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Committee debates draft law on Making Amendments and Addenda to Law on State Duties
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The proposed amendments pursue four main objectives: to define a single state duty rate for issuing a certificate of return to the RA. Currently, the state duty rates for issuing a certificate of return to the RA are defined for two main cases, when the applicant does not submit an identity document or when the person presents an unusable or expired document. In the past, the basis of such separation was the fact that in case the applicant did not submit any document confirming his identity, additional work was carried out to find out his identity. As a result of the introduction of the electronic consular system in the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is possible to check the person’s identity on the spot, immediately, and it is rarely necessary to make a request to receive the person’s passport card. This was stated by the RA Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Vahan Kostanyan during the regular sitting of the RA NA Standing Committee on State and Legal Affairs on September 4, in the context of the report on the draft on Making Amendments and Addenda to the Law on State Duties.

The Deputy Minister highlighted the fact that back in 2013, the RA Government established a fairly broad list of providing the RA return certificate free of charge, and in practice, the necessity to obtain and pay for the RA return certificate arises for those citizens who did not exchange their passports in time in accordance with the law and want to hurry back to Armenia.

The draft proposes to establish a single state fee rate for issuing a certificate of return to the RA, to repeal the rate established for the no longer existing registration of acts of civil residence function, to increase the rate of another consular service provided in practice instead, which is currently not defined, to establish the rates of the state duty intended for providing certain consular services through visual communication and to eliminate the privilege that no longer pursues a useful purpose and does not solve any problem.

“Approved by Resolution No. 821 of the Government of the Republic of Armenia dated December 25, 1998, the edition in effect from the adoption of the Charter of the Passport System of the Republic of Armenia until January 28, 2017 stipulated that all the citizens of the Republic of Armenia who have reached the age of 16, regardless of their place of residence, are required to have a passport of a citizen of the Republic of Armenia. At the same time, Article 26.3 of the Law on State Duty stipulated that the RA citizens who receive a passport for the first time after turning 16 are exempted from paying the state duty (1000 AMD in the territory of the Republic of Armenia). Analyzing the above-mentioned two norms, it becomes obvious that on the one hand, the executive set a mandatory norm of obtaining a passport for all citizens over 16 years of age, and on the other hand, the legislative body set a norm liberating from a small financial burden (1000 AMD) to fulfill this obligation. Moreover, in order to make a note of validity in foreign countries in the same passport, it is still necessary to pay a state fee of 1000 AMD for each year. Currently, only those citizens who are going to travel to a foreign country need to get an RA passport. If we try to imagine how much a citizen has to spend when traveling to even the nearest foreign country, then it becomes apparent that the 1000 AMD state tax privilege for obtaining a passport, and only for those who receive it for the first time after the age of 16, is no longer legal, administrative, does not have a social or any other rational component or justification,” the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs said.

According to the regulations, it will be possible to submit applications to receive a return certificate to the RA, to exchange a normal (non-biometric) passport, as well as to extend the validity period of the passport in foreign countries, without appearing in person at the diplomatic service of the RA, and to send and receive the documents by mail.

The deputy of the Civil Contract Faction Alkhas Ghazaryan made a related report. She called on her colleagues to endorse the draft.

“An attitude towards the state is manifested by obtaining and maintaining citizenship, the passport is one of the documents certifying citizenship, but not the only one,” the Chair of the RA NA Standing Committee on State and Legal Affairs Vladimir Vardanyan said this during the speeches and noted that the amendment will not provide for a significant reduction or increase in budget expenditures.

The Committee endorsed the draft law.

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