Information on the circumstances under which a person would be unable to acquire permanent residence in Sierra Leone and on the procedure for acquiring permanent residence or citizenship from outside Sierra Leone [SLE21213.E]

The information that follows was provided by the ambassador of Sierra Leone in Washington, DC, during a telephone interview with the DIRB. This adds to the information provided in Responses to Information Requests SLE19859.E of 28 February 1995, SLE17030.E of 10 May 1994 and other Responses available through the Refinfo database.

Anyone can request permanent residence in, or citizenship of, Sierra Leone by submitting a request to the Immigration and Citizenship Board in Freetown. The requests can be handed to a Sierra Leone diplomatic or consular representation abroad, but they will only be forwarded to the pertinent authorities in Freetown, who will in turn evaluate and decide on the case. The request can be in the form of a letter stating who the applicant is and the reasons for requesting residence or citizenship from Sierra Leone authorities. Biographical information on the requester, as well as any references and other supporting information that could help the Immigration and Citizenship Board in its decision (such as information on relatives in or from Sierra Leone or the requester's links to the country), should be included with the applicant's documentation or letter of request. The board might request more information from the individual before taking a decision on the application. Each case is evaluated by the board on an individual basis.

Regarding circumstances that could warrant denial of residence or citizenship, the source stated that the child of a Sierra Leonean father would normally not face any difficulties in obtaining either upon request. Although Sierra Leone is a patrilineal society, children of a Sierra Leonean mother can also acquire Sierra Leonean permanent residence and citizenship without difficulty. In any case, the board responsible for a decision would evaluate the particular circumstances of the individual before taking a decision. The only current restrictions for a child of a Sierra Leonean mother and a foreign father are limited to the occupation of the country's highest public posts: a person whose father is not a citizen of Sierra Leone cannot be president or a cabinet minister of the country. However, this restriction is currently being debated in Sierra Leone and could be eliminated in the near future.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below a list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Embassy of Sierra Leone, Washington, DC. 8 August 1995. Telephone interview with ambassador.