Lebanese nationality law

Lebanese nationality law

The Lebanese nationality is transmitted by paternity (father) (see Jus_sanguinis). However, this gives the right to Lebanese to transmit citizenship to their children and foreign wives only if entered in the Civil Acts Register in Lebanon. Under the current law, expatriates can only receive citizenship from their father. Under Lebanese law, women cannot pass on citizenship to their spouse or children. [1]

The code

The code covering the Lebanese nationality was issued in 1926.

Dual citizenship

A person having a dual nationality does not lose Lebanese nationality according to the 1926 constitution.

Citizenship requirements

  • Children born to Lebanese fathers are entitled to Lebanese citizenship only if entered in the Civil Acts Register in Lebanon.
  • Lebanon accepts the principle of dual citizenship. Acquiring another nationality does not result in losing the original Lebanese citizenship.
  • Foreign wives of Lebanese husbands may apply and obtain Lebanese citizenship. They will become entitled to it one year after the marriage has been entered in the Civil Acts Register in Lebanon, provided they apply for it with their husband's approval.[2]


There is a public demand for giving the opportunity for Lebanese women to transmit their Lebanese nationality to their children and also to their husbands.[3][4] Moreover, the Lebanese citizenship to be given to the 15 million diaspora of Lebanese living all over the world.[5]

Currently, Lebanon provides no automatic right to Lebanese citizenship for emigrants who lost their citizenship upon acquiring the citizenship of their host country, nor for the descendants of emigrants born abroad. Recently, the Maronite Institution of Emigrants called for the establishment of an avenue by which emigrants who lost their citizenship may regain it, or their overseas-born descendants may acquire it if they want to.[6]

Draft Law for descendants of Lebanese

Article I: Every natural person who meets one of the two eligibility requirements has the right to reclaim his/her Lebanese nationality.

  • 1- If the records of the 1921 census at the Ministry of the Interior and Municipalities, and the records of emigration clearly indicate that he/she or any direct paternal ancestral/predecessors or next of kin to the fourth degree were present in Lebanon, as registered by the 1921 census.
  • 2- If he/she or the above mentioned ancestral predecessors or next of kin were naturalized as Lebanese citizens according to the law of naturalization promulgated in January 19, 1925, and has neglected to claim or reclaim his/her citizenship. [7][8]

The draft law would allow grandchildren of Lebanese paternal grandfathers to apply for citizenship. The latest draft law would help Lebanese expatriates take part in future Lebanese parliamentary elections by voting at Lebanese embassies abroad. The number of Lebanese living outside the country is thought to at least double the number of citizens living inside.[9]

See also


  1. ^ Bassil promises to ease citizenship for expatriates
  2. ^ "Embassy of Lebanon, Canberra". 
  3. ^ Saseen Kawzally (28 April 2009). "Lebanese women sue for naturalization rights". 
  4. ^ Nadine Moawad (7 March 2010). "The Lebanese Nationality Law Will Pass Today!". 
  5. ^ "The Lebanese Diaspora". 2 October 2006. 
  6. ^ Maroun Khoury (24 July 2008). "Sfeir tells new Maronite group emigrants 'deserve' Lebanese nationality". 
  7. ^ Adib Ferzli (15 December 2011). "Translation of the Draft Law that Extends the Reacquisition of Lebanese Citizenship to the Descendants of Lebanese Emigrants". 
  8. ^ Guita Hourani (28 December 2011). "New Lebanese Draft Law Extends the Reacquisition of Lebanese Citizenship to the Descendants of Lebanese Emigrants". 
  9. ^ Bassil promises to ease citizenship for expatriates

External links

  • Decree No15 on Lebanese Nationality