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Antigua and Barbuda: Citizenship law, including methods by which a person may obtain citizenship; whether or not dual citizenship is recognized and if so how it is acquired; process for renouncing citizenship and related documentation; grounds for revoking citizenship

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Publication Date 18 December 2007
Citation / Document Symbol ATG102639.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Antigua and Barbuda: Citizenship law, including methods by which a person may obtain citizenship; whether or not dual citizenship is recognized and if so how it is acquired; process for renouncing citizenship and related documentation; grounds for revoking citizenship, 18 December 2007, ATG102639.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47d65440c.html [accessed 2 September 2014]
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.

An official of the High Commission of Antigua and Barbuda in Washington, DC explained in a telephone interview with the Research Directorate on 24 October 2007 that the following pieces of legislation are relevant to citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda: The Antigua and Barbuda Constitutional Order 1981, The Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship Act and the Antigua and Barbuda Millennium Naturalization Act, 2004. The Official stated that the Constitution sets out general principals and the Citizenship Act addresses issues in more specific detail (Antigua and Barbuda 24 Oct. 2007). The Millennium Naturalization Act allows those who have been living in Antigua and Barbuda since 1 January 2000 to acquire citizenship (ibid. 2004).

Sections 112 to 114 of the Constitution outline who is entitled to become a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda (ibid. 1981). Citizenship can be acquired by birth, descent or naturalization (ibid.). In particular, the Constitution states that citizenship is to be granted to those who were born in Antigua (the term used before independence) on or before 31 October 1981 (ibid. Sec. 112a). Those born outside Antigua on or before 31 October 1981 also automatically obtained citizenship, if a parent or grandparent was a citizen (ibid., Sec. 112b).

Those who marry a citizen can register to become a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda (ibid.). A commonwealth citizen who had lived in Antigua for more than seven continuous years before 31 October 1981 could likewise register to become a citizen (ibid., Sec 114c).

On the subject of dual citizenship, Section 115 of the Constitution states:

1. A person, who on 1st November 1981, is a citizen or entitled to be registered as such and is also a citizen of some other country or entitled to be registered as such shall not solely on the ground that he is or becomes a citizen of that country, be –

a) deprived of his citizenship;

b) refused registration as a citizen; or

c) required to renounce his citizenship of that other country, by or under any law.

2. A person referred to in subsection (1) of this section shall not –

a. be refused a passport of Antigua and Barbuda or have such a passport withdrawn, cancelled, or impounded solely on the ground that he is in possession of a passport issued by some other country of which he is a citizen; or

b. be required to surrender or be prohibited from acquiring a passport issued by some other country of which he is a citizen before being issued with a passport of Antigua and Barbuda or as a condition of retaining such a passport. (ibid.)

The Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship Act states that citizens are entitled to renounce their citizenship by making a declaration (ibid. 19 Aug. 1982, Part 3, Sec. 7 (1)). Information on the nature of this declaration is was not available among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. The Citizenship Act also outlines, in detail, the grounds and procedures for revoking citizenship (ibid, Part 3, Sec. 8-11). Those convicted of treason or of a criminal offence that carries either the death penalty or a jail term of not less than seven years – and who have not received a free pardon – can have their citizenship revoked, subject to Part 3, Section 10 of the Citizenship Act (ibid., Sec. 9). Moreover, citizenship can be revoked if a citizen is convicted abroad of a criminal offence by a "competent court" and sentenced to more than 12 months in jail without obtaining a pardon (ibid., Part 3, Sec. 9 (1b)). Citizens who "by act or speech" demonstrate disloyalty to the country, assist enemies of the country during war or undertake activities harmful to the country's safety can also have their citizenship revoked (ibid., Part 3, Sec. 9 (1c-e)).

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.

References

Antigua and Barbuda. 24 October 2007. Embassy of Antigua and Barbuda, Washington, DC. Telephone interview with an official.
_____. 2004. Antigua and Barbuda Millennium Naturalization Act, 2004. [Accessed 24 Oct. 2007]
_____. 19 August 1982. The Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship Act. [Accessed 24 Oct. 2007]
_____. 1981. The Antigua and Barbuda Constitutional Order 1981. [Accessed 24 Oct. 2007]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites including: Government of Antigua and Barbuda, government of the United States.

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 http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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