Global Policy Forum

Archived Articles- Citizenship and Nationality


Citizenship and Nationality




Back to Current Articles | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997

Military Considers Recruiting Foreigners (December 26, 2006)

The US military considers a proposal to establish recruiting stations overseas and allow foreigners to "fast-track" their application for US citizenship if they volunteer to serve in the US armed forces. This proposal follows the passage of a US law that gives the Pentagon such authority as a way to cope with its overstretched forces. This Boston Globe article cites officials within the US Army who believe that a push to attract immigrants would "smack of the decline of the American empire."

More Americans Abroad Giving Up Citizenship for Lower Taxes (December 17, 2006)

An increasing number of US citizens are voluntarily giving up their US nationality for economic reasons. After they move abroad and obtain dual citizenship, they have to pay taxes to their new country of residence as well as to the US – the only developed country that taxes based on citizenship and not residency. This International Herald Tribune article argues that as the US government raises taxes on expatriates they are forced to weigh the cost of keeping their US passport against the benefits it brings. The article concludes that a majority of them deem the cost of keeping US citizenship too high.

What Are 'Inalienable Rights'? If You Don't Know, You Don't Get Them (December 1, 2006)

In December 2006 the US government unveiled a new citizenship test that focuses more on the concept of democracy than on historical facts. However, many immigrants' rights groups criticize the new test saying that the highly conceptual questions such as "what is the rule of law?" will only "erect a new barrier to participation." These organizations further cite the financial barrier that immigrants may face if the US government accepts current proposals to double the naturalization fee from US$400 to US$800. (Guardian)

Delay, Controversy Dog Ivory Coast Identity Scheme (July 13, 2006)

The UN has run into difficulty in implementing its plan of issuing identity papers to the 3.5 million undocumented Ivorians ahead of the elections scheduled for October. Delays and allegations of fraud threaten to undermine the effort to remove one of the Ivory Coast conflict's most sensitive issues. The question of who is a "pure" Ivorian was behind the 2002 civil war and international observers see its resolution as vital for the elections to succeed. (Reuters)

Clouding Ivory Coast's Peace: Ivoirité (January 27, 2006)

President Laurent Gbagbo and his Young Patriots supporters exacerbate ethnic divisions between the southern and northern regions of Ivory Coast by using the concept of "Ivoirité," or Ivorianness. Under this concept, northern Ivorians are not considered "real" Ivorian citizens due to the region's geographical proximity and cultural links to countries such as Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea. Some experts believe that unless the UN resolves the issue of Ivoirité before implementing the African Union peace plan, "the conflict will continue."(Christian Science Monitor)



Back to Current Articles | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997

New UK Citizenship Testing Starts (October 31, 2005)

British authorities have begun administering the "Life in the UK" test to people seeking UK citizenship. The test, which can be repeated until passed, is not a test of Britishness, but serves to help people "integrate and share in British values." In 2004, a record-high 141,000 people, mainly from Asia and Africa, were granted citizenship in the UK. (BBC)

Over 10,000 Tajik Refugees to Become Citizens in Turkmenistan (August 10, 2005)

Turkmenistan has granted citizenship to thousands of Tajik refugees who qualified for nationality under the Turkmen Nationality Law, allowing them to enjoy the same rights as Turkmen citizens. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has welcomed the decision to naturalize 13,245 people of Turkmen origin as a "permanent durable solution" towards integration.

Citizenship at Heart of Ivorian Conflict (July 14, 2005)

As Ivory Coast's presidential elections approach on October 30, 2005, more inhabitants are asking "Who is Ivorian? And who has the right to be?" And in a country with an estimated 40% migrant population, the issue continues to fuel conflict. The April 2005 peace accords mandate that the government resolves nationality laws by July 15—yet President Laurent Gbagbo will likely not sign them. The risk, however, is that officials may vote for the laws "but nobody will enforce them," as one "intensely nationalistic" parliament member continues to argue: "Ivory Coast belongs to Ivorians, not foreigners." (Independent Online, South Africa)

Israel's Identity Crisis (May 16, 2005)

With demographers predicting that the Jewish majority in Israel will disappear by 2010, the author of this Salon piece argues that Israel must choose its identity: it can either be Jewish or democratic, but not both. "If it wants to remain a Jewish state [...] it must accept a smaller territory. If it wants to continue to hold on to the occupied territories and to be a democracy, it must grant full citizenship and civil rights [to Palestinians]."

