Ukraine is State Party to almost all relevant international and regional instruments, including three of the core statelessness conventions. However, there are some gaps in protection as well as efforts to prevent and reduce statelessness. Data on the stateless population is limited by discrepancies, overlapping categories, and the impact of the war and ongoing territorial disputes. Positively, a Statelessness Determination Procedure was introduced in Ukrainian law in 2020 and bylaws for its implementation were adopted in 2021, making the procedure available for stateless people since May 2021. The 2020 law also brought the definition of a stateless person in line with the 1954 Convention. Under the 2020 law, an applicant for statelessness status has temporary status during the procedure enabling access to some rights. Recognised stateless people are able to acquire a temporary residence permit, and then permanent residence after two years. While it is welcome that the SDP is now operational, many obstacles related to access to the procedure have been reported.

The legal framework on detention is weak with limited protection against arbitrary detention, although alternatives to detention and periodic reviews were introduced in 2016. People released from detention have some protection from re-detention as well as a route to legal residence.

People recognised as stateless may apply for naturalisation three years after their recognition as stateless. Legal safeguards are in place to prevent statelessness in the case of foundlings, adopted children, and those born to Ukrainian nationals abroad, but there is a legal residence requirement for children born stateless in the country to acquire nationality. This gap, along with barriers to birth registration, which was the subject of a second-cycle Universal Periodic Review recommendation, hinders efforts to reduce the large in-situ stateless population in Ukraine, disproportionately made up of ethnic minorities, including Roma. The escalation of the war since February 2022 has exacerbated barriers to accessing rights and protection for stateless people and people at risk of statelessness both in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries.

Last updated: 
Mar 2023
Country expert(s): 

Additional resources






International and Regional Instruments

Assesses whether countries are State party to the relevant international and regional instruments, including whether reservations have an impact on statelessness, and whether instruments are incorporated into domestic law. The four core statelessness treaties (1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons; 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness; European Convention on Nationality; Council of Europe Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in Relation to State Succession) carry more weight than other relevant human rights instruments in the assessment.

Ukraine has a good record on accession to relevant international and regional treaties. It is state party to the 1954 and 1961 Conventions, as well as the European Convention on Nationality; but, it is not party to the European Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in Relation to State Succession. Ukraine is party to all other relevant human rights instruments - except for the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers - with no reservations.

  • Ukraine is state party to the 1954 Convention with no reservations and the Convention has direct effect.
  • Ukraine is state party to the 1961 Convention with no reservations and the Convention has direct effect.
  • Ukraine is state party to the European Convention on Nationality with reservations (no significant impact on statelessness) and has signed but not acceded to the Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in Relation to State Succession.
  • Ukraine is state party to all other relevant international and regional treaties, except for the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers, with no reservations.

Statelessness Population Data

Examines the availability and sources of disaggregated population data on statelessness. Provides recent figures and assesses reliability of measures countries have in place to count stateless persons, including in the census, population registries, and migration databases. Notes whether statelessness has been mapped in the country and whether there are sufficient measures in place to count stateless persons in detention.

Data on the stateless population in Ukraine is limited and contested. There is a ‘stateless’ category in the census, but there are also other potentially overlapping categories and the data is now outdated as the last census was carried out in 2001. A new census was planned for 2023 but will likely be postponed due to the war. UNHCR, NGOs and the Ukrainian Ombudsperson report different figures and no data is available for non-government-controlled areas (NGCA). Detention data is also limited, although the authorities do collect some information on the nationalities of detainees, including stateless detainees. A study on statelessness in Ukraine was published in 2014 by UNHCR and a national NGO.

