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Citizenship is the status that defines an individual as a member of a state.
The granting or transfer of citizenship is a legal institution that defines a person as a national of a specific state based on certain criteria and rules. Historically, there are four general categories of citizenship attribution or acquisition:
, or birthplace citizenship, is defined as an individual’s unconditional birthright to acquire citizenship when born within the state’s borders. Also called birthplace citizenship acquisition, jus soli is the prevailing rule for most countries in North America. However, some countries worldwide adopt the jus soli rule with restrictions.
, or bloodline citizenship, is defined as an individual’s right to acquire the citizenship of one or both parents. Under jus sanguinis, a baby may automatically acquire (or rather inherit) the same citizenship as one or both parents at birth. Most states in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania grant citizenship based on the bloodline principle. However, several states adopt a combination of the birthplace and bloodline principle when granting citizenship at birth.
is the right to acquire citizenship that states grant to individuals entering the country legally with a regular visa or sojourner’s permit,or who have been granted political asylum, who have also been living in that same country for a specific amount of time. Naturalization is usually approved based on good conduct and allegiance to the new state. During the naturalization process, some countries subject candidates to a test that verifies acceptable knowledge of hosting country’s official language and lifestyle.
is a form of expedited naturalization based on the naturalization applicant’s marriage to a citizen of the state for a specific amount of time.