With over 50 nations worldwide offering some form of citizenship based on ancestry, the opportunity to move abroad, reconnect with ancestral roots, or obtain a second passport has become increasingly accessible.
However, it’s important to be aware that the application process for dual citizenship can be time-consuming, complex, and hindered by bureaucratic hurdles and ambiguous regulations. If you’re considering relocating to the motherland, rest assured that you’re not alone, as the black diaspora has seen a significant increase, currently reaching a staggering 9 million individuals moving back to Africa.
In response to this trend, several African countries have extended the privilege of free citizenship to individuals of African descent based on their ancestral DNA. Here are four African countries currently granting ancestry-based citizenship:
Ghana, known as the gateway to Africa, has long opened its doors to individuals in the African diaspora seeking to return to their ancestral homeland. The “Year of Return” campaign, which gained global attention, welcomed African Americans tracing their lineage back to specific tribes or ethnic groups primarily based in Ghana. In line with its commitment to embrace the homecoming of our brothers and sisters, Ghana recently granted citizenship to approximately 250 African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans.
Beginning in November 2020, Sierra Leone embarked on a journey to offer citizenship to individuals of African descent whose ancestors hailed from the country. Collaborating with African Ancestry, a DNA testing company in the United States, Sierra Leone witnessed the first batch of African Americans receiving citizenship in January 2021.
In 2019, actor Samuel L. Jackson discovered through a DNA test for the documentary series “Finding Your Roots” that he is a member of the Benga people of Gabon. This revelation prompted him to travel to Gabon, where he was granted Gabonese citizenship. Similarly, Ludacris (Christopher Brian Bridges), after spending Christmas and New Year in Gabon and uncovering his ancestral bloodline, was also bestowed with Gabonese citizenship.
Eritrea recognizes individuals of Eritrean descent as Eritrean citizens by birth, whether they have an Eritrean father or mother. The country has also extended citizenship to those without Eritrean ancestry who have entered and resided in Eritrea. Recently, Eritrea made headlines by granting citizenship to Tiffany Haddish, an American actress of Eritrean heritage, who traveled to her native country to acquire citizenship. However, her support for Eritrea’s authoritarian government has drawn criticism from some quarters.
These African countries offer the chance to explore ancestral connections and acquire a second passport, embodying the growing trend of reconnecting with cultural heritage. As the diaspora continues to expand, individuals are seizing the opportunity to forge new beginnings and strengthen ties with their ancestral homelands.