The Estonian government has given its approval to a draft acts that would make it easier for children and the elderly to get Estonian citizenship.
According to the current law, the parents who have undetermined citizenship but who have been living in Estonia for at least five years can apply for a citizenship for their children, under 15-years-old, who were born in Estonia.
Once the proposal is passed by the Parliament, such children will receive Estonian citizenship at birth, without special request by the parents.
From the moment the legislation is passed, citizenship will also be retroactively and automatically given to all children under 15 who are currently of undetermined citizenship.
The parents have the right to waive the citizenship on behalf of their children within a year from that date.
The proposed change would also allow minors to have dual citizenship. However, they have to make a choice between the two by the time they turn 21, after which the dual citizenship right no longer applies.
Only those adults are allowed a dual citizenship who, for reasons beyond their control, are unable to renounce their previous citizenship. That is, for example, if renouncing is dangerous, impossible or unreasonably complicated.
The other act the government approved today stipulates that people born before January 1, 1930, will only have to take an oral Estonian test when applying for citizenship. The requirement of a written essay will no longer apply to them.
Minister of Interior Hanno Pevkur said that the number of people in this age group with undetermined citizenship is around 15,700; and those who hold citizenship of a country other than Estonia, 35,200.