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Citizenship Of Zimbabwe Act [Chapter 4:01]

CITIZENSHIP OF ZIMBABWE ACT

Acts 23/1984, 7/1990 (s. 152(5)), 12/2001, 22/2001 (s. 4), 23/2001 (s. 49), 1/2002 (s. 43), 12/2003.

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

PART I

PRELIMINARY Section

  1. Short title.

PART II

REGISTRAR-GENERAL OF CITIZENSHIP 3. Registrar-General of Citizenship.

PART III

ACQUISITIONOF CITIZENSHIP BY REGISTRATION

  1. Applications for registration of persons of full age and sound mind.
  2. Applications for registration of persons under legal disability.
  3. Rejected applications and applications from former citizens not to be considered for two years.
  4. Certificates of registration.

PART IV

PROHIBITION OFDUALCITIZENSHIP AND RENUNCIATION, DEPRIVATION, LOSS AND RESTORATION OFCITIZENSHIP

  1. Prohibition of dual citizenship.

9A.   Special procedure for renunciation of citizenship by certain persons.

  1. Renunciation of citizenship.
  2. Deprivation of citizenship.
  3. Children of persons deprived of citizenship.
  4. Loss of citizenship through absence from Zimbabwe.
  5. Restoration of citizenship.

PART V

GENERAL

  1. Citizenship of women not affected by marriage.
  2. Minister not required to give reasons for decisions.
  3. Honorary citizens.
  4. Certificates of citizenship in certain cases.
  5. Minister may extend periods.
  6. Offences and penalties.
  7. Regulatory powers of Minister.
  8. Transitional provision: non-citizen office-holders.

AN ACT to make further provision for citizenship of Zimbabwe and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

[Date of commencement: 1st December, 1984.]

WHEREAS sections 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the Constitution provide as follows (the references to “the appointed day” being references to the 18th April, 1980)—

  1. A person who, immediately before the appointed day, was or was deemed to be a citizen by birth, descent or registration shall, on and after that day, be a citizen of Zimbabwe by birth, descent or registration, as the case may be.
  2. (1) A person born in Zimbabwe on or after the appointed day shall be a citizen of Zimbabwe by birth unless—
  • at the time of his birth, his father—
    • possesses such immunity from suit and legal process as is accorded to the envoy of a foreign sovereign power accredited to Zimbabwe; and
    • is not a citizen of Zimbabwe; or
  • at the time of his birth—
    • his father is an enemy alien; and
    • his mother is interned in a place set aside for the internment of enemy aliens or the birth occurs in a place then under occupation by the enemy;

or

  • at the time of his birth, his father or, in the case of an illegitimate child, his mother is residing in Zimbabwe in contravention of the provisions of any law:

Provided that, if subsequent to his birth his father or mother, as the case may be, is accepted for permanent residence in Zimbabwe under any law in force in Zimbabwe, he shall be a citizen of Zimbabwe by birth; or

  • at the time of his birth, his father or, in the case of an illegitimate child, his mother is— (i) not a citizen of Zimbabwe; and

(ii)   not ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe.

(2) A person born outside Zimbabwe on or after the appointed day shall be a citizen of Zimbabwe by birth if—

  • his father, or, in the case of an illegitimate child, his mother is at the time of his birth—
    • a citizen of Zimbabwe and resident outside Zimbabwe by reason of the service of his father or his mother, as the case may be, under the Government; or
    • lawfully ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe; and
  • his birth is registered in accordance with the law relating to the registration of births.
  1. Save as is otherwise provided by section 5 (2), a person born outside Zimbabwe on or after the appointed day shall be a citizen of Zimbabwe by descent if—
  • his father or, in the case of an illegitimate child, his mother is at the time of his birth a citizen of Zimbabwe otherwise than by descent; and
  • his birth is registered in accordance with the law relating to the registration of births.
  1. (1) Any person who, immediately before the appointed day, possessed such qualifications prescribed by the law then in force relating to citizenship as would have entitled the Minister as defined in that law, upon application duly made and subject to the applicant satisfying the Minister as to certain matters, to authorize his registration as a citizen shall be entitled—
  • upon making application at any time during the period of five years from the appointed day in such manner as may be prescribed by or under an Act of Parliament; and
  • after satisfying the Minister for the time being responsible for citizenship as to those matters; to be registered as a citizen of Zimbabwe.

