepting Ukrainian citizenship, which introduces the obligation to pass exams on the basics of the Constitution of Ukraine and history of Ukraine for foreigners and stateless persons who wish to obtain Ukrainian citizenship.
In this article, we find out who exactly will need to take the exams and when the new rules for submitting documents will come into effect.
What exams will need to be passed to obtain Ukrainian citizenship?
A few years earlier, the Parliament had made it mandatory for applicants to pass an exam at the National Commission for State Language Standards on the level of proficiency in the Ukrainian language. After completing this, the applicant received an electronic certificate, which he attached to the package of documents for applying for Ukrainian citizenship.
Currently, it has been decided, in addition to the mentioned exam, to introduce additional exams on the basics of the Constitution and history of Ukraine, which will also be held by the National Commission for State Language Standards.
Will all applicants be required to take these exams?
Exams are provided only for that category of applicants who submit documents under Article 9 of the Law of Ukraine "On Citizenship of Ukraine", i.e. the decision on acceptance of citizenship is made by the President of Ukraine. Read the detailed list of these categories here.
At the same time, foreigners and stateless persons from among persons who:
- have outstanding merits to Ukraine,
- whose admission to Ukrainian citizenship is in the state interest of Ukraine,
- perform military service under a contract in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the State Special Transport Service or the National Guard of Ukraine in accordance with the procedure established by the legislation of Ukraine,
- received a temporary residence permit on the basis of part twenty of Article 4 of the Law of Ukraine "On the Legal Status of Foreigners and Stateless Persons", -
instead of a certificate from the National Commission, submit an obligation in the case of acquiring Ukrainian citizenship within two years to pass exams on the basics of the Constitution of Ukraine, the history of Ukraine, on the level of mastery of the state language, and to provide documents on passing such exams to the Migration service of Ukraine. If this obligation is not fulfilled, the citizenship is revoked.
As for those who plan to submit documents based on territorial origin (citizenship by descent), nothing changes, there is no need to take the exam for this category of foreigners.
There is also no need to take the exams for children of applicants who apply for citizenship together with their parents, as well as for persons:
- recognized by the court as incompetent;
- with a disability related to visual, hearing, or speech impairments, which is confirmed by a medical opinion issued by a competent body of a foreign state or a relevant health care institution of Ukraine;
- who have mental disorders, which is confirmed by a medical opinion issued by a competent body of a foreign state or a relevant health care institution of Ukraine.
When will the new rules for accepting documents come into effect?
The amendment law will enter into force six months from the date of its publication, and therefore you will need to pass exams on the basics of the Constitution and history of Ukraine for acceptance to citizenship if you plan to submit documents at the end of October 2023.
Until then, to submit documents, it will be enough to pass an exam on the level of proficiency in the state language.
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