Blog - Citizenship

Added on Sunday, 2012-05-20 22:19 CEST in category Moscow
Currently I live in Moscow with a permanent residence permit (PRP). Although it's a great improvement over the temporary residence permit (TRP) I had before (no more exit visa or work permit needed), there are still a few drawbacks compared to citizenship:
  • I'm not allowed to vote;
  • It's still quite hard to get a mortgage or loan;
  • I have to check in every year and "re-register" (prove sufficient means of income and prove I've been in the country for at least six months);
  • And if I don't I lose my residence permit.
Citizenship also comes with some small extras, e.g., I can:
  • serve as a civil servant, e.g. as a police officer or in the army (heh);
  • travel visa-free to countries like Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos :)

Because of all that, and because obtaining Russian citizenship would be the next and last logical step to integration in Russian society, I decided to go for it! :) (Btw., I will not need to serve in the army, I'm too old for that :)

I'm currently in the process of figuring everything out, and as of now there are three reasons why I can't apply yet:

Language test

You can only obtain Russian citizenship, when you've proven you can communicate in Russian on a basic level. I already do so with my Russian relatives, friends and colleagues on a daily basis, so that shouldn't be too hard. And indeed, last week, when passing the Russian language exam for citizenship at my wife's former university, things went rather smoothly.

The test consisted of 5 parts. Reading comprehension and listening were pretty standard (multiple choice questions), while the grammar part mainly focused on verb aspect, one of the peculiarities of Russian. I also had to write several letters, applying for a job, sending a friend a post card and requesting my child would be accepted to a specific kindergarten, and lastly I had to book train tickets and rent a flat over the phone.

I will know if I've passed the test somewhere this week.

Update 2012-05-23: and I passed! Hooray! :)

Three years of marriage

Also, in order to apply for citizenship using the short track, I need to have been married for three years. This'll be the case in two months already, so it's simply a matter of waiting.

The Dutch bill on the abolishment of double citizenship

But then there's the "Party for Freedom" (PVV in Dutch). One of the concessions the (now demissionary) government had to make for support of the nationalistic right-wing PVV was the bill on the abolishment of double citizenship. Currently, double citizenship is already not allowed by Dutch law, but there are a few exceptions. E.g., you can obtain the citizenship of your spouse without losing your Dutch citizenship (this is the exception I fall under).

However, according to the PVV, double citizenship leads to conflict of loyalty, so these exceptions have to go. There's been quite a lot of commotion among Dutch expats, who, if this bill passes, can no longer obtain any other citizenship without giving up their Dutch one. You can read up some more on the issue on (there're also a few articles in English). If you disagree with this bill, then please do sign the petition (Dutch only).

Now that the government has been dissolved, due to the PVV btw., the situation has become somewhat unclear. On the one hand, the governmental party CDA has already made it clear to not support this bill anymore, and so have several other opposition parties, meaning the chances of it passing have grown slimmer. But the bill itself is still there, though it's unclear when the voting will take place.

All that leaves me in a bit of a predicament. Suppose I hand in the application for Russian citizenship, then this law passes, and only then do I get granted Russian citizenship (the naturalisation process takes up to half a year). In that case the Dutch law states I will lose my Dutch citizenship, and there's nothing I can do about it. There's no transitionary period! So I either need to be sure the law would pass no earlier than half a year from me submitting the application, or I need to wait for the voting and hope it gets rejected.

I am of course in no particular hurry to obtain Russian citizenship, but there is a small chance this law will pass, and then I'll never be able to get it… For now I'll be closely following the political developments in the Netherlands, and hope everything'll work out…

Update 2012-07-06: the bill got amended, and no longer applies to those who already have Dutch citizenship! Hooray! :) (Huge thanks to the kind people from Nederlander Blijven, whose lobbying made this amendment possible!)