Posts Tagged ‘immigration’

The issue of dual citizenship has been of intense interest to east Africans over the last few years and a post on this log on this topic has been possibly the most popular of any I have written. I have contemplated taking up Kenyan citizenship, but was never sure how to go about it, especially with the rules on the issue not quite being in the public domain. So I was pleasantly surprised to find the details of the Ugandan law online and have prepared some highlights below:

The Legal Basis
The Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control (Amendment) Act, 2009 provides for dual citizenship. Dual citizenship, according to the Act, means the simultaneous possession of two citizenships one of which is Ugandan. 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.
A person swho is not a citizen of Uganda may, on acquiring the citizenship of Uganda, retain the citizenship of another country.

However there is a process that must be fulfilled, one does not simply acquire a new citizenship and then sit back:
A citizen of Uganda who desires to acquire the citizenship of another country while retaining his or her citizenship of Uganda shall give notice in writing to National Citizenship and Immigration Board of his or her application for the citizenship of another country. A copy of the application for citizenship of that other country must be submitted.

It is also important to note that tri-nationality is not permitted:
Where the person is a citizen of Uganda and another country, a declaration of renunciation of the citizenship of the third country must be submitted.

Acquisition by a non-citizen of Uganda of Uganda Citizenship while retaining the Citizenship of another country.
A non-Ugandan citizen who wishes to acquire the citizenship of Uganda while retaining the citizenship of another country shall satisfy the following conditions for citizenship:

Satisfy the board that the laws of his or her country of origin permit him or her to hold dual citizenship;
Not be the subject of a deportation order from Uganda territory or any other country;
Not be under a sentence of death or imprisonment exceeding nine months imposed by a competent court, without the option of a fine;
Satisfy the board that he or she has been resident in Uganda for not less than 10 years;
Satisfy the board that he or she has adequate knowledge of any prescribed vernacular language in Uganda or of English or Swahili;
Satisfy the board that he or she has not been in Uganda as a refugee or as a diplomat;
He or she possesses rare skills and capacity for technology transfer;
Be willing to take the oath of allegiance;
Be a person of sound mind.


A person applying for dual citizenship shall, before being registered, satisfy the board that:
He or she is not engaged in espionage against Uganda;
He or she has not served in the voluntary service of the armed forces or security forces of a country hostile to or at war with Uganda;
He or she has not attempted to acquire Ugandan citizenship by fraud, deceit or bribery or by intentional or otherwise deliberate false statements in an application for citizenship;
He or she does not have a criminal record;
The laws of his or her country of origin permit dual citizenship;
He or she is, at the time of application, of or above 18 years of age;
He or she is of sound mind;
Does not hold more than one citizenship;
Is not an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent.

Offices of State which a person holding Dual Citizenship is not qualified to hold

President, Vice President,Prime Minister, Cabinet Minister and other Ministers, Inspector General and the Deputy Inspector General of Government,Technical Heads of Branches of the Armed Forces, Commanding Officers of the Armed Forces Units of at least battalion strength, Officers responsible for heading departments responsible for records, personnel and logistics in all branches of the Armed Forces, Inspector General of Police and Deputy Inspector General of Police, Heads and Deputy Heads of national Security and Intelligence Organisations (ESO, ISO and CMI), Members of the National Citizenship and Immigration Board.

Use of Travel Documents by Dual National
A citizen who holds the citizenship of another country in addition to the citizenship of Uganda shall:
Be issued with a Ugandan passport or travel documents;
Be permitted to remain in Uganda without limitation if the person enters Uganda on a Ugandan passport;
Leave Uganda on the same passport that the person used to enter the country; and
A citizen of Uganda who is also a citizen of any other country shall while in Uganda be subject to the laws of Uganda as any other citizen.
A dual citizen commits an offence when a Ugandan passport is used by the person interchangeably with the passport of another country to deceive an Immigration Officer.

The board may terminate a dual national of his or her Ugandan citizenship if:
1. Upon any of the grounds specified in sections above
2. If that person acquires a third citizenship.
Where a person ceases to be a citizen of Uganda, he or she shall be regarded as a citizen or national of the country, of which he or she was a citizen or national before becoming a Ugandan citizen.

Consequences of Loss of Ugandan Citizenship
Where a person ceases to be a Ugandan citizen, he or she shall cease to enjoy the rights of a Ugandan citizen except rights to property acquired legally while the person was a citizen.
Where a person ceases to be a Ugandan citizen, he or she shall not thereby be discharged from any obligation, duty or liability in respect of any act done or committed before he or she ceased to be a citizen of Uganda.

