How is Burundian nationality acquired?

The bill of July 18, 2000, reforming the Nationality Code sets out the conditions for being called Burundian by birth, and the acquisition and loss of nationality.

According to this code, a legitimate child born in Burundi, even in a foreign country, to a father who was a Burundian on the day of birth or, if the father died before the child’s birth, on the day of death, is Burundian by birth. A natural child, whatever his maternal filiation, who is the subject of voluntary recognition, legitimation or judicial recognition establishing his filiation with a Burundian father, as well as a natural child whose paternal filiation is not established and who is the subject of voluntary or judicial recognition establishing his filiation with a Burundian mother, is also a Burundian at birth. A child who has been denied by his or her father is still Burundian, provided that at the time of denial the mother has Burundian nationality.

Nationality acquisition by legal presumption

The code also determines the conditions of acquisition of nationality by legal presumption: a child born in Burundi of legally unknown parents; a child found in Burundi, unless it is established that he or she was not born on Burundian soil; a minor child when his or her father or, if paternal filiation is not established, when his or her mother acquires or recovers Burundian nationality.

Furthermore, a foreign woman who marries a Burundian or whose husband acquires Burundian nationality by option becomes a Burundian by marriage. However, the acquisition of Burundian nationality is only linked to the celebration of a valid marriage.

Burundian nationality can also be acquired by option: a child born to parents of whom at least one is Burundian at the time of the option; in the case of full adoption, a child adopted by a person of Burundian nationality, provided that the person concerned is resident in Burundi at the time of the declaration of option.

Burundian nationality can also be acquired through naturalization

Naturalization is granted by the President of the Republic by decree.

The admissibility of the naturalization request is subject to the following conditions; at the time of the application, the applicant must be at least twenty-one years old, or, in the case of a child whose application is submitted at the same time as that of his or her father or mother, not more than twenty years old; the applicant must be of good conduct, life and morals, and free of any conviction for a crime or misdemeanor; the applicant must prove his or her attachment to the Burundian nation and his or her assimilation to Burundian citizens; the person concerned must have resided permanently in Burundi for at least ten years. This period is reduced to five years for foreigners married to Burundian women and for foreigners who have rendered exceptional services to Burundi. Moreover, a foreign woman acquires the nationality of her Burundian spouse by marriage by simple declaration.

What about dual nationality?

Any person who originally possessed Burundian nationality and lost it because he or she acquired a foreign nationality may become a Burundian again, provided he or she applies for it, and may choose to keep his or her second nationality.

An adopted child may also, on reaching the age of majority, apply to regain Burundian nationality, without losing that of his or her adoptive parent.

Loss of Burundian nationality

One may renounce his or her Burundian nationality. The renunciation is addressed to the Minister of Justice. Persons residing abroad may send to the Minister of Justice, by registered mail, a declaration of renunciation bearing their legalized signature and accompanied by documents establishing that they meet the required conditions.

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Guillaume Muhoza

Executive Director of Iris News

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