Panel Okays Easing Israeli-Palestinian Family Unification Criteria (May 8, 2005)

Israel has decided to allow the unification of Israeli-Palestinian couples, provided the couples meet certain criteria: the Palestinian man must be over 35, or the Palestinian woman must be over 25, bowing to the Shin Bet security services' statistics which show that "involvement in terror attacks declines with age." The Israeli cabinet froze family unification procedures in 2002. (Ha'aretz)

Citizenship Row Divides Latvia (March 25, 2005)

Under the Soviet Union's program of Russification, hundreds of thousands of Russians settled in Latvia. When Latvia gained its independence in 1991, Russians made up half the country's residents. Nearly half a million of them became non-citizens due to the government's policy of granting citizenship only to those who had lived in the first independent Latvian state, from 1918 to 1940. Today, these non-citizens account for 20% of Latvia's population. Applicants for citizenship must pass a test in Latvian language and history in order to naturalize, but ethnic Russians, many of whom have lived in Latvia their entire lives, find this "humiliating" and "psychologically difficult." (BBC)

Uncle Sam Wants Tu (February 24, 2005)

Non-citizens account for about two percent of the US military. Self-described neoconservative Max Boot proposes to increase that number substantially by allowing any foreigner to enlist, receiving US citizenship as "part of the pay." According to the author, such an arrangement would fix manpower shortages and negate the need for a draft. (Los Angeles Times)

The People Who Have No Country ... (February 18, 2005)

The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserts that "everyone has the right to a nationality," yet a conservative estimate suggests that some 11 million people qualify as stateless. Despite this, only two staff members in the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees focus on the problem. (International Herald Tribune)


Stateless Biharis in Bangladesh: A Humanitarian Nightmare (December 13, 2004)

The Biharis, also called stranded Pakistanis, have remained a stateless people for 33 years. Their already desperate living conditions in Bangladesh, where an estimated 250,000 live in severly overcrowded camps, continue to worsen. Despite this, neither Pakistan or Bangladesh will offer them citizenship. In this report, Refugees International describes the problem and provides a list of recommendations for both governments as well as the UN.

Hungary's Referendum on Dual Citizenship: A Small Victory for Europeanism (December 13, 2004)

This article sees the referendum rejecting dual citizenship in Hungary as a positive development for the country, which has a large diaspora in surrounding countries and a strong history of nationalism. Power and Interest News Report also considers the result of the referendum a triumph of EU integration over nationalism – a significant new Hungarian minority electorate outside the EU borders may have hindered EU stability and integration.

Left Behind: Stateless Russians Search for Equality in Estonia (December 9, 2004)

The mandated equality for all people outlined in the Estonian Constitution does not apply to the 160,000 Russian-speaking stateless persons, approximately 12% of the entire population, in the new EU member state. Current citizenship law favors "ethnic Estonians" over persons of Russian origin. Refugees International recommends that Estonia sign the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and make significant efforts to ameliorate the situation.

Citizenship, Political Violence, and Democratization in Africa (October-December 2004)

Selective denial of full citizenship rights to minority groups in Africa has impeded democratization and led to political conflict. This paper looks at the role of citizenship in politics and intercommunal strife in the context of such cases as the Rwandan genocide, immigrants' rights in Congo, and ethnic minorities in Nigeria. (Global Governance)

Expatriate Mexicans Gain Dual Citizenship (October 29, 2004)

Naturalized US nationals of Mexican origin who lost their citizenship under the previous Mexican citizenship law are now able to reclaim their native nationality [under the new Mexican legislation]. Mexicans affected by this change in legislation consider their regained sense of nationality the greatest benefit. (El Especialito)

Is a Proposed Relaxation of Citizenship Laws a Benefit or a Danger for Armenia? (October 13, 2004)

Armenia is likely to remove its ban on dual citizenship. The new law would dramatically increase the number of Armenian citizens, especially those living abroad. Opponents fear that dual citizenship, if unregulated, would give the diaspora too much influence over the country's politics. (Institute for War and Peace Reporting)

People's Party Demands End to Dual Nationality (October 6, 2004)

Switzerland's far right People's Party calls for the parliament to repeal a 1992 law permitting new citizens to keep their original nationality on the grounds that possessing two passports diminishes national loyalty. 70% of the Swiss nationals have dual nationality. (swissinfo)

Going for Citizenship: from Patriotism or Panic? (September 21, 2004)

As Washington's "war on terrorism" threatens the status of US immigrants, many legal US residents are opting for naturalization. This article argues that causes for the influx of naturalization arises not only from "patriotism" but also increasing legal difficulties in airports. (El Especial)

Anger at Israeli Citizenship Law (August 2, 2004)

