Some stateless people have received widespread public attention in airports due to their status as ports of entry.
One famous case is that of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, who lived in Charles de Gaulle Airport in France for approximately 18 years after he was denied entry to the country. The 1994 French film Tombés du ciel and the 2004 American film The Terminal are fictional stories inspired by his experiences.
During change of citizenship
Countries that restrict multiple nationality often require immigrants who apply for naturalisation to obtain official documentation from their countries of origin proving that they are no longer citizens. In others, including Taiwan, the documentation must be provided prior to the granting of citizenship. During the period between the renunciation/cancellation of the prior citizenship and the granting of the new citizenship by naturalisation, the applicant may be officially stateless. (In two cases in Taiwan, Pakistani immigrants applied for naturalisation and renounced their Pakistani citizenship. In the interim, the decisions to permit their naturalisation as citizens of Taiwan were reversed, leaving them stateless.)
As of 30 April 2017 Australia had 37 stateless people in onshore detention, who had been detained for an average of 2 years and 106 days and the longest was 3 years and 250 days. The number of stateless people in offshore detention is unknown. There were a further 57 stateless people living in the community after being approved for a residence determination. In Australia statelessness is not itself a ground for grant of a visa and the person must instead rely upon other grounds, such as being a refugee. Notable cases include:
Ahmed Al-Kateb, a Palestinian man born in Kuwait who was denied a visa on arrival in Australia in 2000 and did not meet the requirements of a refugee. Al-Kateb wished to return to Kuwait or Gaza, however Kuwait would not accept him and there was no state of Palestine. To return him to Gaza required the approval of Israel. The High Court of Australia held in Al-Kateb v Godwin that his detention was lawful, even though it would continue indefinitely. Al-Kateb and 8 other stateless people were granted bridging visas in 2005 and while this meant they were released from detention, they were unable to work, study or obtain various government benefits. Al-Kateb was granted a permanent visa in October 2007.
'Baby Ferouz' was born to Rohingya Muslim parents who had fled from Myanmar which did not recognise them as citizens. His parents and siblings were being held at the Nauru Detention Centre, however the family was flown to Brisbane due to complications in pregnancy, with the result that baby Ferouz was born in Australia. Despite the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness provision requiring nationality to be given to children born in a territory who would otherwise be stateless, Australia does not automatically provide citizenship to people born in Australia and as baby Ferouz was deemed to be an unauthorised maritime arrival, he could not be given a protection visa. In December 2014 he and his family were given a temporary protection visa which allowed them to be released from immigration detention.
Said Imasi is believed to be from Western Sahara and had been granted a protection visa in Norway in 2004. In January 2010 he had a one-way ticket to New Zealand and was traveling on a friend's passport and was detained on a stop-over in Melbourne. His application for a refugee visa was refused because he did not have a "well-founded fear of persecution" in Norway. Because he has no visa to be in Australia and there is no country to which he can be returned, Imasi has been in immigration detention since January 2010 and since October 2015 has been held at the Christmas Island Detention Centre.
There are a large number of stateless permanent residents in Brunei. Most of these residents have lived on Bruneian soil for generations, but Bruneian nationality is governed by the policy of jus sanguinis; the right to hold it comes from blood ties. The government of Brunei has made obtaining citizenship possible, albeit difficult, for stateless people who have inhabited Brunei for many generations. Requirements include rigorous tests in Malay culture, customs, and language. Stateless permanent residents of Brunei are given an International Certificate of Identity, which allows them to travel overseas. The majority of Brunei's Chinese and Indians are permanent residents.
Holders of International Certificates of Identity can enter Germany and Hungary visa-free for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period. In the case of Germany, in theory, in order for an individual to benefit from the visa exemption, the ICI must be issued under the terms of the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, and it must contain an authorisation to return to Brunei with a sufficiently long period of validity.
Brunei is a signatory to the 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which states that "the child shall be entitled from his birth to a name and a nationality", but it does not currently follow the guidelines of the convention. The Sultan of Brunei has announced changes that may expedite the process by which stateless persons with permanent residence status sit for citizenship exams.
An amendment to the Canadian Citizenship Act (S.C. 2008, c. 14, previously Bill C-37) came into effect on 17 April 2009 and changed the rules for the acquisition of foreign-born Canadian citizenship. Individuals born outside Canada can now become Canadian citizens by descent only if at least one of their parents was either a native-born citizen or a naturalised citizen of Canada.
