Our new GLOBALCIT website is under construction. In the meantime, please use the current website as before.

A comparative typology

The typology of modes of protectionagainst statelessness is an analytical grid that outlines, in a systematic way, categories of persons that are at risk of being or becoming stateless and outlines, with reference to the most important international standards, the obligation of states with regard to national law on the acquisition and loss of citizenship. The typology of modes of protection against statelessness follows the logic of a more general typology on the modes of acquisition of citizenship and modes of loss of citizenship, as developed by the EUDO Citizenship Observatory. 


Modes of protection against statelessness: typology 


IDTarget group
S01 Children born in a country who would otherwise be stateless
S02 Foundlings found in a country of unknown parentage
S03 Persons born to a citizen of a country (birth in that country)
S04 Persons born to a citizen of a country (birth abroad)
S05 Persons who are recognized refugees
S06 Stateless persons or persons with unclear citizenship who are not covered by any other mode of protection against statelessness
S07 Persons who voluntarily renounce the citizenship of their country
S08 Persons who reside outside the country of which they are a citizen
S09 Persons who render services to a foreign country
S10 Persons who render military service to a foreign country
S11 Persons who are disloyal to the country of which they are a citizen or whose conduct is seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of that country
S12 Persons who commit other (criminal) offences than those covered by S11
S13 Persons who have acquired citizenship by fraud
S14 Persons whose descent from a citizen is annulled or who are adopted by a citizen of another country
S15 Persons who change their civil status due to marriage with a citizen of another country or dissolution of a marriage with a person holding the same citizenship
S16 Persons whose spouse or registered partner loses citizenship of a country
S17 Children whose parents lose citizenship of a country 


The typology draws mainly, but not exclusively, on four major international conventions: the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child. A comprehensive list of relevant international norms is provided in the typology in the column ‘International standards’. To determine the relevantstandards under international law, the analysis not only refers to norms frominternational conventions, but also to norms from regional instruments that contain stricter rules with regard to protection against statelessness. In Europe, specifically the European Convention on Nationality is relevant. These international and regional norms are further operationalized for each respective mode of protection against statelessness (see the column ‘Assessment categories’ for each of the 17 tables).
For more information, see the comprehensive typology of modes of protection against statelessness [pdf].

The typology does not cover norms which, despite their strong normative value, do not impose a concrete obligation on states. (For example, Art. 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Art. 29(1) of the Arab Charter on Human Rights provide that every person has the right to a citizenship, but do not impose a concrete obligation on states.)


Database: sources

In order to develop the ‘Protection against statelessness database’ for 35 European countries, we have primarily relied on two sources. First, the Nationality Acts as available on the EUDO Citizenship website. The English translations of these acts generally fall into three categories: (1) translations commissioned by EUDO Citizenship; (2) translations available at Refworld (the website of UNHCR); and (3) translations available at legislationonline.org and the Council of Europe, among others.

Secondly, we make use of the already condensed information on national laws available in the EUDO Citizenship comparative databases on modes of acquisition of citizenship and on modes of loss of citizenship. In particular, we draw on information from the following EUDO Citizenship modes: A01, A03b, A03a, A22, A23, L01, L02, L03, L04, L07, L08, L09, L11, L12 and L13 (find more information on the typology of modes of acquisition and loss of citizenship [pdf]).

Thirdly, in addition to the wider literature on statelessness, we will use three recent comparative studies on citizenship law which are particularly relevant for the assessment of protection against statelessness:

G.R. de Groot (2011). Background Paper Preventing Statelessness among Children: Interpreting Articles 1-4 of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and Relevant International Human Rights Norms. Geneva: UNHCR.

Vink, M. and G.R. de Groot (2010). Birthright Citizenship: Trends and Regulations in Europe. Comparative Report, RSCAS/EUDO-CIT-Comp. 2010/8. EUDOCitizenship Observatory, pp. 35.

De Groot, G.R. andM. Vink (2010). Loss of Citizenship: Trends and Regulations in Europe. Comparative Report, RSCAS/EUDO-CIT-Comp. 2010/4. EUDOCitizenship Observatory, pp. 52.

With regard to the time frame, the current database covers regulations in force on 1 May 2012. While in the long run we aim to make the database more dynamic by covering regulations on the protection against statelessness since the 1980s, the current database is static and only covers the most recent situation.