(2) Any woman who—

  • is, on the appointed day, married to a person who—
    • is, on the appointed day, a citizen of Zimbabwe by virtue of the provisions of section 4; or
    • after the appointed day, becomes a citizen of Zimbabwe while the marriage still subsists; or
  • prior to the appointed day, was married to a person who—
    • is, on the appointed day, a citizen of Zimbabwe by virtue of the provisions of section 4; or
    • having died before the appointed day, would, but for his death, have been a citizen of Zimbabwe by virtue of the provisions of section 4;

or

  • on or after the appointed day, marries a person who is a citizen of Zimbabwe or who becomes a citizen of Zimbabwe while the marriage still subsists;

shall be entitled, upon making application in such manner as may be prescribed by or under an Act of Parliament, to be registered as a citizen of Zimbabwe.

  • Any person, one of whose parents is a citizen of Zimbabwe at the date of his application, shall be entitled, upon making application in such manner as may be prescribed by or under an Act of Parliament, to be registered as a citizen of Zimbabwe:

Provided that, if the person is not of full age and capacity, the application shall be made on his behalf by his responsible parent or by his guardian or other lawful representative.

  • A person adopted on or after the appointed day by order made under the law relating to the adoption of children who was not, at the date of the order, a citizen of Zimbabwe shall become a citizen of Zimbabwe on the date of the order if the adopter or, in the case of a joint adoption, the male adopter was, at the date of the order, a citizen of Zimbabwe, and such adopted person shall be regarded as a citizen of Zimbabwe by registration.
  • The registration as a citizen of Zimbabwe of a person referred to in subsection (1), (2) or (3) who is of full age shall not be effected unless and until the person has taken and subscribed the oath of loyalty in the form set out in Schedule 1, and such person shall be registered and become a citizen of Zimbabwe by registration on the date he takes and subscribes the oath of loyalty.
  • A person referred to in subsection (1) who has not been registered as a citizen of Zimbabwe shall, for the period referred to in that subsection, enjoy the same rights and privileges, other than those which relate to the acquisition of citizenship or which relate to qualifications for members of Parliament or voters, as a citizen of Zimbabwe.
  • In subsection (3), “responsible parent”, in relation to a child, means—
  • if the father is dead or the mother has been given custody of the child by order of a court or has custody of the child by virtue of the provisions of a law relating to the guardianship of children or the child is illegitimate, the mother of the child;
  • in any other case, the father of the child.(8) For the purposes of this section, a person shall be regarded as—
    • of full age if he has attained the age of majority or if, being under that age, he is or has been married; and
    • of full capacity if he is not of unsound mind.

AND WHEREAS section 9 of the Constitution provides that an Act of Parliament may make provision in respect of citizenship:

NOW, THEREFORE, be it enacted as follows:—

PART I

PRELIMINARY

1    Short title

This Act may be cited as the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act [Chapter 4:01].

                             2    Interpretation

  • In this Act—

“foreign country” means any country other than Zimbabwe;

“former citizenship law” means—

  • the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act [Chapter 23 of 1974]; or
  • the Citizenship of Southern Rhodesia and British Nationality Act, 1963 (No. 63 of 1963); or (c) the Citizenship of Rhodesia and Nyasaland and British Nationality Act, 1957 (Federal Act No. 12 of 1957); or
  • the Southern Rhodesia Citizenship and British Nationality Act, 1949 (No. 13 of 1949); or
  • the law relating to naturalization in force in Zimbabwe before the 1st January, 1950;

“Minister” means the Minister of Home Affairs or any other Minister to whom the President may, from time to time, assign the administration of this Act;

“oath of loyalty” means the oath of loyalty in the form specified in Schedule 1 to the Constitution;

“person under legal disability” means a person who is not of full age or sound mind;

“Registrar-General” means the Registrar-General of Citizenship referred to in section three;

“responsible parent”, in relation to a child, means—

(a) if the father is dead or the mother has been given custody of the child by virtue of a law relating to the guardianship of children or the child is illegitimate, the mother of the child; or (b) in any other case, the father of the child.

