Citizenship of Belarus
Every year 4500-5000 people acquire Belarusian citizenship, the largest number of people from such countries as Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan. Among the advantages of Belarusian citizenship is a favorable geographical position between the CIS countries and the European Union; lack of involvement in European economic crises and foreign policy conflicts; social orientation of the state policy; employment opportunities.
Belarusian citizenship can be acquired in the following ways:
– by birth;
– as a result of admission to citizenship;
– in order of registration;
– on other grounds provided by law and international treaties.
A child acquires citizenship automatically at the moment of his/her birth upon the fact that at least one of his/her parents has Belarusian citizenship, regardless of the place of birth. In case of birth in the territory of Belarus, a child acquires citizenship if the states of which his/her parents are citizens do not grant him/her their citizenship, or the parents are stateless.
Admission to citizenship is carried out at the request of a person subject to the following conditions:
– age 18 and older;
– residence in the country for 7 years;
– knowledge and adherence to the laws of the country;
– knowledge of the Russian or Belarusian languages;
– availability of income to support yourself and your family;
– renunciation of the existing citizenship.
The condition of residence in the country for seven years may not apply to:
– Belarusians, as well as identifying themselves as Belarusians, and their lineal descendants, who were born outside Belarus;
– people who have high achievements in socio-cultural fields or having a profession or qualification of national interest to Belarus;
– people who previously had the citizenship of Belarus.
The application for admission to citizenship is made in any form, the application is attached:
– a formalized questionnaire;
– four colour photographs, 30 x 40 mm;
– copies of pages of the document for departure abroad containing information about the surname, name, patronymic, birthplace, citizenship;
– copies of pages of the residence permit in the Republic of Belarus containing the same information;
– a copy of the document confirming the fact of birth (birth certificate); marriage (marriage certificate);
– a copy of refugee certificate (if a person has been granted refugee status in Belarus);
– the proof of a legitimate source of income to support yourself and your family;
– a document of the competent authority of a foreign state confirming the absence of citizenship of a foreign state (if termination of citizenship is impossible for reasons beyond the applicant’s control, his statement with the reasons is attached);
– confirmation of payment of the state fee.
All the documents must be drawn up in the approved form, must be free from emendations and corrections, copies must be notarized; the documents in a foreign language must be translated into Russian.
To acquire citizenship by registration can foreign citizens who have reached 18 years old and permanently been residing in the territory of Belarus, they were born or permanently resided in the territory of the Republic of Belarus before 12 November, 1991; they are descendants or spouses of such persons. In this case, there is no need to take an exam on the knowledge of the language and to confirm the level of income.
To do this, you need to write an application in accordance with a set form, which is accompanied by all the same documents as when applying for citizenship (listed above), except for the questionnaire, copy of the refugee certificate, proof of income sources. The application is also attached:
– the copies of documents confirming blood relationship with the persons who were born or permanently lived in the territory of Belarus until November 12, 1991 or the copies of documents confirming the birth (Certificate of Birth) or permanent residence (personal account; Certificate of Residence) of the applicant in the territory of Belarus until November 12, 1991. In case of their absence, indirect evidence can be provided: School-leaving Certificate, employment records, archival data and other documents;
– in case of absence of a permanent residence permit in Belarus, the documents required for registration at the place of residence must also be provided; a document on the absence of a criminal record in citizenship; a Certificate of Health, confirming absence of diseases included in the list of diseases that pose a threat to public health.
The other grounds for the acquisition of citizenship include the acquisition of citizenship upon adoption, as well as in accordance with international treaties. These ones include the Agreement between the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and the Russian Federation on a Simplified Procedure for the Acquisition of Citizenship.
The decision on admission to citizenship is made by the President or the Internal Affairs bodies.
The issues of granting citizenship and legalization of stay in the territory of Belarus come within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. If the applicant is in the territory of Belarus, the documents are submitted to the Department of Citizenship and Migration of the relevant Internal Affairs body at the place of registration. If the applicant is outside the territory of Belarus, the documents are submitted to the diplomatic service of Belarus. At the same place an applicant will obtain a Belarusian passport.
The term of consideration of applications for citizenship is one year; for the acquisition of citizenship by registration – two months; for the acquisition of citizenship in accordance with international agreements – three months.
The foreign citizens planning to obtain Belarusian citizenship should start this procedure with the acquisition of a residence permit, which is issued initially for two years, and later for five years. A foreign citizen must reside in Belarus with a residence permit continuously (leaving Belarus no more than three months a year) for seven years in order to be subsequently admitted to the citizenship of Belarus. For the acquisition of citizenship by registration, this period may be reduced or not applied at all.
It is prohibited to have dual citizenship in Belarus. A citizen of Belarus is not recognized as belonging to the citizenship of a foreign state, unless otherwise provided by international treaties. That is why when applying for citizenship of Belarus a document on renunciation of citizenship of the applicant’s country is required. The exception is children under 14 years old, if the father or mother has other foreign citizenship.
Thus, the order of acquiring Belarusian citizenship is clearly regulated by the legislation, the main act is the Law “On citizenship of the Republic of Belarus” of 2002. By acquiring the citizenship of Belarus, a person receives the appropriate amount of the rights and obligations relating him to the state.