Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 July 2014, 08:28 GMT

Citizenship Act of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Publisher National Legislative Bodies
Author Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
Publication Date 31 July 1976
Reference TTO-110
Cite as Citizenship Act of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago [],  31 July 1976, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b4d028.html [accessed 22 July 2014]
Comments This is an unofficial consolidation with amendments up to 1981. This document includes only selected provisions.
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.
Date of entry into force:31 July 1976This legislation includes amendment up to and including: 1981

PRELIMINARY

2 - Interpretation

(1)In this Act -

"alien" means a person who is not a Commonwealth citizen, a British protected person or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland;

"British protected person" means a person who is a British protected person for the purposes of the British Nationality Act 1948 of the United Kingdom;

"certificate of naturalisation" means a certificate of naturalisation issued under this Act;

"the Commonwealth" and "Commonwealth country" means Trinidad and Tobago, any country to which section 18 of the Constitution applies and any dependency of any such country;

"Commonwealth citizen" means a citizen of any country to which section 18 of the Constitution applies, and includes a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago;

"the Constitution" means the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago set out in the Schedule of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Act;

"consulate of Trinidad and Tobago" means an office of a consular officer of the Government, or, where there is no such office such office as may be prescribed;

"foreign country" means a country other than the Republic of Ireland that is not part of the Commonwealth;

"the former Constitution" means the Trinidad and Tobago Constitution set out in the Second Schedule of the Trinidad and Tobago (Constitution) Order-in-Council 1962;

"minor" means a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years; "responsible parent" in relation to any child means the father but -

(a)where the father is dead; or

(b)where custody of the child has been awarded to the mother; or "(c)paternity of the child is not admitted or established in accordance with the Status of Children Act, 1981, the expression "responsible parent" means the mother; "service under the Government" means service, whether within or outside Trinidad and Tobago, under the Government or under an authority of the Government.

(2)For the purposes of this Act, a person shall be -

(a)of full age, if he attains the age of eighteen years; and

(b)of capacity, if he is not mentally ill, within the meaning of the Mental Health Act.

(3)A person born out of wedlock and legitimated by the subsequent marriage of his parents shall, as from the date of the marriage, be treated for the purposes of this Act as if he had been born legitimate.

(4)A person shall be deemed for the purposes of this Act to have been legitimated by the subsequent marriage of his parents if by the law of the place where his father was domiciled at the time of the marriage operated immediately or subsequently to legitimate him, and not otherwise.

(5)Where under this Act a person is required to renounce the citizenship of a country but either -

(a)under the law of that country, he is not permitted to do so; or

(b)he is unable to establish that he is a citizen of that country, he may make instead the prescribed declaration concerning that citizenship.

3 - References in existing laws to British subject to be construed as including references to Commonwealth citizen

A reference to a British subject in any law in force in Trinidad and Tobago on the commencement of this Act shall be construed so as to include a reference to a Commonwealth citizen.

Part I - ACQUISITION OF CITIZENSHIP

5 - Citizenship by descent

(1)The Minister shall cause a child born outside of Trinidad and Tobago of a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago by descent to be granted a certificate of citizenship of Trinidad and Tobago upon receipt of the prescribed application made -

(a)by the responsible parent or the guardian of such child before the child attains full age; or

(b)by the child within one year of his attaining his majority according to the law of the country of which he is a citizen or on his attaining full age.

(2)A person to whom a certificate of citizenship of Trinidad and Tobago is granted under subsection (1) is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago by descent for all the purposes of the law relating to citizenship save that nothing in subsection (1) applies to a child of a person who became a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago by reason of that subsection.

6 - Citizenship on adoption

Where under a law in force in Trinidad and Tobago relating to the adoption of children, an adoption order is made by a competent court in respect of a minor who is not a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, then, if the adopter, or in the case of a joint adoption the male adopter, is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago the minor shall become a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago as from the date of the order.

7 - Registration of Commonwealth citizens, citizens of the Republic of Ireland and British protected persons

(1)Subject to this section, the Minister may cause any person of full age and capacity to whom this section applies to be registered as a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago if that person makes the prescribed application for registration to the Minister and satisfies the Minister -

(a)that he is of good character;

(b)that he has an adequate knowledge of the English language and of the duties of a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago;

(c)that he has either resided in Trinidad and Tobago or has been in the service of the Government, or has had partly such residence and partly such service, throughout the period of five years, or such shorter period (not being less than twelve months) as the Minister may in the special circumstances of any particular case accept, immediately preceding the date of his application.

(2)A person to whom this section applies shall not be registered under this section unless he first renounces any other citizenship that he may possess and takes the oath of allegiance.

(3)This section applies to a Commonwealth citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, and to a British protected person.

