MINSK, 28 May (BelTA) – Belarus will ease the procedure to acquire Belarusian citizenship under the principle of jus soli in line with the amendments to the law on citizenship of the Republic of Belarus, Head of the Citizenship and Migration Department of the Belarusian Internal Affairs Ministry Aleksei Begun told the media in Minsk on 28 May, BelTA has learned.
According to Aleksei Begun, the bill provides for simplifying the procedure for obtaining Belarusian citizenship under the principle of jus soli, or ‘the right of soil'. “A child born to foreign parents who are permanent residents of Belarus can acquire Belarusian citizenship using the simplified procedure,” he explained.
Aleksei Begun informed that on average more than 3,000 foreign nationals and stateless persons acquire Belarusian citizenship using the simplified procedure every year. “They include Russians, Ukrainians and nationals of the post-Soviet states and some distant countries,” he noted.
The bill was reviewed by the Standing Commission on Human Rights, National Relations and the Media of the House of Representatives. Aleksei Begun told the parliament about the main innovations.
BelTA reported earlier that foreigners who receive vocational education in the country will be entitled to use the simplified procedure for acquiring the Belarusian citizenship. The period during which a person must live continuously in Belarus is reduced from 7 to 5 years.
Those who have received higher education in Belarus and have been working in the country for at least three years will be able to use the preferential procedure of acquiring the citizenship. It is expected that the simplified procedure will apply to foreign nationals who have been married to a Belarusian for at least three years, have children - citizens of Belarus.
Another innovation is about the restoration of citizenship in a simplified manner of people those who have reached the age of 18 and who have returned to Belarus for permanent residence.
The amendments also stipulate that persons who participated in terrorist or other extremist activities that have inflicted serious harm on the interests of Belarus will be stripped of their Belarusian citizenship. This measure will apply only to those who have acquired citizenship not by birthright.
The list of grounds for refusing to terminate the Belarusian citizenship has also been expanded. The authors of the bill propose to extend this rule not only to defendants but also to suspects in criminal cases. According to the MP, this will eliminate situations when a person, being under investigation, applies for relinquishing the citizenship in order to avoid punishment.
The amendments will be given the first reading in the House of Representatives during its spring session.