The new law limits citizenship by descent to one generation born outside Canada. All individuals born within one generation of the native-born or naturalised citizen parent are automatically recognised as Canadian citizens, but second-generation descendants born abroad are no longer citizens of Canada at birth, and such individuals might be stateless if they have no claim to any other citizenship. Since the passage of Bill C-37, this situation has already occurred at least twice:
Rachel Chandler was born in China, to a Libyan-born father who is a Canadian citizen through the provision in the above paragraph and a mother who is a Chinese citizen. Because of the nationality laws of Canada and China, she was not eligible for citizenship in either country and was apparently born stateless. However, because Chandler's paternal grandfather was born in Ireland, she was entitled to Irish citizenship and now holds an Irish passport.
Chloé Goldring was born in Belgium, to a Canadian father born in Bermuda and an Algerian mother. She was not eligible for automatic citizenship in Algeria, Belgium, or Canada, and was thus born stateless. Goldring is now a Canadian citizen.
Under Bill C-37, the term "native-born" is construed strictly: children born outside of Canada to Canadian government employees working abroad, including diplomats and Canadian Forces personnel, are considered foreign-born.
The bill was intended to resolve the status of so-called "Lost Canadians"—people who considered themselves Canadians, with undeniable connections to the country, but who had either lost or never been granted citizenship because of the vagaries of the country's previous nationality law.
There are an estimated 800,000 Haitians in the Dominican Republic. For much of its history, the Dominican Republic had a jus soli policy, meaning that all children born in the country, even to undocumented parents, were automatically given citizenship. This is a policy practiced by most countries in the Western Hemisphere. But in June 2013, the Dominican high court amended existing legislation to exclude from jus soli citizenship children born "in transit", such as the children of foreign diplomats and "those on their way to another country". Since 2013, the law has been expanded to address the children of non-citizens, such as Haitian migrants who immigrated after 1929.
Since the passing of the amendment, nearly 200,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent have been stripped of their Dominican citizenship. Without birth certificates, identification, or nationality, they are stateless and living illegally in the Dominican Republic, leaving them vulnerable to deportation. As of July 2015, according to the International Organization for Migration, about 1,133 individuals had voluntarily or involuntarily relocated to Haiti. By law, many are eligible to apply for naturalised citizenship in either Haiti or the Dominican Republic, but financial, bureaucratic, and discriminatory obstacles have prevented many from doing so.
Estonia and Latvia
Estonia and Latvia, two neighbouring European countries, were occupied by Soviet Union since 1940. When their independence was restored in 1991, citizenship was automatically restored to individuals who had been Latvian citizens prior to 18 June 1940 or Estonian citizens prior to 16 June 1940, and their descendants. Citizens of Soviet Union, who had moved to Estonia or Latvia while they were occupied Soviet Union did not receive citizenship automatically in 1991, and neither did their descendants. They had to apply for naturalisation as immigrants, a process that included a knowledge test and a language test in Estonian or Latvian. Children born after Latvia re-established independence (21 August 1991) to parents who are both non-citizens are also entitled to citizenship at the request of at least one of the parents.
These criteria mainly excluded ethnic Russians. Some decided not to apply for Estonian or Latvian citizenship because Russia has a visa waiver for stateless persons living in Estonia and Latvia, while Estonian and Latvian citizens need to obtain a visa to enter Russia. These stateless persons can also travel freely within the Schengen area. As of 2013, more than 267,000 of residents of Latvia, and 91,000 of residents of Estonia, were stateless.
Article 19 of the Greek Citizenship Code (Law 3370 of 1955) stated: "A person of non-Greek ethnic origin leaving Greece without the intention of returning may be declared as having lost Greek citizenship. This also applies to a person of non-Greek ethnic origin born and domiciled abroad. Minor children living abroad may be declared as having lost Greek citizenship if both their parents or the surviving parent have lost it as well." (The Minister of the Interior decides such cases, with the concurring opinion of the Citizenship Council.).
Article 19 was abolished in 1998, but no provision was established for restoring citizenship to people who had lost it. Interior Minister Alekos Papadopoulos stated that, since the article's introduction in 1955, 60,000 Greeks had lost their citizenship because of it. Many of these people moved and adopted the nationality of another country. However, an estimated 300–1,000 people remain stateless in Greece (primarily minorities in Thrace, some of whom never settled abroad) and other former Greek citizens are stateless outside the country (an estimated 1,400 in Turkey and an unknown number elsewhere).
