Whether a foreign woman who marries a Rwandan man acquires Rwandan citizenship upon marriage; whether this is only possible if the marriage was registered with the Rwandan civil registrar's office; whether there is a deadline for registering the marriage and whether particular conditions must be met; documents to submit (2003-2005) [RWA43324.FE]

According to article 9 of Organic Law No. 29/2004 on the Rwandan Nationality Code of 3 December 2004, which replaces the Rwandan Nationality Code of 28 September 1963,

[translation]
Two years after a foreigner or stateless person marries a Rwandan, the foreigner or stateless person can acquire Rwandan nationality by submitting an application to the civil registrar in compliance with the procedure established by order of the minister responsible for this and if, on the declaration date, the couple is still married. The individual may only use this procedure if the marriage was registered with the Rwandan civil registrar's office.
Within one year of accepting the application, the Rwandan government can oppose the foreign spouse's Rwandan nationality based on unworthiness.
If the Rwandan government opposes the foreign spouse's Rwandan nationality, the foreigner is reputed never to have acquired it. The validity of the past actions that took place between the application and the Rwandan government's opposition cannot be contested because the individual was unable to acquire Rwandan nationality.
Annulling the marriage after acquiring Rwandan nationality does not affect the nationality acquired by the spouse, provided that the spouse was married in good faith, nor does it affect the nationality of the children born of the marriage.

According to article 10 of that same law, [translation] "Rwandan nationality through marriage is acquired on the day that the civil registrar's office registers the applicant as a Rwandan national in the civil registry, pursuant to the provisions under article 9 of the present organic law" (Rwanda 3 Dec. 2004). The ambassador at the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in Ottawa confirmed this information during a 15 February 2005 telephone interview, by indicating that Rwandan nationality is automatically conferred once the marriage certificate is sent to the Rwandan civil registrar's office.

Article 2 of Organic Law No. 29/2004 on the Rwandan Nationality Code of 3 December 2004 indicates that [translation] "dual nationality is permitted" (Rwanda 3 Dec. 2004). Furthermore, article 37 of that same law indicates that,

[translation]
If a foreign man married a Rwandan woman before the present organic law was in effect, he may acquire Rwandan nationality if he shows the intention through a statement made in compliance with the order of the minister responsible for this and submitted to the Rwandan civil registrar of the man's place of residence (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection.

References


Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda, Ottawa. 15 February 2005. Telephone interview with the ambassador.

Rwanda. 3 December 2004. Organic Law No. 29/2004 on the Rwandan Nationality Code.