São Tomé & Príncipe

Nationality in São Tomé and Príncipe is governed by the 1990 Constitution, as amended in 2003, and by the 2022 Lei da Nacionalidade (Law No. 07/2022, of 10 March 2022). The Nationality Regulation implementing Law No. 07/2022 had not yet been adopted by April 2024.

Under the heading ‘National identity’, Article 2 of the Constitution reads that the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe ensures the São Tomense national identity and includes every São Tomé and Príncipe citizen residing in its territory or abroad. Article 3, under the heading ‘São Tomense citizenship’, provides that São Tomense citizens are all those born in national territory, the children of either a São-Tomense father or mother and those who are considered as such by law (para. 1); and that São Tomense citizens who acquire the nationality of another country retain their nationality of origin (para. 2).

Law No. 07/2022 attributes São Tomense nationality of origin to those who are: (a) born in São Tomé and Príncipe to a São Tomense father or mother; (b) born abroad to a São Tomense father or mother in the service of São Tomé and Príncipe; (c) born abroad to a São Tomense father or mother, if they declare their wish to be São Tomense; (d) born abroad with a São Tomense grandparent; (e) born in São Tomé and Príncipe to parents whose statelessness or unknown nationality is duly declared by court ruling; (f) born in São Tomé and Príncipe to foreign parents who reside in São Tomense territory and who are not in the service of their respective state (Article 5).

Acquisition is possible based on marriage or registered partnership with a São Tomense national (Article 6), for underage or other incapacitated children following acquisition by one of the parents (Article 7), based on historic reasons for foreigners who resided in São Tomé and Príncipe at the time of independence (Article 8), based on adoption by a São Tomense national (Article 9), and based on naturalization (Article 10). Naturalization requirements include inter alia five-years of legal residence in the territory, sufficient knowledge of Portuguese or any of the national languages, and no more than two foreign nationalities [Article 10(1)(b)(c) and Article 11(1)]. Special naturalization conditions apply for foreigners who render relevant services to the state, invest in the country, etc. (Article 10(2)(3)]. Nationality of origin is lost by renunciation and following the exercise of sovereign functions or the rendering of non mandatory military service to a foreign state (Article 14). Acquired nationality is lost by renunciation and following acts against the security of the state, repeated acts against public health, and the use of fraudulent means in the naturalization procedure (Article 16).