  • Ukraine has a 'stateless' category in its census and the data is disaggregated, but there are also potentially overlapping categories such as ‘persons who did not identify their nationality'. The census was last carried out in 2001, so the data is now outdated. 82,550 people identified themselves as ‘stateless’ and 40,364 ‘did not identify their nationality’ in the 2001 census. In 2019, a ‘stateless’ category was included in the pilot census; however, the full-scale census did not take place in 2020 as planned. The new census was planned for 2023 but will likely be postponed due to the war. Other sources of data or information about statelessness include UNHCR, NGOs and the Ombudsperson of Ukraine on Human Rights, but NGOs have raised concerns about the lack of reliable data on statelessness in Ukraine.
  • According to the State Migration Service of Ukraine, as of the end of 2020, 5,815 stateless people were residing in Ukraine with a residence permit.
  • UNHCR reported 35,933 people under its statelessness mandate in Ukraine at the end of 2021. UNHCR also estimates that approximately 69,400 children born in the non-government-controlled areas (NGCA) have not yet obtained a Ukrainian birth certificate and therefore are at risk of statelessness. UNHCR estimates are based on three main sources: governmental agencies, UNHCR field offices, and NGOs.
  • Other government statistics are not disaggregated and do not distinguish stateless people from other non-nationals.
  • A study of statelessness in Ukraine was published by UNHCR and national NGO, HIAS, in 2014.
  • There is no available data on stateless refugees and asylum seekers in Ukraine. The availability of data is limited by the political situation, with no data available for the territory not currently controlled by the Ukrainian Government.
  • Ukraine does not publish data on stateless people in detention though it does collect some information about detainees and their nationalities, which includes some individuals recorded as ‘stateless’ and nationalities where there may be populations at risk of statelessness.
  • Some data was provided to NGOs following a request made to the State Migration Service of Ukraine.
  • In 2022, 597 foreigners and stateless people were held in immigration detention (down from 810 in 2020 and 842 in 2017). The Southern Department of the State Border Guard Service reported that 30 stateless people were not permitted to enter the territory of Ukraine and detained at the Temporary Holding Facility over 9 months in 2020. Between 2018-2020, at least three stateless people were detained in Chernihiv in Volyn Immigration Detention Centres. The Mykolaiv region migrant detention centre reported that as of February 2023, two stateless people and five people whose proof of nationality is not recognised were detained.
  • The Ukrainian Government does not report the reasons for a person’s release from detention, but the State Migration Service states that 330 people were released from detention in 2022, and 183 detainees were expelled from the territory of Ukraine.

Statelessness Determination and Status

Identifies whether countries have a definition of a stateless person in national law that aligns with the 1954 Convention, and whether they have a dedicated statelessness determination procedure (SDP) leading to a dedicated stateless status. If an SDP is not place, it assesses whether there are other procedures in which statelessness can be identified or other routes through which stateless people could regularise their stay or access their rights. Countries are subdivided in three groups to enable comparison between those with an SDP leading to protection, those with other procedures, and those with a statelessness status but no clear mechanism to access protection. The existing procedures and rights granted to stateless persons are examined and assessed against international norms and good practice. Assesses whether stateless people fleeing war have access to temporary protection.

A statelessness determination procedure was introduced in Ukrainian law in June 2020 and the SDP became available for applicants in late May 2021 following the adoption of bylaws. The new law amended the definition of a stateless person in Ukraine to bring it in line with the 1954 Convention. There is no legal stay requirement to access the procedure and measures are in place to facilitate the application process. However, there are some obstacles in accessing the SDP in practice, including a practice by the SMS of requesting documentation from the applicants before an application is submitted and asking them to contact foreign consulates themselves. Instances of verbal rejections of applications where the applicant fails to provide specific documents have also been reported. In practice, interpretation and translation services are not provided for free. It is not possible to apply for the SDP from detention. Positively, free legal aid is available, there is a time limit on the procedure, interviews are conducted, and mechanisms are envisioned to refer applicants to the asylum procedure or a procedure to confirm Ukrainian nationality if necessary. People recognised as stateless acquire temporary residence for a renewable one-year period. After two years they may acquire permanent residence. There are barriers to accessing some socio-economic rights for applicants and recognised stateless people with temporary residence (including access to free healthcare). The escalation of the war since February 2022 has exacerbated barriers to accessing rights and protection for stateless people and people at risk of statelessness both in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries.

