Ending Statelessness

On this date, Iran took a first towards ending statelessness in the country and around the globe. Leading by example, the government of the Islamic of Iran approved an amendment bill to the nationality law, which allows Iranian mothers to pass their nationality to their children born to non-Iranian fathers.

According to the Government of Iran’s estimation in 2017, there are nearly 50,000 children born to Iranian mothers and non-Iranian fathers. These children do not have the official Iranian identity document known as ‘Shenasnameh’. Although Iran is not party to the UN Conventions on Statelessness, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is taking concrete steps towards the prevention and reduction of statelessness in the country.

Further to the approval of the nationality bill, Iranian women married to non-Iranian men may request Iranian citizenship for their children under age 18. A child who has already turned 18 can submit the request for Iranian citizenship directly.

This law will certainly improve the lives of thousands of children, including those with Iranian mothers married to undocumented foreign nationals and is marking a major step towards reducing statelessness in Iran and around the world.


1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons

The 1954 Convention provides the definition of a “stateless person” and the foundation of the international legal framework to address statelessness.

1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness

The 1961 Convention is the leading international instrument that sets rules for the conferral and non-withdrawal of citizenship to prevent statelessness.