Statelessness Determination Procedure has been developed and approved under Article 6-1 of the Law of Ukraine “On the Legal Status of Foreigners and Stateless Persons”.
This law stipulates that a person who cannot obtain a passport due to the lack of citizenship of any country has the right to apply to the Migration Service for recognition as a stateless person. Statelessness Determination Procedure is already available and, if you are undocumented and suspect that you do not have citizenship, you already have the right to apply to the State Migration Service of Ukraine (SMSU) for the status of a stateless person.
Why should I apply?
The authority will check whether you actually do not have the citizenship of any country in which you or your parents have been living, born, etc. If this fact gets confirmed you will be granted the official status of a stateless person. This means that you will receive an identity document and will have the legal right to stay in Ukraine.
How to know if I am a stateless person?
You don’t have to know that for sure.
The following signs may indicate a lack of citizenship:
• you have lost your passport long time ago or never had it at all;
• the consulate of your country of residence refuses to document you;
• the Migration Service reported that you do not have Ukrainian citizenship;
• you do not have a birth certificate and/or a passport due to the lack of citizenship of your parents;
• you are not sure that you do not have citizenship, however, you suspect that you have lost it and have been in Ukraine for a long time without identity documents;
Can I apply on my own? Where should I go?
Yes. Although you stay illegally in the territory of Ukraine and have no identity documents, you are still able to apply for recognition as a stateless person. Applications are considered by the bodies and subdivisions of the State Migration Service of Ukraine (SMSU).
How to prepare for the application?
1. Collect the documents
The procedure stipulates that if possible, the applicant must provide the following documents:
1). Identity document, OR a document granting the right to enter or leave the country, issued by a foreign state (in other words, a travel document);
2). A document certifying the fact of non-citizenship of another state, the validity of which has expired (replies of the consulate or embassy of a foreign country), OR the other document which confirms the information contained in the application.
Other documents may be the:
• ones which confirm the fact of birth;
• ones which confirm the marriage;
• ones that confirm the presence of children;
• ones which confirm the fact of study in an educational institution of Ukraine or another state;
• passport of a citizen of the former USSR issued since 1974;
• work documents;
• ones which confirm the fact of receiving medical services on the territory of Ukraine;
• documents on the place of residence;
• documents on housing or other real estate ownership in Ukraine;
• certificates issued by the state bodies;
• certificates from the embassies of foreign states or places of previous permanent and long-term residence, as well as from the states where the members of an applicant’s family have the citizenship;
• other documents confirming the information contained in the application.
!! The absence of certain documents or even any documents is not a ground for refusing recognition as a stateless person and is not a ground for refusing to accept an application.
!! The applicant is obliged to provide all available documents during the procedure.
2. Prepare a list of persons who will be interviewed by the Migration Service representatives to confirm the information contained in the application.
According to the Law, in case you do not have the above-mentioned documents, the State Migration Service of Ukraine conducts a survey of relatives, neighbors, or other persons (three at least), which can confirm the facts stated in the application.
According to the Procedure, the interview of the following persons is also carried out with the purpose of identification of the applicant. The survey must be conducted within 14 working days from the date of the submission of an application. People who know you personally will be asked to confirm certain life facts about you through the provision of a written explanation.
Also, your acquaintances will be asked to confirm your identity (that they have known you personally for a certain period) by signing a so-called Identification Act.
Therefore, before applying for statelessness, you need to prepare a list of at least three relatives, neighbors, or acquaintances for such a survey, which will take place within 14 working days after the application. The need to draw up the Identification Act is not mandatory in every case, but at least one of the documents must be completed.
!! The survey of the list of people you provide to confirm your circumstances is carried out only with your written consent. Consent is given in a written form in a separate column of the Application for recognition as a stateless person.
!! If you are not ready for your relatives and acquaintances to be interviewed and refuse to give written consent, the Migration Service has the right to refuse to accept your application for further review.
!! If the Migration Service requires more detailed information about you, they reserve the right to visit you at your place of residence at any time, as well as to interview your neighbors.
3. If you need an interpreter
The State Migration Service of Ukraine (SMSU) can provide you with an interpreter to accept your application, but this issue must be resolved in advance, i.e. before the application is submitted. In this case, the presence of an interpreter must be ensured during the interview.
4. If you are in a healthcare facility
If you are in a healthcare facility due to your health condition and cannot get to the SMSU branch/unit/department on your own, you should inform the representatives of the Migration Service about this fact. They will be able to come to you to accept the application for recognition as a stateless person and documents.
5. If you are under the age of 18 and do not have a parent, grandparent, adult sibling, or any other legal representative, notify the nearest Migration Service branch/unit/department of your intention to apply for statelessness. According to the current Procedure, the SMSU is obliged to immediately resolve the issue of appointing a legal representative from among the specialists of the local guardianship authority or the State Children Affairs Service. The application for recognition as a stateless person will be submitted on your behalf by the legal representative. The legal representative must also be present during the interview.
How the application is processed and accepted
You should personally contact the State Migration Service division/body/department at your area of residence. According to the Procedure, territorial divisions of the SMSU (in your district should be at least one of them) accept applications in the same way as territorial bodies (regional offices, their list is available on the official website of the State Migration Service of Ukraine).
