Ugandans in the diaspora still thinking; that acquiring Ugandan citizenship is a walk in the park are in for a rude awakening.
The days of turning up at Entebbe International Airport with a previously stored Ugandan passport and expecting to gain entry as a Ugandan is a thing of the past.
Dual citizenship claims will now need to be backed up with a letter from say British authorities-and such others- proving that the UK Ugandan/American Ugandan/Canadian Ugandan/Scandinavian Ugandan/French Uganda is indeed a dual citizen.
UK Ugandans were told dual citizenship -a long standing and contentious one-is now treated with gravity by the Government of Uganda which has tightened the requirements.
A clean criminal record; certified by the authorities abroad where a Ugandan acquired citizenship- will now be requested by the Ugandan Government from Ugandans applying for dual citizenship-in Uganda.
UK Ugandans were also told the $400 application fee for dual citizenship in Uganda remains even though diasporans said it is exorbitant for the sons and daughters of the soil.
“For Uganda to recognise your British passport and the passport that you had of Uganda, you must foremost; have a clean record in terms of crime. You must have a certificate that clears you from authorities in Britain as not being a criminal, a suspect, a wanted person in any way or fugitive,” warned Simon Mulongo Member of Parliament Bubulo County.
Addressing Ugandans at the 4th Ugandan UK Convention in East London, Mulongo revealed that Uganda has upped/is upping its immigration laws to those of civilised nations.
“The fact that every country, every space has been curved out into sovereign states, means the matter of nationality is fundamental. We need to look at citizenship with such gravity; as it deserves. In other words for one to acquire citizenship, it is something that must be taken seriously; and not as simple as it has been in our country where we did not have national identity cards. Every Tom, Dick and Harry would just walk into the country as a Ugandan and be declared as such.” he explained.
“The processes that are encapsulated for one to acquire citizenship or to be regularised are laborious. That is the practise world over. Now, in Uganda we realised that it was important to join other civilised countries that regard dual citizenship as fundamental to enable easy movement of their citizens; in co-operation with other countries,” he clarified.
Asked to explain why children born in the UK to Ugandan parents cannot apply for dual citizenship; until aged 18, Mulongo explained it to them-the children-being minors who cannot swear to an oath of allegiance.
“Dual citizenship involves taking an oath of allegiance and for you to do so, you must be of age as by matter of law. That is why children who are below 18 cannot attest to that effect. Until that child becomes of age, it cannot be accorded dual citizenship.”
Other conditions to qualify for dual citizenship in Uganda are.
- Be a national of Uganda and belong to one of the ethnic communities of Uganda as of February 1926 when Uganda’s borders were drawn. (list of enlisted communities of Uganda listed towards the end of this article).
- One or both parents must have been born in Uganda.
- Through naturalization.
- Dual citizenship legality in the country where the Ugandan already has citizenship . Some countries do not recognize dual citizenship and Uganda would not grant citizenship to Ugandans with citizenship in such countries. (list of countries that allow and disallow dual citizenship is be at the bottom of this article).
Ugandans were also told about a Diaspora Policy currently being debated in Cabinet and to which they can contribute suggestions before it becomes a law .