Ghanaian nationality law

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The Citizenship Act, 2000
Coat of arms of Ghana.svg
Location of Ghana in Africa and on Earth
An Act to provide for acquisition and determination of Ghanaian citizenship.
Citation Act No. 591 of 2000
Enacted by Parliament of Ghana
Date assented to 30 December 2000
Amendments
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1971, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1972, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1978, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1979, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2000, and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2002
Summary
Along with the Constitution of Ghana, the Citizenship Act, 2000 is the exhaustive law relating to citizenship in Ghana.

Ghana amended its nationality law in 2000, to the 2000 Ghana Citizen Act Dual Citizenship Scheme, which came into effect from Friday, November 1, 2002 in accordance with the provisions of the Citizenship Act 2002.[1][2] Applicants eligible for dual citizenship are those who hold citizenship of any country in addition to the citizenship of Ghana. In these instances, all applicants are required by law to provide evidence of their Ghanaian nationality or their country of birth.[3] Its intention was to increase immigration of skilled labour, but the law has been criticised for not giving full citizens rights as native-born citizens.

Ghanaian nationality law[edit]

In 2000 Citizen Act Dual Citizenship Scheme with effect from Friday, November 1, 2002 in accordance with the provisions of the Citizenship Act 2002:[1][2]

Ineligible[edit]

People who have been convicted of criminal acts are ineligible for Ghanaian nationality.[4]

Criticism[edit]

The 2000 Citizen Act has been criticized for being inflexible and not allowing full citizenship rights to people of dual nationality.[5][6][7][8][9]

Citizenship by birth in or outside Ghana and by descent[edit]

Persons Born before 6/3/57

(1) A person born before 6 March 1957 is a citizen of Ghana by birth if—

  • (a) He/She was born in Ghana and at least one of his/her parents or grandparents was born in Ghana; or
  • (b) He/She was born outside Ghana and one of his/her parents was born in Ghana.[10]
Persons Born on or after 6/3/57 but before 22/8/69

(1) A person born on or after 6 March 1957 and before 22 August 1969 is a citizen of Ghana by birth if—

  • (a) He/She was born in or outside Ghana and either of his/her parents, and also one at least of his/her grandparents or great-grandparents, was born in Ghana; or
  • (b) In the case of a person born in Ghana neither of whose parents was born in Ghana, at least one of his/her grandparents was born in Ghana.[10]

(2) A person is not a citizen of Ghana for the purposes of subsection (1) of this section if at the time of his/her birth the parent, grandparent or great-grandparent through whom the citizenship is claimed has lost his/her citizenship of Ghana.[10]

(3) A person born on or after 6 March 1957 and before 22 August 1969 is a citizen of Ghana by birth if—

  • (a) He/She was born in Ghana and at the time of his/her birth either of his/her parents was a citizen of Ghana by registration or naturalisation; or
  • (b) He/She was born outside Ghana and at the time of his/her birth both of his/her parents were citizens of Ghana by registration or naturalisation.[10]
Persons Born on or after 22/8/69—Constitution 1969

A person is a citizen of Ghana by birth if he/she was born in or outside Ghana on or after 22 August 1969 and before 24 September 1979 and at the date of his birth either of his/her parents was a citizen of Ghana.[10]

Persons Born on or after 24/9/79—Constitution 1979

A person born on or after 24 September 1979 and before 7 January 1993 is a citizen of Ghana by birth if—

  • (a) He/She was born in Ghana and at the date of his/her birth either of his/her parents or one grandparent was a citizen of Ghana; or
  • (b) He/She was born outside Ghana and at the date of his/her birth either of his/her parents was a citizen of Ghana.[10]
Persons Born on or after 7/1/93—Constitution 1992

A person is a citizen of Ghana by birth if he/she was born on 7 January 1993 or born after that date in or outside Ghana at the date of his/her birth only if either of his/her parents or one grandparent was or is a citizen of Ghana.[10]

Adoption[edit]

A child of not more than sixteen years of age neither of whose parents is a citizen of Ghana who is adopted by a citizen of Ghana shall, by virtue of the adoption, be a citizen of Ghana.[10]

Citizenship by Registration[edit]

(1) A citizen of age and capacity of any approved country may upon an application, and with the approval of the President, be registered as a citizen of Ghana if he/she satisfies the President that—

  • (a) He/She is of good character;
  • (b) He/She is ordinarily resident in Ghana for 7 years;
  • (c) He/She has been so resident throughout the period of six years out of the seven years, before the application for naturalisation.[10]

(2) Where upon an application for registration after five years of marriage it appears to the Minister that the marriage had been entered into primarily for the purpose of obtaining the registration, the Minister shall request the applicant to establish that the marriage was entered into in good faith.[10]

Registration of Children[edit]

The President shall register as a citizen of Ghana a child of any person who becomes a citizen of Ghana by registration or naturalisation upon application of the parent or guardian of the child.[10]

Effective Date of Registration as Citizen[edit]