  • Ukrainian law defines a stateless person as a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law. The definition was brought in line with the 1954 Convention through legal amendments in 2020.
  • UNHCR and its partners usually provide annual training on statelessness for the State Migration Service, other government stakeholders, and legal practitioners. Specific SDP-related training and roundtables were held in 2021.
  • The National School of Judges of Ukraine and UNHCR provide some training on statelessness to judges and lawyers, but not on a regular basis.
  • During 2018, UNHCR partner NGOs in Ukraine provided several trainings for lawyers from the state Free Legal Aid system and video materials are available online.
  • An SDP and statelessness status were introduced in law in June 2020. The bylaws required to implement the procedure were adopted in March 2021 and the SDP became operational in May 2021.
  • The examination is conducted by the central government body, the State Migration Service, which is responsible for migration, nationality, and regularisation matters under the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
  • Instructions on the application for the SDP are published on the State Migration Service website, although these are not comprehensive. Further detailed information is provided by UNHCR and NGOs assisting stateless people in Ukraine.
  • The application must be made in writing in Ukrainian on a specific form in person at the State Migration Service (SMS). However, the form is simple, and the law obliges the SMS to complete the application upon request of the applicant if they are unable to do so themselves for reasons of literacy or disability. Moreover, in most of SMS departments, applications are filled in electronically by SMS officials and printed for applicants to sign. The SMS is obliged to provide free translation and interpretation if needed to submit the application, but this is rarely provided in practice due to the lack of interpreters and financial resourcing.
  • The law provides for flexibility in the documents that should be attached to the application and third parties may be questioned to confirm the applicant's statements.
  • There is an obligation in law for the SMS to consider the application, but the application may be rejected if the person holds a nationality or statelessness status in another State; if they do not hold any photo ID and refuse to submit consent for three third parties to confirm their statements; or if they refuse to provide biometric data.
  • There is no application fee, no legal stay requirement, nor time limit to access the SDP.
  • NGOs that are UNHCR partners support applicants in the SDP.
  • The law establishes a shared burden of proof between the applicant and the SMS. The applicant is obliged to cooperate, attend interviews, and provide all information possible. The SMS has a duty to collect all possible information about the applicant and is entitled to request documents or other information from other government agencies, State registries and archives, non-government entities, and foreign authorities.
  • The law does not clearly establish the standard of proof to be applied in the SDP. However, grounds for refusal are clearly set out in the law and, in the absence of documents, the applicant’s testimony can be confirmed by third parties.
  • In practice, the SMS officials often request applicants to collect and submit documents prior to submitting the application, such as consulate certificates, birth certificates, and documents confirming the place of residence. It has been reported that SMS officials sometimes orally refuse to accept an SDP application if such documents are not provided. Due to issues in contacting consulates, the SMS proposes that applicants contact the consulates themselves, which requires applicants to pay high consular fees. Issues have been reported for stateless people who need to obtain confirmation of non-possession of Russian and Belarussian nationality from the relevant consulates, as they are not operational in Ukraine due to the war.
  • There is clear guidance for decision-makers on the assessment of evidence, and measures are in place to facilitate substantive equality in the SDP for unaccompanied minors, those without legal capacity, people with low literacy levels, disabled people, and those with health conditions that prevent them from attending appointments. The SMS is also obliged to provide free translation and interpretation for the application, but in most cases, applicants are required to provide notarised translations of the documents issued in foreign languages.
  • There is no evidence of errors in decision-making so far.
  • The Law on Free Legal Aid was amended with the introduction of the SDP to provide access to all primary and secondary State legal services free of charge for all those who apply for statelessness status at any stage in the process. The law was amended in May 2022 to provide the right for undocumented people to access State-funded legal aid in specific proceedings relating to the issuance of an identification document. In practice, due to the war, the government's free legal aid system has limited capacity to provide such assistance.
  • The applicant has the right to an interview and the SMS may also initiate an interview that is mandatory for the applicant to attend. In practice, the interview is conducted in every case, and the SMS may also request additional interviews for clarification.
  • The SMS is obliged to provide an interpreter in a language the applicant understands if required, as well as free translation at the application stage. In practice, there is no free interpretation and translation, and the SMS requires applicants to provide translations certified by the notary of documents issued in foreign languages. There is also no specific provision for free interpreting during interviews, which, in practice, are conducted in Ukrainian or Russian.
  • There are no legal provisions regarding quality audits nor the role of UNHCR in proceedings.
  • In practice, NGOs that are UNHCR partners can accompany applicants during the interview.
  • Decisions (refusals) must be given in writing with reasons within three days of the decision being issued. However, instances of verbal rejections of applications where the applicant fails to provide specific documents have been reported. The SMS also has the internal instruction to orally reject all applicants who were born or lived for a long period in Russia.
