Whether the Constitution of Lebanon permits the renunciation of Lebanese citizenship; circumstances under which a Lebanese can renounce his/her citizenship; whether Lebanon would consider as legal renunciation of Lebanese citizenship, the statement made by a person of Lebanese origin to the Columbian authorities in 1974 that he relinquished his/her Lebanese citizenship in order to obtain Columbian citizenship [LBN41974.E]

Article 6 of the 23 May 1926 Lebanese Constitution, as amended to 19 October 1995, stipulates that "the Lebanese nationality and the manner in which it is acquired, retained and lost, shall be determined according to the law." (Constitutions Mar. -1998, 5).

According to Citizenship Laws of the World, a person who wishes to renounce his/her Lebanese citizenship is required to send a letter of renunciation to the nearest Lebanese embassy or consulate (U.S. Office of Personnel Management Mar. 2001). The embassy or consulate will send the letter of renunciation to Lebanon for approval and will notify the applicant of the decision (ibid.).

This information was corroborated by a representative of the Embassy of Lebanon, in Ottawa, in an 18 September 2003 telephone interview.

In his book entitled Citizenship and the State: A Comparative Study of Citizenship Legislation in Israel, Jordan, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon, Uri Davis states that

the loss of Lebanese citizenship is regulated under the Law (Lebanese Citizenship) of 31 January 1946, as amended by Decree no. 10828 of 9 October 1962.
Whereas until the promulgation of Decree 10828 it was possible for a Lebanese citizen to take foreign citizenship without losing his Lebanese citizenship (provided he was authorized to do so by a certificate issued by the head of State - Regulation no. 15, Article 8), after the said amendment, a Lebanese citizen is both required to seek official authorization by Decree issued by the head of State to take a foreign citizenship and loses his Lebanese citizenship in the event that he does so (article 1(i)).
In reality, such decrees are taken very often to facilitate the acquisition of another nationality. Subsequently, after such an acquisition, another Decree is issued at the request of the same person, cancelling the first Decree, resulting in the applicant then retaining Lebanese nationality (Davis 1997, 155).

In addition, the author also quotes Article 2 of Decree No. 10828 according to which

"any person of Lebanese origin who is resident outside Lebanon and opted not to take Lebanese citizenship, may, in the event that he had permanently returned to Lebanon, apply to be counted as Lebanese and the Cabinet ... is authorized to issue regulation to that effect" (1997, 157).

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 to refugee status or asylum.


Constitutions of the Countries of the World. March 1998. Vol. 10. Booklet 1. "Lebanon." Translated by Fouad Fahmy Shafik. Edited by Gisbert H. Flanz. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Oceana Publications.

Davis, Uri. 1997. Citizenship and the State: A Comparative Study of Citizenship Legislation in Israel, Jordan, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon. Birkshire: Garnet Publishing Limited.

Embassy of Lebanon, Consulare Section, Ottawa. 18 September 2003. Telephone interview with representative.

United States (US). March 2001. Office of Personnel Management, Investigations Service. Citizenship Laws of the World. http://www.opm.gov/extra/investigate/IS-01.pdf [Accessed 15 Sept. 2003]

Associated documents