Citizenship - Factors Determining Citizenship

Factors Determining Citizenship

Further information: Nationality law

The modern sense of citizenship is usually based on one or more of these factors:

  • Parents are citizens. If a person has one or both parents who are citizens of a given state, then the person is normally a citizen of that state as well. Citizenship granted in this fashion is referred to by the Latin phrase jus sanguinis meaning "right of blood" and means that citizenship is granted based on ancestry or ethnicity, and is related to the concept of a nation state common in Europe. A person could be born outside of the physical territory of a country, but if his or her parents are citizens, then the child is a citizen as well. States normally limit the right to citizenship by descent to a certain number of generations born outside the state. This form of citizenship is common in civil law countries.
  • Born within a country. Many people are presumed to be citizens of a state if they were born within its territory. Citizenship granted in this fashion is referred to by the Latin phrase jus soli meaning "right of soil". This form of citizenship in common in common law countries and originated in England where those who were born within the realm was subjects of the king.
  • Marriage to a citizen. Citizenship can also be obtained by marrying a citizen, which is termed jure matrimonii.
  • Naturalization. States normally grant citizenship to people who have immigrated to that state and have resided there for the given number of years. Sometimes aspiring citizens may have to pass a test, swear allegiance to their new state and renounce their prior citizenship.

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