The SMSU employee who is entrusted to receive applications for statelessness fills in the application from your words in a special electronic system called “State Migration Service of Ukraine Departmental Information System”. After you provide all the necessary information, the application is printed and issued to you (or your legal representative) for review. After correction of all the errors/inaccuracies, you must sign your statement.
The application form approved by the Government can be found at the link.
Your biometric data (your digitized fingerprints) will be collected during the application process.
On the day of acceptance of the application, the Migration Service must provide you with a certificate (Dovidka) proving that you currently applied for recognition as a stateless person. The following certificate is valid for 6 months from the date of submission of the application and confirms that you have all the legal grounds to stay in the territory of Ukraine (i.e., for the entire procedure as the term for consideration of the application is 6 months).
If the Migration Service was unable to collect and analyze all the necessary information to confirm your citizenship within this period, the certificate is prolonged to up to 12 months. In this case, be sure to contact the Migration Service to extend the certificate’s validity a week or two before its expiration.
What’s an interview?
The interview is a formal conversation between the applicant and the State Migration Service employee to clarify all the information provided by the applicant during the application process. Everything said during this meeting is documented and the participants of the interview give their signatures to confirm that all the recorded information is correct. All information is then taken into account when making the final decision. The interview is initiated by the SMSU or by the applicant.
If you want to report new information, describe some facts, or provide new documents that you have just received, initiate an interview with the Migration Service. To do this, you must first apply for an interview to the body or department of the SMSU, where you applied for recognition as a stateless person. The interview must be conducted no later than 10 working days from the date of submission of this application.
The State Migration Service also has the right to initiate an interview, the date of which must be notified to you no later than three working days before the interview.
!! Pay attention! If you can’t attend the interview be sure to let the SMSU know about this via sending them a written notice. And also make sure that the Migration Service has received your notice.
In which case can I be denied an application for recognition as a stateless person?
This is possible in four following cases:
1. If you have the citizenship of Ukraine or a foreign state and it became obvious to the employee of the SMSU at the time of your application. For example, you came with a valid passport of a citizen of a certain country.
2. If you already have the official status of a stateless person. Persons that have an identity document confirming the stateless status do not have the right or need to apply for recognition as a stateless person in Ukraine. The only exception is for the person who has lost his/her stateless status. In this case, you must provide proof of termination of the stateless status received earlier.
3. If you refuse to consent for your neighbors, relatives or other acquaintances to be questioned to confirm the information that you have provided in your application.
!! The absence of such persons is not a ground for refusing to accept the application!
4. If you refused to provide your biometric data (digitized fingerprints).
Only a person who is physically in Ukraine can apply for a stateless status.
What should I do if my application gets rejected?
1. Demand the written copy of a refusal to accept the application, which contains the reasons for refusal. If the reason for refusal is different from the reasons listed above, such refusal can be considered illegal.
2. Contact the Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P) for a free consultation (LEGAL ASSISTANCE AND OUTREACH TO STATELESS PERSONS AND THOSE AT RISK OF STATELESSNESS tab)
3. You can send a copy of the refusal together with your complaint to the State Migration Service of Ukraine (a sample of a complaint). The State Migration Service of Ukraine controls and coordinates the activities of its territorial bodies and subdivisions and, according to the legislation is obliged to consider the citizens’ appeals.
!! You have the right to re-apply for recognition as a stateless person in case the circumstances due to which you were denied were eliminated.
!! If your application for recognition as a stateless person is not accepted, you can file a complaint. The sample complaint is available for download in .docx format following the link (system requirements: Microsoft Office 2010 or newer)
Person’s rights and responsibilities during the application procedure
You have the right to:
1. Initiate an interview with the State Migration Service of Ukraine (SMSU) employee to provide the additional information and the other information that was not mentioned at the time of acceptance of the application.
2. Ask for a translator from the SMSU if you do not understand Ukrainian. In such a case it is desirable to apply in written form.
3. To receive a certificate of application (Dovidka) on the day of submission of the application for recognition as a stateless person: the “Dovidka” certificate will confirm the legal grounds for a temporary stay on the territory of Ukraine.
4. Work during the period of the processing of your application, provided that your employer obtains permission from the Employment Center.
1. Always appear for the interviews with the Migration Service or notify in advance of the need to postpone the date of the interview.
2. Provide all the evidence that you have to support your words. In particular, you are obliged to provide the new document just received (if relevant to the procedure) within 10 working days of receiving it.
3. After receiving the decision on recognition as a stateless person, you are obliged to apply to the Migration Service for a temporary residence permit within 10 days.
4. If you have been recognized as a stateless person and subsequently obtained the citizenship of a foreign state, you are obliged to notify the State Migration Service in written form within 30 days from the date of registration of citizenship.
Annex: sample complaint on the SMSU refusal to accept the application for recognition as a stateless person:
- Review of the UPR Alternative Interim Report “State of Observance of the Rights of Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Stateless Persons in Ukraine”
- Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P) Proposals to the draft Law on Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses for improving the Migration legislation
- Passport for the sake of the daughter’s happy future. The story of Lida