Ethiopian Nationality Law Proclamation No. 378/2003




      WHEREAS, it has become necessary to promulgate a comprehensive new nationality law which is consistent with the provisions of the Constitution;

NOW, THEREFORE, in accordance with Article 55 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, it is hereby proclaimed as follows:




1.   Short Title

      This Proclamation may be cited as the   “Ethiopian

Nationality Proclamation No. 378/2003.”

2.    Definitions

      In this proclamation unless the context  requires otherwise:

1/     “foreigner” means a person who is not an    Ethiopian national;

2/     “domicile” means the residence of a person as

defined under Article 183 of the Civil Code of


3/     the term “child” includes an adopted child

4/  “minor” means a person who has not attained the age of majority as determined under the Civil Code of Ethiopia;


5/        “Authority ” means the Security, Immigration

and Refugee Affairs Authority.




 3.   Acquisition by Descent

1/   Any person shall be an Ethiopian national by    descent   where both or either of his parent is Ethiopian.

2/ An infant who is found abandoned in Ethiopia shall,       unless proved to have a foreign nationality, be  deemed   to have been born to an Ethiopian parent and shall  acquire Ethiopian nationality.

4.    Acquisition By Law

Any foreigner may acquire Ethiopian nationality by law

in accordance with the provisions of  Articles  5-12 of this Proclamation.

5.    Conditions To Be Fulfilled

       A foreigner who applies to acquire Ethiopian nationality

By law shall:

1/    have attained the age of majority and be legally

capable under the Ethiopian law;

2/     have established his domicile in Ethiopia and have

lived in Ethiopia for a total of at least four years preceding the submission of his application;

3/     be able to communicate in any one of the languages

of   the nations/nationalities of the Country;

4/      have sufficient and lawful source of income to

maintain   himself and his family;

5/      be a person of good character;

6/      have no record of criminal conviction;

7/      be able to show that he has been released from his

previous nationality or the possibility of obtaining

such a release upon the acquisition of Ethiopian

nationality or that he is a stateless person; and

8/   be required to take the oath of allegiance stated under   Article 12 of this Proclamation.

6.   Cases of Marriage

A foreigner who is married to an Ethiopian national may

acquire Ethiopian nationality by law if:

1/     the marriage is concluded in accordance with the

Ethiopian laws or in accordance with the laws of any other country where the marriage is contracted;

2/      there is a lapse of at least two years since the  conclusion of the marriage;

3/      he has lived in Ethiopia for at least one year

preceding the submission of his application; and


4/    he fulfilled the conditions stated under Sub-Articles (1), (7)  and (8) of Article 5 of this Proclamation

7. Cases of Adoption

An child adopted by Ethiopian national  may acquire Ethiopian nationality by law if:

1/    he has not attained the age of majority;

2/    he lives in Ethiopia together with his adopting  parent;

3/   Where one of his adopting parents is a foreigner,  such parent has expressed his consent in writing; and

4/    the condition stated under Article 5(7) of this  Proclamation has been fulfilled.

8. Special Cases

A foreigner who has made an outstanding contribution in

the interest of Ethiopia may be conferred with Ethiopian

Nationality by law irrespective of the conditions stated under Sub-Articles (2) and (3) of     Article 5 of this Proclamation.

9.  Children of a Naturalized Person

     1/  A person who has acquired Ethiopian Nationality

by law  may apply for the  his minor child living with him in Ethiopia; provided, however, that where  the applicant is the only naturalized parent, the  consent of both parents shall be required for  naturalization of the child.

2/ A child whose application for naturalization has been submitted in accordance with Sub-Article (1)  of this Article shall be conferred with Ethiopian    nationality where the applicant is able to show that the child is released from his previous nationality or the possibility of obtaining such release.

10. Submission of Application for Naturalization

      1/   An application to obtain Ethiopian nationality   by law shall be accompanied with relevant documents and shall be submitted  to the Authority.

2/   An application for the naturalization of a minor

child shall be submitted by his parents.


11.   Examining and Deciding upon an Application

        1/  An application to obtain Ethiopian nationality by law shall be examined by the Nationality Affairs Committee established under Article 23 of this Proclamation.

2/ The Committee shall submit its recommendation     to the Authority, following the examination of the application and documents submitted to it as well as such other additional information furnished on its demand.


