The International Observatory on Statelessness


In Bhutan, children can only qualify for automatic citizenship by birth if both parents are citizens. The country has strict naturalization requirements. Under the 1985 Citizenship Act, applicants must have proficiency in the Dzongkha language and have 15-20 years of residency in the country. More than 100,000 ethnically Nepali Bhutanese are in Nepal as  tateless refugees. Bhutan’s requirements make it nearly impossible for any repatriated persons to ever regain citizenship. According to Human Rights Watch, Bhutan only recognizes approximately two percent of returnees as citizens. (See also Nepal.)