Renouncing Russian Citizenship

Annually, about four thousand Russian citizens voluntarily renounce their Russian passports for various reasons. The right to renounce the Russian citizenship is provided for in legislation. People living in Russia and the Russian citizens living abroad undergo different procedures to renounce their Russian citizenship, with those living abroad typically experiencing a simpler process. This simplified procedure also applies when renouncing the citizenship of a child, where documentation is based on the parents’ application.

Procedure for Renouncing Russian Citizenship

Main stages:

(1) Gathering the necessary set of documents;

To begin the process of renouncing the Russian citizenship, according to the Article № 20 of Law № 62-FZ: one must first gather a set of documents:

  • Foreign and domestic passports of the citizen (these documents must be valid);
  • A document confirming that the applicant has another citizenship or is in the process of obtaining it;
  • Military ID indicating that all military service obligations have been fulfilled;
  • A certificate from the Russian tax service stating that the applicant has no outstanding tax debts;
  • A completed application for renouncing Russian citizenship, in accordance with legislative requirements, available at:;
  • Three standard photographs 3×4;
  • Proof of payment of the state duty (receipt).

If the applicant has changed their name or surname, documentary proof of this must be provided. This is a general list of documents required for renouncing to the Russian citizenship. Additionally, authorized services may require children’s birth certificates, marriage certificates, and other documents.

For children under 18 years of age, a completed application from both parents, the child’s birth certificate or passport, a document from another country confirming that the applicant has or is about to acquire another citizenship, three photographs, and a receipt for the payment of the state duty are required. Parents’ identification documents are also needed. After gathering all these documents and completing the application, one must apply to the territorial department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. If renunciation is processed abroad, one must apply to the Russian consulate or diplomatic mission in that country. If renunciation is filed concurrently with one of the parents, the child’s information can be included in their application.

(2) Submitting the application and all collected documents to the consulate or to the territorial department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs;

The complete application, which includes all the required and collected documents, must be submitted to either a Russian consulate if abroad, or to the relevant territorial department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs within Russia. This step involves ensuring that all paperwork, including personal identification and any additional supporting documents as stipulated by the citizenship renunciation process, are properly prepared and submitted according to the guidelines.

(3) Receiving an official confirmation document (usually takes a few weeks);

Usually, a few weeks after submitting the application, the candidate will receive an official document from the authorized body — either the consulate or the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as applicable. This document serves as a formal acknowledgment that the application, along with all the submitted documents, has been received and is currently under review. This step is crucial as it confirms that the applicant’s request for renouncing citizenship is officially in the administrative process, and it sets the stage for the subsequent procedural steps and timelines.

(4) Receiving a certificate confirming or denying the renunciation of citizenship either after a year, six months or even less;

The standard processing time for the application is up to one year. However, if the applicant uses the simplified procedure, these terms can be reduced to six months or even less in specific cases. The applicant will receive notification of the decision by mail or in person. In the second case, it is necessary to visit the migration department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in person to receive a document confirming renunciation of Russian citizenship. At this point, one must surrender the Russian civil and foreign passports, as well as inserts with the birth certificate.

In cases of refusal, the applicants have the right to appeal the decision or reapply after addressing the reasons for the denial. It’s important for applicants to be aware of this possibility and prepare accordingly.

Cases When Renunciation of Russian Citizenship is Not Possible

It is important to remember that, as per Article № 20 of Law № 62-FZ, there are circumstances in which renunciation of Russian citizenship is not possible. A person cannot renounce their Russian passport if they have unfulfilled obligations to the country, such as unpaid taxes or mandatory military service. These factors are considered during the document collection process. Also, those against whom criminal cases have been initiated, meaning they are under investigation, are prohibited from renouncing citizenship. Similarly, those who cannot provide convincing evidence to the authorities that they will definitely acquire another citizenship cannot renounce Russian citizenship.

If a citizen of another country has previously obtained a Russian passport, they also have the right to renounce Russian citizenship on general grounds.

Consequences of Renouncing Russian Citizenship

Often, Russians who permanently reside in another state prefer not to renounce their Russian citizenship if the other country allows it. Losing Russian citizenship status means losing the ability to freely enter Russia. They would have to deal with visa processing, which can be troublesome. Many have relatives and friends in Russia. Moreover, without a Russian passport, it is not possible to purchase property or land in the border area. Therefore, we recommend weighing all the pros and cons before starting the process of renouncing Russian citizenship.

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