3/  Where the recommendation of the Committee for naturalization obtains the approval of the Authority, the applicant shall be required to  appear before the Committee to take the oath of allegiance stated under Article 12 of this Proclamation and shall be issued with a certificate of naturalization.


12.   Oath of Allegiance

Any person to be conferred with Ethiopian nationality    by law shall, if he has attained the age of majority, take the following oath of allegiance:


“ I – – – -, solemnly affirm that I will be a loyal national of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and be faithful to its Constitution”.


13.   National Identity Card

        1/      Any Ethiopian national, if he has attained the age of   majority, shall be issued with a national identity card.

2/    Minor children shall be entered in the national

identity cards of their parents.

3/    National identity cards shall be issued by the

Authority or by any office delegated by the





14.    State Protection

1/     The State shall protect the rights and lawful interests of its nationals.

2/   The State shall take such measures as may be

necessary to ensure the protection of the rights  and lawful interests of its nationals residing  abroad.


15.     Non-Extradition

          No Ethiopian national may be extradited to another        state.


16.     Change of Nationality

Any Ethiopian national shall, subject to the provisions of  Article 19 of this Proclamation, have the right to change his nationality.


17.     Non-Deprivation of Nationality

          No Ethiopian may be deprived of his nationality by the   decision of any government authority unless he loses  his Ethiopian nationality under Article 19 or 20 of this Proclamation.


18.      Equality of Nationals

           All Ethiopian nationals shall have equal rights and

obligations of citizenship regardless of the manner in which nationality is obtained.




19.    Renunciation of Ethiopian Nationality

         1/     Any Ethiopian who has acquired or has been    guaranteed the acquisition of the nationality of  another state shall have the right to renounce his

Ethiopian nationality.

2/       An Ethiopian who intends to renounce his

nationality in accordance with this Article Sub Article (1) shall in advance inform the Authority in the form prescribed by the Authority.

3/      The renunciation of the nationality of a minor child pursuant to Sub-Article (1) of this Article  shall be effected by the joint decision of his parents or, where one of his parents is a  foreigner, by the decision of the Ethiopian parent.

4/     An Ethiopian who has declared his intention to

renounce his nationality may not be released  until:

a)    he has discharged his outstanding national

obligations; or

b)       where he has been accused of or convicted for a crime, he has been acquitted or served the penalty.

5/  The Authority shall, upon ascertaining that the

provisions of this Article are complied with,

issue the applicant with a certificate stating the

effective date of his release.

6/   Any Ethiopian who is not issued with a certificate of release in accordance with Sub-Article (5) of this Article shall have the right to appeal to the competent court.

20.   Loss of Ethiopian Nationality upon Acquisition

        of Other Nationality

1/    Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 19  (4) of this Proclamation, any Ethiopian who   voluntarily acquires another nationality shall be

deemed to have voluntarily renounced his Ethiopian  nationality.

2/     An Ethiopian who acquires another nationality  by virtue of being born to a parent having a  foreign nationality or by being born abroad shall be deemed to have voluntarily renounced his  Ethiopian nationality unless he has declared to the Authority his option to retain it by  renouncing his other nationality within one year after attaining the age of majority, or unless there has been an earlier express renunciation of his Ethiopian nationality pursuant to Article 19 (3) of  this Proclamation.

3/   An Ethiopian who acquires, in the absence of his own   initiative, another nationality by the operation of the law in connection with any ground other than those specified under Sub-Article /2/ of this Article shall be deemed to have voluntarily renounced his Ethiopian  nationality, if he:




a)       Starts exercising the rights conferred to such   acquired nationality or

b)       fails to declare his option to the Authority to    retain his Ethiopian nationality by renouncing  his other nationality within a period of one year.

4/  A person who retains another nationality in addition to Ethiopian nationality shall be considered solely an Ethiopian national until the loss of his Ethiopian nationality pursuant to Sub-Articles (2) or (3) of this Article.


21.  Effects of Loss of Nationality on Spouses and Children


A person’s loss of Ethiopian nationality shall have no effect on the nationalities of  his spouse and children.


22.   Re-Admission to Ethiopian Nationality

1/  A person who was an Ethiopian national and who has acquired foreign nationality by law shall be re-admitted to Ethiopian nationality if he:


a)   returns to domicile in Ethiopia;

b)   renounces his foreign nationality; and

c)   applies to the Authority for re-admission.


2/  The provisions of Sub-Article (1) of this Article shall   also apply to a person who has lost his Ethiopian nationality pursuant to Article 20 (2) of this Proclamation.