The Israeli government renewed a law, originally passed in 2003, barring Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza who are married to Israeli citizens from acquiring citizenship or residency status. Israeli officials say the law is temporary and necessary for defense against terrorism. Critics charge that the legislation is racist, violates international law, and is aimed at reducing the number of Arabs within Israel. (BBC)

Too Diverse? (February 20, 2004)

Prime Minister David Cameron recently gave a speech arguing that multiculturalism has failed in Britain. Since then, citizens have raised questions regarding the nature of national identity, immigration and integration. This article claims that contrary to the prime minister's assertions, much of Britain no longer suffers the tensions of class and regional stratification, but has embraced a diversity which has eroded the common "British" culture. Can solidarity and diversity co-exist or does the social cohesion of the welfare state contradict the tenets of diversity? ( Prospect )



Israel Takes Another Leap Towards Institutionalized Apartheid (June 26, 2003)

The Knesset is considering a new law forbidding Israeli citizenship for Palestinians from the Occupied Territories who marry Israelis. "Such laws targeted at a specific ethnic community are an odious violation of all international human rights norms," argues this author. (Electronic Intifada)

Egypt May Soon Permit Women to Confer Citizenship (November 3, 2003)

Egyptian laws deny citizenship to one million children of Egyptian women and foreign fathers, excluding them from material advantages such as free education and medical care. While Egyptian women will soon gain the right to pass on their nationality, activists fear that in practice, burdensome conditions and high fees will continue to bar citizenship to many children. (Women's eNews

New Law for Israeli-Palestinian Couples (July 31, 2003)

The Knesset passed a bill that prevents Palestinians married to Israelis from obtaining residency permits for Israel. A spokesman from the Israeli rights group B'tselem denounced the law, exclaiming, "this is a racist law that decides who can live here according to racist criteria." (Associated Press)

Thailand: Fear of Expulsion Haunts Hill Tribes (July 30, 2003)

The Thai government requires 400,000 hill tribe people who have long occupied rural areas to prove they have roots in Thailand in order to receive Thai citizenship. If the "stateless" tribal people do not meet a deadline, the government may expel them as illegal immigrants. (Asia Times)

US Residents Running for Mexican Congress (June 16‚ 2003)

Jose Medina, a US resident for thirty years and still a citizen of Mexico, is seeking a seat in the Mexican Congress. He would represent Mexican immigrants who contribute significantly to the economy but have no political recognition. (Herald)

France Envisions a Citizenry of Model Muslims (May 7, 2003)

The French government insists on the French Muslim population to be first "French" and then"Muslim". The French interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy said that Muslim women should pose bareheaded for their picture identity cards. (New York Times)

Migrant GIs Get Citizenship After Dying in Combat (April 3, 2003)

The United States granted posthumous citizenship to two non-citizen Hispanic soldiers who died in combat on the first day of the war on Iraq. The move angered not only anti-immigration groups, who question the loyalty of non-citizens, but also immigration advocates, who accuse the military of targeting vulnerable minority populations for recruitment. (Arizona Republic)

Dual Citizenship 'For Sale' (February 11, 2003)

The newly created African Union may finance its ambitious proposals, including a central bank, common African currency, and a continent-wide court, by offering people of original African origin dual citizenship in exchange for funds. The AU hopes to tap into the African diaspora's expertise and education to strengthen the continent's capacity for development. (South African Press Association)

Dual Citizenship Greeted With Mixed Feelings (January 18, 2003)

India announced it will grant US citizens of Indian origin dual citizenship rights, but US based Indians remain ambivalent. Some worry that dual citizenship could provoke suspicion in a US society gripped by racialized fears of terrorism, while others argue that citizenship rightly allows overseas Indian people to participate in Indian political life. (India Tribune)

The Dilemma of Israeli Arabs (January 8, 2003)

"The cornerstone of liberal democracy is citizenship, not ethnicity, religion or race," writes Israeli parliament member Azmi Bishara. "But in Israel, where bitter arguments still rage over the question ‘Who is a Jew?' the question ‘Who is a citizen?' has yet to be seriously addressed." Bishara proposes that a truly democratic Israeli state would extend citizenship to Israeli Arabs. (Los Angeles Times)

Afghan Women Fight for Citizenship (December 23, 2003)

The Afghan draft constitution fails to protect women from the kind of cruel and repressive treatment they suffered for five years under the Taliban, charges this article. While supporting human rights, the constitution does not guarantee equality for women, and it does not outlaw discrimination on the basis of gender. (Women's e-News)



Jordan Queen's Decree Stirs Tempest Over Citizenship Rights (December 17, 2002)