Stateless individuals in Greece have had difficulty receiving social services like health care and education. Until December 1997, they were denied the protection of the 1954 U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, which Greece ratified in 1975. Then, as a result of pressure from nongovernmental organisations and minority deputies, around 100 ethnic Turks made stateless under Article 19 received identity documents from Greek authorities in accordance with the 1954 U.N. Convention. In August 1998, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos stated that within a year, most or all stateless persons living in Greece would be offered Greek citizenship; this promise was repeated in subsequent months by Alternate and Deputy Foreign Ministers George Papandreou and Giannos Kranidiotis. However, the government took no steps to carry out this promise.
From the mid-1950s until 1998, the Greek government used Article 19 to discriminate not only against the Turkish ethnic minority in Western Thrace, but also against immigrants to Turkey itself. The dispute over Cyprus between Greece and Turkey further exacerbated the problem, and tens of thousands of Greek citizens lost their nationality arbitrarily, sometimes while they were simply visiting Turkey on holiday.
The law was repealed in 1998, but not retroactively (i.e., those who had been affected did not have their citizenship automatically restored). Human rights groups and the United Nations have since helped many to regain their citizenship, but not without long struggles. Many stateless residents of Greece have had their nationality restored, but others have been waiting for decades, unable to re-enter the country of their birth and sometimes separated from their families in Greece.
Hong Kong, as a special administrative region of China, does not have its own citizenship laws. The right of abode is the status that allows unrestricted right to live and work in Hong Kong; persons with right of abode in Hong Kong are called permanent residents. Most permanent residents of Chinese descent are Chinese citizens as provided by the Chinese nationality law. Citizens of other countries who have obtained right of abode in Hong Kong remain the citizens of their respective countries, and enjoy all the rights accorded to permanent residents except for those restricted to permanent residents with Chinese citizenship, such as the right to a HKSAR passport and the eligibility to be elected as the Chief Executive.
When Hong Kong was transferred from the United Kingdom to China on 1 July 1997, all British Dependent Territories citizens (BDTCs) connected to Hong Kong lost their British nationality, unless they had applied for the British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) status. Most BDTCs of Chinese descent became Chinese citizens. BDTCs who did not become Chinese citizens and did not apply for BN(O) status while holding no other citizenship became British Overseas citizens (BOCs). As BN(O) and BOC statuses do not provide right of abode in the United Kingdom, BN(O)s and BOCs of non-Chinese descent who do not hold any other citizenship are de facto stateless. However, British nationality law allows BN(O)s and BOCs who are otherwise stateless to register for full British citizenship. In addition, the Chinese nationality law as applied in Hong Kong provides the option of naturalisation as a Chinese national.
Chinese citizens from the mainland who had migrated to Hong Kong on a One-way Permit lose their mainland hukou (household registration). They then must reside in Hong Kong for 7 years before gaining the right of abode in Hong Kong. Therefore, persons who had migrated out of the mainland but have not obtained Hong Kong permanent residency, while technically not stateless, are unable to exercise rights and privileges associated with citizenship in either the mainland or Hong Kong.
Stateless permanent residents of Hong Kong and Chinese migrants without right of abode may apply for a Hong Kong Document of Identity for Visa Purposes, which allows them to travel overseas. This document (with few exceptions) requires the holder to apply for and receive a travel visa prior to departure from Hong Kong.
Children born to foreign domestic workers are not classified as citizens because Chinese nationality is determined by blood ties. Under the visa regulations governing foreign domestic workers, the government of Hong Kong may award an unconditional stay visa. Many of these children can obtain citizenship in their parents' country of birth. When they are put up for adoption, however, citizenship applications can become challenging. In cases where both adoptive parents are Chinese nationals, the children will likely remain stateless. Applying for Chinese citizenship by naturalisation is only possible for permanent residents of Hong Kong, and an unconditional stay visa does not grant this status.
Eliana Rubashkyn, a transgender woman and refugee, became de facto stateless in 2013 after being detained for over eight months on the grounds that her appearance did not match her passport photo. She suffered mistreatment in detention at Chep Lap Kok Airportand in Kowloon's Queen Elizabeth Hospital. She was granted refugee status, but Hong Kong did not recognise her as a refugee because it is not a signatory to the refugee convention of 1951 and sought to deport her to Colombia. In 2013, the UN sought a third country to resettle her due to the lack of protections for LGBT people and refugees in Hong Kong. After almost one year, a UN declaration recognised her as a woman under international law, and she was sent to New Zealand, where she received asylum.
