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Citizenship News

EUDO CITIZENSHIP offers a selection of media reports and news summaries on significant legislative changes, court decisions, policy developments, political campaigns or other events concerning citizenship in Europe and beyond.

We welcome suggestions for news items by our users. Proposals including the full text or internet link should be sent to EUDO.Citizenship@eui.eu. The EUDO CITIZENSHIP team will selectively publish news based on their significance and information content. We will not publish items whose content appears to be biased or otherwise problematic.

We will publish news in any European language if an English summary of the content is available.

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Post-Brexit citizenship for British EU officials? Residency issues

Jonathan Faull, the former leader of the Commission’s Brexit task force, requested a ‘high level action’ by the Commission to facilitate the acquisition of dual nationality for British European Union (EU) officials in Belgium and other countries. 

British officials seeking Belgian citizenship need to have five years of legal residence, commonly evidenced by paying employment tax and health insurance, or having a national ID. However, employees of the EU do not pay taxes to the Belgian government directly and hence have no tax residency. They also have special EU IDs, hence a further hurdle in proving residency.

Read full text at Politico.

For details of current and past citizenship legislation in Belgium, check out our country profile pages.

UK Supreme Court: denial of automatic citizenship at birth to children born out of wedlock is discriminatory

In R (Johnson) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] UKSC 56, the UK Supreme Court unanimously decided that deporting an individual who would have had British citizenship but for the marital status of his or her parents is a violation of article 8 of ECHR (right to respect for private and family life)in conjunction with article 14 of that convention (general  prohibition of discrimination).

The case concerned Mr Johnson, born in Jamaica in 1985 to a British father and a Jamaican mother who were not legally married. The absence of marriage did not allow Mr Johnson to automatically obtain British citizenship through his father. In 1992, Mr Johnson was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK, but has never formally registered as a British citizen. 

Mr Johnson was convicted of manslaughter in 2003 and sentenced to nine years in prison. Being a foreign national sentenced to over one year in prison, Mr Johnson was bound to be deported under the 2007 Borders Act, unless this would have breached his rights under the ECHR. The Supreme Court ruling is the judgment of the highest instance in this case.


For more details, read Aidan Wills's UKSC blog and Colin Yeo's analysis at Freemovement.org .

See our previous news item on cases of children in the UK who were not automatically granted citizenship at birth.

For details of current and past citizenship legislation in the UK, check out our country profile pages.

High costs prevent children born in the UK to foreign nationals from registering as citizens

Legal Voice reports a case of Emmy, a 19 year-old woman, who was born in the UK to foreign nationals without an indefinite leave to remain. Under Section 1(4) of the 1981 British Nationality Act, Emmy has had the right to register after having spent 10 first years of her life in the UK.

However, Emmy has not yet been able to register as British because she cannot  afford the Home Office (HO) fee. As Emmy is now an adult, that fee is 1,121 GBP (including the cost of 80 GBP for the citizenship ceremony). If she were still a child, the fee would be 936 GBP. 

Without British citizenship, Emmy is subject to immigration controls upon entry in the UK and her entitlement to stay is dependent on the permission of the HO. 

Read the full text here.

Read Colin Yeo's analysis at Freemovement.org here.

For details of current and past citizenship legislation in the UK, check out our country profile pages.

Disenfranchisement of circular migrants in India

India’s internal circular migrants are excluded from political representation and social protection, argues Indrajit Roy for Open Democracy.The number of internal migrants in India ranges between 30 and 100 million. They commonly work in guarded or fenced worksites away from their villages. Roy maintains that such migrants are unable to cast their vote either in their villages of origin or in the towns of their destination. Hence they remain disenfranchised, marginalised and excluded from political processes. 

Read the full text at Open Democracy.


Stateless in Kenya demand citizenship

Over one thousand stateless people in Kenya are marching to the country’s capital in the attempt to secure citizenship. They are seeking a meeting with the country’s president Uhuru Kenyatta to discuss matters related to their status.  

The stateless people in Kenya include the Makonde, originally from Mozambique; Wapemba, originating from Tanzania; and Warundi from Burundi. Most of them fled the fled civil wars in their countries in the 1950s and the 1960s, but some are descendants from migrants who arrived in Kenya during the colonial era. 

A part of Kenya’s stateless applied for South African citizenship in 2015, which disqualified them from their claim to the Kenyan one. 


Read more in Standard.

For an overview of citizenship regulation in Africa, read Bronwen Manby’s comparative study on citizenship law in Africa.