A group of nine individuals from different countries received their Seychellois citizenship certificates on Friday during a first-of-its-kind ceremony where the identities of successful applicants were made public.
The individuals, who have Swiss, Kenyan, Irish, British, Malagasy, Thai, Italian, Ghanaian, and German nationalities were granted Seychellois citizenship under Articles 10 and 12 of the Constitution of Seychelles. They took their oath of allegiance in a short ceremony at the National History Museum.
The Department of Immigration and Civil Status principal secretary, Alain Volcere, told the press that the event follows a decision that the Cabinet of Ministers made last year with the aim of having more transparency in the way that citizenship is granted in Seychelles.
“The details and identity of these individuals will be published in the newspaper. Later on, the public will be able to get access to the register of citizenship, the method of which will be later determined,” said Volcere.
Under Article 10 of the Constitution, a person is eligible to be granted Seychellois citizenship should any one of whose parents or grandparents be born in Seychelles.
Article 15 of the Constitution states that “a person who, on or after the coming into force of this Constitution marries another person who is or become a citizen of Seychelles shall, subject to any Act, be eligible to become a citizen of Seychelles by naturalisation.”
In his address at the event, Seychelles’ President, Wavel Ramkalawan, said,” You are a group of citizens who have gone through the process without having to seek favour, without having to pledge your political allegiance to anyone. I feel honoured to be here as a witness to the first ceremony whereby new citizens take their Oath of Allegiance in public and through your oath you have sworn to be a faithful citizen.”
President Ramkalawan with a new Seychellois citizen (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC:BY
To prove their eligibility, the applicants had to submit the necessary documents, undertake an examination in one of the three national languages, and be interviewed by the Citizenship Eligibility Committee, among others.
One of the individuals, Yusuf Said Gatibaru, from Kenya, shared that his father is Kenyan and his mother is Seychellois.
“I was born and raised in Kenya and have never been to Seychelles. The process to acquire citizenship took about three years for me. I was working in Bahrain and had to take leave from work to be able to come and do the exam. COVID did not make anything easier. The exam was not too difficult, but I had to revise a lot to learn about the culture, Creole, history as well as government affairs,” said Gatibaru.
President Ramkalawan giving his congratulations to a new citizen (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC:BY
Another new Seychellois citizen, Giuliana Farina Germain of Italian origin, shared that she has been married to a Seychellois for 34 years.
“It has been 18 years that I have been waiting to become Seychellois. I’ve had to stay in Seychelles for 5 years. I didn’t pass the first test that I did in French. The next I did it in English and I passed – I studied hard and was able to answer what was being asked,” said Germain.