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- Children born to Norwegian/Australian parents can have dual nationality if born in Australia, but not if born in Norway.
- Children that are born and raised in Norway to such parents can have their citizenship revoked.
- In Australia, Norwegian parents do not sign the Citizenship by Descent paper. This enables the Australian parent to potentially elect for Australian over Norwegian citizenship for their child/children without the consent of the Norwegian parent.
- It is fundamentally illogical. Children born and raised in Norway can be less Norwegian – according to Norway’s laws – than children that have never even been to Norway.
- Few are made aware of the problem. Even consuls are informing families incorrectly. The laws are complex and misleading. Conscientious parents who research it carefully still get it wrong.
- This probably affects more than 2,000 children with Norwegian and Australian parents, possibly many more overseas.
This situation is applicable for a number of countries including New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Singapore amoung others. Australia is used here as an example in part due to the large number of Norwegian / Australian relationships arising from the significant number of Norwegians who study in Australia.
Children born to Norwegians in Norway with one Australian parent are Norwegian at birth. These children are also eligible, under Australian law, to Australian citizenship by descent when one of the parents is Australian. It has long been the understanding from many of us that inherited Australian citizenship from one parent has been allowed, without our children having to surrender their Norwegian citizenship. We have received information from consulates, UDI etc., confirming this information (please see email regarding this on 16.07.2013 from Norwegian Consulate in Perth).
It has now come to our understanding that UDI interprets the acquisition of citizenship by descent, in this case, Australia, as “an application for a new citizenship”. Consequently, our children will automatically have their Norwegian citizenships cancelled. The cancellation is automatic, and we do not receive any notification of this occurring.
The information provided on UDI’s webpages is particularly confusing, and therefore several of us have contacted consulates etc., confirming that our children can legally hold both citizenships.
It is explicitly stated on UDI’s English website regarding the loss of Norwegian citizenship, that this should only occur where parents JOINTLY, or the SOLE GUARDIAN, make such an application. On applying for citizenship by descent in Australia, the Australian parent is the sole parent required to apply. Therefore, UDI is not applying the law consistently, either making an incorrect or discriminatory interpretation of the Australian law.
Several of us have believed until recently, that our children (born in Norway) are still Norwegian.
The number of affected children born in Norway to Norwegian/Australian parents may be more than 1500.
There is a lot of confusion because absurdly the opposite situation is legal: a child born to a Norwegian parent in Australia is Australian at birth. In addition, Norway claims citizenship of the child, and the child may legally remain a Norwegian citizen (at least until the age of 22).
It should be noted that we appreciate the difference between citizenship by descent and citizenship by naturalisation, and that the UDI policies in question are better applied to citizenship of another country by naturalisation, consistent with the policies of Norway in regards to acquiring Norwegian citizenship.
We express concern about the automatic loss of Norwegian citizenship, because the Norwegian parents are not legally part of this process. The Australian parent is solely involved in the process of acquiring Australian citizenship by descent for our children.
There are potential situations where a child living in Norway may lose his/her citizenship without the Norwegian parent being able to interfere. Consequently, staying in Norway beyond 3 months is considered illegal, and the child may therefore be deported. Importantly also, Norwegian parents question what regulations are in order against the Australian parent abusing these laws. What are the consequences if the Australian parent chooses to leave Norway, taking the child with him/her against the wishes of the Norwegian parent, considering Norway has effectively cut diplomatic responsibility towards the child.
Due to the confusing information, many Norwegian parents are now in a situation where they fear, and only now have become aware, that their children have lost their Norwegian citizenship. Many families risk being split, because their children born in Australia are legally Norwegian, whereas their children born in Norway no longer are.
Furthermore, this situation is potentially making many otherwise extremely conscientious, law-abiding loyal citizens and innocent children into unwitting and unwilling lawbreakers.
Consequently, this situation might pose extremely big challenges in being able to move back to Norway as a family, now or at a later time. Moreover, there are potential situations where only the Norwegian parent can move back to Norway, and some or all of their children will have to be left in Australia.
Additionally, there are also a large number of families living in Norway today where the children no longer are, legally speaking, Norwegian citizens. How these families are legally affected is not known, and we have deep concerns for what will happen to their children.
So far, all discussion in this regard has been addressed to UDI. We have serious concerns in regards to their interpretation of this section of the law, as it is subjective and discriminatory in its application. We therefore seek confirmation of UDI’s position as unilateral arbitrators of this section of the law, as well as how their interpretation relates to other sections of the law. We would appreciate guidance as to the correct legal avenues in which to pursue this case.