This article argues that the “declarative” parastate of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) claiming sovereignty over Western Sahara is better understood as a hybrid between a parastate and a state-in-exile. It relies more on external, “international legal sovereignty,” than on internal, “Westphalian” and “domestic” sovereignty. While its Algerian operational base in the Tindouf refugee camps makes it work as a primarily extraterritorial state-in-exile de facto, the SADR maintains control over one quarter of Western Sahara’s territory proper allowing it to at least partially meet the requirements for declarative statehood de jure. Many case-specific nuances surround the internal sovereignty of the SADR in relation to criteria for statehood: territory, population, and government. However, examining this case in a comparative light reveals similarities with other (secessionist) parastates. The SADR exists within the context of a frozen conflict, where the stalemate has been reinforced by an ineffective internationally brokered peace settlement and the indefinite presence of international peacekeeping forces. Global powers have played a major role in prolonging the conflict’s status quo while the specific resilience of the SADR as a parastate has been ensured by support from Algeria as an external sponsor. The path to sovereignty appears to be blocked in every possible way.