  • There is a timeframe set in law of six months, which can be extended to 12 months with reasoning. In practice, the procedure usually lasts from 7 to 11 months.
  • There is a mechanism to link the SDP to the asylum procedure whereby an SDP applicant may be referred to the asylum procedure if a protection issue emerges during the SDP. There is also a mechanism to refer to a procedure to determine Ukrainian nationality if a possible entitlement to nationality emerges during the SDP.
  • Applicants under the SDP are considered lawfully temporarily staying on the territory and are provided with a certificate to confirm this. The certificate should be prolonged by the SMS if the timeframe of the procedure is extended.
  • Applicants have the right to work by law, but access to employment is hindered by the need for potential employers to obtain special permission to employ them. In September 2022, the law was amended to clearly provide for the possibility for SDP applicants to be employed if the employer obtains such special permission, and to remove other restrictions in the right to work. Recognised stateless people who obtained a temporary residence permit can be employed without additional permission. These changes are expected to simplify access to formal employment for stateless people.
  • Access to social security can be hindered by the residence status applicants hold (‘temporarily staying’ in Ukraine) as some social security entitlements are reserved to those holding temporary or permanent residence permits.
  • Applicants under the SDP also face obstacles to accessing free healthcare as this is guaranteed by law only to Ukrainian nationals and foreigners or stateless people with permanent residence in Ukraine.
  • In December 2022, the Parliament adopted a law which provides for the possibility of an SDP applicant to be held in immigration detention until a final decision is made on their SDP application, similarly to an already existing provision in the asylum procedure law. There is no evidence of applicants being detained in practice so far. If a person held in immigration detention applies under the SDP, this does not constitute grounds for release from detention, and in practice, it is not possible to apply from immigration detention, as the application needs to be made in person at the SMS.
  • An applicant has the right to appeal a negative SMS decision to the administrative court within 20 days from receiving the written refusal decision.
  • Free legal aid is provided at all stages until a final decision is made.
  • There is a court fee for an application to the administrative court, which is set according to subsistence levels (approximately 27 EUR).
  • Within 10 days of receiving a positive decision, the recognised stateless person must apply to the SMS to obtain a temporary residence permit.
  • The current legislation still has a provision that allows a person to be refused a temporary residence permit, if the person was previously issued a return or deportation due to irregular stay. This is problematic, as prior to the introduction of the SDP many stateless people did not have a route to regularise their stay.
  • A temporary residence permit is issued for one year and can be renewed. After two years, a recognised stateless person can apply for an immigration permit and obtain a permanent residence permit.
  • The rights granted to recognised stateless people depend on their residence status. Some rights are granted upon recognition and receipt of a temporary residence permit (for example, a travel document, the right to work, the right to primary, secondary, and higher education, and some social security entitlements).
  • However, other rights are granted only upon acquiring permanent residence after two years of temporary residence (for example, family reunification, some social security entitlements, and the right to free healthcare).
  • In relation to higher education, stateless people may access this for free within a quota defined by the Cabinet of Ministers, but in practice there is no evidence of any stateless people accessing this.
  • As the right to free healthcare is only guaranteed to stateless people with permanent residence, temporary residence holders may be excluded from the State insurance programme and face obstacles accessing free healthcare.
  • Only Ukrainian nationals are entitled to active and passive political rights, so stateless people cannot vote in any elections.
  • Grounds for revocation of statelessness status are in line with international standards.
  • As the full-scale war started in Ukraine in February 2022, stateless people and those at risk of statelessness are facing additional risks and challenges. These challenges are related both to the general risks of the war (security issues, need for an evacuation from hostile areas, lack of access to humanitarian protection), and to their status.
  • Due to their lack of identification and other documents, undocumented people face a risk of detention and prosecution, and are limited in their ability to leave Ukraine. This results in many stateless people being stuck in conflict-affected areas or internally displaced. Additionally, most undocumented people cannot be registered as Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), and are therefore not eligible for government assistance provided to IDPs.
  • Stateless people and people at risk of statelessness who managed to flee Ukraine face challenges in obtaining documents abroad, impacting their ability to return to Ukraine.
  • With the escalation of the war, the Ukrainian Government closed access to the population registers, which halted the newly established SDP, although access to the procedure was reopened in May 2022 in less affected regions.
  • The situation of SDP applicants who fled Ukraine while their application was pending is unclear. The State Migration Service (SMS) reports that people who applied for the SDP prior to the war and were granted statelessness status can apply to the SMS office in Government Controlled area to obtain a residence permit, but this is impossible for those who left Ukraine.
  • Accessing documentation and evidence of residence status has been significantly hampered in practice.


