OREANDA-NEWS In the third and final reading, the State Duma adopted amendments to the law "On the procedure for Leaving the Russian Federation and entering the Russian Federation" with a single list of grounds for invalidating foreign passports and the reasons for their withdrawal from Russian citizens. The document was submitted by the government to the lower house of parliament on August 12, 2021 and adopted in the first reading on November 17 of the same year, the second reading took place on May 18, 2023.

The grounds for invalidating a document are its loss, change of full name, gender or other personal information, death of the owner, termination of Russian citizenship, unsuitability of the passport or its issue on forged or invalid documents. Diplomatic or service passports that have not been returned by their owners after a business trip will also be considered invalid.

A foreign passport, according to the amendments, is subject to withdrawal from a citizen of the Russian Federation if he enters into an employment contract with an organization that provides access to information of special importance or state secrets. Also, foreign passports will have to be deposited with the migration department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the MFC who are subject to conscription for military service or alternative civil service and have received a summons from the military enlistment office – within five working days from the date of informing them of the decision to restrict the right to leave the Russian Federation. The documents will be stored "until the expiration of the restriction of the right of a citizen of the Russian Federation to leave the Russian Federation or the expiration of their validity".

At the same time, there is no reference in the law to Article 15.1 of the law "On the Procedure for Leaving the Russian Federation and entering the Russian Federation" introduced on April 14, 2023, which refers to a ban on departure for citizens subject to conscription and who have received a summons from the military enlistment office, from the day when, in accordance with federal law, such a summons it is considered awarded. Thus, conscripts who have received a summons from the military enlistment office will not be required to hand over their passport before the draft commission makes a decision regarding them, according to the organization "Military Lawyers". Experts do not exclude that the documents will begin to be withdrawn from conscripts immediately after the meeting of the draft commission.

The passports of current and former FSB employees, in accordance with the amendments, must be kept in the special service until the expiration of the exit restriction or their validity period. Former FSB employees may be restricted in their right to leave the Russian Federation for up to five years after their dismissal. In addition, the amendments establish the procedure for the seizure of foreign passports from suspects or accused of criminal offenses, from those who are declared bankrupt, as well as from citizens who evade the fulfillment of obligations imposed by the court. Their documents are subject to seizure by the court, investigative bodies of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation or other law enforcement agencies.

Also, the adopted law assumes the maintenance of federal accounting – a database of not only issued, but also invalid passports, the press service of the State Duma reported. "Invalid passports will be subject to seizure, which can be challenged," the lower house of parliament said in a press release. The authorities that issued the passport will have the authority to change the status of a previously issued passport to an invalid one, if necessary, which will make the document accounting system more transparent, says Dmitry Gorbunov, partner of the law firm Rustam Kurmaev and Partners.

"It is also interesting that travel abroad to the CIS countries, where you can enter (depends on the country) with a Russian passport, may be restricted, i.e. an internal Russian passport may be invalidated, and this will also impose a restriction on a citizen whose right to leave is limited – this is done in order to exclude abuse of the right to leave"," he remarked.

"Restrictions for conscripts will work in a duplicate format: if for some reason the conscript was not restricted from traveling abroad after receiving the summons, then he will still not be able to leave the Russian Federation due to the invalidity of his passport," says Vadim Egulemov, managing partner of Key Consulting Group.