General Notice 584 of 2002: Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act [Chapter 4:01]: Renunciation and Proof of Foreign Citizenship: Governing Rules
Source: Zimbabwe Minister of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
IT is hereby notified, for public information, that Cabinet has approved the following clarification and declaration of the existing statutory rules governing the renunciation and proof of foreign citizenship.
Section 9 of the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act [Chapter 4:01] precludes the holding of dual or multiple nationality by Zimbabwean citizens.
The provisions of section 9 have in recent months created several difficulties of interpretation and application, resulting in many claimants being denied their Zimbabwean status and the attendant privilege of holding a Zimbabwean passport.
In view of these difficulties, it is necessary to clarify and declare the correct legal position governing the renunciation of foreign citizenship and the retention of Zimbabwean citizenship.
Accordingly, Cabinet has endorsed and approved the following rules to be applied by the Registrar-General of Citizenship and his officials in the implementation of section 9 of the Act :-
(a) A person who is a citizen of Zimbabwe by birth may not be deprived of or denied his citizenship of Zimbabwe unless he is or has become a citizen of some foreign country.
(b) A Zimbabwean citizen who holds any foreign nationality will have lost or will lose his Zimbabwean citizenship unless he has renounced or renounces his foreign citizenship, as required by section 9 of the Act, within the applicable period prescribed in that section. The relevant periods are as follows :-
(i) by the 6th of January 2002, in the case of a citizen of full age who was also a foreign citizen at that time
(ii) one year, in the case of a citizen who acquires foreign citizenship by marriage
(iii) one year, in the case of a citizen who acquires foreign citizenship by some means other than voluntary act or marriage
(iv) one year after attaining the age of majority, in the case of a citizen minor who is also a citizen of a foreign country
(v) six months, in the case of a foreign citizen who acquires Zimbabwean citizenship by registration.
(c) This renunciation requirement only applies to a person who is actually and presently a citizen of a foreign country. Such citizenship may have been acquired by birth, descent, registration or naturalisation, according to the citizenship laws of the country in question.
For example, under the British Nationality Act 1981, a person born in the United Kingdom is a citizen by birth if at the time of his birth his father or mother is a British citizen or is settled in the United Kingdom. A person born outside the United Kingdom is a citizen by descent if at the time of his birth his father or mother is a British citizen otherwise than by descent or is a British citizen on state service outside the United Kingdom.
(e) The renunciation requirement does not apply to a person who only has a potential right to acquire a foreign citizenship. A person who merely has a claim or entitlement to foreign nationality, whether by official discretion or as a matter of legal right, is not presently a foreign citizen and therefore cannot be required to renounce a citizenship that he does not actually and presently possess.
For example, under the British Nationality Act 1981, a foreigner who has continuously resided in the United Kingdom for 5 years may on application be granted a certificate of naturalisation if the Secretary of State thinks fit. On the other hand, a British protected person who has continuously resided in the United Kingdom for 5 years is on application entitled to be registered as a British citizen. In both cases, however, neither person becomes a British citizen unless and until he applies for and obtains British citizenship.
(f) A person who claims to be a Zimbabwean citizen is presumed, prima facie, to be a citizen of Zimbabwe if he produces a passport, birth certificate, citizenship certificate, national registration card or other document evidencing his Zimbabwean nationality. Such person shall not be required to produce written proof or confirmation that he is not a citizen of a foreign country in order to establish his Zimbabwean citizenship status.
(g) A claim to Zimbabwean nationality may be refuted and disallowed if it is shown that the claimant is in fact a citizen of a foreign country. Evidence to this effect may take the form of a foreign passport or certificate or may appear from the written law of the country concerned. Such evidence may also appear from records in the possession of the Registrar-General’s Office or from investigations conducted by that Office into the citizenship status of the claimant concerned.
Minister of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs