Algerian nationality law
Algeria achieved independence from France in July 1962, and enacted the first Algerian nationality law in March 1963. The law granted citizenship only to Muslims, requiring that only those individuals whose father and paternal grandfather had Muslim personal status could become citizens of the new state. Before independence, Christian and Jewish inhabitants of Algeria during the French colonial period were considered French citizens, but Muslims were considered indigenous under a special set of laws known as Code de l'indigénat and were not eligible to French citizenship and in practice had an inferior legal status.
A second nationality law was enacted in 1970 which made no reference to religious status. However, the new law granted citizenship to children based on the existing nationality of the parents, resulting in the previous Muslim status of the parents being applicable to their offspring. The 1970 Nationality Code only permitted women to pass nationality to their children when the father was unknown or stateless and did not grant women the right to confer nationality to foreign spouses, though men maintained this right.
Algeria became a party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1996, subject to a reservation to CEDAW Article 9(2). Following advocacy by women's rights organizations demanding equal nationality rights for women, a new Nationality Code was enacted on 27 February 2005. Nationality by descent is now granted to a child whose father or mother is an Algerian national. The 2005 reforms grant women and men equal rights to pass nationality to their children and spouses. Algeria is the only state in the Arab world to grant equal nationality rights to women and men. The revised Code applies with retroactive effect. As a result, individuals born to Algerian mothers and foreign fathers before the reform are also considered nationals. Algeria subsequently lifted its reservation to CEDAW Article 9(2) in 2009.
Nationality by birth in the territory, rather than by descent, is only granted to children whose parents are unknown. (Article 7) Nationality by naturalisation is possible but the criteria are very vague and subject to ministerial discretion. (Articles 10, 11 and 26) Algeria does not permit dual citizenship. (Article 3)
- Algerian Nationality Code, Law no. 63-69 of March 27, 1963, section 34
- Law No. 1970-86, 15 December 1970, Nationality Law
- UNHCR: Removing Gender Discrimination from Nationality Laws
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