Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2017, 15:16 GMT

Benin: Procedure for a Togolese man married to a Beninese woman to obtain Beninese citizenship

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 10 November 2004
Citation / Document Symbol BEN43090.FE
Reference 1
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Benin: Procedure for a Togolese man married to a Beninese woman to obtain Beninese citizenship, 10 November 2004, BEN43090.FE, available at: [accessed 18 November 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.

The Dahomean Nationality Code (Code de la nationalité dahoméenne) of September 1965 lists the criteria for obtaining Beninese citizenship. The word "Dahomean" comes from the word "Dahomey," the former name of the kingdom that is now Benin (United States 2 Nov. 2004). Article 35 of the Dahomean Nationality Code indicates that, in order to obtain Beninese citizenship, the applicant must:


1) have reached the age of majority prescribed in Article 5 above; 2) with the exceptions provided in infra Article 36, prove that he or she has maintained a habitual residence in Dahomey for a period of three years preceding the filing of the application; 3) be of good character and never have been sentenced to more than one year in prison for a common law offence, unerased by a pardon or an amnesty; 4) be of sound mind and body; 5) prove his or her assimilation into the Dahomean community, particularly that the person concerned has satisfactory knowledge of a Dahomean language or the official language (Republic of Dahomey Sept. 1965).

Article 36, however, indicated that [translation] "foreigners born in Dahomey or married to a Dahomean woman are exempt from the qualifying criteria stipulated in Article 35" (ibid.).

The director of the Civil and Penal Affairs Directorate, Department of Justice, Legislation and Human Rights in Benin provided the following information during a 10 November 2004 telephone interview.

He said that [translation] "it is possible to obtain citizenship by filiation." To obtain Beninese citizenship, a foreigner married to a Beninese woman must submit the following:


a handwritten request addressed to the Minister of Justice and countersigned by the wife of the person concerned; three notarized copies of his birth certificate; a notarized copy of his passport or identity card; proof of residence in Benin specifying an address; a No. 2 police report; a medical certificate from the country of origin and from Benin; a certificate of employment or any other similar document; a certificate of citizenship from his country of origin; 45,000 CFA francs.

The director also provided the following information during an earlier telephone interview (Benin 9 Nov. 2004). The application for citizenship can be made either in Canada or in Benin. The certificate of residence is therefore merely a formality. The man does not necessarily have to live in Benin, but he must have an address in Benin at which the government can contact him.

The director added that [translation] "before his application can be processed, the husband must undergo a character examination." The character examination is conducted by the police and gendarmerie, and serves to determine whether the person has had any problems with the law.

For more information on Beninese citizenship, consult BEN42554.E of 17 March 2004.

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.


Benin. 9 and 10 November 2004. Telephone interviews with the director of the Civil and Penal Affairs Directorate, Department of Justice, Legislation and Human Rights.

Republic of Dahomey (Benin). September 1965. Department of Justic and Legislation. Code de la nationalité dahoméenne.

United States. 2 November 2004. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The World Factbook. [Accessed 8 Nov. 2004]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Citizenship Laws of the World

Oral sources: Embassy of the Republic of Benin in Canada

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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