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Russian Federation/Turkmenistan/Uzbekistan: Whether an individual born in Uzbekistan to ethnic Russian parents, who grew up in Turkmenistan and was issued a USSR passport while resident in Soviet Turkmenistan, is entitled to Turkmen, Russian, or Uzbek citizenship

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Ottawa
Publication Date 11 March 2008
Citation / Document Symbol ZZZ102722.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Russian Federation/Turkmenistan/Uzbekistan: Whether an individual born in Uzbekistan to ethnic Russian parents, who grew up in Turkmenistan and was issued a USSR passport while resident in Soviet Turkmenistan, is entitled to Turkmen, Russian, or Uzbek citizenship, 11 March 2008, ZZZ102722.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/485ba8791f.html [accessed 22 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Russian Federation Citizenship

Resolution No. 731 "On the extension of the validity of 1974-type USSR passports until 1 January 2006 for certain categories of foreign citizens and stateless persons" of 4 December 2003 was adopted with the express purpose of facilitating the acquisition of citizenship by former USSR citizens who reside in the territory of the Russian Federation (UN Jan. 2004, 4). However, during a telephone interview with the Research Directorate on 26 February 2008, a counsellor at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Ottawa stressed that citizenship is not automatic and each case has to be considered individually and substantiated with supporting documentation. The "Background Note on the Replacement of USSR Passports in the Russian Federation" published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Moscow emphasizes that it is predominantly people living in the Russian Federation who are affected by this resolution (UN Jan. 2004, 4[I1]). The note observes that it is necessary to examine how identification documents were issued in former Soviet republics and how citizenship was determined in the succeeding states when considering citizenship rights (ibid.).

The Federal Law No. 62-FZ on Russian Federation Citizenship states that citizenship is acquired by birth if an individual was born in the Russian Federation or if one or both parents are Russian Federation citizens (Russian Federation 31 May 2002, Art. 12.1). It may also be acquired through naturalization based on the fulfilment of specific criteria set out under Article 13.1.a of the law, including five years continuous residence in the Russian Federation (ibid., Art. 13.1.a).

Former citizens of the Soviet Union (USSR) may also be entitled to Russian Federation citizenship in a "simplified manner" under Article 14 of the Federal Law No. 62-FZ on Russian Federation Citizenship (ibid., Art. 14). The strict residency requirements demanded in Article 13.1.a were waived with the introduction of Article 14.4 in December 2003 (UN Jan. 2004, 5), provided that an individual had declared a desire to acquire Russian citizenship prior to 1 January 2006 and was a registered resident in the Russian Federation as of 1 July 2002 or holder of a temporary residence permit (ibid; Russian Federation 31 May 2002, Art. 14.4). Article 14.1.b allows for the filing of a naturalization application by stateless persons who "have had USSR citizenship" and who resided in or continue to reside in former USSR states (Russian Federation 31 May 2002, Art. 14.1.b).

The Russian Federation does not recognize other citizenships held by its own citizens unless agreed upon by an international treaty or federal law; however, citizens who acquire another citizenship do not lose their Russian Federation status (ibid., Art. 6). A treaty on dual citizenship came into force in 1995 between the Russian Federation and Turkmenistan and was set to expire on 18 May 2005 (Eurasianet 13-19 May 2005), but an agreement was reached in April 2003 between both parties to abolish it prematurely (ibid; BBC 9 July 2003; UN 21 Aug. 2003; Chronicles 2 Aug. 2007). The Counsellor at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Ottawa confirmed that a citizenship agreement did exist between Russia and Turkmenistan but that it is no longer in effect (Russian Federation 26 Feb. 2008).

Turkmen Citizenship

The Law of the Republic of Turkmenistan on Citizenship entered into force in October 1992 and according to Article 49:

All citizens of the former USSR residing permanently on the territory of Turkmenistan at the time the present law goes into force are recognized as citizens of Turkmenistan unless they refuse Turkmen citizenship in writing. (Turkmenistan Oct. 1992)

Article 10 establishes that the passport of a Turkmen citizen is the document which confirms Turkmen citizenship after the age of 16 years (ibid.). Prior to turning 16, a child may prove citizenship by showing a birth certificate or the passport of a parent holding Turkmen citizenship (ibid.).