Analyses law, policy and practice relating to immigration detention generally, but focusing on protections in place to prevent the arbitrary detention of stateless people during removal and deportation procedures. Subthemes examine areas such as the identification of statelessness and assessment of whether there is a reasonable prospect of removal, procedural safeguards such as time limits, judicial oversight, and effective remedies, as well as the rights granted to stateless people upon release from detention and protection against re-detention.

There are significant gaps in the legal framework on immigration detention in Ukraine. Despite reforms in 2016, the authorities are still permitted to detain people without a court order. A proposed country of removal does not need to be identified prior to detention, there is no clear obligation on authorities to release a person when there is no reasonable prospect of removal, statelessness is not considered juridically relevant, the law does not stipulate that detention is a last resort, and the two available alternatives are rarely used. People held in immigration detention may not apply for the SDP. There is a maximum time limit on detention, and written information on rights is provided to detainees. There is free legal aid and some remedies for challenging detention, but there are barriers to accessing these. Some protections are provided on release and there is a route to temporary residence, but re-detention is a risk and socio-economic rights are limited.

  • Immigration detention powers are provided for in law. There are two alternatives to detention in Ukraine - bail or a surety deposit – but these are not subject to periodic review, and time limits depend on the length of removal proceedings.
  • The law does not provide for detention to be a last resort and the two existing alternatives to detention are hardly used. Detention is used prior to alternatives being considered and is the most widespread measure, even though the law prescribes that the decision to detain must comply with the principles of necessity, reasonableness and proportionality.
  • A proposed country of removal does not need to be identified prior to detention for removal.
  • There is no clear obligation on authorities to release a person when there is no reasonable prospect of removal. The law provides for release in case of impossibility of removal, which includes the lack of travel document, the absence of transport connection with the destination country and other reasons independent of the detainee. In practice, people are released in most cases after the maximum period of detention.
  • In the case of Shoygo v Ukraine in 2021, the European Court on Human Rights found that prolonged immigration detention of an undocumented person was not justified when the authorities failed to act diligently during deportation proceedings, and therefore that Ukraine had violated Article 5 ECHR.
  • Statelessness is not considered a juridically relevant fact in decisions to detain and stateless people are detained in practice.
  • There is no vulnerability assessment, although refugees and people with subsidiary protection should not be detained. Nevertheless, statelessness is not considered as giving rise to vulnerability and asylum seekers and stateless people can be held in detention if they submitted their claim for international protection or recognition under the new SDP after the detention order was imposed.
  • It is not possible to apply for the SDP from detention. In December 2022, the Parliament adopted a law which provides for the possibility of an SDP applicant to be held in immigration detention until a final decision is made on their SDP application, similarly to an already existing provision in the asylum procedure law. There is no evidence of applicants being detained in practice so far.
  • There are also reports of people remaining in detention because the Ukrainian authorities consider they are a national of another country, even though the relevant country refuses to acknowledge the person as a national and to accept their readmission (e.g. people originating from Transnistria).
  • There is a maximum period of detention set in law of 18 months, and there are periodic reviews of the necessity for the continuation of detention before a court.
  • To extend detention beyond an initial six months, the detaining authority must file an administrative request at least five days before expiry of the first six months. The authority can then file for extension every six months. Detention can be extended if there is a lack of information from the country of nationality or lack of identity documents. This puts stateless people at a disadvantage in practice and results in them often being detained for the maximum of 18 months. No later than one month before the end of the 18-months period, the authorities must issue a written conclusion on the impossibility of removal, which forms the basis for release of the person and issuance of a certificate that is required to apply for temporary residence after release.
