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Ukraine is toughening visa rules for most Ukrainians living in Israel. Ukrainian citizens who left the country after 1991 to make Israel their permanent residence could face difficulty entering Ukraine now that the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s consulate service has decided to change how visas are issued to them.

The Ukrainians living in Israel have de facto dual citizenship, which is prohibited by Ukrainian law, and thus still require a visa to enter Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has proposed that Ukrainians who do not have a valid Ukrainian passport and are not registered at a consulate either renew their documents or request the status of “foreign Ukrainian,” which would allow several visits to Ukraine. Another option would be to renounce Ukrainian citizenship.

Sergey Pogoreltzev, the head of the Consulate of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, says unregistered citizens soon will be deprived of their right to obtain Ukrainian visas.

According to Josef Zissels, the longtime Vaad leader in Ukraine, most Ukrainian emigres failed to register with the Ukrainian Embassy in Israel and until now have visited Ukraine using Ukrainian passports to enter and exit Ukraine, and Israeli passports to enter and exit Israel instead of obtaining a visa. “I can find nothing good in this decision of the foreign ministry of Ukraine, which demands that visitors officially get Ukrainian passports at the Embassy of Ukraine,” Zissels told JTA, adding that “I only hope that a visa-free protocol between Ukraine and Israel will be introduced soon.”

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