How To Acquire Citizenship In Uganda

What Is Acquire Citizenship?

Acquisition of citizenship refers to the ability of individuals born abroad to achieve Uganda citizenship because at least one of their parents is a Uganda. citizen. If the child meets the complex requirements, the child “acquires” citizenship through a parent even if the child was born abroad.

How To Acquire Citizenship In Uganda

Types of citizenship and procedures for acquiring citizenship

According to Article 9 of the Constitution of Uganda 1995 (the ‘Constitution’) all persons who, at the commencement of the Constitution, were citizens of Uganda, qualify as citizens.

The Constitution provides for three main types of citizenship: birth, registration, and naturalisation under Articles 10, 11, 12 and 13 (later duo citizenship under Article 15 as amended in 2005).

Citizenship by birth

Citizenship by birth is defined under Article 11 of Uganda’s Constitution, and section 12 of the Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control Act (the ‘Act’).

Three categories of persons qualify to be citizens of Uganda by birth.

The first are persons born in Uganda but one of their parents or grandparents is or was a member of any of the indigenous communities existing and residing within the borders of Uganda as at the first day of February 1926, and set out in the Third Schedule and there are 56 in number (Article 10(a)).

The second category comprises those persons born in or outside Uganda but one of their parents or grandparents was, at the time of birth of that person, a citizen of Uganda by birth.

The third category is orphans and adopted children under Article 11.

These include a child of not more than five years of age found in Uganda, whose parents are not known. Such a child is presumed to be a citizen of Uganda by birth.

Second, a child under the age of 18 years neither of whose parents is a citizen of Uganda, who is adopted by a citizen of Uganda is allowed to be a citizen following a registration application.

The Constitution and the Act also provide for citizenship of a parent dying before the birth of a person. Under Article 19, the citizenship of the parent at the time of the parent’s death is considered as the citizenship to be acquired.

Even where the death occurred before the 1995 Constitution came into force, the citizenship of the parent is also taken to be his or her citizenship at the time of his or her death.

Procedure for acquiring citizenship by birth

The procedures under this category focus mainly on adoption.

Section 13(3) of the Act provides the procedure for registration as a citizen in the case of an adopted child under 18 years by a citizen to be prescribed by regulations.

Therefore, the 2009 Uganda Citizenship Regulations (the ‘Regulations’) provide for the notification of citizenship of an adopted child.

The Regulations require a citizen who has adopted a child under the age of 18, neither of whose parents is a citizen of Uganda, to notify the Board of the adoption and this notification may be made whether the adoption order for the foreign child was made in Uganda or elsewhere.

This notification under the Regulations is described as Form A in the Second Schedule.

Under regulation 3(3), the completed form should contain a photograph of the child, their name and that of the adopter. It must state the child’s place and date of birth and their parents, their nationality and the nature of the child’s citizenship, as well as particulars of the adoption order, among others.

Where the adopted child is 16 years and they take the oath of allegiance as prescribed in the Third Schedule to the Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control Act, the adoptive parents are required to be present at the oath-taking ceremony unless excused by the Board or by a person authorised by the Board. An adopted child under 16 is not required to take the oath of allegiance.

The date of acquisition of citizenship by the adopted child shall be the date of the issue of the certificate of registration under section 15 of the Act.

Citizenship is by registration

The second category of citizenship is by registration.

This has five means through which citizenship can be attained under Article 12 of the Constitution. The first is for every person born in Uganda, who at the time of their birth, their parents or grandparents had no diplomatic status in Uganda or had a refugee status in Uganda.

Citizenship by registration also applies to those persons who have continuously lived in Uganda since 9 October 1962, which is the date when Uganda gained independence. These shall, on application, be entitled to be registered as a citizen of Uganda.

A number of other persons are also allowed to be citizens on application.

These include: marriage, voluntary migration and based on period of residence in Uganda (Article 12(2)). Regarding marriage, every person married to a Uganda citizen on proof of a legal and subsisting marriage of three years is allowed to become a citizen following application.

This also applies to a person who was married to a citizen of Uganda who, but for his or her death, would have continued to be a citizen of Uganda under the Constitution (Article 12(3)).

Furthermore where a person has been registered as a citizen of Uganda under Article 12(2)(a), and the marriage by virtue of which that person was registered is annulled or otherwise declared void by a court or tribunal of competent jurisdiction, or dissolved, that person shall, unless he or she renounces that citizenship, continue to be a citizen of Uganda (Article 12(4)).

In relation to migration, every person who has legally and voluntarily migrated to and has been living in Uganda for at least ten years and every person who, on the commencement of the 1995 Constitution, had lived in Uganda for at least 20 years.

The citizenship by registration can however also be lost under Article 14 on four grounds, namely: voluntary acquisition of the citizenship of another country; voluntary service in the armed forces or security forces of a country hostile to, or at war with Uganda; acquisition of Uganda citizenship by fraud, deceit, bribery, or having made intentional and deliberate false statements in his or her application for citizenship; or espionage against Uganda.

Procedure of acquiring citizenship by registration

Citizenship by registration in Uganda is acquired through completing an application which is submitted to the Secretary to the Board which issues a certificate of registration as citizenship if satisfied that the prescribed conditions have been met.

Regulation 5(1) of the Regulations provides that an application for citizenship by registration under section 14, chapter 66 of the Act shall be, described as Forms B and C of the Second Schedule.

Under the stated forms the applicant is required to sign or mark the form but where the applicant is a child, the application shall be signed or marked by the child’s parents or guardians.