  • In the case Shoygo v. Ukraine of September 2021, the European Court on Human Rights found that Ukraine violated Article 5 ECHR when prolonging immigration detention of an undocumented person due to the authorities’ failure to act diligently during deportation proceedings.
  • According to a law adopted in March 2023, the State Border Protection Authorities and the Security Service are now able to independently decide on the forced deportation of foreigners and stateless people without a court order.
  • The law provides that individuals are informed of the reasons for detention in writing prior to being detained, and detainees are provided with information on their rights and duties in a language they can understand, with interpreters if needed.
  • People held in immigration detention are not able to access the SDP.
  • A detainee can appeal against the court judgement of first instance and to the court of cassation against the judgment of the appeal court. A detainee can also challenge the extension of their detention. However, there are obstacles such as time limits - the appeal must be lodged within ten days, which is difficult in immigration detention and due to poor access to free legal aid.
  • By law free legal aid is available to challenge detention but access is hampered by a requirement to present documentation to access it, and lack of access to detention centres (in rural areas) for lawyers. Upon submitting an application under the SDP, a stateless person would acquire the right to free legal aid.
  • There are no clear rules governing the process of re-documentation or ascertaining nationality.
  • People released from detention are issued with a certificate of immigration detention and are entitled to apply for a temporary residence permit. However, there are barriers to exercising this right, as one of the conditions is compulsory registration of place of residence, which is difficult for released detainees. The applicant must also have been detained for the maximum period to acquire a temporary residence permit on grounds of release from detention.
  • If a person could apply to the SDP or has had their statelessness determined during detention, they would acquire a temporary residence permit on release through a simplified procedure.
  • There are no legal provisions on re-detention, so there is no rule in Ukrainian legislation on whether cumulative time spent in detention counts towards the maximum time limit.
  • Ukraine has ratified 16 bilateral agreements on readmission, but statelessness is not considered a juridically relevant fact in any of the agreements and is not considered as an obstacle to readmission. No information is available as to whether stateless people are returned under the agreements.

Prevention and Reduction

Assesses the adequacy of safeguards in nationality laws to prevent and reduce statelessness, including facilitated routes to naturalisation for stateless people, and protections for otherwise stateless children born on the territory or to nationals abroad, foundlings and adopted children. Examines law, policy, and practice on birth registration, including access to late birth registration, and reduction measures taken by States to prevent and reduce in situ statelessness. Analyses provisions on deprivation of nationality and whether there are safeguards related to renunciation and deprivation of nationality to prevent statelessness from occurring.

Since December 2021, people recognised as stateless may apply for naturalisation three years after recognition. There are legal safeguards in Ukrainian nationality law to prevent statelessness in the case of foundlings, adopted children and children born to Ukrainian nationals abroad. However, the safeguard for children born in Ukraine who would otherwise be stateless only applies if parents are legally resident in the country, leaving a real risk that children are born stateless in the country. There are also significant barriers to universal birth registration, with at least one parent being required to present proof of identify and legal residence to register a birth. Children born in the non-government-controlled areas (NGCA) and in the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine since the beginning of the war face additional challenges, as the civil registration documents issued in these areas are considered invalid by the Government of Ukraine and procedures aimed at resolving this issue have not been implemented. Additional evidence is required for late birth registration, including a passport to register those over 16 years-old, which is impossible to acquire without a birth certificate. These barriers to birth registration were the subject of a recommendation to Ukraine under the Universal Periodic Review. They hinder efforts to reduce the large in-situ stateless population in Ukraine, which is disproportionately made up of ethnic minorities, including Roma. In 2021, Ukraine adopted the new National Strategy in the Sphere of Human Rights and the Roma Integration Strategy, which aim at providing birth certificates and identification documents to populations at risk of statelessness. There are provisions for the deprivation of nationality in Ukrainian law that could result in statelessness, but no provision permits deprivation on national security grounds.

