Is it possible not to be a citizen of any country?

Is it possible to be born into the world in such a way that you are not a citizen of any country? Also, is it possible to lose an existing citizenship because yours gets revoked or your country somehow dissolves or is taken over? If this happens, how does one cope? Can you forget about international travel ever again because you can’t get a passport? What are the other consequences if this is a possible scenario?

Well, there’s this guy. He’s got some problems regarding travel.

I don’t know about at birth, but it is certainly possible to be stateless. There’s a poor guy called Merhan Karemi Nasseri, who has been living in Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, for years because he became stateless.

>> Is it possible to be born into the world in such a way that you are not a citizen of any country?

Yes. There are many possibilities for this.

>> is it possible to lose an existing citizenship because yours gets revoked


>> or your country somehow dissolves or is taken over?


If this happens, how does one cope?

With great difficulty

>> Can you forget about international travel ever again because you can’t get a passport?

Some country can issue you travel documents (passport) which do not entail having their citizenship.

>> What are the other consequences if this is a possible scenario?

All the consequences of not having the rights of a citizen in any place.

There are also people who voluntarily renounce their citizenship and become stateless. Some do this as an act of protest against their government’s policies, some consider themselves cosmopolitan and citizens of the Earth as a whole, rejecting the concept of national states (you may think this is quite a stupid way of protest, because it can carry some ugly consequences for you, but it’s their choice). Cecil wrote a column about renouncing US citizenship and gave advise on how you might nonetheless be allowed to live there permanently (if you don’t want to follow the link: It’s about arguing that you have always lived there and possess therefore a natural right to stay there even without citizenship).
The communist Eastern part of Germany used to use “de-naturalization” as a means of suppressing domestic dissidents - when someone was criticizing the government, but they didn’t dare arrest him because he was too popular, they revoked his citizenship void; those people, however, did not get too much trouble because they were given Western German citizenship without any problems. As far as I know, most modern democracies have legislation providing that their citizenship cannot be revoked against the bearer’s will.

Yes, and it is not a rare case in my country. I proceed to explain.

Our constitution grants citizenship to those born from Dominican parents and/or born in our territory, provided:

a) The parents (if foreigners) are not Diplomats.
b) Parents or parent is Dominican by right too.
c) Parents (if foreigners) are legal residents in our country.

Since there are a many thousands of children born in our country of Haitian parents who are illegal inmigrants to acquire our citizenship. Since Haiti’s constitution denies them the Haitian nationality because they were not born in Haiti. They are in fact “nationless”.

It is a big mess and a point of contention between the two countries.

Second to last paragrah should have read:

Since there are a many thousands of children born in our country of Haitian parents who are illegal inmigrants they cannot acquire our citizenship.

Well the Palestinians are not techinically citizens of any sovereign state and if they need to travel usually have to get Jordanian passports.

I think we need to distinguish between three different types of Palestinians here.

There are Palestinians living in Israel proper, some in fact serving in the Knesset.

There are Palestinians living in the occupied territories. I’m no expert, but I would expect that they would properly get travel documents from the occupying nation.

And then there are Palestinians living in refugee camps, which I believe in some cases are outside of Israel or the West Bank/Gaza. Their situation may be more tenuous.

Hopefully someone will be along to clarify my muddled recollection.

There is always the World Passport for those who have no citizenship, or for philosophical reasons choose not to exercise it. This passport is not accepted by most countries that take the integrity of their borders seriously, a list that has probably increased greatly in the last year or so.

I doubt very much that Israel issues passports to non-Israeli Arabs and I know for a fact that alot of Palestinians (in the occupied territories that is because almost 50% of the current population of Jordan are Palestinian refugees) hold Jordanian passports.

Infact with a bit of further research there is such thing as a Palestinian passport, which is recognized by quite a few countries worldwide. But more Palestinians carry Jordanian passports than those that carry Palestinian passports.

What is legal, specific proof of citizenship for a born US citizen? I’m third generation, but I have no certificate that say’s so.
A passport?

I would think that a birth certificate would be considered legal proof of citizenship if you were born within that country.