  • For the purposes of this Act—
  • a person shall be regarded as being of full age if he has attained the age of eighteen years or if, being under that age, he is or has been married;
  • a person shall be regarded as not having attained a specified age until the commencement of the relevant anniversary of the day of his birth;
  • any period of residence, event occurring or thing done before the 18th April, 1980, in the area which on that date was included in the external boundaries of Zimbabwe shall be treated as though it were a period of residence, event occurring or thing done, as the case may be, in Zimbabwe;
  • a person shall be regarded as ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe if he has lawfully and voluntarily established his usual place of residence in Zimbabwe, otherwise than as a visitor, with the intention of remaining therein.

(3) For the purposes of this Act, any reference to citizenship of a foreign country shall include a reference to citizenship of one or more foreign countries.

PART II

REGISTRAR-GENERAL OF CITIZENSHIP

                             3    Registrar-General of Citizenship

  • There shall be a Registrar-General of Citizenship, whose office shall be a public office and shall form part of the Public Service.
  • The Registrar-General shall perform such functions as are conferred upon him in terms of this Act.

PART III

ACQUISITIONOF CITIZENSHIP BY REGISTRATION

                             4  Applications for registration of persons of full age and sound mind

(1) Subject to this Part, the Minister may authorize the registration of a person as a citizen of Zimbabwe if that person—

  • is of full age and sound mind; and
  • applies for the Minister’s authority in the prescribed form and manner; and (c) satisfies the Minister that—
    • he is of good character and a fit and proper person to be registered as a citizen of Zimbabwe; and
    • at the date of his application, he is ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe and has been so resident, whether continuously or as an aggregate of a number of periods, for at least five years:

Provided that, if the President considers that the special circumstances of any particular case so warrant, he may authorize the Minister to accept a shorter period of residence; and

  • he intends, after the grant of his application, to continue to reside in Zimbabwe, subject to the exigencies of his employment; and
  • he is willing to renounce any other citizenship he may hold if he becomes a citizen of Zimbabwe.
  • No period during which a person who applies for the Minister’s authority in terms of subsection (1) was confined to or was an inmate of a prison, reformatory, mental hospital or other such institution in Zimbabwe or resided in Zimbabwe as a visitor shall be counted for the purposes of that subsection as a period of residence in Zimbabwe.
  • Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting in any way the entitlement of a person referred to in section 7 of the Constitution to be registered as a citizen of Zimbabwe.

                             5    Applications for registration of persons under legal disability

If the responsible parent or guardian or other lawful representative of a person under legal disability who is not entitled in terms of subsection (3) of section 7 of the Constitution to be registered as a citizen of Zimbabwe— (a) applies in the prescribed manner for the Minister’s authority; and (b) satisfies the Minister that the person under legal disability—

  • is, at the date of the application, ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe; and
  • has associations by way of descent, length of residence or otherwise with Zimbabwe which justify his registration as a citizen of Zimbabwe;

the Minister may authorize the registration of the person under legal disability as a citizen of Zimbabwe:

Provided that the Minister may, where he thinks fit, accept and grant an application made by someone who is not the responsible parent or guardian or other lawful representative of the person under legal disability to whom the application relates.

6 Rejected applications and applications from former citizens not to be considered for two years

(1) Subject to subsection (2), the Minister shall not consider an application in terms of section four or five— (a) if he has previously rejected a similar application made by or in respect of the same person; or

(b) if the person by or in respect of whom the application is made was formerly a citizen of Zimbabwe but renounced his citizenship or ceased to be a citizen in terms of section nine; until the expiry of a period of two years beginning on the date of rejection of the previous application or the date on which that person ceased to be a citizen of Zimbabwe, as the case may be.