  • A stateless person may apply for naturalisation on general grounds, which include holding an immigration permit and continuous legal residence on the territory of Ukraine for five years.
  • Since December 2021, the residence period required for recognised stateless people to apply for naturalisation was reduced to three years, counting as of their initial recognition as stateless.
  • Stateless people must meet all other naturalisation requirements, with the only difference being that they must provide a declaration of non-possession of another nationality rather than proof of renunciation of another nationality.
  • Barriers faced by stateless people seeking to acquire Ukrainian nationality through naturalisation include an obligation to provide an identity document, and proof of an income over the last six months, or savings amounting to 12 times minimum subsistence (currently at least 31,068UAH (801,96 EUR). There is a fee of 179.74 UAH (4.64 EUR) for issuing an immigration permit and 8.50 UAH (0.22 EUR) for the application for naturalisation.
  • A person who has committed a 'serious or grave crime' inside or outside Ukraine is excluded from naturalisation under the law.
  • There are provisions in law to automatically grant Ukrainian nationality to some children who would otherwise be stateless, but eligibility is dependent on the status of the parents, so there is no full safeguard against children being born stateless on the territory. In practice, children must request a certificate of affiliation of nationality from the authorities.
  • Parents are not provided with information about their child’s nationality rights and relevant procedures.
  • If parents are legal residents, there is no requirement for the child to have legal residence to acquire nationality.
  • There are no age limits for the application in law, but in practice, it is more difficult after 18 years-old (age at which a person can apply to state authorities without a mandatory legal representative), as the authorities may question a young person’s residence in Ukraine if they do not have the required identity documentation. The application is free of charge.
  • There is a specific provision for children of parents granted international protection in Ukraine to acquire nationality.
  • Foundlings acquire nationality automatically at birth.
  • Ukrainian legislation refers to a 'new-born' but there is no definition of what this means in practice. Nationality cannot be withdrawn from foundlings if it would result in statelessness.
  • There is no provision in Ukrainian law for a child to lose or be deprived of their nationality, so a child adopted by foreign nationals would not lose their Ukrainian nationality.
  • There is a provision in law for a foreign child (under 18 years-old) and a stateless adult with permanent residence adopted by Ukrainian parents to acquire nationality.
  • There is a provision in law for a child born abroad to at least one Ukrainian parent to acquire Ukrainian nationality automatically at birth, and there are no discriminatory provisions.
  • The law provides that children should be registered and issued with a birth certificate within a month of birth, but documents proving the identity and legal residence of at least one parent are required to complete the registration. If the parents are undocumented, the child can be registered by a third party, but the legal bond to the parents would be undetermined.
  • The nationality of the child is not determined or recorded upon birth registration, only the names and nationality of the parents are recorded. The child's nationality is determined later (based on parents’ passports or proof of residence) during application for a passport.
  • There are no mandatory reporting requirements on health or civil registration services to report undocumented parents to the immigration authorities, but this is not explicitly prohibited in law.
  • There are reports indicating that birth registration is prevented because of parent's migration and/or residence status. There are credible reports (for example, from UNHCR) of ‘legal orphans’ in Ukraine, or the children of undocumented parents whose details cannot be registered on their birth certificates. There are also problems with the registration of children born in prisons and credible reports that ethnic minorities, including Roma, are disproportionately impacted by barriers to birth registration. Ensuring universal access to birth registration for all children born in Ukraine, including ethnic minorities, was the subject of a recommendation Ukraine received and accepted under the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review.
  • There are no reported issues with birth registration based on the parents’ sexual and/or gender identity, and no reported cases regarding obstacles for children born through surrogacy.
  • Late birth registration is possible, but parents must either indicate a valid reason for missing the one-month deadline or pay a fine (17-52 UAH / 0.50-1.53 EUR). If the birth is registered more than one year after birth and before the child is 16 years-old, additional documents are required. If the registration takes place more than 16 years after birth, a passport is required, but it is almost impossible to acquire a passport without a birth certificate.
