The aim of addendums and changes to the Law on “Citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan” is to invite the citizen to be in responsible relation with the state


As we informed on June 30 the President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on application of May 30, 2014 dated Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on “addendums to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan” on “Citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan”.

According to the addendums and changes which are more on the agenda in recent days, if the citizen of Azerbaijan who acquired the citizenship of another country doesn’t notify relevant executive authority about it in written form within one month,  s/he will bear responsibility in a way envisaged by Criminal Code.

Chief of the State Migration Service, Firudin Nabiyev gave an explanation to AzerTac about these changes. He said that the right of citizenship being one of the main human rights defines the legal status of a person. A person may fully enjoy the envisaged rights and liberties when s/he is a citizen of any state and state provides guarantee to enjoy person's rights.

According to Article 52 of the Constitution of Azerbaijan Republic, a person affiliated to Azerbaijan State, having legal and political relations with it as well as mutual rights and obligations, is a citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

As it is expressed in our supreme law, citizenship is understood as an affiliation of a person to the state, permanent political and legal relations expressed in mutual rights and obligations between a person and state. According to Article 12 of the Constitution of Azerbaijan Republic, ensuring decent living conditions for the citizens is the supreme purpose of the State.

Of course, mutual rights and obligations come from permanent political and legal relations between a person and state. Political relation is explained as a participation of citizen in political life of society and state and his/her possession of political rights. When it comes to legal relation between a citizen and state, it is permanent.

Unlike a citizen, foreigners and stateless persons are only in temporary legal relations with the state. It goes without saying that the state protects both foreigners and citizens. A citizen varies from a foreigner because of his/her political relation with the state. Since rights of foreigners in political field are limited. For example, foreigners and stateless persons are not granted the rights to elect and to be elected.

One of the main issues in citizenship law is related with dual citizenship of persons. Dual citizenship is understood as a person in possession of citizenship of two states. Generally dual citizenship emerges in various cases. For example, if parents of a newborn are citizens of two different countries this can result in dual citizenship for the child or frequently occurring case is acquiring citizenship of another country through naturalization and etc. In these cases as having dual citizenship these persons undertake obligations before two states besides possessing rights and liberties in two countries. In return this causes wide range of problems on legal platform between countries. As an example it would be fair to point out problems emerging from extradition of a person with dual citizenship in case of committing a crime. 

Steady socio-economic development of our country necessitated establishment of legal mechanism for migration and citizenship issues. Taking this necessity into account May 30, 2014 dated Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on “addendums to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan” on “Citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan” has been adopted. According to June 27, 2014 dated decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan on application of the same Law, it is considered that the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan Republic will approve the rule on determination of Azerbaijan Republic citizenship, as well as relevant application form for providing information about acquisition of citizenship of a foreign state by the citizen of Azerbaijan Republic.

According to Article 5 of the Law of Azerbaijan Republic on “Citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan” the following persons shall be considered citizens of the Azerbaijan Republic:

1) Persons having citizenship of Azerbaijan Republic on the day of entry of this Law into force (on the basis of: person’s registration upon his/her place of residence in Azerbaijan  Republic up to the day of entry of the present Law into force);

2) Persons who, until 1 January 1992, were not citizens of Azerbaijan Republic or any other state but have been registered upon place of residence in Azerbaijan Republic. In this case those persons should have applied for admission to the citizenship of Azerbaijan Republic within one year since the entry date of the law into force;

3) Refugees who have been accommodated in the territory of Azerbaijan Republic from1 January 1988 until 1 January1992. It should be recalled that refugees who acquired citizenship of Azerbaijan Republic don’t lose their right to return to the country of departure;

4) Persons who obtain the citizenship of the Azerbaijan Republic in accordance with the same Law.

Relevant to the new changes determination of Azerbaijan Republic citizenship is carried out by the State Migration Service of Azerbaijan Republic according to the Part 4 of the mentioned Article.   

