This case concerns an Estonian national who renounced her nationality on the basis of an assurance that she would be granted Austrian nationality once proof of her renunciation was given. This assurance was revoked on the grounds that the applicant had committed road traffic offences, leaving the applicant stateless. In its judgment, the CJEU confirms that the situation at issue in the main proceedings falls within the ambit of EU law, and concluded that the authorities' decision to revoke an assurance to grant Austrian nationality was not compatible with the principle of proportionality.
The applicant applied for British citizenship on the basis of s.4B of the British Nationality Act 1981 (which does not allow the grant of British citizenship when the applicant already has another nationality), relying on a letter from a Pakistani Consulate confirming that his Pakistani nationality was cancelled. The Court of Appeal reversed the lower court’s decision, which had been in favour of the applicant, on the basis that (1) it failed to apply the principle that the person's nationality was to be determined by reference to the actual law of the state on the basis of expert evidence, not what agencies of the state might assert about that person's nationality; and (2) the lower court’s reading of Pakistani law was mistaken.
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.
The applicant attempted to renounce his Russian nationality as being a national of Russian Federation violated his religious beliefs. The request was refused, as he failed to provide proof of having another nationality or a guarantee of acquisition of another nationality upon renouncing his Russian nationality. The Constitutional Court ruled against the applicant, stating that prohibition on renunciation of a nationality that results in statelessness is in line with international norms, and that the mere possession of Russian nationality cannot be seen as a violation of religious beliefs.
The applicant appplicant was born in Russia and renounced his Russian nationality in 2000. He applied for a statelessness status in Luxembourg in 2008, but it was discovered that he had applied for asylum status in the Netherlands in 2006, which was rejected, so Luxembourg transferred the applicant to the Netherlands under the Dublin regulation. The applicant returned several times to Luxembourg and was sent back to the Netherlands. He made a repeated application for statelessness status in 2014, where the courts accepted his argument that statelessness status determination doesn't fall within the scope of the Dublin regulations, and the court also accepted that his voluntary renunciation of Russian nationality does not exclude him from protection under the 1954 Convention.
In 2012, the applicant received a guarantee that he would receive Croatian citizenship if he would renounce his UK nationality, and he proceeded with the renunciation. In 2013, criminal proceedings against the applicant were initiated, and his naturalisation application was thus postponed and subsequently, after the criminal conviction, rejected - leaving him stateless. The Court ruled against the applicant, finding that naturalisation is a discretionary power of the state and not a right of an individual, and that all the naturalisation requirements, including renunciation of previous nationality and lack of criminal record, need to be met cumulatively for a successful naturalisation.
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.
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 received an assurance of acquiring Austrian nationality if she renounces her former, Serbian, nationality. Shortly after the renunciation the applicant lost her job and was unable to find alternative employment due to her statelessness, which resulted in her no longer complying with the income requirement for acquiring Austrian nationality. The Court declares unconstitutional the law which requires continuous fulfilment of all the conditions for naturalisation, even after Austrian nationality has been conditionally granted and the former nationality has been renounced.
When naturalising in the Netherlands the applicant committed to renouncing his original nationality. The Dutch authorities have withdrawn his naturalisation as he missed the deadline for renunciation, but by then the applicant had already taken steps to renounce his original nationality, albeit after the deadline, thus leading to the decision of the Dutch authorities potentially rendering him stateless. The Court considered the direct effect of ECN in the Dutch legal order, as well as whether the applicant’s case amounted to fraudulent acquisition of nationality, which would potentially justify rendering him stateless under the ECN. The Court ordered the authorities to take a new decision, which takes into the account the developments that took place after the deadline, and referring to the risk of statelessness.
The case had been brought before the ECJ for a preliminary ruling, leading to its famous Rottman judgment (CJEU, C-135/08 Rottmann, judgment of 2 March 2010). The Federal Administrative Court rules on the case after the ECJ's judgment. The applicant lost his Austrian nationality when he naturalised in Germany, but his German naturalisation was later revoked as he committed fraud in the naturalisation procedure, rendering him stateless. The Federal Administrative Court upheld the administrative decision to withdraw the German nationality despite the uncertainty about the restoration of the Austrian nationality of the applicant.
The applicant attempted to renounce her Russian nationality without proof of having another nationality or a guarantee of acquiring one. The Court decided that the constitutional right to change one's nationality does not amount to an absolute right to unilaterally renounce a nationality, and that it is not unconstitutional to impose a number of conditions on nationals before allowing renunciation, among which the condition of having secured an alternative nationality. Prohibition of renunciation of nationality with an aim of becoming stateless has been ruled as complying with international standards, in particular with the European Convention on Nationality.
The applicant challenged the Constitutionality of the Law on Citizenship, requiring Russian citizens who want to renounce their citizenship to have another citizenship, or a guarantee of being able to acquire a different citizenship. The Court determined that Russian citizens have the right to change their citizenship, but not an unconditional right to renounce it, referring to article 15 of the UDHR and the European Convention on Nationality. The prohibition on renunciation of Russian nationality with the aim of becoming a stateless person has been found to be in accordance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation.