|Lebanese Citizenship Act|
|Parliament of Lebanon|
|Enacted by||Government of Lebanon|
|Status: Current legislation|
Lebanese nationality law governs the acquisition, transmission and loss of Lebanese citizenship. Lebanese citizenship is the status of being a citizen of Lebanon and it can be obtained by birth or naturalisation. Lebanese nationality is transmitted by paternity (father) (see Jus sanguinis). Therefore, a Lebanese man who holds Lebanese citizenship can automatically confer citizenship to his children and foreign wife (only if entered in the Civil Acts Register in the Republic of Lebanon). Under the current law, descendants of Lebanese emigrants can only receive citizenship from their father and women cannot pass on citizenship to their children or foreign spouses.
On 12 November 2015, the Parliament of Lebanon approved a draft law that would allow "foreigners of Lebanese origin to get citizenship", the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Gebran Bassil announced on 5 May 2016 the beginning of the implementation of citizenship law for Lebanese diaspora.[additional citation(s) needed]
Citizens of Lebanon have by law the legal right to:
All Lebanese citizens are required by law, when required by the Lebanese government, to bear arms on behalf of Lebanon, to perform noncombatant service in the Lebanese Armed Forces, or to perform work of national importance under civilian direction.
The law that regulates Lebanese nationality is Decree No. 15 issued in January 15 1925.
A child born to a Lebanese father or whose paternity has been declared acquires Lebanese citizenship by descent, irrespective of the nationality of the mother, and irrespective of her marital status.
A child whose Lebanese citizenship depends on paternal links loses citizenship when those are cut.
A foreign woman who marries a Lebanese man may apply for Lebanese citizenship after having been married for at least one year and their marriage has been entered in the Civil Acts Register in the Republic of Lebanon. No language test is required, but the wife must show integration into the Lebanese way of life, compliance with the Lebanese rule of law and that she poses no danger to Lebanon's internal or external security.
A foreign wife of a Lebanese citizen can apply for naturalization while resident overseas after one year of marriage to a husband who is a Lebanese citizen, and close ties to Lebanon.
The non-Lebanese husband cannot acquire Lebanese citizenship by marriage to a Lebanese woman. It has been argued that to enable the Lebanese wife to pass Lebanese citizenship to a non-Lebanese husband would lead to a flood of Palestinians acquiring citizenship, upsetting the delicate demographics in the country.
Birth in Lebanon does not in itself confer Lebanese citizenship. Therefore, jus soli does not apply.
Article 8 of Decree No. 15 states how one ceases to be Lebanese:
By accepting public employment from a foreign country and failing to resign, despite been instructed to do so, in a set amount of time, by the Lebanese government.
Lebanese citizenship can be renounced if the Lebanese government first approves the acquisition of a foreign citizenship and then approves the renunciation of Lebanese citizenship.
According to the Lebanese Ministry for Migration, there have been no restrictions on multiple citizenship in Lebanon since 1 January 1926, and foreigners who acquire Lebanese citizenship and Lebanese citizens who voluntarily acquire another citizenship retain their Lebanese citizenship (subject to the laws of the other country), as was the case before that date.
Since the nationality laws of many countries now allow both parents to transmit their nationality to their common child (and not only the father, as used to often be the case), many children automatically acquire multiple citizenship at birth. However, Lebanon specially notes that this has not created any practical problems. Military service, the most likely problem to arise, is usually done in the country where the person resides at the time of conscription. For instance, a dual Lebanese-Armenian national must do his military service in Armenia, since Armenia has compulsory military service for two years for males from 18 to 27 years old. All male dual citizens regardless where they live are required to serve in the military as if they were Armenian resident citizen with certain exceptions. Most male Armenian citizens living outside of Armenia do not return to serve in the military.