Re-acquisition of Ugandan Citizenship by a Ugandan
A person who was a citizen of Uganda by birth and who on acquiring the citizenship of another country renounced his or her Ugandan citizenship, may apply to the board in the prescribed manner to re-acquire his or her former Ugandan citizenship.
The board may allow a former Ugandan citizen to re-acquire his or her Ugandan citizenship if it is satisfied that the grounds for the loss of his or her Ugandan citizenship are of no adverse effect to the public order and security of Uganda.
A person who re-acquires Ugandan citizenship under this section shall be required to take the oath of allegiance.

Fees Schedule:

By people who were formally Ugandans (in Diaspora) US $400
Dual citizenship – foreigners US $500
Dual citizenship – Ugandan in Diaspora US $400


Source: The Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control (Amendment) Act, 2009
Date of Assent: 15th July 2009

Date of Commencement: 21st August 2009

For the time being, applicants are advised to contact the Board directly on the following address:

The Chairperson,
National Citizenship and Immigration Board,
Ministry of Internal Affairs,
Plot 75 Jinja Road,
P. O. Box 7191,
Kampala, Uganda

Tel: +256-414-258355
Fax: +256-414-343088
E-mail: info@mia.go.ug
Website: http://www.mia.go.ug


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Seven years ago this week, I took a deep breath and drove across the Busia border post and onto a new job in Nairobi. Fed up with the dead end situation I found myself in kampala, I took a risk and decided to swim the sharks in a big, big pond.

It s actually amazing that I was able to make up my mind to take the jump as everyone I know was dead set against the move. Everyone was anxious about the poor security situation, Nairoberry and all. And if the thugs didn’t get me then the cops would or the immigration officers. And the locals would not like me one bit.

 The most depressing point was made by a colleague who was astounded that I would so ‘easily’ give up my government pension after 7 years of working as a civil servant just to chase a dream of a better life. To me she was totally lacking in ambition and content with the crumbs that fell off the table……..the civil service does that to you.

 Arriving in Nairobi was a breath of fresh air, it was and still is a big city, bright lights and killer instincts. The guys here do not play games. Nobody had time for personal stuff during work time, everyone was trying to get the job done and then do some personal enterprise after 6pm. The work ethic really was a shocker for a Ugandan. Nobody gave two hoots that I had no idea where to find the supermarket, how one goes about getting a new electricity account or locate a decent barber. After 5 pm I was essentially on my own.

 It did get depressing at times and I did wonder what I was doing in Nairobi, of course it was the money who am I kidding. But I did feel the stories about Nairobians unfriendliness was actually true, just like in London, everyone minds their own business. And because the clubs and water holes are a multitude it is quite possible never to bump into people you know for months even if you went out every weekend.

 The gym came to the rescue, it proved a great ice breaker and I was able to make friends with people from all spheres of the economy, contacts I still keep today.

 My work space was just as smooth. It did help that the Ugandan economy was ‘booming’ and thousands of Kenyans were working in kampala and even more so that tens of thousands of Kenyan school kids were studying in Ugandan schools. This made me less of the ‘poorer’ cousin than I was made to feel many years earlier as a refugee in Kenya.

 The one thing that reminded me I was a foreigner was that every 2 years I have had to apply for renewal of my work permit. This is one process that shakes everyone to their toes: I get finger printed, I get issued a new I.D. (alien Certificate) and pay the equivalent of $1,500. That’s if they have agreed to renew it in the first place. Many a person has had to sit out a month or two at home waiting for the renewal of the work permit to come through.

 Having weathered the storms I feel Ihave actually assimilated to a large extent, though many other Ugandans complain of cold attitudes towards them, I have never encountered this. Am I now comfortable enough to go a step higher and buy a house….boy oh boy, that will freak my parents for sure (lost forever and all that).

 Its getting easier to stay here , coming this july East African citizens may not need work permits to work here anymore. And the banks, which used to think I was ‘high risk’ because I was non citizen , now keep calling me up to take up a loan or a mortgage. Money transfers back home are getting cheaper, though the cost of flights is still extortionate.

 I love Nairobi, it is fast and furious, it is aggressive, it is entrepreneurial, it is impersonal, it is non intrusive and also caring as evidenced by many charity efforts that are all locally driven. I can eat Korean or brazillian food, I can learn to ride horses, I can find any book, take part in almost any hobby and still take only 45min to get to Entebbe for gonja and sabulenya.

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