The Court held that it is not contrary to EU law for Member States to withdraw citizenship obtained by deception, even if the effect is to also withdraw citizenship of the Union, so long as the decision observes the principle of proportionality.
Five applicants of dual nationality, convicted in 2007 of participating in a criminal association in a terrorist context, were stripped of their French nationality in October 2015 by Prime Minister decrees. The Court held that the decision to forfeit the applicants’ French nationality did not have a disproportionate impact on their private lives and therefore was not in violation of Article 8 of the Convention.
Two applications (joined before the Court) concerned the removal of and the refusal to exchange passports, leaving the applicants stateless and without identity documentation, after the relevant Russian authorities found their Russian citizenship to be granted erroneously. The Court held the withdrawal of identity documents, which affected the exercise of their rights and freedoms in their daily lives, was a violation of Article 8 of the Convention.
The applicant brought an appeal challenging the constitutionality of s.19 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, which governs the procedure by which revocation of naturalisation is determined. The fact that the Minister initiated the revocation process, appointed the committee charged with conducting the inquiry and then reached the final decision, was unconstitutional according to the applicant, as it breached the right to fair procedures. The Court held that s.19 was unconstitutional because it did not provide the procedural safeguards required to meet the high threshold of natural justice applicable to a person facing such severe consequences, i.e. revocation of naturalisation.
The applicant was born in the US, and his birth certificate indicated a Polish national as the father, and an unknown surrogate mother as the mother. Polish authorities refused to confirm the applicant acquired Polish nationality at birth as a child of a Polish parent, because the birth certificate is against the Polish public order, in particular the prohibition of surrogacy. The courts ruled in favour of the applicant, stating that confirmation of his Polish nationality on the basis of the birth certificate does not amount to validation of surrogacy.
The applicant acquired Austrian nationality in 1995 and renounced her former Turkish nationality in 1996 as a condition for retaining the Austrian nationality. In 2018 the Austrian authorities declared that she has no longer been an Austrian national since 1997 as it appeared that she voluntarily re-acquired her Turkish nationality at that time, which is a ground for automatic loss of Austrian nationality. The Court set aside the determination of loss of Austrian nationality as it did not carry out a proportionality test on the basis of the Tjebbes judgment.
The applicant received assurance of obtaining Austrian nationality if she renounces her Estonian nationality. After the renunciation, it appeared that the applicant committed two administrative offences related to her driving, which in addition to the eight she committed previously were considered as an indication of her no longer fulfilling the public order requirement for naturalisation. This resulted in the withdrawal of assurance of obtaining Austrian nationality, leaving the applicant stateless.
The applicant acquired Austrian nationality by naturalisation in 1997, and renounced her Turkish nationality in that context. In 2018 it appeared that the applicant was listed on the voter registers for Turkish nationals abroad. She did not provide proof that she did not re-acquire Turkish nationality, and on that basis the Austrian authorities declared she has lost her Austrian nationality automatically due to acquisition of a foreign nationality.
The applicant originates from Somalia and arrived to the Netherlands through Yemen as an unaccompanied minor. When testifying for his asylum application, he omitted to mention that he had lived in Yemen. He was granted a residence permit which later lead to his naturalisation, but the latter was withdrawn nearly 12 years later as the authorities found out about his history in Yemen. He argued that the denaturalisation is disproportionate in light of the CJEU Rottmann judgment, citing statelessness as one of the circumstances, and the court upheld his position.
The applicant naturalised in the Netherlands in 2003, but the naturalisation was withdrawn in 2013 when the authorities found out she had a criminal conviction in Belgium in 2000 that she failed to mention in her naturalisation application. The applicant argued that the decision depriving her of her Dutch nationality is disproportionate, among others in light of EU law and Rottmann judgment, in particular due to her becoming stateless as a result, and the difficulties she may face re-acquiring her original Ghanaian nationality. The Court rejected the appeal and upheld the decision denaturalising the applicant.
Egyptian national, who was granted the ability to revoke his Egyptian citizenship, was deprived of his Maltese citizenship years later after the State’s decision that he had obtained his Maltese citizenship from his first marriage through fraud. The Court found that there was no Article 8 violation, holding that the decision to deprive the applicant of his Maltese citizenship did not adversely affect him as a stateless individual, as the decision complied with the law and the applicant had opportunities to seek redress for any potential issues that would arise as a result of the State’s actions.