The last two jobs I got, my social security card was xonsidered proof of citizenship the the HR departments.

Maybe Monty will drop by and relay the details, but I remember him mentioning a case where a non-U.S. citizen serving in the U.S. military was stationed at an overseas base where his child was born, and the kid was in citizenship limbo.

In the U.S., a U.S. birth certificate is proof of citzenship. A SS card is not proof of anything relating to citizenship.

I always forget about a birth certificate. I don’t even have one.
You don’t even have to be a citizen to get a SS card, do you?

Ringo: Happy to oblige. IIRC, the Servicemember in question was a Philippine national, as was his wife. The wife had a child in Japan and, for some convoluted reason with the Philippine law at the time, the Philippine embassy declared the child not to be a citizen of that country. As the citizenship of the parents was known, and neither parent being a Japanese citizen, the child was not a Japanese citizen either. And, since US military bases outside of the United States are not US soil, the child was not born on US territory, thus not being a US citizen. In short, the child was born a stateless alien. Japan’s government, though, is well set up to issue travel documents for stateless aliens. It should be noted, also, that there seems to be a minimum residency requirement in the United States also for a US citizen to be able to pass on citizenship to a child born outside of the country.

Another interesting case, around the same time (early 1990s):
[list][li]Pregnant woman enters hospital in Japan to give birth.[/li][li]Presents a Philippine passport to prove her identity.[/li][li]Shortly after giving birth, the woman flees the hospital and her whereabouts remain unknown.[/li][li]The woman did not identify the father of the child.[/li][li]Hospital contacts the Philippine embassy in Tokyo (which embassy, by the way, is beneath even absolutely worthless), who inform the hospital that the passport presented had been declared stolen by its rightful holder.[/li][li]By Japanese law, if a child is born on Japanese soil and the citizenship of both parents is unknown, the child is a Japanese citizen from birth.[/li][li]The foreign missionary who runs an orphanage for severely developmentally and/or severely disabled children avails himself of that particular law and applies for a Japanese passport for the child.[/li][li]The government ministry responsible for issuing said passport says (essentially), “Screw it, the kid ain’t Japanese. His mom’s a Philippine citizen.”[/li][li]Japan’s Supreme Court issued the decision, correctly, that the ministry is not psychic and thus will get off their duff and issue the child a Japanese passport. The Supreme Court declared that a false identification cannot be relied on, in any part, to establish any legal fact other than that the person presenting it was using a false identification.[/li][/quote]

Whilst we’re about it, let me tell you about some fool, US citizen, who thought he’d get away with falsifying a report of birth.

He met a young lady in Japan, said lady also being a Philippine national, and pregnant. You see, he met her the day the USS Independence arrived in Japan, and the ship’s records indicated that he’d not been UA and had been aboard the ship, at sea, during the young lady’s “window of opportunity” to get pregnant. The fool came to me to report the birth. So, I completed the paperwork as required and submitted it to the US embassy in Tokyo, along with a note saying, “That’s one healthy kid for being 6 months premature!” The paperwork came back from the embassy with a note for the guy’s commanding officer, saying (again, essentially): “What’re you going to do about this guy making a false official statement? Oh, and by the way, that kid’s not getting a freaking passport from us as he’s not a US citizen!” Well, the guy’s commanding officer talked to him and told him not to do that again. As it turned out, though, the guy had to transfer back to the US and wanted to take the wife and child with him. Since he couldn’t get the child a US passport, his wife had to go to the Philippine embassy and do the report of birth and passport application there. Of course, she put her hubby down as the father of the child. And the hubby still listed the child as his on the service record “page two.” And the US embassy issued a visa to the wife and also to the child to immigrate. In other words, they didn’t give a flying you-know-what that the woman participated in an attempted immigration fraud. Nor did his commanding officer seem to care that he was still making false official statements.

Want another one? Ask me about the guy who created his own foreign marriage certificate. He forgot, though, that the language used in that country isn’t English.

Or ask me about the bigamist. That one’s good for a laugh, too.

No. I’m a foreign student and I have a SS card.

Yeah, 'swat I thought. You need a SSN to work, I think.