The SZRU activities are governed by the Constitution of Ukraine, by such Laws of Ukraine as “On the National Security Basis of Ukraine”, “On the Intelligence Bodies of Ukraine”, “On the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine”, “On Operative-Investigative Activities”, “On Counterintelligence Activities”, “On the Democratic Civilian Control over the Military  Establishment and State Law Enforcement Bodies”, “On Countering Terrorism”, as well as by other Laws of Ukraine and appropriate adopted Legal Acts.

The Law “On the Intelligence Bodies of Ukraine”, adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on March 22, 2001, has become the first legislative act that regulates the intelligence activities. It stipulated the legal principles of organization and activities of the intelligence bodies, their key tasks, principles, rights, methods and means of activities, monitoring and oversight procedures over their operation, including the legal status of the staff of these bodies and their social security benefits.

Adoption on December 1, 2005 by the Verkhovna Rada ofUkraineof the Law “On the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine” became a significant milestone for the formation of the SZRU as an independent authority. The SZRU was given a status as a state body directly subordinate to the President of Ukraine and controlled by the President and the Verkhovna Rada ofUkraine. Carrying out the legally prescribed missions of intelligence activities, it takes part in the implementation of the national policy in the sphere of national security. At the same time, by its status the SZRU is not a part of the central bodies of the executive branch of government and, since the time of its origin, has not belonged to the system of bodies headed by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Taking this into account that the SZRU is not involved in any administrative enforcement activity or in any public regulatory policy in the sphere of economic activity. Nor it issues any deeds defining the rights and responsibilities of subjects not residing in the sphere of its direction.

To-day, the intelligence bodies ofUkraine, unlike the prosecuting agencies, are divested of any law enforcement functions. Elements of the SZRU and the staff direct their efforts exclusively at guaranteeing the security of the country from external threats. They have no criminal procedural powers, so they are deprived of the right to institute any legal proceedings, to investigate cases or to apprehend, to arrest and to interrogate.

As prescribed by the current legislation of Ukraine, the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine, like other national intelligence bodies, while carrying out its tasks is entitled to establish on confidential bases cooperation with adult, legally capable individuals, to procure for the intelligence purposes the necessary information from all bodies of State Authority, businesses, organizations and institutions, to use documents to codify the belonging of employees, individual elements, premises and vehicles to the intelligence service, etc. To fulfil the tasks assigned to the SZRU by the law regarding collection of intelligence, ensuring secrecy of the intelligence activities, protecting its force, means, information systems and registration, as well as ensuring safety of its intelligence sources the SZRU uses methods and means of operative-investigative activities as prescribed by the Law of Ukraine “On Operative-Investigative Activities”. The SZRU is also duly authorized to take some counterintelligence measures amenably to the Law ofUkraine“On Counterintelligence Activities”.

In course of their duties, the staff of the SZRU is under a special protection of the State. Taking into account the specific activities of the intelligence bodies, the special legal status of intelligence agents and their social security are provided by the national legislation.

Adoption of laws governing the operation of intelligence and of other regulatory and legal acts has created conditions for functioning of the SZRU within the strictly circumscribed regulatory framework.

Закон України “Про розвідувальні органи України”

Закон України “Про Службу зовнішньої розвідки України”

Закон України “Про основи національної безпеки України”

Закон України “Про боротьбу з тероризмом”

Закон України “Про оперативно-розшукову діяльність”

Закон України “Про контррозвідувальну діяльність”

Закон України “Про демократичний цивільний контроль над Воєнною організацією і правоохоронними органами держави”

Указ Президента України “Про Службу зовнішньої розвідки України”

Указ Президента України “Про Стратегію національної безпеки України”

Указ Президента України “Про Положення про проходження військової служби військовослужбовцями Служби зовнішньої розвідки України”

Наказ Служби зовнішньої розвідки України від 11.03.2008 року № 55