Many people think that when you are born in the boundary of Uganda, you automatically become a citizen but this might not be the case according to the National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA).
Manager Legal Advisory Services at NIRA Brenda Kezaabu Agaba explained that all births that occur in the country regardless whether it is a citizen or a foreigner must be registered as long as the event took place within the boundary of Uganda.
“Many people think that if you are born in Uganda, you automatically become a citizen but that is not what the law says. Our laws is different .We tittle it citizenship by birth but it is citizenship by descent,” she said.
Agaba made the remarks while discussion on civil registration with a focus on birth and death registration.
According to the Constitution, a citizen must be born in Uganda or have one or both parents or grandparents a member of any of the indigenous communities existing and residing within the borders of the country by February 1926.
Although born outside Uganda, one can become a citizen if their parents or grandparents were at the time of that person’s birth a citizen of Uganda by birth. But if a child of not more than five years of age is found in Uganda and his parents are unknown, that child is then presumed to be Ugandan.
This is just like any child under 18 years, who is born of non-Ugandan parents but is adopted by a Ugandan, becomes a citizen upon registration.
The only other alternative for one to assume Ugandan citizenship is through applying to authorities and getting naturalised.
Edwin Tukamuhebwa, the Manager Registration, and Operations, Field Support at NIRA highlighted the importance for the parents to register the birth of their child before he or she celebrates his or her first birthday.
This registration gives the child the first proof of legal identity. It is also at this point that the most accurate information is got, according to the officials.
“Most people don’t know the benefits of birth registration but they are quite many. The number of births that happen in the community that are registered is still low. If you register a child’s birtearly,theywon’t miss benefiting from a number of programmes. We have seen schools now asking for birth certificates and NINs of children,” said Tukamuhebwa.
The Senior Registration Officer at NIRA, Arafha Akurut urged the public to register the events of birth at the most appropriate time as per the Constitution.
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