Dual citizenship in Uganda is the possession of citizenship of two countries at the same time, one of which is Uganda.
PIC: Parliament Speaker Kadaga hands over the first dual citizenship certificate fully processed in the diaspora to Rosette Selwanga
Dual citizenship has been provided for in the Ugandan constitution since 2009 following the enactment of the Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control (Amendments) Act 2009. However, to attain it, Ugandans living abroad had to go through a rigorous process that required them to return home. Not anymore.
Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga officially handed over the first dual citizenship certificate fully processed in the diaspora to Rosette Selwanga, a medical life support technician based in Boston, Massachusetts.
This was on the opening day of the 29th Annual Ugandan North American Association (UNAA) convention on Friday at the luxurious InterContinental Hotel in Miami, Florida.
Dual citizenship in Uganda is the possession of citizenship of two countries at the same time, one of which is Uganda. The possession of a third citizenship disqualifies one from holding or being a dual national of Uganda unless the third citizenship is renounced.
Hundreds of Ugandans from North America and all over the world gathered at the three-day annual event, reportedly North America's largest Ugandan social and business gathering. Amongst those in attendance were about 25 Members of Parliament as well as top officials from government agencies and businessmen from Kampala.
Godfrey Sasagah Wanzira, the director, immigration in the Ministry of Internal Affairs said they were responding to persistent appeals by Ugandans in the diaspora for government to make the process less cumbersome by bringing services closer to them.
"Although we have rolled out the services in other states, we have decided to take advantage of this big gathering of Ugandans from different parts of the world in one place, to provide this service in real time and issue certificates in two hours."
He said although progress had been gradual, the team expected to have issued at least 200 certificates by the end of the three-day event, which concludes Sunday.
Anthony Namara, the commissioner, immigration in the Directorate of Citizenship and Passport Control in the internal affairs ministry, Uganda, said participants who are interested in acquiring the certificate of duo citizenship at the function were required to avail evidence of their former citizenship like a passport.
He said they also needed to present a copy of their current citizenship of the other country, a notorised form and an oath of allegiance to Uganda. They were also required to pay $400.
The National Citizenship and Immigration Board accesses and approves the forms which are then signed by the director, immigration.
Genesis of the development
In June this year, the technical team at the directorate liaised with the Diaspora Desk in the Office of the President and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to conduct a clinic for processing and issuance of duo citizenship certificates in the diaspora.
"We also agreed to sensitise Ugandans in the diaspora about other immigration services that are now issued through the electronic visa system like visas; dependents' passes for children below 18 years of age for Ugandans in the Diaspora; issuance of certificates of Ugandan residence for Ugandans who may have assumed citizenship of another country but may not wish to attain duo citizenship," said Namara.
Registration for national identification
He said the National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA) is also at hand to register Ugandans who have already acquired duo citizenship as well as those who are permanent residents of the United States and Canada (Green Card holders) as well as other countries.
"That information will be sent to Kampala for processing and the cards will be availed to them at the Ugandan Mission in the USA in Washington DC," added Namara.
Meanwhile, Florence Kiremerwa, Special Presidential Assistant on Diaspora Issues, said over 200 Ugandans in London, UK received their dual citizenship certificates in one day on August 28, 2017.
She said: "It is a continuation of the presidential initiative of offering service to the diaspora and generating revenue to the government. The government is giving back to the diaspora because of their contribution to the economy of Uganda."