September 07, 2023
Kathmandu, Nepal – September 7, 2023
In a significant development, the Government of Nepal has opened the pathway for granting Nepali citizenship to Non-Resident Nepalis (NRNs). This move comes after the approval of amendments to the citizenship regulations by the Ministry of Law, Justice, and Parliamentary Affairs.
Previously, NRNs were not eligible for Nepali citizenship, even if they desired to become citizens of Nepal. However, President Ramchandra Paudel had ratified changes to the citizenship laws back in Jestha (May-June), but the formal regulations were yet to be framed. It wasn't until the cabinet meeting held on the 12th of Bhadra (August-September) that these regulations were officially passed, although the detailed information on this matter is yet to be made public by the government.
According to sources, this step was particularly taken to address the concerns of NRNs residing in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and others. Many NRNs working abroad had sought Nepali citizenship, primarily for ease in property ownership and investment in Nepal. This citizenship, however, does not grant them the political rights to participate in elections or seek government employment.
The eligibility criteria for NRNs seeking Nepali citizenship include giving up their foreign citizenship and providing proof of their prior Nepali citizenship. This is a significant development as it allows NRNs to easily invest in Nepal, own property, and engage in various economic and cultural activities within the country.
While many NRNs are pleased with this new citizenship provision, there remains some discontent within the community. Some NRNs have expressed concerns about the potential complications related to their children's citizenship, who may be categorized differently after obtaining Nepali citizenship. This issue is yet to be clarified by the government.
In conclusion, the recent amendments in the citizenship regulations signify a positive step toward facilitating NRNs' engagement in Nepal's economic and cultural activities. However, further details and clarification are expected to address potential issues and concerns that may arise from these changes.