The International Observatory on Statelessness


The U.S. Department of State reports that there are between 1,200 and 1,500 Bidun residing in Qatar. Though the government provides for long-term permanent residents to apply for citizenship, the application process is extremely difficult. The 2005 Nationality Law allows residents to apply for citizenship after residing in the country for 25 consecutive years, however only 50 applicants are accepted per year. Realistically, this process prevents most stateless persons in the country from acquiring citizenship. Qatar also only recognizes a child’s citizenship from its father. Women are not allowed to transfer citizenship.

In 2005, the Qatari Interior Ministry revoked the citizenship of over 5,000 members of the Al-Ghfran tribe. Due to an outcry by the international community, Qatar restored citizenship to nearly 2,000 members. Nevertheless, Amnesty International states in its 2008 annual report that hundreds are still deprived of their nationality and citizenship rights in Qatar. The U.S. Department of State also reports accounts of deportation orders against long term residents and Bidun.