Until 2007, military service in Lebanon was mandatory for men only. All men were required to do a one-year military service through age 18+. Training was only done whenever they had free time or time off school including summer vacations and holidays. There was also training done alongside high school. On 4 May 2005, a new conscription system was adopted, making for a six-month service, and pledging to end conscription within two years. As of 10 February 2007 mandatory military service no longer exists in Lebanon.
Even though Lebanese nationality law permits multiple citizenship, a Lebanese national who also holds another country's citizenship may be required to renounce the foreign citizenship, under the foreign country's nationality law. A dual Lebanese-Japanese national must, for instance, make a declaration of choice, to the Japanese Ministry of Justice, before turning 22, as to whether he or she wants to keep the Lebanese or Japanese citizenship.
There is a public demand for giving the opportunity for Lebanese women to transmit their Lebanese nationality to their children and also to their husbands. Moreover, the Lebanese citizenship to be given to the 8-14 million diaspora of Lebanese living all over the world.
On 7 November 2015, Gebran Bassil, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, "refused to compromise on a draft law that would grant citizenship to the descendants of Lebanese expatriates by expanding it to include the foreign spouses and children of Lebanese women".
On 11 November 2015, the Lebanese Parliament and Free Patriotic Movement member Ibrahim Kanaan stated that the ministers have agreed to pass a "10-article draft law titled "The Reacquisition of Lebanese Citizenship to the Descendants of Lebanese Emigrants," to grant those of Lebanese origin the nationality on the basis of certain procedures and legal pathways.
On 5 May 2016, the Gebran Bassil, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants announced the beginning of the implementation of citizenship law for Lebanese diaspora.[additional citation(s) needed] However, the law would allow only grandchildren of Lebanese paternal grandfathers but not grandchildren of Lebanese maternal grandmothers to apply for citizenship.
Article II  This law intends to verify the "actual presence of Lebanese relatives in the town, village or neighborhood," which an individual would claim, including the degree of kinship, along with any ownership/holding of rights to real property that may have been "devised, bequeathed, or inherited from a Lebanese citizen."
|I swear by Almighty God that I have decided to reclaim my Lebanese nationality entirely of my own free will|
Although bureaucratic in nature, this aspect of the law was meant to encourage associations with the land, a defining feature of Lebanese nationality. Where one traced his/her roots were deemed vital that, again, added a specific feature to the law. The law would allow grandchildren of Lebanese paternal grandfathers to apply for citizenship. The latest law would help Lebanese expatriates take part in future Lebanese parliamentary elections by voting at Lebanese embassies abroad. The number of Lebanese living outside the country is thought to at least double the number of citizens living inside, which means at least 8 million people.
Excessive restrictions are in place on granting of Lebanese citizenship due to the importance of the country's demographics in the political system. However, Armenian and Assyrian refugees came to Lebanon in 1915 from present-day southeastern Turkey, following the Armenian and Assyrian genocide. And when Lebanon was formed after Ottoman rule subsided, these Armenians and Assyrians were given citizenship to Lebanon. Also, under the Syrian-occupied Lebanon in 1994, the government naturalized over 154,931 foreign residents, of Palestinian (mostly Palestinian Christians) and Syrian (mostly Syrian Sunnis and Christians) descent. It was argued that the purpose of these naturalizations was to sway the elections to a pro-Syrian government. This allegation is based on how these new citizens were bussed in to vote and displayed higher voting rates than the nationals did.
Most Palestinians in Lebanon do not have Lebanese citizenship and therefore do not have Lebanese identity cards, are legally barred from owning property or legally barred from entering a list of desirable occupations. However, some Palestinians, mostly Palestinian Christians, did receive Lebanese citizenship, either through marriage with Lebanese nationals or by other means. In 2017, a census by the Lebanese government counted 174,000 Palestinians in Lebanon, but other sources estimate the number as high as 400,000.
On 1 June 2018, the notoriously anti-naturalization Lebanese president, Michel Aoun signed a naturalization decree granting citizenship to a reported 300 individuals. These individuals come for various backgrounds and religions, however all of them are in one way wealthy and have ties to Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.