The Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services has so far processed over 80 dual citizenship applications since it started receiving them in January this year, The Nation has learnt.
In a response to our questionnaire yesterday, the department’s spokesperson Wellington Chiponde said out of 80 applications, they have approved and issued certificates to 34 citizens.
He encouraged applicants to submit their applications to various regional immigration offices in Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Mangochi and Blantyre.
Chiponde further said considering that Malawi has just recently operationalised the dual citizenship law, the department is taking a proactive role of sensitising Malawians, including those in the diaspora about dual citizenship.
He said: “And the approach has been to highlight all the necessary information regarding dual citizenship and key underlying goals such as mainstreaming and empowering Malawians abroad, by recognising them as dual citizens, a status that provides them with the opportunity to effectively make significant contributions towards the development of this country.”
In terms of eligibility, Chiponde explained that the law is clear that only Malawians by birth or by descent are eligible to acquire the Malawi dual citizenship status.
Political and governance analyst Sheriff Kaisi said dual citizenship gives a sense of home, particularly to Malawians in diaspora.
He said: “Dual citizenship makes those in the diaspora to continue having the sense of feeling that they have Malawi as a home.
“However, there is need to scrutinise all applications before finally issuing such important documents to avoid any form of abuse.”
In 2018, Parliament amended the Citizenship Act, to allow bonafide indigenous Malawians, who have acquired citizenship in other countries, to contribute to the country’s socioeconomic development.