(1) A person registered under section 1 or 2 is a citizen by registration from the date stated on the certificate of registration.[10]

(2) The date stated on the certificate of registration shall be the date of the taking of the Ghana oath of allegiance.[10]

Naturalisation as a Ghanaian citizen[edit]

(1) With the approval of the President; a certificate of naturalisation may be granted to a person of age and capacity who satisfies the President that he/she is qualified under section 1 and 2 of this Act for naturalisation.[10]

(2) A person to whom a certificate of naturalisation is granted under subsection (1) shall take the oath of allegiance and become a citizen by naturalisation from the date on which the oath of allegiance is taken.[10]

Qualification for Naturalisation[edit]

(1) Subject to subsection (2) of this section, a person qualifies for naturalisation if—

  • (a) He/She has legally resided in Ghana throughout the period of 7 years with a valid residence permit and twelve months immediately preceding the date of the application for naturalisation;
  • (b) He/She must be HIV/AIDS Negative, preceding the date of the application for naturalisation;
  • (c) Six years of physical (actual) residence in Ghana during the seven years before the application for naturalisation. (This excludes the year of ordinary residence);
  • (d) He/She is of good character as attested to in writing by the President of Ghana;
  • (e) He/She has not been sentenced to any period of imprisonment in Ghana or anywhere for an offence recognised by law in Ghana;
  • (f) He/She is a person who has made or who is capable of making a substantial contribution to the progress or advancement in any area of national activity;
  • (g) He/She is a person who has been assimilated into the Ghanaian way of life or who can easily be so assimilated;
  • (h) He/She intends to reside permanently in Ghana in the event of a certificate being granted to him/her; and
  • (i) He/She possessed a valid residence permit on the date of his application for naturalisation.[10]

(2) The President, in other special circumstances as he thinks fit and upon the approval of the President, may modify, vary or waive any one of the qualifications for naturalisation set out in this section except the qualification specified in subsection 1 (b) and 1 (e) of this section.[10]

Gazette Publications[edit]

The President shall publish in the Gazette within three months of any application, registration or grant of a certificate of naturalisation, the names, particulars and other details of a person who—

  • (a) Applies to be registered as a citizen;
  • (b) Has been registered as a citizen;
  • (c) Applies for the grant of a certificate of naturalisation;
  • (d) Has been granted a certificate of naturalisation as a citizen.[10]

Dual Citizenship[edit]

(1) A citizen of Ghana may hold the citizenship of any other country in addition to his citizenship of Ghana.[10]

(2) Without prejudice to article 94(2)(a) of the Constitution, no citizen of Ghana shall qualify to be appointed as a holder of any office specified in this subsection if he/she holds the citizenship of any other country in addition to his/her citizenship of Ghana—

  • (a) Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court;
  • (b) Ambassador or High Commissioner;
  • (c) Secretary to the Cabinet;
  • (d) Chief of Defence Staff or any Service Chief;
  • (e) Inspector-General of Police;
  • (f) Commissioner, Custom, Excise and Preventive Service;
  • (g) Director of Immigration Service;
  • (h) Commissioner, Value Added Tax Service;
  • (i) Director-General, Prisons Service;
  • (j) Chief Fire Officer;
  • (k) Chief Director of a Ministry;
  • (l) the rank of a Colonel in the Army or its equivalent in the other security services; and
  • (m) any other public office that the President may by legislative instrument prescribe.[10]

(3) A citizen of Ghana who—

  • (a) Loses his/her Ghanaian citizenship as a result of the acquisition or possession of the citizenship of another country shall on the renunciation of his citizenship of that country become a citizen of Ghana;
  • (b) Acquires the citizenship of another country in addition to his/her Ghanaian citizenship shall notify in writing the acquisition of the additional citizenship to the President in such form and such manner as may be prescribed.[10]

(4) A citizen of Ghana who is also a citizen of any other country shall whilst in Ghana be subject to the laws of Ghana as any other citizen.[10]

(5) A citizen who has lost his/her citizenship as a result of the law in Ghana which prohibited the holding of dual citizenship by a Ghanaian may on an application to the President be issued with a certificate of citizenship which shall be effective from the date of issue.[10]

(6) A certificate issued under subsection (5) shall specify whether the citizenship is by birth, adoption, registration or naturalisation.[10]

Renunciation of Ghanaian Citizenship[edit]

(1) If any citizen of Ghana of age and capacity who is also a citizen of another country makes a declaration of renunciation of citizenship of Ghana, the Minister shall cause the declaration to be registered; and upon the registration, that person shall cease to be a citizen of Ghana.[10]

(2) Where the law of a country requires a person who marries a citizen of that country to renounce the citizenship of his/her own country by virtue of that marriage, a citizen of Ghana who is deprived of his/her citizenship of Ghana by virtue of that marriage shall, on the dissolution of that marriage, become a citizen of Ghana.[10]

Deprivation of Citizenship by naturalised Ghanaians[edit]