Apparently each state defines legal status of its people within the framework of its legislation. Majority becomes the citizens of relevant state since birthday and carries this legal condition in their lifetime. Migration process emerging from various reasons, marriages concluded with the citizens of different states and etc. causes problems like adoption, restoration and alteration of citizenship.

Unlike the previous edition of the Article 10 of the Law on “Citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan” concrete approach to dual citizenship has been expressed in new edition. It is stipulated in the Article 10 of the Law that if the citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan has dual citizenship (if the person is a citizen of another country (other countries) besides Azerbaijan), affiliation of that citizen to citizenship of a foreign states hall not be recognized, except in the cases envisaged by international treaties of the Republic of Azerbaijan, or in the cases dealt in accordance with paragraph 32, Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

According to the second part of the Article 10 the citizen of Azerbaijan Republic who acquired the citizenship of a foreign state should notify Ministry of Foreign Affairs and State Migration Service of Azerbaijan Republic about it in written form within a month. The person who doesn't give such information will bear responsibility in a way envisaged by the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic. We assume that our citizens who are abroad of Azerbaijan borders will inform relevant state authorities about the issues of citizenship from now on.  

Moreover according to the Article 12, which was edited in title and content, named as “Citizenship of foreigners' and stateless persons' children born on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan”, “the child born on the territory of Azerbaijan and whose both parents are foreigners is not a citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan; state persons’ child born on the territory of Azerbaijan is a citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The child born on the territory of Azerbaijan and whose one of parents is foreigner and another stateless person is not a citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The child born on the territory of Azerbaijan and whose parents are stateless persons is a citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan.   

As well as, the text of the Article 18 of the law - “Loss of citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan” was changed.

So, taking into account the provisions of the Convention on the “Reduction of Statelessness” dated August 30, 1961, the followings are considered as the grounds for losing the citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan:

1)      voluntary acquisition of citizenship of other country by the citizen of Azerbaijan Republic;

2)      voluntary service at state bodies and municipalities or armed forces and/or another armed units of the foreign country by the citizen of Azerbaijan Republic;

3)      behavior of the citizen of Azerbaijan Republic seriously damaging state security;

4)      intentional falsification of the data necessary to acquire the citizenship or submission of a falsified document by the person who acquired the citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Part 1st, item1stof the Article 18 of the Law concerns loss of Azerbaijan citizenship on the basis of person's own will, but doesn’t concern deprivation of citizenship. These changes express legal grounds of losing citizenship.  

The provision defined by part1st, item2ndof the Article 18 of the Law is about undertaking obligation in any foreign country. So, if that person serves in army or elective bodies of another country, then s/he undertakes obligation.

It is about voluntary loss of citizenship, not deprivation of citizenship in the legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Purpose of amendments to the Law is to invite the citizen to be in responsible relation with state.

Article 53 – “Guarantee of right for citizenship” of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan states:

I. In no circumstances a citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan may be deprived of citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

II. In no circumstances a citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan may be expelled from the Republic of Azerbaijan or extradited to a foreign state.

III. Azerbaijan Republic guarantees legal protection and patronizes citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan temporarily or permanently living abroad. 

Provisions defined with the second part of the Article 10 and part 1st, item 1st of the Article 18 of the Law on “Citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan” signed by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev is not applied to the persons acquired the citizenship of another country till the date of attachment of this Law (Azerbaijan citizens acquiring the citizenship of a foreign country till the date of attachment of this legal act). 

There are also foreigners intending to acquire citizenship in our country. As Azerbaijan becomes stronger, importance of our passports, citizenship increases. Though dual citizenship assures capacious rights and obligations, it establishes enough responsibility from the point of statehood, as well as personal obligations. All enumerated factors, as well as socio-economic development of our country necessitated improvement of legal mechanism of migration and citizenship issues in globalized world. Finally this step expressing philosophy of valuing Motherland and citizenship taken by considering reality of today put an end to several questions.