Tanzanian nationality law

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Tanzania Citizenship Act
Coat of arms of Tanzania.svg
Parliament of Tanzania
Enacted by Government of Tanzania
Status: Current legislation

Tanzanian nationality law is the law which deals with citizenship and other forms of nationality. A Tanzanian citizen is anyone who is in possession of citizenship to the United Republic of Tanzania. Nationality law is mentioned in the Constitution of Tanzania.

The citizenship law was first implemented after independence in 1961 and amended in 1964, when Tanganyika and Zanzibar united to form Tanzania.

Acquisition of citizenship

Citizenship by birth

Any child born within the borders of the United Republic of Tanzania, on or after Union Day, 26 April 1964, is granted citizenship of Tanzania, except for children of foreign diplomats, as stated in the Tanzania Citizenship Act of 1995.[1][2]

Citizenship by descent

A person born outside Tanzania enjoys a right to Tanzanian citizenship from birth provided that at least one parent is a Tanzanian citizen by birth or naturalization.[1][3]

Citizenship by naturalisation

Any foreign national with no ancestry or birth ties with Tanzania may apply for citizenship through naturalisation. In order for a foreign national to become a Tanzanian citizen through naturalisation, the following conditions must be met.

  • (a). Residence in the United Republic throughout the period of twelve months immediately preceding the date of the applications.
  • (b). During the ten years immediately preceding the said period of twelve months, total residence in the United Republic for periods amounting in the aggregate to not less than seven years.
  • (c). Adequate knowledge of Kiswahili or the English language.
  • (d). Good character.
  • (e). Would be a suitable citizen in terms of past and potential contribution to social and cultural welfare as well as economic, scientific, or technological advancement of Tanzania.
  • (f). Intention, if naturalised, to continue to reside permanently in the United Republic.[3]

Following the lodging of the application, the applicant must publish a notice of intention to naturalise in two consecutive issues of the registered newspapers. After the application has been scrutinised by various officials, a final recommendation is made to the Minister of Home Affairs, who ultimately decides whether or not to approve the application.[3]

A person receiving Tanzanian citizenship by naturalisation must renounce foreign citizenships under current law.[1]

The case for Minors In the case of minors, according to the citizenship act of 1995, once the parents are granted citizenship to the United Republic of Tanzania, the child is also by right entitled to receive citizenship, considered they are under legal age and still living under the care of their parents.

Dual citizenship

Tanzania does not currently allow its citizens to hold foreign citizenship in addition to their Tanzanian citizenship, except in the case of Tanzanian woman acquiring foreign nationality through marriage[citation needed], or persons under 18 who acquire Tanzanian citizenship by birth or descent. Multiple nationals automatically lose their Tanzanian citizenship at 18 unless they renounce all other citizenships. The ban on dual citizenship has historically been motivated by suspicions about potential disloyalty amongst the sizable Asian minority. Nevertheless, a debate has arisen about permitting dual citizenship. In August 2007, the minister of home affairs submitted a report recommending that the law be changed.[1] Nevertheless, Tanzania currently continues to restrict dual citizenship.

Commonwealth citizenship

Tanzania has been a member of the Commonwealth of Nations since 26 April 1964, following the merger of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Being that it is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Tanzanian citizens are also Commonwealth citizens, a status which entitles them to certain rights and benefits in the United Kingdom. Amongst some of the benefits, in some countries without Tanzanian consular representation, citizens of the United Republic may enquire or seek assistance with the United Kingdom's High commission.

E.A.C. citizenship

Following its collapse in 1977, the East African community was again revived in 2001, containing the original three founding states; namely, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. In 2007, the organisation expanded to include the Republic of Rwanda and the Republic of Burundi as part of the East African Community. in 2016 the organisation expanded to include the Republic of South Sudan.

Owing to the customs union, relaxed immigration regulations and free movement of labour set to be implemented within the community,Tanzanian citizens stand to benefit free movement within the East African Community zone, likewise citizens of other East African Community member states, may also enjoy free movement to Tanzania and other member territories and unlimited duration of stay while still maintaining their original nationality.

Loss of citizenship

Those who acquired Tanzanian citizenship at birth cannot be involuntarily stripped of their citizenship, though they may voluntarily renounce it.[1] Those wishing to renounce their Tanzanian citizenship must provide evidence of another country's citizenship as well as return their Tanzanian passport.[3]

Those who acquired Tanzanian citizenship by naturalisation may have their citizenship revoked for the following reasons:

  • A finding of fraud in the naturalisation application,
  • Any criminal conviction carrying a sentence of at least twelve months within five years of naturalisation,
  • Disloyal behaviour towards Tanzania, or
  • Five years residence abroad without registering an intention to retain Tanzanian citizenship.[1][2]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Manby, Bronwen (2010). "Citizenship Law in Africa: A Comparative Study" (PDF) (2nd ed.). Open Society Institute. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "Tanzania Citizenship Act, 1995". Refworld. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d "Tanzania Citizenship.". Tanzanian Immigration Services Department. Retrieved 30 June 2013.

External links

  • Tanzanian Citizenship Act 1995
  • Tanzania Ministry of Home Affairs : Immigration
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