Zambia: Whether Zambia recognizes citizenship by birth; requirements and procedures to obtain citizenship (2014-May 2015)
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Publication Date||5 June 2015|
|Citation / Document Symbol||ZMB105187.E|
|Related Document(s)||Zambie : information indiquant si la Zambie reconnaît la citoyenneté de naissance; les exigences et la marche à suivre pour obtenir la citoyenneté (2014-mai 2015)|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Zambia: Whether Zambia recognizes citizenship by birth; requirements and procedures to obtain citizenship (2014-May 2015), 5 June 2015, ZMB105187.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/56d7ff014.html [accessed 17 January 2018]|
|Disclaimer||This 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.|
Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
1. Citizenship by Birth
Article 5 of Part II of the Constitution of Zambia Act provides that
5. [Children of citizens of Zambia]
A person born in or outside of Zambia after the commencement of this Constitution shall become a citizen of Zambia at the date of his birth if on that date, at least one of his parents is a citizen of Zambia. (Zambia 1996, Part II, Art. 5)
A copy of "Part II: Citizenship" of the Constitution of Zambia Act is attached to this Response (Attachment 1). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, an associate affiliated with Chibesakunda & Co., a law firm based in Zambia that is part of DLA Piper, a global business law firm with lawyers in the "Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East" (DLA Piper n.d.), also indicated that "Zambia does recognize citizenship by birth under its Constitution" and that an individual is entitled to Zambian citizenship by virtue of being born in the country, so long as one of their parents is a Zambian citizen (Associate 8 May 2015).
2. Citizenship by Registration
Article 6 of Part II of the Constitution of Zambia Act states that an individual is entitled to apply to be registered as a citizen provided they are 21 years of age, have been "ordinarily resident in Zambia for a continuous period of not less than ten years immediately preceding that person's application for registration," and is not declared to be "of unsound mind" (Zambia 1996, Part II, Art. 6). The Citizenship of Zambia Act provides that the Citizenship Board may grant an individual's application for registration as a citizen if the individual meets the following requirements:
(2)(a) is, at the date of his application, ordinarily resident in Zambia;
b. has, at the date of his application, been ordinarily resident in Zambia for the period of ten years immediately preceding that date;
c. is of good character;
d. has an adequate knowledge of the English language or any language commonly used by the indigenous inhabitants of Zambia which may be prescribed;
e. intends, after the granting of his application, to -
continue to reside in Zambia; or
enter or continue in the service of the Government;
f. is willing to renounce any citizenship which he may possess; and
g. has not been refused registration as a citizen within the period of five years immediately preceding his application. (ibid. 1994, Art. 16)
A copy of The Citizenship of Zambia Act is attached to this Response (Attachment 2). The Chibesakunda & Co. associate noted that citizenship "by registration" applies only to individuals over 21 years of age who have not previously had citizenship conferred upon them (Associate 8 May 2015).
The Constitution provides that applications for citizenship registration are made to the Citizenship Board and that the Board is also responsible for making official decisions regarding "depriving [a] person of his [Zambian] citizenship" on the grounds that a person is a citizen of another country, or that the person obtained their citizenship by fraud (Zambia 1996, Part II, Art. 7, 8). The Chibesakunda & Co. associate explained that the Citizenship Board is a board with the power to make decisions on applications for Zambian citizenship registration under the provisions of the Constitution, as well as on "any matter relating to citizenship in accordance with the provisions of [The Citizenship of Zambia Act]" (Associate 8 May 2015).
Article 12(2) of The Citizenship of Zambia Act provides that
12. (2) "[w]hen the Board is satisfied that any person not of full age has associations by way of descent residence, or otherwise with Zambia which would justify his registration as a citizen, the Board may cause such person to be registered as a citizen. (Zambia 1994, Art. 12(2))
The Chibesakunda & Co. associate noted that children under 21 years of age can also be registered as citizens by the Citizenship Board if an application is made on their behalf by a parent or guardian (Associate 8 May 2015).
Information on the procedures to apply for citizenship registration could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.
3. Dual Citizenship
Part II, Article 9 of the Constitution states that an individual ceases to be a citizen of Zambia if he or she "acquires the citizenship of a country other than Zambia by a voluntary act, other than marriage" or if he or she "does any act indicating that person's intention to adopt or make use of any other citizenship" (Zambia 1996, Part II, Art. 9). Other sources corroborate that Zambia does not recognize dual citizenship (UK n.d.; Zambian Eye 25 Sept. 2013; Associate 8 May 2015). The Zambian Eye, an independent news website based in Zambia that publishes Zambian and international news (Zambian Eye n.d.), states that "[t]he moment a Zambian acquires citizenship of another country then that person no longer becomes Zambian. The current constitution does not provide for one to re-acquire Zambian citizenship once relinquished" (ibid. 25 Sept. 2013).
Sources indicate that a certificate of citizenship registration, approved by the Citizenship Board of Zambia, can only take effect after an oath of allegiance has been sworn and a certificate of renunciation (renouncing citizenship from one's former country) has been produced (Associate 8 May 2015; Zambia 1994, Art. 16(7)).
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 sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Associate, Chibesakunda & Co., Lusaka. 8 May 2015. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.
DLA Piper. N.d. "About Us." [Accessed 8 May 2015]
United Kingdom (UK). N.d. Government of UK. "Zambia." [Accessed 4 June 2015]
Zambia. 1996. Constitution of Zambia Act. [Accessed 4 May 2015]
_____. 1994. The Citizenship of Zambia Act. [Accessed 4 May 2015]
Zambian Eye. 25 September 2013. Barbrah Musamba Chama Mumba."Observations: Dual Citizenship, Zambia's Unexplained Case and Its Unappreciated Benefits to Zambia." [Accessed 7 May 2015]
_____. N.d. "About Us." [Accessed 7 May 2015]
Additional Sources Consulted
Oral sources: The following were unable to provide information within the time constraints of this Response: High Commission of Zambia in Canada.
Attempts to contact the following were unsuccessful within the time constraints of this Response: Chaiwila and Chaiwila Advocates; Corpus Legal Practitioners; D.H. Kemp & Co. Law Firm; High Commission of Canada in Lusaka, Zambia; K.B.F. & Partners Law Firm; Musa Dudhia & Company Law Firm; Sikaulu Lungu Mupeso Law Firm; Zambia - Ministry of Home Affairs.
Internet sites, including: Al Jazeera; AllAfrica; Amnesty International; BBC; Canada - High Commission in Lusaka, Zambia, travel.gc.ca; ecoi.net; The Economist; Factiva; Freedom House; Human Rights Watch; Keesing Reference Systems; Lusaka Times; The New York Times; Reuters; US - Central Intelligence Agency, Department of State; Zambia - Department of Immigration, Ministry of Home Affairs; Zambian Watchdog.
1. Zambia. 1996. "Part II: Citizenship." Constitution of Zambia Act. [Accessed 4 May 2015]
2. Zambia. 1994. The Citizenship of Zambia Act. [Accessed 4 May 2015]