  • Children born in the non-government-controlled areas (NGCA) face additional challenges in obtaining civil registration documents, as the documents issued in these areas are considered invalid by the Government of Ukraine and the procedures aimed at resolving this issue have not been implemented in practice. A judicial procedure must be used to register the birth of children born in NGCA, but it is costly and often lengthy. The Ministry of Justice has estimated that only 45% of children reported to have been born in the areas of Donetsk and Luhansk and 12% in Crimea have obtained a birth certificate. Children born in the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine since 24 February 2022 face similar issues.
  • There are credible reports of sections of the community facing a high risk of births not being registered, including Roma communities, homeless people, children born in detention or prisons, and children born in the non-government-controlled areas (NGCA).
  • In 2021, the new ‘National Strategy in the Sphere of Human Rights’ and its Action Plan for 2021-2023 were adopted. One of the key aspects of the strategy is ensuring the provision of civil documents to the residents of the non-government-controlled areas (NGCA) of Ukraine. However, there were no new developments concerning the implementation of the administrative procedure for the registration of births in NGCA.
  • The Government also adopted the Roma integration strategy in July 2021, which includes an aim to provide Roma community members with relevant personal documents (birth certificates and identification documents).
  • In 2019, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted the pilot program 'E-baby' ('Є-малятко'), which aimed to facilitate access to a range of different services and entitlements through a single application: birth registration; registration of child’s place of residence; access to child-related social security entitlements; registration in the Population Registry; and determination of the child’s Ukrainian nationality. In 2020 the 'Є-малятко' was updated and connected to the 'Diia' application to make the services available online. However, according to the Ministry of Justice, this service is still only available in limited locations.
  • There are provisions for the deprivation of nationality in Ukrainian law that could result in statelessness. If nationality was conferred or acquired on fraudulent grounds, there is no safeguard to prevent statelessness.
  • There is a legal safeguard that permits renunciation of Ukrainian nationality only if the person has obtained another nationality or documentary proof that they will do so after renouncing their Ukrainian nationality. A stateless person who lost Ukrainian nationality and did not acquire another nationality can applied for its restoration, but this safeguard is not automatic and is subject to certain conditions.
  • There are no provisions permitting deprivation of nationality on national security grounds. In 2022, there were several legislative proposals introduced providing for the possibility of deprivation of Ukrainian nationality for people who committed high treason, or for those who voluntarily obtained Russian identification document in the Temporarily Occupied Regions of Ukraine, but these amendments have not yet been adopted.
  • The State Migration Service of Ukraine is responsible for drafting submissions on deprivation of nationality, the Presidential Commission on Citizenship considers submissions, and the President takes the decision. Decisions may be challenged before a court.
  • Deprivation of nationality is applied in practice: three people were deprived of their Ukrainian nationality in 2021. The State Migration Service publishes limited data on deprivation of nationality cases and previously published statistics are not accessible.
  • The law does not provide clear safeguards for children regarding derivative loss of nationality. If a parent renounces their nationality, the parent may also apply for the renunciation of their child’s nationality. For children 14-18 years old, their consent is required for renunciation.


Library of resources, legal instruments, publications and training materials on statelessness, specifically relevant to this country. More regional and international materials, as well as resources from other countries, are available on the Resources library. Domestic case law can be consulted in the Statelessness Case Law Database (with summaries available in English).

For Ukraine specific resources in response to the war, please also check a dedicated section of our website "Statelessness and the Ukraine Crisis".

Please note that we are in the process of adding new resources, so check back soon.

Council of Europe - European Convention on Nationality (Nov 1997)
United Nations - Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness (Jan 1961)

R2P, DESYATE KVITNYA, ENS, ERRC, ISI - Joint Submission to the Human Rights Council at UPR28 - Ukraine (Mar 2017)
European Network on Statelessness - Statelessness determination and protection in Europe (Sep 2021)

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