23.    Nationality Affairs Committee

1/  A nationality Affairs Committee comprising the  following members shall be formed:

a) a representative of the Authority . . . .. chairperson

b) a representative of the Ministry   of Foreign

Affairs . . . . . . . . ……………….. ……. member

c) a representative of the Ministry of Justice. …………………. . . . . . . . . . . .  .   member

d)  a representative of the Federal Police

Commission. . . . . . . …………………… member

e) a representative of the Authority……………             …….………………………member and secretary

2/   The Committee shall have the following powers and duties to:

a)    examine applications to obtain Ethiopian Nationality by law;

b)  examine evidences submitted by a person for the rebuttal of his presumed renunciation of Ethiopian nationality pursuant to Article 20 of this Proclamation;

c)  ascertain that the requirements stated under Article 22 of this Proclamation are fulfilled when an application for re-admission to Ethiopian nationality has been submitted.

3/   The committee shall consider any case in accordance with Sub-Article (2) of the Article when it is referred to it by the Authority. The Committee shall also submit its findings and recommendations to the Authority.

4/    The Committee shall meet as frequently as its duties require.

5/    There shall be a quorum where more than half of the members of the Committee are present at a meeting

6/    Any decision of the Committee shall be adopted by a majority vote; in case of a tie, the chairperson shall have a casting vote.

7/    Without prejudice to the provisions of this Article, the Committee may adopt its own rules of procedure.


24.    Powers to Issue Regulations and Directives

1/ The Council of ministers may issue regulations necessary for the proper implementation of this Proclamation.

2/    The Authority may issue detailed directives necessary for the proper implementation of this Proclamation.


25.    Repeal

The Ethiopian Nationality Law of 1930 (as amended) is hereby repealed.


26.   Transitory Provisions

Any person who has retained, until the coming into force of this Proclamation, his Ethiopian nationality pursuant to the former Nationality Law shall continue to be an Ethiopian national.


27.     Effective Date

This Proclamation shall enter into force as of the 23rd   day of December, 2003.


Done at Addis Ababa, this 23rd day of December, 2003.





24 replies »

  1. My name is melat I am an eritrean by my father and an ethiopian by my mother I want to change my nationality to ethiopian because I leave in addis ababe with my mother’s family and I have no reason to be back to eritrea because I have no one there so how can I change my nationality

  2. I was adopted when I was 3 years old, now I’m 20. Is it still possible to get a Ethiopian nationality?


  4. As a non Ethiopian married to an Ethiopian can I own a land or property? have equally rights to sell or rent if anything happens to my husband?

  5. thank you for your information, i have question . for me we are an ethiopian family centuries ago. but when i was 12 years old, my oncle took me to djibouti and i started there a school. and i got an djiboutian nationality by diffrent name mean’s the name that i got a nationality is not my real names for example( i was hassan omer eleye but i have got ali farah asowe) and i come back my native land on october 2012 upto no. so that, now i want to change that nationality to get an ethiopian nationality. so i need the help. what can i do ???????????????? i wait your response.
    thank you

  6. I’m Ethiopian lived AA from 1989 with my wife,but we didn’t get any Kable ID.in 2007 I got an ID not house no.now if I request for my wife ,they said you can’t request for your wife to write on your file,so do I have a right to ask for my wife or not?

  7. Is it possible for eritrean refuge living in ethiopia to change their nationality to ethiopia .even if their half eritrean and half ethiopian.

    • Any person shall be an Ethiopian national by descent where both or either of his parent is Ethiopian.

  8. I would like to get Ethiopian national citizenship I love Ethiopia and would love to become one can anyone help me please thank you

  9. Bamlaku.thank you Ab.but i have one question ethiopia can give c\ship by jus soli(place of birth) for cild of foreiner?

  10. thank you for your information.can a person get ethiopian nationality if his mother is ethiopian but got eritrean nationality and his father is eritrean?

  11. sorry abersha l wanna to ask you one question with regared to succession which provision you think shall be amended.pls post on my email.

  12. Dear Abraham:
    I like to know the procedure for an Indian man marrying Ethiopian woman as a result getting Ethiopian citizenship.
    Thank you.

  13. Dear Abraham Yohannes,It is obvious that any Ethiopian national can loss his/her nationality becouse of many reasons,what about in case of military service to another country?Thank you !!!

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