(2) If he considers that the special circumstances of the case warrant such action, the Minister may—

  • consider any application referred to in subsection (1) before the expiration of the two-year period referred to in that subsection; or
  • refuse to consider an application referred to in subsection (1) made by or in respect of a former citizen until the expiry of such further period as he considers appropriate after the expiry of the two-year period referred to in that subsection.

                             7    Registration

  • The registration as a citizen of Zimbabwe of a person to whom subsection (1) of section four relates shall not be effected unless that person has taken the oath of loyalty.
  • The Registrar-General shall notify a person who is required to take the oath of loyalty in terms of this section or in terms of subsection (5) of section 7 of the Constitution of the time within which and the person before whom he may take the oath of loyalty.
  • A person who is required to take the oath of loyalty in terms of this section shall be registered and become a citizen of Zimbabwe by registration on the date he takes the oath of loyalty.
  • A person whose registration as a citizen of Zimbabwe has been authorized in terms of section five shall become a citizen of Zimbabwe by registration on such date as the Minister may direct.
  • A person whose foreign adoption has been recognised by the High Court in terms of Part VIIA of the Children’s Act [Chapter 5:06] shall become a citizen of Zimbabwe by registration in terms of subsection (4) of section 7 of the Constitution on the date his birth is registered in terms of section 75E of the Children’s Act [Chapter 5:06].

[Subsection inserted by Act 23 of 2001]

                             8    Certificates of registration

A person who becomes a citizen of Zimbabwe after taking the oath of loyalty in terms of section seven or subsection (5) of section 7 of the Constitution shall be issued with a certificate of registration as a citizen of Zimbabwe, which certificate shall be in the form prescribed.

PART IV

PROHIBITION OFDUALCITIZENSHIP AND RENUNCIATION, DEPRIVATION, LOSS AND RESTORATIONOFCITIZENSHIP

                             9    Prohibition of dual citizenship

  • Subject to this section, no citizen of Zimbabwe who is of full age and sound mind shall be entitled to be a citizen of a foreign country.
  • A citizen of Zimbabwe of full age who, by voluntary act other than marriage, acquires the citizenship of a foreign country shall immediately cease to be a citizen of Zimbabwe.
  • A citizen of Zimbabwe who acquires by marriage the citizenship of a foreign country shall cease to be a

citizen of Zimbabwe one year after the date of the marriage unless, before the expiry of that period, he has effectively renounced his foreign citizenship in accordance with the law of that foreign country and has made a declaration confirming such renunciation in the form and manner prescribed.

[Subsection amended by Act 12 of 2001.]

  • A citizen of Zimbabwe of full age who, by some means other than by voluntary act or marriage, acquires the citizenship of a foreign country shall cease to be a citizen of Zimbabwe one year after the date of such acquisition unless, before the expiry of that period, he has effectively renounced his foreign citizenship in accordance with the law of that foreign country and has made a declaration confirming such renunciation in the form and manner prescribed.

[Subsection amended by Act 12 of 2001.]

  • A citizen of Zimbabwe who, when he becomes of full age, is also a citizen of a foreign country shall cease to be a citizen of Zimbabwe one year after he attains his majority unless, before the expiry of that period, he has effectively renounced his foreign citizenship in accordance with the law of that foreign country and has made a declaration confirming such renunciation in the form and manner prescribed.

[Subsection amended by Act 12 of 2001.]

  • A person of full age who becomes a citizen of Zimbabwe by registration while he is a citizen of a foreign country shall cease to be a citizen of Zimbabwe six months after such registration unless, before the expiry of that period, he has effectively renounced his foreign citizenship in accordance with the law of that foreign country and has made a declaration confirming such renunciation in the form and manner prescribed:

Provided that a person who, at any time between the 1st January, 1985, and the 31st December, 1985—

  • became a citizen of Zimbabwe by registration; and
  • was enrolled as a voter on any roll in terms of the Electoral Act, 1979 (No. 14 of 1979); shall be deemed not to have lost his citizenship of Zimbabwe solely on account of his not having renounced his foreign citizenship in terms of this subsection.

