[LMB] Citizenship? - Dual citizenship and Miles' Betan Passport

Edith khoreutees at yahoo.com
Thu Dec 2 19:12:48 GMT 2021

Gwynne asked: Can Barrayaran law allow dual citizenship? Surely if you 
take oath to your Emperor, you renounce other loyalties?

My instinctive feeling would be that Barrayaran law is unlikely to allow 
dual citizenship. But that is where Miles' Betan passport is a problem. 
It suggests that he has Betan citizenship and so dual citizenship. It is 
possible that this is a situation where he is allowed to retain both 
until coming of age at which point he has to choose (unless I have 
forgotten something we only see Miles-as-Lord Vorkosigan travelling on 
his Betan Passport in tWA (what passport(s) Admiral Naismith has and how 
he came by them is a different issue)), so this is possible. And would 
fit with what Matija suggested that Barrayarans routinely take oath to 
their Count on coming of age with whatever renunciation of other status 
is or is not required happening at that point.

Otherwise we have to accept that both Beta and Barrayar allow dual 
citizenship. For both Cordelia (who I assume acquired Barrayaran 
citizenship automatically on marriage to Aral) and Miles this raises 
questions about whether they can continue to be dual citizens even while 
holding high office, which seems doubly unlikely. On the other hand, I 
can't really see Cordelia just quietly renouncing her Betan citizenship 
to be only Barrayaran!

On 01/12/2021 10:45, Matija Grabnar via Lois-Bujold wrote:
> But Miles' Betan passport is an interesting problem from the other 
> side. Obviously, Miles was not born on Betan soil, so Beta must have 
> some concept of the citizenship of parents being conferred on the 
> children. 

Yes, legally this means Beta must allow citizenship by descent. Either 
as the primary mode of transmission of citizenship or as a subsidiary 
voluntary and/or discretionary one. My guess would be that this is the 
primary mode of acquisition of citizenship, but that is purely a guess. 
It would make sense for Beta to have a fairly restrictive citizenship 
system as we know it works hard to control the population size, 
including through reproductive control (not sure if that is applied to 
citizens only or to all residents?). Combined with the emphasis on 
citizens' rights, this to me suggests citizenship by descent rather than 
birth on the territory.

If this is the case and Cordelia retains her Betan citizenship, then 
there is no problem legally. Miles (and Mark once recognised and 
registered as her son) would acquire citizenship automatically as her 
children. The question of how this is registered becomes an 
administrative question.

Matija again:

> That means that Cordelia had to register his birth with Betan 
> authorities. But IIRC, she left Beta as a fugitive. At what point did 
> she arrange to once again become a citizen of good standing?

I would guess that Cordelia's status is regularised fairly early on, 
wouldn't you? Yes, she leaves as a fugitive, but IIRC the issues she was 
having on Beta were related to her ability to continue working in the 
Betan Survey. Once she is definitively resigned from the Survey and off 
Beta this should be resolvable - unless Beta really wants to stir up 
diplomatic conflict, I suppose.

On the other hand, if Cordelia does not retain Betan citizenship, then 
the transmission to Miles and Mark becomes more complicated. It is 
possible that Beta has some provision that would allow them to apply for 
citizenship either on the basis of Cordelia's former citizenship or on 
the basis of having a Betan grandparent. I rather like the latter 
option. If so, administratively, it makes sense for the applications to 
have been done while on Beta and living with their grand-mother. Even if 
this is voluntary and requires application, I can see Cordelia pushing 
Miles hard to apply so that he has choices. In this scenario, if Mark 
acquires Betan citizenship I think it would be a completely free choice.

Probably the simplest scenario here is that Cordelia retains Betan 
citizenship and transmits it automatically to both Miles and Mark. But, 
this requires both Beta and Barrayar to permit dual citizenship. Beta, 
on the one hand, wants to limit its population which would argue for 
restrictive citizenship and so no dual citizenship. On the other has a 
strong tradition of citizen rights which might tend to limiting the 
grounds of which citizenship can be lost. Barrayar, conversely needs 
more population (and so has an incentive to liberalise citizenship laws 
and allow dual citizenship) but a culture which places a high value on 
loyalty and pure male-line descent as well as a history of conflict with 
neighbouring states all of which might pull in the other direction. On 
the available evidence, that they both do permit dual citizenship seems 
the most logical option.

A third possibility, is that the situation is legally messy. That there 
is no specific legal provision dealing with this case or that the laws 
of Barrayar and Beta conflict on the question of dual nationality and/or 
what happens to a woman's citizenship status on marriage. In this case, 
it is possible that the situation has been quietly ignored even though 
legally anomalous. For example, that Beta recognises Miles as a citizen 
due to his descent from Cordelia, while Barrayar does not permit dual 
citizenship and so would not recognise that citizenship, but has not 
made a diplomatic issue of the fact that he does actually have a Betan 

Still Matija:

> And here is another interesting question (it is possible that it was 
> mentioned in the books and I have simply forgotten), at what point did 
> she register Mark with the Betan authorities as her son? When did Mark 
> get his genuine Betan passport, and did he get it from Cordelia's 
> hands, or just ... you know... in the mail?
I don't know that it is mentioned. Actually, I am not sure, do we ever 
hear for certain that Mark has a Betan passport? My guess is that he 
goes through the process of registration on Beta and so either gets it 
in the mail or goes to the Passport office to sort it out.

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