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namibiaHome > Lawyers > Namibia > Constitution> citizenship law
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Citizenship Law

Article 4 - Acquisition and Loss of Citizenship
(1) The following persons shall be citizens of Namibia by birth:
  1. those born in Namibia before the date of Independence whose fathers or mothers would have been Namibian citizens at the time of the birth of such persons, if this Constitution had been in force at that time; and
  2. those born in Namibia before the date of Independence, who are not Namibian citizens under Sub-Article (a) hereof, and whose fathers or mothers were ordinarily resident in Namibia at the time of the birth of such persons: provided that their fathers or mothers were not then persons:
    • who were enjoying diplomatic immunity in Namibia under any law relating to diplomatic privileges; or
    • who were career representatives of another country; or
    • who were members of any police, military or security unit seconded for service within Namibia by the Government of another country: provided further that this Sub-Article shall not apply to persons claiming citizenship of Namibia by birth if such persons were ordinarily resident in Namibia at the date of Independence and had been so resident for a continuous period of not less than five (5) years prior to such date, or if the fathers or mothers of such persons claiming citizenship were ordinarily resident in Namibia at the date of the birth of such persons and had been so resident for a continuous period of not less than five (5) years prior to such date;
  3. those born in Namibia after the date of Independence whose fathers or mothers are Namibian citizens at the time of the birth of such persons;
  4. those born in Namibia after the date of Independence who do not qualify for citizenship under Sub-Article (c) hereof, and whose fathers or mothers are ordinarily resident in Namibia at the time of the birth of such persons: provided that their fathers or mothers are not then persons:
    • enjoying diplomatic immunity in Namibia under any law relating to diplomatic privileges; or
    • who are career representatives of another country; or
    • who are members of any police, military or security unit seconded for service within Namibia by the Government of another country; or
    • who are illegal immigrants:
    • provided further that Sub-Articles (aa), (bb), (cc) and (dd) hereof will not apply to children who would otherwise be stateless.
(2)The following persons shall be citizens of Namibia by descent:
  1. those who are not Namibian citizens under Sub-Article (1) hereof and whose fathers or mothers at the time of the birth of such persons are citizens of Namibia or whose fathers or mothers would have qualified for Namibian citizenship by birth under Sub-Article (1) hereof, if this Constitution had been in force at that time; and
  2. who comply with such requirements as to registration of citizenship as may be required by Act of Parliament: provided that nothing in this Constitution shall preclude Parliament from enacting legislation which requires the birth of such persons born after the date of Independence to be registered within a specific time either in Namibia or at an embassy, consulate or office of a trade representative of the Government of Namibia.
(3)The following persons shall be citizens of Namibia by marriage:
  1. those who are not Namibian citizens under Sub-Article (1) or (2) hereof and who:
    • in good faith marry a Namibian citizen or, prior to the coming into force of this Constitution, in good faith married a person who would have qualified for Namibian citizenship if this Constitution had been in force; and
    • subsequent to such marriage have ordinarily resided in Namibia as the spouse of such person for a period of not less than two (2) years; and
    • apply to become citizens of Namibia;
  2. for the purposes of this Sub-Article (and without derogating from any effect that it may have for any other purposes) a marriage by customary law shall be deemed to be a marriage: provided that nothing in this Constitution shall preclude Parliament from enacting legislation which defines the requirements which need to be satisfied for a marriage by customary law to be recognised as such for the purposes of this Sub-Article.
(4)Citizenship by registration may be claimed by persons who are not Namibian citizens under Sub-Articles (1), (2) or (3) hereof and who were ordinarily resident in Namibia at the date of Independence, and had been so resident for a continuous period of not less than five (5) years prior to such date: provided that application for Namibian citizenship under this Sub-Article is made within a period of twelve (12) months from the date of Independence, and prior to making such application, such persons renounce the citizenship of any other country of which they are citizens.
(5)Citizenship by naturalisation may be applied for by persons who are not Namibian citizens under Sub-Articles(1), (2), (3) or (4) hereof and who:
  1. are ordinarily resident in Namibia at the time when the application for naturalisation is made; and
  2. have been so resident in Namibia for a continuous period of not less than five (5) years (whether before or after the date of Independence); and
  3. satisfy any other criteria pertaining to health, morality, security or legality of residence as may be prescribed by law.
(6)Nothing contained herein shall preclude Parliament from authorizing by law the conferment of Namibian citizenship upon any fit and proper person by virtue of any special skill or experience or commitment to or services rendered to the Namibian nation either before or at any time after the date of Independence.
(7)Namibian citizenship shall be lost by persons who renounce their Namibian citizenship by voluntarily signing a formal declaration to that effect.
(8)Nothing in this Constitution shall preclude Parliament from enacting legislation providing for the loss of Namibian citizenship by persons who, after the date of Independence:
  1. have acquired the citizenship of any other country by any voluntary act; or
  2. have served or volunteered to serve in the armed or security forces of any other country without the written permission of the Namibian Government; or
  3. have taken up permanent residence in any other country and have absented themselves thereafter from Namibia for a period in excess of two (2) years without the written permission of the Namibian Government:      provided that no person who is a citizen of Namibia by birth or descent may be deprived of Namibian citizenship by such legislation.
(9)Parliament shall be entitled to make further laws not inconsistent with this Constitution regulating the acquisition or loss of Namibian citizenship.
 
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