A stateless person is someone who is “not considered a national by any state under the operation of its law” accounting to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.
Statelessness occurs for several reasons such as discrimination against minorities in national legislation, failure to recognize all residents of the country as citizens when the country becomes independent (succession of state) and conflicts of laws between countries. A stateless person can also be a refugee who has left his/her habitual residence or country of origin and crossed into a country of asylum.
Nationality is the right to have rights. Without nationality a stateless person may not have access to schooling, healthcare, bank accounts, job market, property or civil marriage. While not having a document proving your nationality does not mean you are stateless, it is important for you to hold such certificate in order to access services and get assistance.
If you are living in South Sudan but have not applied for or received a Nationality Certificate of South Sudan you can apply now. Visit the nearest office of the Directorate for Civil Registry, Nationality, Passports and Immigration (DCRNPI), collect an application form, fill it and return it to the office with the following documents.
- Filled application form
- Two passport size photographs
- A blood group result
- Age Assessment or Birth Certificate
- Any other document, like a passport in your possession.
- And a witness to confirm your claim. (A witness may be community leaders, traditional authorities, church leaders, Payam/Boma officials or sub-chiefs for your tribe, relations or other person of good standing who have firsthand knowledge about you).
Once you have submitted your application, you will be interviewed by a verification and an approval officer. If the verification officer requires more clarification regarding the information provided in the application form, s/he will send you to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for vetting. The process can take from one (1) to several days, depending on the number of applications received or if further research is needed.
There may be some factors preventing you to obtain the Nationality Certificate, including but not limited to some provisions of the South Sudan legislation. In order to prevent this and further mitigate risks of being stateless, UNHCR is working closely with many partners and actors to eradicate statelessness in the country – especially in Wau (Western Bahr el Ghazal), Bor (Jonglei State), and Juba (Central Equatoria).
For help you can call on UNHCR helpline 092 277 76 82 from 7am to 7pm.