[Subsection as amended by Act 12 of 2001 and by Act 23 of 2001]

(7) A citizen of Zimbabwe of full age who

  • at the date of commencement of the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Amendment Act, 2001, is also a citizen of a foreign country; or
  • at any time before that date, had renounced or purported to renounce his citizenship of a foreign country and has, despite such renunciation, retained his citizenship of that country; shall cease to be a citizen of Zimbabwe six months after that date unless, before the expiry of that period, he has effectively renounced his foreign citizenship in accordance with the law of that foreign country and has made a declaration confirming such renunciation in the form and manner prescribed.

[Subsection substituted by Act 12 of 2001.]

(8) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any other enactment, but subject to subsection (9), any person who was ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe immediately before the 1st December 1984, and who ceases to be a

citizen of Zimbabwe in terms of subsection (3), (4), (5), (6) or (7) shall be entitled, on and after the date on which he ceased to be a citizen of Zimbabwe— (a) to reside in Zimbabwe; and

  • to acquire, hold and dispose of movable and immovable property in Zimbabwe; and
  • to be indentured as an apprentice or trainee and to enter, practise or engage in any profession, trade, calling or employment in Zimbabwe; and
  • to obtain education for himself and his children in Zimbabwe; and
  • generally, to do all such things as may be done by persons who are ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe.
  • The Minister may, by order, deprive a person of all or any of his rights under subsection (8) on the same grounds as he could deprive that person of his citizenship, if that person were a citizen of Zimbabwe by registration, and section eleven shall apply, mutatis mutandis, in respect of an order made in terms of this subsection.
  • Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, where a person is of unsound mind for the whole or any part of any period during which he may elect to renounce his foreign citizenship in terms of subsection (3), (4), (5), (6) or (7), the period during which he may make the election shall be extended accordingly.
  • Where he considers that it is necessary or desirable in the case of an individual to do so, and that it will not be contrary to the national interest, the President may, by order, grant such individual an exemption from all or any of the provisions of this section subject to such conditions as he may specify, and may revoke or amend any such exemption.

9A Special procedure for renunciation of citizenship by certain persons

  • In this section—

“SADC country” means a country which is a member of the Southern African Development Community established in terms of the Treaty signed at Windhoek in the Republic of Namibia on the 17th August, 1992.

“migrant worker” means any person who entered Zimbabwe from a SADC country or left Zimbabwe for a

SADC country for the purposes of employment as a— (a)   farm labourer; or

  • mine worker; or
  • domestic employee; or
  • worker in any other unskilled occupation.
  • A person may renounce his citizenship of a SADC country and confirm his citizenship of Zimbabwe in terms of subsection (3) instead of renouncing his citizenship of a SADC country in terms of subsection (3), (4), (5), (6) or (7) of section nine, if—
  • he was born in Zimbabwe and—
    • one of his parents was born in a SADC country and entered Zimbabwe on or before the 18th of April, 1980, as a migrant worker, and from the date of such entry until the date of birth of the person referred to in this section such parent has continuously resided in Zimbabwe; and
    • he has continuously resided in Zimbabwe since the date of his birth except for any temporary absence in any of the circumstances specified in subsection (2) of section thirteen; and
    • he has not at any time after the date of his birth acquired any foreign citizenship or foreign passport, whether voluntarily or otherwise, or enjoyed the protection of any foreign country;

or

  • he was born in a SADC country and—
    • one of his parents was born in Zimbabwe and left Zimbabwe on or before the 18th of April, 1980, for a SADC country as a migrant worker, and such parent was resident in that country at the date of birth of the person referred to in this section; and
    • he is permanently resident in Zimbabwe at the time of making an application in terms of subsection (3); and
    • he has not at any time after the date of his first entry into Zimbabwe acquired any other foreign citizenship or other foreign passport, whether voluntarily or otherwise, or enjoyed the protection of any foreign country.

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