Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2017, 16:28 GMT

Zambia: The rights that holders of an Aliens Registration Card have; under what conditions these cards remain valid; date of expiry for the card

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Publication Date 4 March 2008
Citation / Document Symbol ZMB102720.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Zambia: The rights that holders of an Aliens Registration Card have; under what conditions these cards remain valid; date of expiry for the card, 4 March 2008, ZMB102720.E, available at: [accessed 15 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Information on the "Aliens Registration Card" and the rights it confers or the validity and expiry dates associated with it could not be found among the sources consulted within the time constraints of this Response. The following information may be of interest.

The Department of Immigration website of the Republic of Zambia refers to a document called an Entry Permit which confers the right of permanent residence in Zambia to the holder (Zambia n.d.). The Entry Permit allows for employment while in Zambia but does not permit participation in local politics (ibid.).

A document published by the International Migration Institute at the University of Oxford refers to three National Registration Cards issued by the government: green for Zambian citizens, pink for Commonwealth citizens and blue for aliens (Bakewell 2007, 6). According to the document, all aliens seeking to become naturalized citizens must acquire a blue National Registration Card (ibid.) and fulfill a ten year residency requirement before applying for citizenship (ibid., 5; see also Zambia 4 Mar. 1977, Part IV Art. 16b; Zambia 1996, Part II Art. 6.1b). All Zambian citizens must acquire a green National Registration Card upon reaching the age of sixteen years (Bakewell 2007, 6). A draft constitution published on the government of Zambia website indicates a requisite residency period of twelve years for the acquisition of citizenship by naturalization (Zambia 12 Jan. 2006, Part 5 Art. 22). Information on the current status of the Draft Constitution could not be found within the time constraints of this Response.

During a 27 November 2007 debate in the Zambian Parliament, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs commented that the current National Registration Card was in need of updating, as it was introduced in 1965 and is subject to fraud (Zambia 27 Nov. 2007). The Lieutenant-General advised that a new National Registration Card would be introduced in the "course of next year" with the allocation of funds in the next budget (ibid.).

Citizenship is denied to individuals with refugee status (Bakewell 2007, 13) and the 12 January 2006 draft constitution indicates that this will remain unchanged (Zambia 12 Jan. 2006, Part 5 Art. 20.3). Under the Refugees (Control) Act, refugees must register with authorities and obtain a refugee identity card, and freedom of movement is restricted (Zambia 4 Sept. 1970, Sec. 5 and 6; UN Apr. 2006). Failure to register is considered an offence (Zambia 4 Sept. 1970, Sec. 6) and those who do not provide appropriate registration or travel documents upon demand are liable to detention and possible deportation (Field Apr. 2006, 254). The author of the University of Oxford document maintains that the government perceives the right to nationality as an "honour" which includes "the right of residence, participation in elections, formal employment and government services," and that a "deep scepticism" exists with respect to refugees "changing their allegiance from their nation of origin to Zambia" (Bakewell 2007, 14).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Bakewell, Oliver. 2007. The Meaning and Use of Identity Papers: Handheld and Heartfelt Nationality in the Borderlands of North-West Zambia. (International Migration Institute, University of Oxford) [Accessed 22 Feb. 2008]

Field, Ophelia. April 2006. Alternatives to Detention of Asylum Seekers and Refugees. (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR [POLAS/2006/03]) [Accessed 22 Feb. 2008]

Zambia. 27 November 2007. Daily Parliamentary Debates for the First Session of the Tenth Assembly. ", National Registration Card Change." [Accessed 27 Feb. 2008]
_____. 12 January 2006. "Draft Constitution." The Constitution of Zambia Bill, 200- [Accessed 27 Feb. 2008]
_____. 1996. Constitution of the Republic of Zambia (as amended by Act No. 18 of 1996) [Accessed 27 Feb. 2008]
_____. 4 March 1977. The Citizenship of Zambia Act. [Accessed 22 Feb. 2008]
_____. 4 September 1970. The Refugees (Control) Act. [Accessed 27 Feb. 2008]
_____. N.d. Department of Immigration. "Entry Permit." [Accessed 22 Feb. 2008]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Attempts to contact representatives at the High Commission for the Republic of Zambia in Ottawa were unsuccessful. A research officer at the University of Oxford in England was unable to provide information within the time constraints of this Response.

Publications: Iata Netherlands Data Publications.

Internet sites, including: Keesing Document Checker, Law Library of Congress, Zambia National Tourist Board.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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