Queen Rania of Jordon issued a decree giving women the right to pass on their nationality to their children. The decree has sparked opposition from indigenous Bedouin people who fear that thousands of stateless Palestinian children born to Jordanian-Palestinian women could become citizens, creating a new Palestinian majority in Jordan. (Christian Science Monitor)

EU Diplomat Fights to Widen Protection for Citizens of the World (June 28, 2002)

Citizenship usually denotes an allegiance to a country, but a group of European Parliament members has introduced the Freedom Passport signifying allegiance to liberal values. Persecuted rights activists and dissidents will receive the document and the moral support of the EU. (Washington Post)

The Shrinking Space of Citizenship: Ethnocratic Politics in Israel (Summer 2002)

The Israeli government destroyed the fields that Bedouin Arabs had cultivated for years. Claiming to fight the "non-Jewish threat" to "their" lands, the government ignored the fact that Bedouins are also citizens of the state of Israel. (Middle East Research and Information Project)

Police Propose Citizenship School for Ethnic Minorities (June 24, 2002)

Refugees and ethnic minorities living in London could be forced to attend citizenship schools. The local police claim that speaking English, understanding the British way of life, and knowing individual legal rights and obligations, all constitute important components of British citizenship. (The Independent)

Are You Sure You're French? (June 2002)

For many years immigrants to France have faced a convoluted, frustrating, if not impossible, process of acquiring French nationality. In recent years, the paranoia of immigrant invasion has turned even the maintenance of one's French citizenship into a similarly torturous experience. (Le Monde Diplomatique)

Citizenship Policies for an Age of Migration (May 2002)

A publication of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Migration Policy Institute calls for rethinking citizenship policies. Immigration flows have created a new social dynamics requiring liberal democracies to amend their legal and political frameworks to preserve the social fabric.

A Boom in Citizenship Requests (February 11, 2002)

The US Immigration and Naturalization Service has seen a huge increase in citizenship applications since September 11. Reasons cited for the trend vary, including an outpouring of patriotism, an imminent rise in the application fee, and the fear that non-citizen status immediately provokes suspicion. (Christian Science Monitor)

How to Fake a Passport (February 10, 2002)

Despite appearances as the "sleepy gateway" into Europe, Belgium has become "the global capital of identity fraud." Blank passports, stolen from low-security Belgian embassies, provide the easiest way of gaining entry to the European Union and beyond. (New York Times Magazine)

From Romania To Moldova: What Country, Friend, Is This? (January, 2002)

As a condition of EU membership, Romania has hardened its border with Moldova. Dual citizenship is the only way Moldovians can continue to participate in the cross-border economy; but the cost of a passport is nearly a month's pay. (Monde Diplomatique)

Now is the Time to Put International Pressure On Taylor (January 18, 2002)

Holders of dual citizenship in Liberia trying to vote in the up-coming national elections face the threat of arrest. As in other African countries, political leaders are increasingly using nationalist sentiments to drive out opponents and preserve their power base. (New York Times)

Argentines Line Up to Escape to the Old World (January 16, 2002)

Argentina is a country "built on immigrants" who traveled from Europe to find a better life. Increasing numbers of Argentineans, many of whom have dual citizenship, are applying for Italian or Spanish passports to escape the economic turmoil. (New York Times)



As Rules Ease, More Citizens Choose to Fly 2 Flags (July 15, 2001)

US citizens have begun to go back to their roots and obtain the passport of their country of origin while keeping their US one. Having to serve in the other country's military is only one of the potentially problematic effects of multiple citizenship. (New York Times)

Officials Illegally Keep Dual Citizenship (July 12, 2001)

In Estonia, some public officials hold dual citizenship, which is legal under the constitution but illegal under a recent law on citizenship. (Baltic Times)

The Terrorists and Crime Bosses Behind the Fake Passport Trade (July 1, 2001)

Paul J. Smith argues that increased border controls can reduce international terrorism by detecting fake passports. But would it not be more efficient to prevent the production and acquisition of fake documents at the source? (Jane's Intelligence Review)

Zimbabwe Tightens Ban on Dual Citizenship (February 18, 2001)

A dual citizen in Zimbabwe will have to give up his foreign citizenship according to the plans of the government to tighten citizenship laws. The Zanu-PF party believes that adversaries hiding under a dual citizenship are undermining Zimbabwe's credibility. (Reuters)

Dual Citizenship Beneficial (January 2, 2001)

A change of the constitution regarding citizenship laws would not only allow Ugandan citizens living abroad to keep a strong link to their home, but would also bring greater capital into the country. (New Vision)



Mexico's President Says Free Travel and Dual Citizenship Would Boost Economy (December 14, 2000)

Mexico's President Vincente Fox wants Mexican Americans to enjoy full dual citizenship, including the right to vote from the United States by absentee ballots. (San Fransisco Chronicle)

Bhutan: Nationality, Expulsion, Statelessness and the Right to Return (September 2000)

In the early 1990s, the government of Bhutan expelled over 100,000 Bhutanese to Nepal, where they have been living in refugee camps ever since. The refugees, who accuse the government of Bhutan of discrimination and human rights abuse, have subsequently been denied their citizenship and the right to return. This Amnesty International report analyzes international human rights standards related to citizenship, nationality, and repatriation in the hopes of settling this oft-forgotten refugee crisis.

