FWLD - Working for Non-Discrimination and Equality

Legal Identity and Citizenship

Citizenship Right in Nepal

Citizenship is a legal bond of nationality between a person and the State. It is of utmost importance because it provides citizens with a sense of identity, enables them to exercise a wide range of basic social, economic, and political rights and gives them the protection of their country of nationality when they are abroad. The 2006 Nepal Citizenship Act entitles Nepali citizens who reach the age of 16 to obtain citizenship certificates. The citizenship certificate is considered the most important formal legal document, and is often required to obtain other identity documents in Nepal. Without citizenship certificates, individuals cannot register on the voters’ list, register marriages or births, buy or sell land, appear in professional exams, open bank accounts or have access to credit for example. The citizenship certificate allows a citizen to exercise his/her rights and claim State protection and social benefits.

Laws Related to Citizenship

SN Laws
1 Constitutional Provision on Citizenship
2 Nepal Citizenship Act, 2006
3 Nepal Citizenship Rules, 2006
4 Citizenship Certificate Distribution Procedure Directive, 2006
5 Work Operation of Citizenship Certificate Distribution Team Directive, 2014


Supreme Court Decisions on Citizenship

SN Name of Parties Summary of Decision
1 Dil Bahadur Bishwakarma v. Government of Nepal The law clearly prescribes to mention the surname of the citizens in the citizenship certificate. Hence, the people from the Dalit Community have the right to include their surname and not their caste in their citizenship certificates like the people from other castes.
2 Nakkali Maharjan v. Office of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers et al There should be no discrimination in issuing recommendation of citizenship on the basis of gender and marital status. Even married women have the right to acquire citizenship through the father or mother.
3 Sunil Babu Panta v. Government of Nepal, Office of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers Persons from different gender identities and sexual orientation must not be discriminated while issuing citizenship certificates.
4 Ashok Kumar Shah v. Government of Nepal A person with permanent residence in Nepal will not deemed a foreign national despite not having acquired the citizenship certificate of Nepal since the citizenship laws of Nepal do not require every citizen to mandatorily acquire the citizenship certificate.
5 Ranjeet Thapa v. Government of Nepal, Office of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers et al Persons who are eligible to acquire the citizenship certificate of Nepal, have the right to choose the place to acquire the certificate either through the father’s address or through the mother’s address.
6 Sabina Damai v. Government of Nepal, Office of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers et al Despite the law clearly stating that children should be provided citizenship through mother, the law has not been implemented correctly. Thus, citizenship certificates should be provided through mother in cases where the child is born in Nepal to a Nepali mother and the father is not traced. This should also apply to other cases of similar nature.
7 Bhola Nagarkoti and Shanti Nagarkoti v. Government of Nepal The Constitution of Nepal consists of the Father or Mother provision and not Father AND Mother so the applicants must be provided citizenship certificate through the citizenship of the mother in case where the father is not traced.
8 Deepti Gurung v. Government of Nepal Registering the birth of a child is the duty of the state and this applies not just to nationals but also to foreigners. Children of Nepali mothers and those whose fathers who cannot be traced must thus not be denied to register their births in the concerned authorities.
9 Amrit Sharma v. Government of Nepal Providing citizenship to the orphans who are eligible to acquire the citizenship of Nepal pursuant to the constitution is the obligation of the state. Thus, the citizenship distribution procedural laws cannot limit the law by imposing additional conditions on acquisition of such citizenship certificates.


FWLD prepared a documentary on the impact of Community Mobile Camps on the distribution of citizenship certificates to people who would normally not be able to acquire citizenship certificates through the regular process.


During the process of Public Opinion Collection on the Constitution of Nepal, FWLD organized district conferences in 5 districts of Nepal, and participated in the public hearings of 14 districts of Nepal. Additionally, signature campaigns were also conducted where with the help of other organizations, around 58,000 signatures were collected and submitted to the lawmakers demanding the father ‘OR’ mother provision instead of the father ‘AND’ mother. The revised constitution draft amended the restrictive AND provision after considering the public opinion on the Constitution. This documentary shows the highlights of the Public Opinion Collection process.