How Europe is lifting ban on dual citizenship and whether Ukraine will have to follow the example

Wednesday, 15 May 2024 —

In January 2024, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy submitted a draft law multiple citizenship to parliament for the third time in his tenure. But it seems that this bill has been buried again.

Meanwhile, Ukraine is not the only one facing challenges in implementing such changes. Normalisation and permission for multiple citizenship are becoming a common trend in Europe.

Read more about how and why the rules regarding citizenship in Europe are changing and who still keep restrictions from the past era, which Ukraine is now trying to cancel, in the article by Sergiy Sydorenko, European Pravda's editor – Dual citizenship for Europe: Where in the West the restrictions, Ukraine tries to cancel, still work.

A strict ban on dual citizenship is a relic of the past. The Strasbourg Convention obliges European states to punish with deprivation of citizenship those who voluntarily obtain the passport of another country.


Times have changed. Borders on the European continent have become truly transparent. In 1985, Western European states even signed the Schengen Agreement, agreeing to remove border controls between themselves. Work and academic mobility were growing at a pace unimaginable in 1950s.

There were increasingly more mixed marriages. Children from these marriages typically became citizens of both parental countries. And with the end of the Cold War, European countries, one after another, abolished mandatory military conscription, rendering one of the ban key reasons meaningless.

Punishment for dual citizenship became obsolete.

Therefore, in 1993, the states parties to the Strasbourg Convention adopted amendments, which provided for a bunch of exceptions based on family ties, when no punishment could be imposed on a person with two passports.

Joint restrictions on multiple citizenship lost their meaning. So with the EU enlargement to Central and Eastern Europe, none of the countries there joined the agreement, considering it outdated. And in the 2000s, there was a wave of denunciations across the continent, withdrawing from this agreement.

However, there are two exceptions – Austria and the Netherlands, which remained full-fledged convention participants.

Although discussions are ongoing even there to somehow soften the current norms.

However, it cannot be said that all other European capitals, except Vienna and The Hague, have definitively lifted the ban on dual citizenship, which de facto or de jure was valid there. Some Central and Eastern Europe countries still have such restrictions.

Primarily, these are Lithuania and Slovakia.

Normalisation of dual or multiple citizenship continues today.

But as for Lithuanians who are trying to amend the constitution, one can only feel sorry for them. Both referendums on this matter failed.

Germans will most likely radically change the system soon.

The Bundestag has approved a bill that, among other things, removes all restrictions on dual citizenship and normalises it.

And since Germany is a "compass" for many other states, this may push other capitals, including Vienna, to soften their stance.

In Poland, dual citizenship is not prohibited, but it is clearly declared that such a person is considered only a citizen of Poland.

By the way, the second principle is also enshrined in the Ukrainian legislation – both in the current one (which, contrary to stereotypes, allows dual citizenship in many cases) and in the draft proposed by the president.

Will Ukraine join the absolute European majority, or will it leave the norms punishing the "dual citizens"? Until the parliament adopts a new citizenship law, this question remains open.

If you notice an error, select the required text and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editors.