Nepalese Parliament Allows Anyone to Become a Citizen (July 27, 2000)

Opponents of the bill are worried that the proposed new and lax citizenship rules will "open a floodgate for non-Nepalese to become legal citizens of Nepal." Conventional citizenship laws, such as having a Nepalese father, would be scrapped under the bill, and alternatives such as years of residency within the country would be favored. (Associated Press)

Human Rights Body Presses for Noncitizens' Right to Vote (July 11, 2000)

Only acknowledged citizens of Latvia currently have the right to vote. Over 50, 000 signatures have been collected in an effort to petition for non-citizens right to vote in local elections. (Interfax News Agency)

St Helena's Passport Plea Goes to the UN (July 11, 2000)

The case was presented to the UN Committee on Decolonization. "With no airport and only one regular Royal Mail Ship, St Helena is one of the most isolated points on earth," the Daily Telegraph reports. However, over 5,500 people continue to fight for their right to a full British passport.

Dual Citizens in America (July 2000)

This paper discusses the concept of multiple citizenship in the context of contemporary United States immigration policy. (Center for Immigration Studies)

How To Solve Cultural Identity Problems (May 2000)

An article from Le Monde Diplomatique discusses ethnic entanglement and intermingling in an historical context and provides examples from the past that demonstrate coexistance through 'personal cultural autonomy'.

A European Identity: Nation-State Losing Ground (January 14, 2000)

A New York Times article raises the provocative question, has the European Union fostered a "supranational identity"?

Should Outsiders Have the Vote? (January 2000)

"The fact of "belonging to a nation" is becoming more relative as the affirmation of a basic humanity is taking place that goes beyond all exclusions." A thought provoking discussion of the relationship between citizenship and democratic rights. (Le Monde Diplomatique)



Indigenous People and Citizenship (July 21, 1999)

Historically, the Australian government forced indigenous peoples seeking citizenship to abandon traditional tribal laws and substitute native cultures with the "civilized" way of life. This past discrimination has a direct effect on present generations of indigenous people, who still lack representation and rights in Australia. (University of Melbourne)

Globalization and Citizenship (Summer 1999)

National citizenship has always been defined in terms of the "other," the "non-citizen." In a world characterized by globalization and integration, does the absence of an "enemy" prevent "global citizenship" developing on any significant scale? (Journal of World-Systems Research)

American Citizenship Between Past and Present (May 29, 1999)

Fundamental and universally recognized rights and liberties are the basis for the liberalist concept of citizenship. This article suggests that the US has strayed from the principles of personal liberty upon which citizenship in the United States were originally founded. (University of Florence)

The Socialist, the Communist, and the Nihilist (April 12, 1999)

Article by Robert Weissman that addresses contemporary notions of identity and citizenship in a time of increasingly powerful corporations.

Citizenship and Norms of Publicity (April 1999)

Article from Political Theory discusses a "new form of publicity" and argues that this must serve to foster democratic principles within the process of globalization.



Buying US Green Cards for Citizenship (April 12, 1998)

An article from the New York Times shows how rich people can buy US "green card" status (perfectly legally) for a $500,000 investment, according to recent government rules . . . and how the not-so-rich have been caught trying to cut corners playing the same game.

US Citizenship: How to Get It, How to Lose It, How to Add to It (April 6, 1998)

A series of articles by Mark Fritz of the Los Angeles Times about the patriotic, family, and business side of dual citizenship.

Multiple Citizenship (April 6, 1998)

Growth of multiple citizenship worldwide blurs concept of nationality in era of globalization, argues this article entitled "Pledging Multiple Allegiance" from the Los Angeles Times.


Citizenship for Sale (October 1997)

Surprising information about how citizenship can be bought, for those who want to avoid taxes in the place where they primarily live and do business.

Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America

The majority of immigrants in the United States take an oath of allegiance to the country upon naturalization. For the most part, however, immigrants are unaware of the fact that the oath is not a legal requirement in the US but has a merely symbolic importance.


FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.