PART III. Citizenship
23. Persons who become citizens on Independence Day
- Every person born in Belize, immediately before Independence Day, shall become a citizen of Belize on Independence Day.
- Every person who, immediately before Independence Day, is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies-
- having become such a citizen under the British Nationality Act 1948 by virtue of his having been naturalised in Belize as a British subject before that Act came into force; or
- having while resident in Belize become such a citizen by virtue of his having been naturalised or registered under that Act,
shall become a citizen of Belize on Independence Day.
- Every person born outside Belize, before Independence Day, shall become a citizen of Belize on Independence Day if his father or mother becomes, or would but for his death or the renunciation of his citizenship have become, a citizen of Belize by virtue of subsection (1) or (2) of this section.
- Every person born outside Belize before Independence Day shall become a citizen of Belize on Independence Day if one of his grandparents becomes, or would but for his death or renunciation of his citizenship have become, a citizen of Belize by virtue of subsection (1) or (2) of this section.
- Every woman shall become a citizen of Belize on Independence Day if immediately before Independence Day, she is married to a person who becomes or, but for his death or the renunciation of his citizenship, would have become a citizen of Belize by virtue of subsection (1), (2), (3) or (4) of this section.
- In this section, “the British Nationality Act 1948” includes any Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom amending that Act.
24. Persons born in Belize on or after Independence Day
Every person born in Belize on or after Independence Day shall become a citizen of Belize at the date of his birth:
Provided that a person shall not become a citizen of Belize by virtue of this section if at the time of his birth-
- neither of his parents is a citizen of Belize and his father or mother possesses such immunity from suit and legal process as is accorded to the envoy of a foreign sovereign power accredited to Belize; or
- his father or mother is a citizen of a country with which Belize is at war and the birth occurs in a place then under occupation by that country.
25. Persons born outside Belize on or after Independence Day
A person born outside Belize on or after Independence Day shall become a citizen of Belize at the date of his birth if, at that date, his father or mother is a citizen of Belize.
- The following persons may, upon making application at any time after Independence Day, be registered as citizens of Belize-
- any person who is married to a citizen of Belize;
- any person who has been resident continuously in Belize for a period of five years immediately before the date of his application.
- The National Assembly shall prescribe by law the procedure for making and determining applications, and the conditions to be fulfilled by persons making applications, for registration under this section.
- A person registered as a citizen of Belize under this section shall become a citizen of Belize on the date on which he is so registered.
27. Dual nationality
A citizen of Belize by birth or descent who acquires the citizenship of any other country may, if the laws of the other country so permit and at his option, retain his citizenship of Belize.
28. Citizenship legislation
- The National Assembly may make provision, not inconsistent with this Part, in respect of citizenship, including provision for-
- the acquisition of citizenship of Belize by persons who are not eligible or who are no longer eligible to become citizens of Belize under this Part;
- revoking the citizenship of any person referred to in section 26 (1) of this Constitution;
- the renunciation by any person of his citizenship of Belize.
- Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section shall not be construed as allowing the National Assembly to make legislation for the acquisition of citizenship of Belize by any person who makes a substantial contribution to the economy and/or well-being of Belize or who has rendered distinguished service to Belize.
- For the purposes of this Part, subject to sections 24 and 25, a person born aboard a ship or aircraft registered in Belize, or aboard an unregistered ship or aircraft of the Government of Belize, shall not be deemed to have been born in Belize.
- Any reference in this Part to the national status of the father of a person at the time of that person’s birth shall, in relation to a person born after the death of his father, be construed as a reference to the national status of the father at the time of the father’s death; and where that death occurred before Independence Day and the birth occurred on or after Independence Day the national status that the father would have had if he had died on Independence Day shall be deemed to be his national status at the time of his death.
- No person shall be entitled under the provisions of this Part to be a citizen of Belize or be granted citizenship of Belize if such person shows any allegiance to or is a citizen of a country which does not recognise the independence, sovereignty or territorial integrity of Belize:Provided that the Minister may in his discretion grant Belizean citizenship to persons falling under this subsection who would otherwise be entitled to such citizenship under the provisions of sections 23 and 25 of this Constitution.
- Where a person born outside Belize is entitled to be a citizen of Belize under the provisions of this Part, the right to Belizean citizenship shall not be deemed to accrue upon the conditions giving rise to such entitlement arising but the citizenship shall be sought for by the person entitled to or on his behalf and obtained by the grant by the Minister of proper certification affirming his citizenship.
- Where a person claiming citizenship by birth, descent or registration makes an application or request for the grant of citizenship the stay of such person in Belize shall not be considered illegal under the provisions of any law for so long and only for so long as such stay is necessary for the disposal of his application. His right of abode, or that of his wife or dependents if any under the age of eighteen years, shall not be affected pending the disposal of his application.