The President of Ghana and High Court of Ghana may on an application by the Attorney-General for the purpose, deprive a person who is a citizen of Ghana, otherwise than by birth or adoption of that citizenship on the ground—

  • (a) That the activities of that person are inimical to the security of the State or prejudicial to the public morality or the public interest; or
  • (b) That the citizenship was acquired by fraud, misrepresentation or any other improper or irregular practice.[10]

Certificate of Ghanaian Citizenship[edit]

The President may, on an application for naturalisation made by or on behalf of any person with respect to whose citizenship of Ghana a doubt exists under Part I of this Act, certify that the person is a citizen of Ghana and a certificate issued under this section shall be prima facie evidence that the person was such a citizen at the date indicated in the certificate, but without prejudice to any evidence that he/she was such a citizen at an earlier date.[10]

Evidence[edit]

(1) A document purporting to be a notice, certificate, order or declaration or an entry in a register, or a subscription to an oath of allegiance, given, granted or made under this Act shall be received in evidence.[10]

(2) The evidence may be given by the production of a certified true copy of the document by the person.[10]

(3) An entry in a register made under this Act shall be received as evidence of the matters stated in the entry.[10]

Offences[edit]

Any person who for the purpose of procuring anything to be done or not to be done under this Act makes any statement which he/she knows to be false in a material particular, or recklessly makes any statement which is false in a material particular, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than GH¢500,000 and not exceeding GH¢5 million or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months or to both.[10]

Regulations[edit]

The Minister may by legislative instrument make Regulations for—

  • (a) Procedures relating to use of travel documents by holders of dual citizenship;
  • (b) Form and manner of notification of acquisition of dual citizenship;
  • (c) Fees chargeable in respect of anything to be done under this Act; and
  • (d) Generally for giving full effect to the provisions of this Act.[10]

Interpretation[edit]

(1) In this Act unless the context otherwise requires—

“approved country” means any country declared by or under the authority of the President to be an approved country by a legislative instrument;

“child” means a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years;

“President” means the President of Ghana;

“Minister” means the Minister responsible for the Interior;

“prescribe” means prescribed by legislative instrument under this Act.[10]

(2) A reference in this Act to Ghana in relation to a birth or residence before 6 March 1957 shall be read as a reference to the territories comprised in Ghana on that date.[10]

(3) For the purposes of this Act, a person born aboard a registered ship or aircraft or aboard an unregistered ship or aircraft of the government of any country, shall be deemed to have been born in the place in which the ship or aircraft was registered or in that country.[10]

(4) For the purposes of this Act, a person is of age if he has attained the age of eighteen years and is of capacity if he is of sound mind.[10]

Repeal and Savings[edit]

(1) The Ghana Nationality Act, 1971 (Act 361) as amended by the—

  • (a) Ghana Nationality (Amendment) Decree, 1972 (N.R.C.D. 134);
  • (b) Ghana Nationality (Amendment) Decree, 1978 (S.M.C.D. 172); and
  • (c) Ghana Nationality (Amendment) Decree, 1979 (A.F.R.C.D. 42) is hereby repealed.[9][10]

(2) Notwithstanding the repeal in subsection (1) of this section any Regulations made under Act 361 or continued in force under that Act and in force immediately before the coming into force of this Act shall continue in force until amended or revoked under this Act.[9][10]

(3) The repeal of the enactments specified in subsection (1) does not affect the validity of any action taken under any of the enactments before the repeal.[9][10]

(4) Any person who immediately before the coming into force of this Act is a citizen by adoption, registration or naturalisation acquired validly under any enactment before the coming into force of this Act shall continue to hold the citizenship subject to the Constitution and the provisions of this Act.[9][10]

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Act 591 of the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana, The Citizenship Act, 2000
  2. ^ a b Tande, Dibussi. "Why liberalising nationality law is a win-win situation". The New Black Magazine. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  3. ^ Djaba, Georgette (2008-09-09). "Dual Citizenship: The Benefits of Dual Citizenship to the socio-economic and political development of Ghana". Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  4. ^ "Dual Citizenship – Part 2 –-Who Does Not Qualify?". Ghana Web. Retrieved 2012-03-18. 
  5. ^ "Ghana's Dual Citizenship Law: A Case For Re-Examinination?". Ghanaweb. Retrieved 2012-03-18. 
  6. ^ "Speech By The Minister For The Interior, Hon. (Dr.) Benjamin Kunbuor On Complaints About Dual Citizenship". Government of Ghana. Retrieved 2012-03-18. 
  7. ^ "Dual Citizenship: Nigeria Points the Way to a Solution for Ghana". Ghanaweb. Retrieved 2012-03-18. 
  8. ^ "Dual Citizenship- Part 4- Ghana’s Parliament Must Amend Law". The Statesman. Retrieved 2012-03-18. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "Ghana Laws - Citizenship Act 2000". ghanalegal.com. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao "Ghana Citizenship Act 2000". unhcr.org (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)). Retrieved 25 April 2012. 

External links[edit]