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Official website of the President of Russia

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Law on citizenship procedures for people recognised as Russian-speakers

April 21, 2014

Vladimir Putin signed Federal Law On Amendments to the Federal Law On Russian Federation Citizenship and Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation.

The federal law sets simplified procedures for granting Russian Federation citizenship to foreign citizens and stateless persons living on Russian territory and recognised as Russian-speakers.

People in this category can obtain Russian citizenship without first having to meet requirements concerning length of residency on Russian soil, Russian-language testing, and holding a residence permit, so long as they renounce their foreign citizenship. Foreign citizens may retain their foreign citizenship in cases where Russian Federation international treaties allow this, or if renunciation is impossible due to circumstances beyond the individual’s control.

Under the federal law, a special commission will decide following an interview if foreign citizens and stateless persons qualify as Russian-speakers. The commissions are established by the federal executive agency responsible for migration control and supervision and its branches in the regions.

People qualify as Russian-speakers if they know Russian and use it in their everyday home and cultural lives, and if they or their direct ancestors permanently lived in the Russian Federation or on territory that was part of the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union and falls within Russian Federation state borders.

In order to make it easier for people in this category to obtain Russian Federation citizenship, the law establishes simplified procedures for their entry into Russia and extension of temporary stay in Russia, and simplified procedures for obtaining residency permits.

April 21, 2014