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Double happiness: Ukrainian celeb nears dual citizenship holy grail

Ukrainian-born Larisa Bakurova is on edge of achieving Taiwanese dual citizenship

Larisa Bakurova breastfeeding daughter (Image from 瑞莎 Larisa Facebook page)

Larisa Bakurova breastfeeding daughter (Image from 瑞莎 Larisa Facebook page)

Taipei (Taiwan News) -- Ukrainian born actress and model, Larisa Bakurova (瑞莎), was granted permission to apply for naturalization as a Taiwanese citizen, while apparently also being permitted to retain her Ukrainian citizenship in November by the Ministry of the Interior due to an obscure exception listed in the "Nationality Act."

Generally speaking, most foreign nationals are required by law to relinquish the citizenship of their birth before their Taiwanese citizenship has been approved, which in the past led to many people becoming stateless before receiving approval, or remaining so if their approval was denied. A recent amendment passed earlier this month now gives foreign nationals a one year grace period to relinquish their original citizenship before their Taiwanese citizenship is finalized.

Still, the requirement to renounce citizenship itself is a highly contentious issue as many other countries such as the United States do not have such a requirement, and thus Taiwanese who become naturalized American citizens can hold dual passports, while the opposite is not true.

In the case of Bakurova, she has been in a state of limbo for two years because the country of her birth, Ukraine, does not recognize Taiwan as a country nor does it allow for the renunciation of Ukrainian citizenship, and has refused to respond to her requests. After the Ministry of Foreign Affairs intervened on her behalf and tried to contact Ukrainian authorities without success, she qualified for Article 9 of the Nationality Act, which stipulates that she can gain an exception to relinquishing citizenship if providing a certificate of doing so is beyond her control:

A foreign national who applies for naturalization according to Article 3 to Article 7 shall provide the certification of his/her loss of previous nationality. But if he/she alleges he/she can’t obtain the certificate for causes not attributable to him/her and foreign affairs authorities investigate and determine that this is true, he/she does not need to provide the certificate.

Got all that? But wait there's more. Known for her roles in the Taiwanese drama They Kiss Again, and the Taiwanese film Don't Go Breaking My Heart, Bakurova married a Taiwanese man in 2015 and gave birth to a daughter on Dec. 21, 2016. Unfortunately, because she has yet to obtain a Taiwanese identification card, the name of the mother on her daughter's household registration document had to be left blank.

Double happiness: Ukrainian celeb nears dual citizenship holy grail

Application of Taiwanese citizenship via marriage to a Taiwanese national is a nine step process, with step 5 being the renunciation of original nationality, however if you're the rare person with multiple nationalities (who are you Jason Bourne?), you just have to give up one.

Because she was one of the few people to qualify for Article 9 of the Nationality Act, once she receives her Taiwanese citizenship, she will theoretically be able to retain her Ukrainian citizenship, unless the Ukrainian government decides to recognize her renunciation of citizenship at some future date.