As of 2012, India and Pakistan were each holding several hundred prisoners from the other for violations like trespass or visa overstay, often with accusations of espionage. Some of these prisoners have been denied citizenship in both countries, leaving them stateless. In Pakistani law, if one leaves the country for more than seven years without any registration from a Pakistani embassy or foreign mission of any country, they lose Pakistani citizenship.
In 2012, the BBC reported on the case of Muhammad Idrees, who lived in Pakistan and had been held under Indian police control for approximately 13 years for overstaying his 15-day visa by 2–3 days after seeing his ill parents in 1999. He spent much of those 13 years in prison waiting for a hearing, sometimes homeless or living with volunteer families. Both states denied him citizenship.
The BBC linked these problems to the political atmosphere caused by the Kashmir conflict. The Indian People's Union for Civil Libertiestold the BBC it had worked on hundreds of cases with similar features. It called Idrees' case a "violation of all human rights, national and international laws", adding, "Everybody has a right to a nation." The Indian Human Rights Law Network blamed "officials in the home department" and slow courts, and called the case a "miscarriage of justice, a shocking case".
In Bangladesh, there are about 300,000-500,000 Bihari people (also known as Stranded Pakistanis in Bangladesh) who were rendered stateless when Bangladesh seceded from Pakistan in 1971. Bangladesh refused to consider them her citizens because of their support for Pakistan in the Bangladesh Liberation War while Pakistan insisted that since Bangladesh was successor state of East Pakistan, she had a responsibility to absorb the Bihari people into her nation as West Pakistan had done with refugees flooding from the war, including Bengali people. As a result, the Bihari people became stateless.
There are over 100,000 Bhutanese refugees in Nepal, who have neither Bhutanese nor Nepalese citizenship.
When Japan lost control over Korea in 1945, those Koreans who remained in Japan received Chōsen-seki, a designation of nationality that did not actually grant them citizenship. Roughly half of these people later received South Korean citizenship. The other half were affiliated with North Korea, which is unrecognised by Japan, and they are legally stateless. Practically speaking, they mostly hold North Korean citizenship (albeit meaningless in Japan, their country of residence) and may repatriate there, and under Japanese law, they are treated as foreign nationals and given the full privileges entitled to that class. In 2010, Chōsen-seki holders were banned from South Korea.
UNHCR published a study on statelessness in Japan in 2010.
Palestinians in Lebanon and those in Syria are constitutionally denied citizenship, and are thus stateless. By 2011, it was estimated that there were close to 300,000 stateless Kurds in Syria. While the government’s implementation of the 2011 Decree did result in reducing the number of stateless persons, a significant part of Syria’s remaining statelessness problem has now been ‘exported’ to new geographic and legal contexts with the displacement of affected persons out of the country.
Stateless persons in Kuwait are descendants of Arab nomads who have settled in Kuwait during the 1960s but were denied the right to citizenship for different reasons. The number of stateless Kuwaitis, who are locally known as Bedoons -the Arabic for "without", ranges between 120,000 and 200,000.
The first Bedoon demonstrations for nationality rights took place on February 18, 2011. That year, Kuwaiti courts ruled that Bedoon could be issued birth, marriage and death certificates. Before those rulings, Bedoons were impeded in education and employment by the lack of such documentation.
The Kuwaiti government has given some stateless people conditional rights and has worked to improve their overall standard of living. The government has incorporated into Kuwaiti society those who can provide documentation verifying that their male descendants resided in Kuwait prior to 1967. Many families cannot provide such documents because they were never issued by the government. Thus, only a minority of stateless people in Kuwait have access to this status.
Stateless people in Kuwait are divided into five groups:
• Those who have not registered or cannot register, and therefore have no access to services
• Those with green cards, who are allowed access to some basic services, as long as their eligibility is maintained in their government security files
• Holders of blue cards, who must re-register with the government every six months
• Holders of yellow cards, who must re-register every three months
• Holders of red cards, who can be deported at any time based on government conditions that are attached to the card.
Conditional access for green card holders is provided only as long as the identification card belonging to the male head of household is current and has the green classification. It is common for cards not to be renewed. The International Coalition for the Rights of the Stateless announced that it would report the lack of renewals to the United Nations at the Periodic Review for Kuwait in 2015. Of the four coloru classifications, only the green card is linked to the provision of services such as:
• free medical treatment
• Public funded charity education
• birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates
• inheritance and guardianship documentation
• driver’s licenses (for which there are a number of hurdles)
• basic supermarket supplies (subsidies)
• care for those with special needs and disabilities (not including specialist treatment).