The applicant under the form states that they are ordinarily resident in Uganda and have been so for a period of at least 20 years, describe their good character and adequate knowledge of English/the prescribed vernacular language.

The applicant is also required to specify particulars such as their date and place of birth, and evidence of citizenship of a Commonwealth country, or the Republic of Ireland or a declared African state. In addition, they must also provide evidence of previous residence in Uganda, criminal records, and a certificate of sponsors.

It should be noted that the regulations specify who can be a sponsor and this includes advocates amongst others. Lastly the applicant must also make a declaration.

Citizenship by naturalisation

The third category is citizenship by naturalisation.

Procedure of acquiring citizenship by naturalisation

Similar to citizenship by registration, citizenship by naturalisation is also acquired by making application under section 16 of the Act, described as Form D, which also is submitted to the Secretary to the Board.

If satisfied that the conditions under the Act have been met, the Board will issue a certificate naturalisation.

Under the application form the applicant states that they have resided in Uganda for a continuous period of 24 months immediately prior to the date of application and that they have resided in Uganda for periods amounting to not less than 20 years.

The applicant also describes, among other things, their character, financial solvency, knowledge of English and a local language and their intention to continue to reside in Uganda if application is granted.

The applicant is further required to state their date and place of birth, nationality of birth, nationality at time of application (if different), their address in Uganda, occupation, marital status, parents’ full names and address(es), date of any previous application for naturalisation and changes in original name and nationality changes since birth. If the applicant has no nationality they are required to indicate circumstances in which they lost their previous nationality. The applicant is also required to give details of foreign countries visited during past eight years and particulars of any criminal proceedings against them at any time and in any country. They are further required to indicate their marital status indicating the date and place of marriage and partners particulars, even when partner is deceased. In the application they should also provide particulars of legitimate children including name of each child, their date and place of birth, where resident at time of application, and any periods of previous residence in Uganda from, address, years and months.

They too provide a certificate from the sponsors whereby a good citizen of Uganda certifies that the applicant is a person known to the sponsor and the applicant further makes a declaration.

Dual citizenship

The 1995 Constitution as amended in 2005 allows both Ugandans and non-Ugandans to acquire dual citizenship.

The Act amended  in 2009 defines dual citizenship under section 2 as ‘the simultaneous possession of two citizenships, one of which is Ugandan’.

Under Article 15(6) of the Constitution and section 19 of the Act, a citizen of Uganda of 18 years and above, who voluntarily acquires the citizenship of a country other than Uganda, may retain the citizenship of Uganda.

Further, a person who is not a citizen of Uganda may, on acquiring the citizenship of Uganda, subject to the Constitution and any law enacted by parliament, retain the citizenship of another country.

Under section 19D of the Act, prohibitions for persons with dual citizenship to hold certain offices of state is prescribed.

These include among others, the presidency and vice presidency, prime minister, cabinet and other ministers, inspector general and the deputy inspector general of government, security-related offices and membership of the National Citizenship and Immigration Board.

Procedure for acquiring dual citizenship

Under section 19C, a person applying for dual citizenship shall, before being registered, satisfy the Board that they: are not engaged in espionage against Uganda; have not served in the voluntary service of the armed forces or security forces of a country hostile to or at war with Uganda; and have not attempted to acquire Ugandan citizenship by fraud, deceit or bribery or by intentional or otherwise deliberate false statements in an application for citizenship.

They are further required to show that they have: no criminal record; dual citizenship is permitted by their country of origin; are over 18 years of age at application, and of sound mind; do not hold more than one citizenship; and that they are not an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent.

Under Section 19A, a citizen of Uganda who desires to acquire the citizenship of another country while retaining their citizenship of Uganda is required to give notice in writing to the Board of their application for the citizenship of another country.

The notice is in the prescribed form accompanied by a statutory declaration stating that they are a citizen of Uganda only.

Where the person is a citizen of Uganda and another country they make a declaration of renunciation of the citizenship of the third country; provide evidence that the applicant is or over 18 years of age and a copy of the application for citizenship of that other country and any other relevant information.

Under Section 19B, a non-citizen of Uganda desiring to acquire citizenship while retaining the citizenship of another country is required to satisfy the Board that: the laws of their country of origin permit them to hold dual citizenship; are not a subject of a deportation order from Uganda territory or any other country; and not under a sentence of death or imprisonment exceeding nine months imposed by a competent court and without the option of a fine.

The applicant is also required to satisfy a number of other conditions to the board namely: residence in Uganda for not less than ten years; having adequate knowledge of any prescribed vernacular language in Uganda or of English or Swahili; have not been a refugee or a diplomat; possesses rare skills and capacity for technology transfer; willing to take the oath of allegiance and they must be a person of sound mind.

Registration is through application as a dual citizen under section 19D of the Act and Form AA in the Third Schedule, and regulation 10 of the Act as amended in 2009.

The application covers character and the type of citizenship they hold as a Ugandan, their date and place of birth, name and date of birth parents and particulars of their Ugandan passport.

The applicant further provides information on acquired additional citizenship the nature of the same, previous residence, employment, profession and business contact overseas and in Uganda.

Particulars of all criminal proceedings against the applicant at any time and in any country, where the applicant has previously renounced or been deprived of Ugandan citizenship and the circumstance for the same and reasons for present application. In addition, they make a declaration, and the certificate of dual citizenship is issued by the Board.

How can I get permanent residency in Uganda?

Requirements for a resident visa in Uganda?

  1. You have completed the visa application form.
  2. You have a recent photo.
  3. You have a genuine relationship or marriage with a Ugandan spouse or partner.
  4. You must provide documentation of a job offer letter from a company in Uganda.