Law on Belarusian citizenship amended

What has changed?

Now a person can be deprived of citizenship even when he or she does not have citizenship of another state or guarantees of obtaining it. The changes do not apply to citizens of Belarus from birth, but only to those who have received it later. The changes will take effect in six months. On December 17, they were officially published on the National Legal Internet Portal of the Republic of Belarus.

Passport of a citizen of the Republic of Belarus. Photo:

A person can lose citizenship if he or she is found guilty of extremist activity or causing grievous harm to the interests of the state.

This includes the criminal articles for:

  • terrorism;
  • incitement of racial, national, religious or other social hostility;
  • ecocide;
  • mercenarism;
  • the creation of an illegal armed formation, riots;
  • treason to the state;
  • conspiracy to seize power, sabotage;
  • calls for action aimed at causing harm to national security;
  • creation and financing of an extremist group;
  • participation in hostilities on the territory of a foreign state.

For these crimes, according to the new version of the law, people can be deprived of citizenship even in cases where this was not previously allowed:

  • a suspect or accused in a criminal case or convicted in Belarus,
  • someone who has tax arrears and other unfulfilled obligations,
  • who has no other citizenship or guarantees of its acquisition.
  • The law gives the President of the country the right to deprive citizens of citizenship on these grounds.

Until now, citizenship could only be lost for entering the service of a foreign state (in the army, police, court, government) or at the request of the parents of a child who by birth acquired foreign citizenship along with the citizenship of Belarus.

It also became easier to obtain citizenship. For those wishing to obtain Belarusian citizenship, the period of residence was reduced from 7 to 5 years.

A foreigner from a family where the spouse and minor child are Belarusians can now apply for citizenship after three years of residence.