According to Section 4.1 of the Law on Citizenship, Mongolia forbids dual or multiple citizenship, but dual citizenship has been hotly debated in recent years.
The majority of Mongolians believe that dual and multiple citizenship are mostly applied in developed countries with large populations, and they think that small countries like Mongolia – with a population of only three million people – should not allow multiple citizenship.
Most people who disagree with allowing dual citizenship are not well informed about international practices and the challenges facing Mongolian citizens living abroad. In fact, there have been some attempts to mislead people about dual citizenship, so this issue has received negative feedback from the public.
Some members of the public believe that Foreign Affairs Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil is looking to issue Mongolian citizenship to foreigners, but Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil has responded to these rumors.
He stated that the Government of Mongolia is studying the dual citizenship issue, and that Mongolian citizenship would only be issued to Mongolians living abroad and those born abroad, and that what the government is studying does not involve non-Mongolian foreigners.
Under the Law on Citizenship, if a Mongolian citizen holds foreign citizenship, he or she automatically loses his or her Mongolian citizenship.
Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil added that the state is looking into legal regulations concerning dual citizenship to deal with the challenges facing Mongolians who have lost their Mongolian citizenship. He gave the example of a child having a Mongolian father and mother and being born in the United States. The child will automatically become a U.S. citizen by being born on U.S. soil. In this way, a lot of Mongolians choose foreign citizenship because they are living abroad, and those people cannot become Mongolian citizens under current law.
The Director of the Consular Department of the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ya.Ariunbold, pointed out that since 1998, over 4,800 children from Mongolian families were born abroad and 2,181 of them have faced challenges with the loss of their Mongolian citizenship.
Director Ya.Ariunbold highlighted that the children of people who have become foreign citizens, children adopted by foreigners, the children of foreigners born in Mongolia, and children who have a foreign father or mother living abroad are currently not eligible for Mongolian citizenship.
When he was asked if problems could arise from bad people taking advantage of loopholes in a law allowing dual citizenship he said, “State authorities are in pursuit of ensuring adherence to the law by allowing Mongolian citizenship for individuals in the strictly limited areas I’ve mentioned.”
Stories in the media suggesting that wealthy Mongolian people would take advantage of gaps in amendments to the Law on Citizenship have led to public opposition. Abuse of the law is a possible outcome, so monitoring by law enforcement and other state authorities is of significant importance.
People say that, in reality, there are a number of Mongolians who hold two passports, one from Mongolia and another from a country that allows dual citizenship.
How do they cheat the system?
They acquire a Mongolian passport from state authorities by saying that they will be a Mongolian citizen. After becoming a Mongolian citizen, they also apply for citizenship in the foreign country where they live.
Some people say that this occurs often, that many Mongolians have cheated the system by holding more than one passport, so approving amendments to the Law on Citizenship is of great importance to regulating this problem.
Some say that for a country with low economic capacity and a small population, such as Mongolia, allowing dual citizenship would be a threat to national security. On the other hand, others believe that resolving the dual citizenship challenge is important to addressing illegal actions.
Allowing dual citizenship for children who have a Mongolian father and mother is the best choice. Of course, studying international practices and challenges, and being making sure that amendments to the Law on Citizenship follow basic legal principles are very high priorities when discussing the dual citizenship issue.