Interior Ministry seeking amendment to address acquisition of dual citizenship

Mr. Martin Amidu - Interior Minister

The Interior Ministry on Thursday said it was seeking an amendment to address bottlenecks to acquiring dual citizenship by certain categories of Ghanaians.

Therefore, the Ministry has referred the new Article 8 of the 1992 Constitution, which came into force in January 1997, to the Attorney-General for possible amendment to the prospective law that denied dual nationality to some Ghanaians.

The issue has also been referred to the Constitution Review Committee for consideration.

Interior Minister Dr Benjamin Kunbuor, addressing a press conference on the issue in Accra, explained that under the old Article 8 of the Constitution, when one acquired the citizenship of any country other than marriage, that person ceased to be a citizen of Ghana.

He said even though the new law had now allowed for dual citizenship, those who acquired the citizenship of any other country other than marriage under the old law could not qualify under the new law, explaining that the new law was not retrospective in operation but prospective.

Dr Kunbuor said the new law – Article 8 – did not favour those under 18 years born outside the country, because it stated categorically that “A Citizen of Ghana may hold the citizenship of any other country in addition to his citizenship of Ghana”.

He explained that Article 8 required a person to be a citizen of Ghana before the person could acquire additional citizenship of another country to register as a dual citizen of Ghana.

This means a person born outside Ghana will be a Ghanaian citizen by descent and can concurrently hold the citizenship of another country by birth because that person was born in that country.

A Ghanaian by descent may also hold a Ghanaian passport by virtue of Article 6 (2) of the Constitution as a matter of right as a result of Constitution conferring a citizenship by descent.

That person cannot, however, claim dual nationality under section 16 (3) of the Constitution because his foreign citizenship is not in addition to his Ghanaian citizenship but concurrent with it.

Dr Kunbuor said the ambiguity in the constitutional provisions on dual citizenship in Article 8 had created a problem that had to be addressed for people to qualify for double nationalities.

He urged those who qualified to apply for dual citizenship to continue with the process, assuring them that their applications would be dealt with timeously, if
relevant documents were submitted for processing.

Source: GNA

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