An official at the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Washington, DC explained in an interview with the Research Directorate that an individual born in a former Soviet Republic who grew up in Turkmenistan, and who was issued a Soviet passport as a citizen of Turkmenistan SSR, would not necessarily be entitled to Turkmen citizenship (Turkmenistan 22 Feb. 2008). The source revealed that the old red Soviet passports were replaced by green Turkmen passports between 1997 and 1998, and that the citizenship of those who hold old Soviet passport is decided on a case by case basis (ibid.). A Soviet passport holder would have to apply directly to the Turkmen embassy for a "Certificate of Repatriation," a process which takes two to three months, in order to reacquire Turkmen citizenship (ibid.).

Dual citizenship was recognized by Turkmenistan until August 2003, when a constitutional amendment was introduced prohibiting it completely (UN 21 Aug. 2003; see also Legislationline 3 Jan. 2004; Freedom House 2007).

Uzbek Citizenship

Although Uzbek citizenship can be acquired at birth, (US n.d; Uzbekistan 28 July 1992, Art. 12.1), the US Office of Personnel Management indicates that being born in Uzbekistan "does not automatically confer citizenship" except in the case of an abandoned child (Mar. 2001). Citizenship can be lost if an Uzbek citizen residing abroad has not registered with a consulate within a period of five years (ibid., Uzbekistan 28 July 1992, Art. 21.2). As for dual nationality, multiple sources indicate that it is not recognized (US Mar. 2001; Uzbekistan 28 July 1992, Art. 10).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). 9 July 2003. "Turkmen Pledge on Russian Rights." [Accessed 16 Jan. 2008]

Chronicles of Turkmenistan. 2 August 2007. Nazar Saparov. "Turkmen Citizens Hope for Russian Entry Visa Lift." [Accessed 16 Jan. 2008]

Eurasianet. 13-19 May 2005. "Weekly News Brief on Turkmenistan." [Accessed 16 Jan. 2008]

Freedom House. 2007. "Turkmenistan." Nations in Transit. [Accessed 22 Feb. 2008]

Legislationline. 3 January 2004. "Russian Concerns over Turkmenistan's Law on Citizenship and Treatment of Ethnic Minorities – 2004-01-03." [Accessed 17 Jan. 2008]

Russian Federation. 26 February 2008. Embassy of the Russian Federation, Ottawa. Telephone interview with a counsellor.
_____. 31 May 2002. Federal Law No. 62-FZ on Russian Federation Citizenship (31 May 2002 as amended 2004). [Accessed 3 Jan. 2008]

Turkmenistan. 22 February 2008. Embassy of Turkmenistan, Washington, DC. Telephone interview with official.
_____. 11 October 1992. Law of the Republic of Turkmenistan on Citizenship. (entry into force in October 1992) [Accessed 3 Jan. 2008]

United Nations (UN). January 2004. Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Moscow. "Background Note on the Replacement of USSR Passports in the Russian Federation." [Accessed 16 Jan. 2008]
_____. 21 August 2003. Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN). "Turkmenistan: Abolition of Dual Citizenship Widely Condemned." [Accessed 22 Feb. 2008]

United States (US). March 2001. Office of Personnel Management. "Uzbekistan." Citizenship Laws of the World. [Accessed 17 Jan. 2008]
_____. N.d. Embassy of the United States in Uzbekistan. American Citizen Services. "Dual Nationality." [Accessed 17 Jan. 2008]

Uzbekistan. 28 July 1992. Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Citizenship of the Republic of Uzbekistan. [Accessed 3 Jan. 2008]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International (AI), Pravda, International Journal of Refugee Law, Multiplecitizenship.com, Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) Australia, World Guide.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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