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Validity of identification documents, including international passports, under martial law

Today we often face questions regarding renewal of identification and permit documents, in particular concerning:
– the opportunity to travel abroad with an expired passport and return to Ukraine on the basis of such a passport;
– validity period of the passport of a citizen of Ukraine without a pasted photograph;
– validity period of the residence permit;
– validity period of the driver’s license.

In this regard, we would like to draw your attention to the following aspects that are relevant under martial law.

1. Foreign passport validity period

On March 1, 2022, Resolution No. 170 “Some issues of entering information into the passport of a citizen of Ukraine for traveling abroad” dd. February 28, 20221, adopted in connection with imposing martial law throughout Ukraine, came into force. The Resolution is valid for 1 year.

The main idea of the Resolution is that Ukrainians whose foreign passports expire before March 1, 2023 can apply to the territorial office of the State Migration Service or the Ukrainian embassies and consulates abroad and get a passport renewal for 5 years.

Besides, photos of children with their personal data are pasted into the passports of parents or legal representatives. This information certifies the identity of the children and confirms the citizenship of Ukraine.

Extension of the validity period of passports and pasting photos of children into the passports of parents or legal representatives is carried out by:
– territorial bodies;
– territorial subdivisions of the State Migration Service;
– embassies and consular offices of Ukraine.

This means that if a citizen and/or a child was evacuated from the territory of Ukraine and they did not have a foreign passport, or its validity expired, then upon arrival in the country of temporary residence, such a person must apply to the embassy or consulate of Ukraine abroad for confirmation/issuance of identification documents. Otherwise, a citizen without appropriate documents may experience difficulties when crossing borders, including when crossing the border of a foreign state when returning to Ukraine.

2. Validity of identification documents on the territory of Ukraine

On February 28, 2022, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted Resolution No. 165 “Some issues of the implementation of rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of individuals and legal entities”, which suspended provision of all administrative services during martial law and ordered to restore the suspended time terms within a month after termination or repeal of martial law on the territory of Ukraine.
These provisions do not directly relieve citizens and companies of the obligation to apply for administrative services if public services continue to operate. Such provisions only indicate that administrative services may be provided by public authorities for longer than usual.

At the same time, due to the necessity to protect the personal data of Ukrainians and suspension of the work of state registries, provision of some administrative services was completely suspended (the list of available administrative services is constantly updated on the websites of the Centers for the provision of administrative services).
It is worth noting that due to suspension of the work of the State Migration Service during the martial law, it was explained on the website of the Government Portal2 that in case of expiration of certain documents, their validity continues. Such documents include:
– a passport of a citizen of Ukraine, the term of which has expired;
– a passport of a citizen of Ukraine in the form of a book, if a photograph is not pasted into it in connection with achievement of 25 or 45 years;
– a temporary / permanent residence permit in Ukraine;
– certificate of a refugee / certificate of a person requiring additional protection.

3. Validity of driving licenses and vehicle registration certificates

All service centres of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ukraine have stopped their work. Registration, re-registration and deregistration of vehicles is currently not carried out.
This means that driving licenses and vehicle registration certificates that expired during martial law continue to be valid throughout Ukraine until the end of martial law.

We often come across the opinion that during martial law, taking into account the recognition of such as force majeure, all the documents are supposed to extend their validity automatically.
Please note that this is not quite the truth. As it was mentioned above, in order to extend the validity of a foreign passport you must apply to the authorized body (i.e., the extension does not take place automatically, except in cases when people have been evacuated – upon arrival in the country of temporary residence citizens must contact the embassies / consulates of Ukraine).
With regard to a number of documents (the list of which depends on the place and date of their execution on the territory of Ukraine as circumstances are constantly changing), their automatic extension for the period of martial law is not provided for at the legislative level. If validity of such documents has expired, and the person/company has not applied for their extension to the authorized bodies, then penalties may be applied to them, as in peacetime. In particular, for example, a foreign work permit still needs to be obtained / renewed within the time limits established by law and in the usual manner.
On the basis of the foregoing, if validity of documents/permits expires, we recommend to check regarding each particular document whether it is possible to renew it or whether it is renewed automatically.