Responses to Information Requests

Responses to Information Requests (RIR) respond to focused Requests for Information that are submitted to the Research Directorate in the course of the refugee protection determination process. The database contains a seven-year archive of English and French RIRs. Earlier RIRs may be found on the UNHCR's Refworld website. Please note that some RIRs have attachments which are not electronically accessible. To obtain a PDF copy of an RIR attachment, please email the Knowledge and Information Management Unit.


13 June 2011


Tanzania: Whether an individual aquires Tanzanian citizenship by birth if both the individual's parents are non-citizens; whether dual citizenship is recognized by Tanzania; reasons for losing citizenship; requirements and procedures for regaining lost or renounced citizenship

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

During a 3 June 2011 telephone interview with the Research Directorate, an official with the United Republic of Tanzania High Commission in Ottawa stated that a child born in Tanzania may become a citizen only if either one of the child's parents is also a citizen (Tanzania 3 June 2011). The Official also indicated that the child of a Tanzanian father born outside of Tanzania automatically receives Tanzania citizenship, but not the child of a Tanzanian mother born outside of Tanzania (ibid.). A report which provides details on citizenship laws from around the world produced by the United States (US) Office of Personnel Management similarly states that after 9 December 1961, "a child born in Tanzania, one of whose parents is a citizen of Tanzania" or a "child born abroad, whose father is a citizen of Tanzania" is granted Tanzanian citizenship by descent (US Mar. 2001, 195).

The Official of the High Commission stated that Tanzania does not recognize dual citizenship (Tanzania 3 June 2011). He explained that the idea has been debated for several years, and that it is now being discussed in Parliament (ibid.). Media reports also note that government officials have stated that they are working on introducing dual citizenship legislation and policies (The Citizen 8 May 2011; Daily News 13 Apr. 2011; Guardian on Sunday 4 July 2010).

However, the Official noted that as an exception, a Tanzanian child can have dual citizenship until the child reaches 18 years of age (Tanzania 3 June 2011). After 18 years of age an individual has to choose between renouncing his or her Tanzanian citizenship or renouncing the other citizenship to which the individual is entitled (ibid.; The Citizen 21 Jan. 2010). The US Office of Personnel Management Report also adds that a "Tanzanian who marries a foreign national and involuntarily acquires [the] spouse's citizenship is allowed to retain Tanzanian citizenship" (US Mar. 2001, 195)

An individual loses Tanzanian citizenship automatically if they obtain the citizenship of another country (Tanzania 3 June 2011; The Citizen 20 Jan. 2010; US Mar. 2001, 195). However, the Official noted that in practice, there was no formal process to verify if an individual has acquired another citizenship and that, for example, he was aware that some individuals have kept their Tanzanian passports after obtaining Canadian citizenship (ibid.). The Official also stated that in some cases individuals have been stripped of their citizenship when it was determined they did not originally have the necessary requirements for citizenship (Tanzania 3 June 2011).

The Official explained that individuals can challenge the removal of their citizenship by providing additional proof demonstrating their eligibility, such as a copy of a birth certificate or other additional documentation, and a letter explaining the situation and arguing their case to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on a case by case basis (Tanzania 3 June 2011). He added that an individual would also need to demonstrate that they had renounced any other citizenship and would have to place an advertisement in a national newspaper asking for anyone having objections to the regaining of their citizenship to come forward (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. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


The Citizen [Dar es Salam]. 8 May 2011. Freddy Macha. "Govt Still Push for Dual Citizenship." <> [Accessed 27 May 2011]

_____. 21 January 2010. "Tanzania: Tread Carefully on Dual Citizenship, Govt Urged." ( <> [Accessed 27 May 2011]

_____. 20 January 2010. Mkinga Mkinga. "Tanzania: Dual Citizenship At Last." ( <> [Accessed 27 May 2011]

Daily News [Dar es Salam]. 13 April 2011. Alvar Mwakyusa. "From the Parliament: Dual Citizenship Process on Progress." <&lt;> [Accessed 6 June 2011]

Guardian on Sunday [Dar es Salaam]. 4 July 2010. Rodgers Luhwago. "Govt considers legalising dual citizenship." <> [Accessed 6 June 2011]

Tanzania. 3 June 2011. United Republic of Tanzania High Commission, Ottawa. Telephone Interview with an official.

United States. March 2001. Office of Personnel Management. Citizenship Laws of the World. <> [Accessed 27 May 2011]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sources, including: European Country of Origin Information Network (, The Express [Tanzania], Factiva,, Tanzania – Ministry of Home Affairs, United Kingdom (UK) Home Office, United Nations (UN) Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), UN Refworld.

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