The shadow of a demonstrator making a peace sign is cast on an Egyptian flag during a rally in Trafalgar Square, in central London February 12, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
CAIRO – 22 April 2018: There has been a great deal of interest regarding the latest new amendments to the Egyptian nationality law. Egypt Today explains the reasons for withdrawal of Egyptian nationality, how to regain it and the legal amendments pertaining to it.
On September 21, 2017, Parliament issued an amendment to the law regarding the withdrawal of nationality: “Egyptian citizenship will be withdrawn from the person who is found guilty of participating in a terrorist act, communicating with terrorists or gathering information for terrorists.”
This means that Egyptian citizenship will be withdrawn from any terrorists after a final verdict is issued by the court.
Supporters of the amendment consider it as protecting the national security of the country from terrorists and enemies. On the other hand, opponents say that this amendment violates constitutional law and that nationality is the right of every citizen, which cannot be stolen by any law.
Reasons for withdrawal of Egyptian nationality
According to Law No. 26 of 1975, the basic reasons for the state to revoke nationality include:
1. If the citizen takes another nationality without permission from the Egyptian government.
2. If the Egyptian citizen enters the military service of a foreign country without being approved by the Ministry of Defense.
3. If a court ruling is issued against an individual who is involved in damaging public security.
4. If the Cabinet orders an individual, working outside of the country, to leave his job, the nationality shall be revoked after six months of his notification, if he fails to oblige.
5. If an individual joins a foreign body whose purpose is to destroy the social or economic system of the state.
6. If an individual works for a foreign state or government at war with Egypt.
7. If an individual works with countries that cut off diplomatic relations with Egypt.
8. If the government or non-governmental entity an individual works with abroad is characterized by Zionism.
9. If an individual takes Egyptian nationality by cheating and/or presenting false papers.
However, Ahmed Mahran, manager of the Cairo Center for Political and Legal Studies, said that withdrawing nationality comes by decision of the Cabinet and must be published in the state’s official Gazette within thirty days from the date of issue.
If the citizen wants to unilaterally revoke their nationality, one only needs to sign an application to be submitted to the Ministry of Interior, according to Esmat El-Merghani, President of the Afro-Asian Lawyers Federation.
Regaining Egyptian nationality
If an individual’s nationality has been revoked, they have the ability to file a lawsuit requesting the return their citizenship. Any individual will be prosecuted of crimes committed during the period of one’s nationality revocation, and the final decision will be issued by the Interior Minister. It is not possible for one to regain their citizenship, if it has been withdrawn for over five years.
According to Egyptian law, the acquisition of another nationality is acceptable, but an application requesting for dual-nationality must be submitted to officials. Egyptians who have acquired a foreign nationality may retain their Egyptian citizenship if the other country permits it.
Persons with dual-nationality do not perform military service and cannot enroll in military academies, the police academy or run for office in Parliament.
For his part, Ayman Salameh, an expert on international law, explained that the reissuance of citizenship is the right of every citizen; however, if one relinquishes it again, the individual will be subject to many legal obstacles. He pointed out that a person who relinquishes their nationality will have a very weak chance of obtaining it again.
In the same context, on April 19, the official Gazette, issued by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, withdrew the Egyptian citizenship of a Moroccan citizen because she obtained Egyptian citizenship through fraud and false statements.
Meanwhile, citizenship was also withdrawn from a large number of Palestinians who received it during the era of ousted President Mohammed Morsi; the most prominent of these personalities being Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar.
Sources told Egypt Today that the total number of Palestinians who obtained Egyptian citizenship in the era of Morsi was around 8,000, most of which were obtained fraudulently.