According to media reports, Kuwait does not prioritise stateless people for citizenship. Rather, priority is given to citizens of other countries and foreign spouses of important Kuwaitis, as well as foreigners who have performed a service for Kuwait. There is no public information regarding the number of stateless people who are granted Kuwaiti citizenship.
In 2013, BBC News reported that 4,000 "foreigners" would receive citizenship. (The number was higher than usual because in 2012, there was no such round of citizenship distribution.) But the government said that only a third of Bedoons were eligible for naturalisation, and that the rest had destroyed documents identifying them as citizens of other nations.
Local news sources in Kuwait have cited parliamentarians in reporting that the government wants to deport Bedoons. Some humanitarian agencies have reported that posters advertising fraudulent passport services were placed in government offices, and that workers advised stateless people that they could not register at the office, but should take down the details on the poster. A Refugees International / Open Society Foundations report on 13 May 2011 stated, "After years of encouraging—sometimes coercing—Bidoon to sign affidavits to the effect that they were nationals of other countries, government officials became involved in an illicit trade of forged foreign passports." This strategy enabled hundreds, if not thousands, of stateless families to be removed from government records and designated "other nationals", allowing the government to deny any obligation to provide services and preventing those families from ever receiving citizenship. Kuwait also expelled some 400,000 Palestinians during the Iraq War.
On 17 April 2014, a parliamentarian, Nabil al Fadhl, argued that stateless persons accused of security offences should be sent to camps in the desert. At least one author who provided information for the United Nations' Universal Periodic Review of Kuwait was blacklisted and accused of such security offences. Since then, parliamentarians who have spoken in opposition to the Kuwaiti government have been rendered stateless.
Restrictions on employment and education mean that many stateless people are never employed. Some men who sell fruit in the street are made to pack up their things or risk arrest for security offences. The streets of the segregated communities of Taima and Sulabiya are deserted during the daytime because whole families are effectively confined to their homes.
There are no statistics available on what portion of the stateless population has access to government-funded services. Nor is there up-to-date information on the numbers of registered and unregistered stateless people in Kuwait; only an approximate figure of "those eligible to receive citizenship"—i.e., people who were issued green cards in 2012—has been published. The number of registered stateless people has likely fallen because many identity cards have not been renewed, as reported to the United Nations' International Coalition for the Rights of the Stateless in advance of the 15th Periodic Review of Kuwait.
Most of Qatar's Bedoon are stateless tribesmen from the Ghufrani tribe. In 2005, Qatar stripped the citizenship of over 5,000 members of the tribe.
After international outcry, it restored the citizenship of approximately 2,000. Today, there are between 1,200 and 1,500 Bedoon in Qatar.
In the UAE, some stateless people were granted citizenship after many years/decades. Children of a foreign parent were also granted citizenship.
After Israel annexed East Jerusalem following the Six-Day War in 1967, Palestinians living there received, along with Israeli permanent residency status, the right to apply for citizenship. Shortly after the offer was made, it was rejected by Arab leaders. Almost all Jerusalem Palestinians have shied away from citizenship for ideological reasons. Between 1967 and 2007, only 12,000 of the 250,000 Palestinians living in Jerusalem applied for Israeli citizenship. Since 2007, more have applied, although the majority still reject it. Those who do not have Israeli citizenship are generally stateless.
Many descendants of Palestinian refugees live permanently in countries of which they would be expected to be citizens, but they are not citizens because that country adheres to the policy of the Arab League in denying citizenship to Palestinians
Even though Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were issued Palestinian passports under the Oslo Accords and Palestinian legal statehood is somewhat widely acknowledged internationally as of 2018, some countries (such as the United States), recognise them as travel documents but do not recognise their citizenship. According to international law, only states can have nationals (meaning citizens), meaning that the remainder states who do not consider Palestine a state implement such policies and deem its holders as 'stateless'.
Abbas Shiblak estimates that over half of the Palestinian people in the world are stateless.
The Rohingya people are minority group in Myanmar (formerly Burma) whose status as citizens of that country, and whose human rights in general, have been severely curtailed by the Burmese government.
