Minister: Russian citizenship not an obstacle to applying for Estonian citizenship

  • 2024-01-23
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Interior Minister Lauri Laanemets said that the suspension of the acceptance of applications to renounce Russian citizenship in Russian embassies does not prevent Estonian residents from submitting an application to the Police and Border Guard Board for Estonian citizenship and they can live in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit until the change of citizenship.

Since October of last year, the Russian embassy in Estonia and the Russian embassies in other countries are no longer accepting applications for release from Russian citizenship.

"To our knowledge, the reason is that since a new citizenship law came into force in Russia at the end of October last year, they need to resolve technical nuances. Therefore, it can be assumed that this situation is temporary," Laanemets said.

According to the minister, the current situation does not mean that a person living in Estonia cannot apply for Estonian citizenship.

"The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) registers a person's application for Estonian citizenship as an application with deficiencies. Since it is now known that the problem has arisen in connection with Russia's activities and it does not depend on the applicant, the Estonian state will meet the people halfway in every way. The PPA will extend the procedure for obtaining Estonian citizenship for as long as necessary. For this, the applicant must contact the PPA and inform the PPA of the problem," Laanemets said.

At the same time, the minister emphasized that Estonia cannot release any person from the citizenship of another country.

"There are also no plans to change the basic principles of Estonian citizenship policy and start allowing dual citizenship. People can continue to live in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit. Estonia will continue to give them a residence permit card. This will also be done if they do not have a valid Russian passport. If they need to travel and do not have a valid Russian passport, the PPA can issue them a temporary travel document," Laanemets said.