The Government of the Republic of Nauru

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Citizenship and Adoption Division

 

Citizenship Subdivision

 

Citizenship application has become a streamlined process since the Naoero Citizenship Act 2017 was introduced. However, it was not always the case. The obvious change that came from the 2017 Act was made to remove any controversial issues that might be considered discriminatory.

 

Pre-2017, a non-Nauruan man married to a Nauruan woman is required to stay within the marriage for a period of 10 years before he is eligible to apply for citizenship. The disadvantage was that a husband found it difficult to be employed in order to help support his wife and family. However, a non-Nauruan woman married to a Nauruan man, is granted instant citizenship. 

 

The 2017 Act has motivated a more transparent citizenship process and promotes gender equality whereby the  requirement is 7 years of continuous marriage for both.

There are several possible grounds of application under the Act: citizenship by birth, citizenship by birth in the Republic and residency, citizenship by descent, citizenship by marriage, citizenship by adoption and citizenship of minors.

 

Adoption Subdivision

 

The function of the Adoption Subdivision is mandated under the Adoption of Children Act 1965.

 

Adoption applications are initially received by the Family Court whose responsibility is to oversee that all necessary documentation are attached and the form is appropriately filled out by the relevant parties to the adoption application. The Court will then submit applications to the DJBC where the paralegal and assisting officers are charged with preparing the cover letter and Cabinet Submissions. After completion, these documents along with the adoption application will be submitted to the Minister for Justice and Border Control to present in the Cabinet. Ultimately, the Cabinet decides whether to consent to the adoption proceeding and not appear at the adoption hearing OR oppose the adoption application and appear at the adoption hearing to make submissions regarding the opposition.

 

There were 14 applications processed by the Division.

 

Our Team

 

Position Name
Paralegal (Citizenship, Adoption, Trust and Seabed  Wylie Detenamo
Assisting Officer Camelia Renzo
Assisting Officer Kayla Akua

 

 

Objectives

 

  • Facilitate the process for persons who apply for Nauruan citizenship,  adoption of children pursuant to the Naoero Citizenship Act, 2017 and the Adoption of Children Act 1965, respectively.

 

 

Motivation

 

Without nationality, there is no identity, without that there is no recognition.

 

 

Strategic Plan Priority Area 4: Cost Cutting Sectors

 

Cross-Goal 1

Strengthen Parliament, audit, justice, law, order and border control.

 

 

Achievements

 

The ultimate achievement of the Citizenship and Adoption Division is the establishment of an up to date archive register.

 

The register will ensure accuracy of records which will protect those who have been granted citizenship from deportation as well as provide certain benefits such as family reunification, eligibility for public service employment, freedom to travel as a Nauruan citizen and derivative citizenship of children to be recognised as Nauruans when their parent or parents become citizens. 

 

Such a register is also crucial for the Adoption Subdivision as information storage for adopted children for future reference and auditing purposes.

 

Maintaining an efficient archival system guarantees accessibility of records for users of such data and information with the likes of the election committee in updating the election rolls for the purpose of voting and candidacy; the Department of Social Services in providing social welfare benefits to appropriate persons for disability pensions, elderly pensions student assistance funds and the Department of Education in the selection of scholarship awardees.

 

In the context of Nauru, adoption often occurs within families as a gesture of assisting couples who are unable to have children on their own. It is seldom done for reasons that a parent is unable to raise a child. Thus in the past the realisation of formal adoption was not recognised by Nauruan families as essential as it occurred between family members. However, with the rising legal issues of inheritance that adopted children face today, evident by significant number of relative court cases, families are beginning to realise the importance of legal adoption and are taking the necessary actions to secure the future of their children.

 

 

Way Forward

 

In the new annual year, the Division will:

  1. promote and conduct training and awareness on citizenship rights and responsibilities;
  2. improve on its record keeping;
  3. work on transitioning from a paper based environment to a digital environment; and
  4. improve data accessibility , information sharing and workload management capabilities.