EghtesadOnline: On Wednesday, Nov. 18, a daughter of an Iranian mother received her identity booklet at the headquarters of Interior Ministry, the first to be issued for a child born out of a marriage between an Iranian mother and a father of a foreign country, thanks to the amendment of the Citizenship Act of the Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran of Sept. 24, 2018.
“So far, a total of 75,000 individuals – 28,000 under 18 years and 47,000 who are 18 years or older – have applied for the Iranian identity booklet. At present, the legal procedures have been completed for 10,000 applications,” Mehdi Mohammadi, director general of the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs of Interior Ministry, said.
“It is about four months that the process of issuing Iranian identity booklets to children born of marriages between Iranian mothers and foreign fathers has started. The daughter of an Iranian mother, a nurse who died after contracting coronavirus eight months ago while in service, and a doctor father was the first to receive her identity booklet on Wednesday. The process takes about three months from inquiry to identity check to securing confirmation letters and finally the issuance of identity booklet by the National Organization for Civil Registration of Iran,” he was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
Noting that all children born out of nearly 35,000 transnational marriages of Iranian women are subject to the law, the official said, “It is an enforceable law in all countries; we have received registration documents in European countries and the United States as well. Applicants can refer to the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs, provincial governor’s offices, governor’s offices and centers that offer services to foreigners or apply online by logging on to Bafia-gov.kr.ir.”
The reform bill on citizenship law was the result of years of keen pursuit of consensus among political groups, a large-scale collaborative work involving parliamentarians and government officials, as well as a powerful lobbying campaign by civic organizations and the media.
As per Clause 4 of Article 976 of the Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran, “persons born in Iran of foreign parents, one of whom was also born in Iran are considered Iranian subjects”. That was the law of the land in the 1990s.
Following the get-tough policies on immigration and changes introduced in regulations and policy updates in the following decade, the child of an Iranian mother and foreign father was no longer regarded as a natural Iranian citizen; they could only apply for Iranian citizenship between the ages of 18 and 19, provided they were born in Iran and had revoked their fathers’ inherited citizenship. They had in effect no right to citizenship before the age of 18.
As per the new amendments made to the citizenship act approved by the parliament on May 13, 2019, and upheld by the 12-member Guardians Council, which vets the compliance of legislations with the constitution and Islamic laws, on Oct. 1, 2019, minors (those under the age of 18) with Iranian mothers can apply for ID documents and those above 19 years are also eligible to apply for citizenship.
The new legislation has also eliminated three stringent requirements of the previous law: being born in Iran, renunciation of father’s inherited citizenship and submission of mother’s marriage certificate to the government.