Estonia does not plan to deport Ukrainian men with expired passports

There are no plans to deport Ukrainian men with expired passports from Estonia
There are no plans to deport Ukrainian men with expired passports from Estonia

Anneli Viks, adviser of Estonia's Ministry of Internal Affairs, has announced that Estonia will not compel Ukrainian citizens residing legally in the country, including conscription-age men who fled due to the war, to return to Ukraine, as reported by ERR.

"Mobilization is an issue that concerns the state and its citizens. The Ministry of Internal Affairs does not have a plan for the forced repatriation of citizens of Ukraine who legally reside in Estonia and fled because of the war, in particular, citizens of Ukraine who belong to the target group of a possible Ukrainian mobilization," said Viks.

Read also: Estonia proposes $130 billion annual plan to give Ukraine ‘what it needs to win’

As of April 26, 6,500 Ukrainian men aged 18-60 had a residence permit in Estonia based on temporary protection.

Viks said that if citizens of Ukraine of mobilization age can no longer exchange their expired passports for new ones at the Ukrainian embassy, they will lose the opportunity to travel.

However, according to her, the absence of a valid travel document does not limit the possibility of submitting an application for obtaining or extending a temporary residence permit (including on the basis of temporary protection).

Read also: Restrictions on consular services for Ukrainians in Germany will not affect their refugee status

"The current procedure also allows identification or confirmation of a person based on other evidence. However, a foreigner cannot apply for a visa without a valid travel document," the official said.

As of the end of April, about 31 thousand refugees had a valid residence permit based on temporary protection in Estonia.

Temporary suspension of consular services for Ukrainian men

Read also: EU withholds criticism on Ukraine's consular service ban for men

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry ordered all diplomatic institutions to temporarily stop providing services to men of conscription age, except for processing documents for returning to Ukraine, Ukrainian newspaper ZN.UA reported on April 22.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba confirmed this information on April 23. Later, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry published a clarification regarding the provision of consular services to men of conscription age, calling it a temporary step.

"After the law on mobilization enters into force on May 18, 2024, the process of accepting and considering applications for consular actions will continue taking into account the new requirements arising from the provisions of the law," the MFA explained.

Poland and Lithuania declared their intention to help Ukraine return conscripted men. The German government announced that Ukrainians will be able to stay in the country even with an expired passports, and the decision of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry to stop providing consular services to men abroad will not affect their refugee status.

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The Cabinet of Ministers issued a resolution prohibiting the issuance of documents to men aged 18 to 60 who are outside Ukraine through DP Document on April 24.

Adviser to the head of the Presidental Office Mykhailo Podolyak announced that there will no longer be remote issuance of documents to Ukrainians abroad on April 26.

The Passport service has issued a clarification that men of conscription age will no longer be able to obtain passports abroad, with some exceptions.

On the same day, Poland's Interior Minister Marcin Kerwinski said that Poland would continue to provide protection for refugees, including men without passports.

Read also: Ukraine hasn't asked Poland for help returning draft-age men — Ambassador

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