UKRAINE, BELARUS, RUSSIA – Suspension of Overseas Passport Renewals

June 11, 2024

By: Clara Excler

Over the past 10 months, the suspension of overseas passport renewals has been used as a strategic tool by Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, making the immigration status of their affected nationals even more uncertain.

The situation of those nationals overseas remains extremely fluid. The details below form the basis of what Newland Chase has gathered at the time of writing. However, it should be noted that the information provided below is subject to sudden and unexpected changes.


Since the Russian conflict with Ukraine began in February 2022, more than 3 million Ukrainians have fled their country and are currently residing in Europe under the Temporary Protection Directive (2001/55/EC). After the most recent extension of this protected status, beneficiaries can currently apply for a renewal until March 2025. However, since April 2024, for Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60, the renewal of their immigration status has been jeopardised in some countries by not being allowed to renew their passports outside Ukraine.

Based on the mobilisation law and its regulations that came into force on May 18, 2024, all Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 are required to report to draft offices to update their military registration data within 60 days, in person or online. Until they have updated their status, their ability to renew their passport from abroad is suspended.

Options available to affected Ukrainian nationals

We recommend that employers in Ukraine, as well as employers of Ukrainian nationals overseas, identify those affected by the new regulations to ensure compliance. Affected Ukrainian men overseas will regain access to passport renewal and other consular services after the update of their military registration data.

Alternatively, those not able to comply with the new law, may in some countries still be able to renew their protected status based on other types of proof of identity, since a number of countries have accepted, and may continue to accept, alternative identification documents.


The publication of Decree No. 278 “On the Procedure for Issuing Documents and Performing Actions” in September 2023 has jeopardised the legal residence of approximately 300,000 Belarussian nationals residing in multiple EU Member States. The Decree states that Belarussian nationals overseas can no longer exchange or extend their passports at Belarus Embassies and Consulates abroad. Instead, they must personally attend the passport office in Belarus to do so. Individuals who have publicly expressed views against the current government could face imprisonment when returning to Belarus.

Options available to affected Belarussian nationals

Several countries are offering solutions to Belarussians who cannot safely return to Belarus, such as accepting expired passports for permit (renewal) applications and/or issuing a “foreigner’s passport”.


Russia could also implement the suspension of passport renewal for Russian nationals overseas who have been drafted. The rumour was first circulated in April 2024 and was denied by the Foreign Ministry at the time. However, another article was published on May 25, 2024 by a Latvian-based independent Russian newspaper. The article highlighted a legislative proposal put forward by the Foreign Ministry. Under the proposal, Consular Officials could decline to issue a new passport to any Russian national who has received a “summons from the military enlistment office”. It is not clear whether the rule would apply to reservists who have been called up as part of mobilisation.

Options available to affected Russian nationals

It is currently difficult to find confirmation of this possible legislation, and we recommend that Russian men who could be subject to the proposed restrictions apply for a 10-year passport before an eventual implementation, where they can do so.

In the absence of a valid passport, if Russian nationals overseas cannot renew their existing immigration status and if they do not qualify for a protected status, it will remain at the discretion of foreign countries to offer an alternative document to Russian nationals residing in their territories or to recognise their expired passport.

If you need assistance with the residence permit renewal of a Belarussian, Ukrainian or Russian national abroad and/or would like to know more about options in the absence of a valid passport for any of these nationalities, please contact Newland Chase for case specific advice.

This immigration update is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal or scenario-specific advice. Furthermore, it is important to note that immigration announcements are subject to sudden and unexpected changes. Readers are encouraged to reach out to Newland Chase for any case- or company-specific assessments.