What is a Stateless Person?

An individual who does not hold citizenship of any territory or nationality of any jurisdiction is referred to as a stateless person. Typically, a stateless individual is a result of a nation or country that has ceased to exist in the world.

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The Scope of Stateless Persons

Stateless persons were a common feature of pre and post world war; however in today’s day and age, it is a rare occurrence. The primary reason behind statelessness was that many jurisdictions failed to acknowledge births and individuals did not think it necessary to obtain a birth certificate from the government.

With the development of governmental procedures and adoption of similar legislation worldwide, every country in the world exercises the issuance of birth certificates. This enables people to acquire the citizenship of a nation as they were born there. As a result, there is a definite decrease in stateless persons.

The possibility of statelessness has been decreased; however it is still possible if individuals are victims of the following circumstances:

  • Nation ceases to exist
  • Denied citizenship of a country
  • Voluntarily give up citizenship
  • If an individual is born outside of the country of nationality and do not fulfill criteria of country of birth or country of domicile. This is extremely rare.

Stateless people are bound to face many issues as they are not citizens of any nation. These problems arise usually in the time of travel, when necessary documents and passports are not presented. Additionally, stateless persons are unable to benefit from any governmental allowances and benefits as they do not qualify as citizens of that country.