9 - Marriage to citizen of Trinidad and Tobago

(3)Any woman who at the date of commencement of his Act is married to, or who after that date marries, a person who is or becomes a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago shall be entitled, upon making the prescribed application and upon taking the oath of allegiance, to be registered as a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago.

(4)A person who is a citizen of a country other than Trinidad and Tobago shall not be entitled to be registered as a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago under subsection (1), (2) or (3) unless he renounces his citizenship of that other country and registers the prescribed declaration of his intention concerning residence or employment.

10 - Acquisition of citizenship by a husband of a citizen

Without prejudice to the operation of sections 7 and 12, the husband of a citizen is entitled upon making the prescribed application and upon taking the oath of allegiance, to be registered as a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago if he satisfies the requirements of section 7 or 12, as the case may be (other than as to residence) and -

(a)in the case of a person to whom section 7 applies, he has either resided in Trinidad and Tobago or has been in the service of the Government, or has had partly such residence and partly such service throughout the period of five years immediately preceding the date of his application;

(b)in the case of a person to whom section 12 applies, he has resided in Trinidad and Tobago throughout the period of seven years immediately preceding the date of his application.

11 - Dual citizenship

(1)A citizen of Trinidad and Tobago shall cease to be such a citizen if he acquires the citizenship of another country by voluntary act other than marriage.

(2)A citizen of Trinidad and Tobago by birth or descent who ceases to be a citizen by reason of the voluntary acquisition of the citizenship of another country, to be granted a certificate of citizenship where that person makes the prescribed application, satisfies the Minister -

(a)that he is of good character;

(b)that he has adequate knowledge of the English language and of the duties of a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, renounces the citizenship of that other country and takes the oath of allegiance.

(3)Any person who ceases to be a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago under the former Constitution by reason of his failure to renounce his citizenship of another country shall, if the citizenship of that other country was acquired involuntarily or by marriage, be deemed not to have ceased to be a citizen by reason of such failure; and, unless he has since acquired citizenship of a foreign country by voluntary act other than marriage, or he has otherwise lost his citizenship under section 14, he shall continue to be a citizen under this Act.

12 - Naturalisation

(1)The Minister may grant a certificate of naturalisation to any alien of full age and capacity who makes the prescribed application therefor and satisfies the Minister -

(a)that he has the qualifications specified in section 7(1)(a) and (b);

(b)that he has resided in Trinidad and Tobago throughout the period of twelve months immediately preceding the date of his application;

(c)that during the seven years immediately preceding the said period of twelve months he has resided in Trinidad and Tobago or has had service under the Government, or has had partly such residence and partly such service, for periods amounting in the aggregate to not less than five years;

(2)The Minister may, in such cases as he thinks fit -

(a)allow a continuous period of twelve months ending not later than six months before the date of the application to be reckoned for the purpose of sub-section (1)(b) as if it had immediately preceded that date; and

(b)allow periods of residence or of service earlier than the seven years preceding the date of the application to be reckoned in computing the aggregate period mentioned in subsection (1)(c).

(3)An alien shall not be granted a certificate under this section unless he first renounces the citizenship of any other country which he may possess and takes the oath of allegiance.

13 - Effect of certificate of naturalisation

A person to whom a certificate of naturalisation has been granted shall become a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago by naturalisation as from the date of the certificate.

13A - Restrictions on registration and naturalization

A person making application under section 7, 11(2) or 12 shall not be registered as a citizen or granted a certificate of citizenship or of naturalisation unless he entered Trinidad and Tobago legally and is not a member of a prohibited class within the meaning of the Immigration Act, 1969.

Part 2 - LOSS OF CITIZENSHIP

14 - Deprivation of citizenship

(1)A citizen of Trinidad and Tobago who became such by registration or naturalisation shall cease to be a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago if he is deprived of that citizenship by an Order of the Minister made under this section.

(2)Subject to this section, the Minister may by Order deprive such citizen of his citizenship if he is satisfied that the registration or certificate of naturalisation was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material particular.

(3)Before making an order under this section the Minister shall give the person against whom the Order is proposed to be made notice in writing informing him of the ground on which it is proposed to be made and, if the Order is proposed to be made on any of the grounds specified in subsection (2), of his right to an inquiry under this section.

(4)Whenever it is proposed to make an Order on any of the grounds specified in subsection (2), the Minister shall, if the person against whom the Order is proposed to be made so requests, refer the case for inquiry and report to a committee appointed by him for the purpose.

(5)The powers, rights and privileges of a committee appointed under subsection (4) are the same as those conferred on a commission under the Commission of Enquiry Act and that Act shall, mutatis mutandis, apply in relation to an inquiry under this section and to a person summoned to give evidence at the inquiry.

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