In 1994, Juan Mari Brás, a Puerto Rican lawyer and political historian, renounced his American citizenship before a consular agent in the United States Embassy of Venezuela. In December 1995, his loss of nationality was confirmed by the US Department of State. That same month, he requested that the Puerto Rico State Department furnish him with proof of his Puerto Rican citizenship. The request involved more than just a bureaucratic formality; Mari Brás tested the self-determination of Puerto Rico by trying to become the first Puerto Rican citizen who was not also an American citizen.
Mari Brás claimed that as a Puerto Rican national born and raised in Puerto Rico, he was clearly a Puerto Rican citizen and therefore had every right to continue to reside, work, and, most importantly, vote in Puerto Rico. The State Department responded promptly, claiming that Puerto Rican citizenship did not exist independent of American citizenship, and in 1998, the department rescinded its recognition of his renunciation of citizenship. The official response to Mari Brás stated that Puerto Rican citizenship existed only as an equivalent to residency. However, the Puerto Rico State Department issues certificates of citizenship to people born outside of Puerto Rico to a Puerto Rican parent, including some people who may have never resided in the territory.
Following a failed coup in 2016, the Turkish government revoked about 50,000 passports. While most of the people whose passports were revoked were in Turkey at the time, one notable Turkish expatriate affected by this action was NBA player Enes Kanter. He is a vocal critic of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and a public supporter of the Gülen movement, which the government blamed for the coup attempt. Kanter's passport was canceled while he was attempting to travel to the U.S., and he was briefly detained in Romania before being allowed to continue his travel. Turkey issued an arrest warrant against Kanter in May 2017, claiming that he was a member of "an armed terrorist organization." The government's action effectively rendered Kanter stateless, and he has since expressed a desire to seek U.S. citizenship. He currently holds a U.S. green card, which enables him to travel to and from Canada for games in Toronto.
Different classes in British nationality law have led to situations in which people were considered British subjects but not nationals, or in which people held a British passport without right of abode in the United Kingdom. Examples include so-called British protected persons, who are not considered British nationals. British nationals (irrespective of the class of nationality) who reside abroad but are not entitled to protection by the British government are de facto stateless.
Many situations that put people at risk of statelessness were resolved after 30 April 2003, when the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act of 2002 came into force. As a result of this act, the United Kingdom gave most people with residual British nationality but no other citizenship the right to register as full British citizens. However, there are still some people who have not been able or willing to register as citizens. Following the publication of a joint UNHCR-Asylum Aid report in 2011, the UK adopted a statelessness determination procedure in 2013.
In January 2014, the Immigration Bill 2013–14 was introduced to extend the powers of the Home Secretary to deprive a naturalised British citizen of their citizenship, even if that renders the individual stateless, if the Secretary of State is satisfied that the deprivation of citizenship is conducive to the public good because the person "has conducted him or herself in a manner which is seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the UK." A naturalised British citizen is someone who was not born a British citizen but has become one through the legal process of naturalisation, by which someone with no automatic claim to British citizenship can obtain the same rights and privileges as someone who was born a British citizen.
The bill was initially blocked by the House of Lords in April 2014. However, the Lords reconsidered their decision in May 2014, and the bill returned to the House of Commons before being set into UK law.
The United States, which is not a signatory to the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons or the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, is one of a small number of countries that allow their citizens to renounce their citizenship even if they do not hold any other. The Foreign Affairs Manual instructs State Department employees to make it clear to Americans who will become stateless after renunciation that they may face extreme difficulties (including deportation back to the United States) following their renunciation, but to afford such persons their right to give up citizenship. Former Americans who have voluntarily made themselves stateless include Garry Davis in the beginning years of the United Nations, Thomas Jolley during the Vietnam War, Joel Slater as a political protest in 1987 while believing that he would obtain Australian citizenship, and Mike Gogulski as a political protest in 2008 without attempting to take any other citizenship. The UNHCR published a report on statelessness in the United States in 2012 in which it recommended the establishment of a determination procedure that incorporates a definition of statelessness in accordance with international law to ensure that stateless persons are permitted to reside in the United States.
The Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution granted citizenship to African American slaves. The Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Wong Kim Ark clarified that people born to aliens on US soil were entitled to citizenship under the Fourteenth Amendment. However, it excluded Native Americans by defining a citizen as any person born in the US, but only if "subject to the jurisdiction thereof"; this latter clause excluded anyone who was born in tribal nations within the United States, as the Supreme Court ruled in Wilkins that they are "quasi-foreign nations who deal with Congress using treaties". The Indian Citizenship Act addressed the issue by granting citizenship to America's indigenous peoples.
IMAGE CREDIT: UNRWA