NEW CONTENT OF THE LAW ONVIETNAMESE NATIONALITY
The State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam has interested itself in the issue of nationality and brought it into management soon after Vietnam gained independence with President Ho Chi Minh promulgating the Decree on Nationality since October 20th, 1945. Since then, the National Assembly of Vietnam has promulgated new decrees on nationality for 3 times in 1988, 1998 and 2008. On the basis of inheriting the achievements of previous legal documents, the Law on Vietnamese Nationality dated November 13th, 2008 still had some new points, including the issue of dual citizenship.
Previously, the principle of single citizenship was applied to all Vietnamese citizens and foreigners who wish to file applications for Vietnamese nationality. The Law on Vietnamese Nationality 2008 still held that principle but had specific innovations when it started to recognize Vietnamese citizens having another nationality at the same time. The reason for this change was to suit the practical situation of the process of globalization when human life is no longer limited inside national borders.
1. Naturalization in Vietnam and approval of the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam upon its dual citizenship citizens
This approval shows that the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam has actively allowed foreigners to naturalize in Vietnam without giving up their current nationalities. Obviously, those who enjoy this category must have special standards and be allowed by the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. They only fall into one of the following cases:
“ a) Being spouses, natural parents or natural offsprings of Vietnamese citizens;
b) Having made meritorious contributions to Vietnam’s national construction and defense;
c) Being helpful to the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”
(Clause 3, Article 19 of the Law on Vietnamese Nationality 2008)
2. Foreign naturalization and the recognition of the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam for its dual citizenship citizens.
Whereas the control of the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam over foreigners naturalizing Vietnam is made in an easy way, the control of Vietnamese citizens naturalizing foreign countries is much more difficult, especially when receiving countries have multinational policies. However, this problem has now been more open as the Vietnamese law has recognised the status of a person as a citizen of various countries. Whereas the previous law regulated that Vietnamese citizens who want to naturalize in another country must give up their Vietnamese citizenships, the existing law regulated that “since July 1st, 2009, Vietnamese citizens who somehow has foreign nationalities and their Vietnamese citizenships have not been lost yet, they still have Vietnamese citizenships” (Clause 1, Article 21 of the Decree No. 78/2009ND-CP dated September 22nd, 2009).
Matters arising from the state of having foreign nationalities of Vietnamese citizens will be settled by the State on the basis of international treaties, international custom and practice. The National Assembly has assigned the Government to sign or propose signing of international treaties with the above-mentioned content.
The State expects its dual citizenship citizens to report their status to Vietnam’s representative offices abroad or Departments of Justice in their provinces. Their foreign nationalities will be clearly stated in the civil status papers.
In general, the Vietnamese law has no provisions to encourage Vietnamese citizens to have foreign nationalities by maintaining the principle of single nationality. But the establishment of exceptions or practical recognitions shows that the State's policies are becoming closer to people's lives and meeting the needs of people in the Doi Moi period.