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General News of Friday, 10 June 2011

Source: ISD (Nana Ama Bonnah)

Interior Minister Clarifies Dual Citizenship

The Minister for the Interior, Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor, has indicated that the amendment of Section 8 of the 1992 Constitution allows citizens of Ghana to hold the citizenship of any other country in addition to that of Ghana.

However, Dr. Kunbuor said, those who acquired the citizenship of any other country other than by marriage under the old law would not qualify under the new law which is the amendment made to Section 8.

According to Interior Minister, who was addressing a news conference in Accra, today, the new law was not retrospective in operation but rather prospective which disqualified such persons outright from obtaining dual citizenship.

Dr. Kunbuor noted that in the case of persons under 18 years of age born outside the country, the new Article 8, does not favour them and that “the new Article 8 requires a person to be a citizen of Ghana before he can acquire additional citizenship of another country to be able to register as a dual citizen of Ghana”.

The Minster maintained that a Ghanaian by descent may hold the Ghanaian passport by virtue of Article 6 (2) of the Constitution which states that “subject to the provision of this Constitution, a person born in or outside Ghana at the coming into force of this Constitution shall become a citizen of Ghana at the date of his birth if either of his parents or grandparents is or was a citizen of Ghana.”

This, he said, conferred citizenship on a person as a matter of right but who could not claim dual nationality under Section 16 (3) (b) because his foreign citizenship was not in addition to his Ghanaian citizenship but concurrent with it.

Dr. Kunbuor noted that the problem created by the new Article 8 had been communicated to the Constitution Review Committee and the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General for possible amendment in order that persons in this category might also benefit from dual citizenship.

For persons who wanted to apply for dual citizenship, the Minister said they could apply through the Ministry of the Interior or through Ghana’s Diplomatic Missions abroad at a cost of GH¢ 200.00.

He said a form to be completed for submission should be attached to a cover letter, in addition to evidence of a Ghanaian citizenship (passport or birth certificate) and four copies of passport size photographs and sealed by a Notary Public, High Court or Circuit Court Judge, or the Head of Ghana’s Mission Abroad.