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 was born in the Soviet Union on the territory of Russia. The facts as to where the applicant lived and when are disputed in the case. In 1999 he was issued a Ukrainian passport, but a court later established that the place and date of birth he indicated were not correct, and his passport was confiscated and destroyed. The authorities argued that the applicant ought to prove he never acquired Russian nationality or alternatively that he renounced his Russian nationality.
The applicant's Ukrainian nationality was withdrawn rendering him stateless, and subsequently a travel ban of 3 years was imposed on him due to a procedural violation of the border crossing rules. The applicant argued that the travel ban is disproportionate, that he enjoys lawful residence in Ukraine, has very close ties with Ukraine, and that the ban interferes with his right to challenge the deprivation of nationality which rendered him stateless in person in court.
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.
Applicant is a refugee from Vietnam, whose refugee status was withdrawn after a number of criminal convictions, combined with the fact that he made a safe trip to Vietnam. He applied for a travel document for foreigners claiming that he is stateless or at least that his nationality status is unclear. The authorities maintained that he was still a Vietnamese national, but the Court sided with the applicant, insisting that the authorities should have taken more factors into account in considering the applicant's potential statelessness.
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 was issued an assurance that she will acquire Austrian nationality if she renounced her former Serbian nationality, which she did. However, after the assurance was issued the applicant committed a number of administrative offences, leading to the assurance being withdrawn after the renunciation of the former nationality has already taken place, resulting in the applicant's statelessness. The Court emphasised the constitutional significance of a letter of assurance of acquisition of nationality, and sided with the applicant.
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.
In order to acquire Austrian nationality, the applicant renounced her Turkish nationality in 1997. Over a decade later it came to light that she has re-acquired Turkish nationality in 1998, which according to Austrian law resulted in automatic loss of the Austrian nationality. She renounced her Turkish nationality again in 2009, but in 2010 the Austrian authorities confirmed that she was no longer Austrian since 1998. The Court found that this was not in violation of Austria's obligation to avoid statelessness since the applicant's statelessness was not caused by a decision of the Austrian authorities.
The applicant arrived in Belgium in 2000 from Kazakhstan. He claimed to have lost his Kazakh nationality on the basis of a Kazakh law providing for such loss in case of permanent residence abroad for over 3 years without registration at the consulate. The Court studied the relevant Kazakh legislation as well as the implementing Presidential Decree, and found that such loss is not automatic, but requires a decision of a competent authority instead, and therefore the applicant's statelessness was not sufficiently substantiated.
The applicant was born in Poland to a Vietnamese mother. When she was 9 years old a Polish citizen formally recognised her as his daughter, and the local authority subsequently confirmed that she is a Polish citizen by birth. She was growing up as a Polish citizen until another 8 years later the central government authorities invalidated the confirmation of nationality by the local authority, as according to the Polish Citizenship Law changes in parenthood can only lead to acquisition of Polish citizenship if they take place within 1 year of birth. The applicant's arguments related to article 8 ECHR, best interests of the child, as well as long-term presumption of Polish citizenship due to no fault of the applicant, although the court dismissed all arguments.
The applicant has been residing in Russia since 2002 with a Russian passport. His request to renew his passport in 2011 was denied, reason being that his previous passport was not issued in accordance with applicable rules, the latter having been confiscated on the basis of the same decision. The refusal to renew the applicant's passport rendered him stateless, which was considered by the court as a strong argument to rule in favour of the applicant and declare the decision of the responsible authority unlawful.
The applicant is a former USSR citizen, who has been residing on the territory of Russian Federation since 1990. He has received an "insert" into his passport in 1994 as evidence of him being recognised as a Russian citizen, which was a standard procedure at a time. In 2011 a "verification" took place - a policy that resulted in questioning of many citizenships acquired after the fall of the Soviet Union, including the applicant. The Court sided with the applicant, considering among others that refusal to recognise him as a Russian citizen would result in his statelessness.
An appeal as to whether the Secretary of State was precluded under the British Nationality Act 1981 from making an order depriving the appellant of British citizenship because to do so would render him stateless.