Foreigners may soon acquire Rwandan citizenship on the basis of “national interest” if they have special skills or talents, and the ability to offer sustainable investment activities if a Bill recently approved by Cabinet becomes law.
The Bill says, such a person must “cohabit without interruption until the date that Rwandan nationality by acquisition is granted.”
Even then, the Bill adds, the applicant must “have knowledge and respect for Rwandan culture and traditions.”
According to Article 12 of Draft Organic Law Governing Rwandan Nationality, a foreigner who marries a Rwandan can acquire citizenship after five years of their marriage, up from three years in the current law governing nationality.
In the current law, the deprivation of Rwandan nationality cannot have adverse effects on the deprived person’s spouse and children neither will divorce — if the marriage was in “good faith”.
The procedure under “national interest” clause will require a competent authority to write to the Rwanda Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration describing the national interest that would justify granting nationality to a particular foreigner.
Immigrants can now seek for nationality under the new law if they can demonstrate they are people of integrity.
In the Bill, Rwanda plans to limit the possibility of acquiring citizenship through “fake” marriages.
The move also comes on the heels of the government’s announcement that it will phase out ordinary passports by June 2021 and replace them with the East African Community passport.