“Everyone has the right to a nationality”

Andrej - Faces of Statelessness

It is a difficult situation, I can't travel easily, but I am always hoping for good news.

Andrej was born in Azerbaijan, then part of the USSR, and resided there until 1987. Because he left Azerbaijan before 1992 he has no automatic entitlement to citizenship.   

In 1987, Andrej moved to Lithuania and lived there until 2005 when he moved to Ireland. Prior to the breakup of the Soviet Union, he had first been issued with a Lithuanian passport and later - when Lithuania joined the EU in 2004 – became an EU citizen. Andrej arrived in Ireland as a Lithuanian citizen exercising freedom of movement and has been continuously living in Ireland ever since.  

However in February 2008, almost three years after his arrival in Ireland, Andrej received notification from the Lithuanian authorities that his citizenship had been unilaterally revoked on grounds that he had allegedly obtained citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

When he received notification that his Lithuanian citizenship had been revoked, Andrej first believed this to be simply an administrative error since he has never been a citizen of Azerbaijan although he was born there. Unfortunately, his efforts to resolve the matter through the Lithuanian courts were not successful.

In April 2010, Andrej submitted an application for recognition as a stateless person to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service – this application has remained pending for almost four years. However, meanwhile he was eventually granted permission to reside in Ireland on other grounds,  and currently holds a five-year residence permit with access to the labour market. However, while waiting for his permit he experienced a range of problems.

Andrej was also issued with an ‘alternative travel document’ by the Irish authorities but this does not allow him to travel freely and he still requires a re-entry visa, costing €60 for a single entry and €100 for multiple entries, in order to be able to return to Ireland from any trip abroad.   

In November 2012, Andrej applied for Irish citizenship – asking that the normal requirement of five years ‘reckonable residence’ be waived on the basis of this statelessness. His application remains pending.