Citizenship in Madagascar is regulated by the 1960 Ordonnance portant Code de la nationalité malgache, as modified several times — most recently in 2017.
Since 2017, Article 9 of the nationality code provides that women and men have equal rights to transmit nationality to their children. However, Article 16 continues to provide for the child of a Malagasy women and her foreign husband to be able to claim nationality at majority, with additional procedures if born out of wedlock; while Article 20 also discriminates in relation to adopted children if only one of the adoptive parents is Malagasy. Moreover, a woman married to a Malagasy man can acquire nationality on request, while a man married to a Malagasy woman has no additional rights based on marriage (Article 22).
The provisions relating to children of unknown parents discriminate on the basis of ethnicity. Instead of the international law principle that a child found in the territory of unknown parents and place of birth should be presumed a national, the Madagascar nationality code states that this is only the case if at least one of the parents can be presumed to be Malagasy, based on name and physical appearance (Article 11).
In 2022, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child welcomed recent reforms to the nationality code, but noted concerns about a downward trend in birth registration rates, and lack of protections against statelessness for children born in the territory.
Concerns have been related that many members of the Karana minority of South Asian descent are stateless.