Difference Between Nationality and Citizenship

6/7/18 | 0 σχόλια | 0 απαντήσεις | 253 εμφανίσεις

Nationality and citizenship are one of the most misconstrued terms, in the world. For a layman, the term nationality works as a substitute for citizenship and vice versa. But in reality, the difference between nationality and citizenship is quite evident, that we cannot ignore it. The nationality of a person, reveals his/her place of birth, i.e. from where he/she belongs. It defines the belongingness of a person to a particular nation.

On the contrary, citizenship is granted to an individual by the government of the country, when he/she complies with the legal formalities. It is the status of being a citizen of a country. So, have a glance at this article if you want to know more about these terms thoroughly.

Content: Nationality Vs Citizenship

  1. Comparison Chart
  2. Definition
  3. Key Differences
  4. Conclusion

Comparison Chart

Meaning Nationality is the individual membership that shows a person’s relationship with the state. Citizenship is the political status, which states that the person is recognized as a citizen of the country.
Concept Ethnic or racial. Legal or juristic.
Represents The place or country where the individual has taken birth. Individual is registered as a citizen by the government of the country.
Ways Birth and Inheritance Birth, Inheritance, Marriage, Naturalization, etc.
Can it be changed? No Yes
Can it be reversed? It is innate. It can be reversed.
Can it be possible to have nationality/citizenship of multiple countries? No, a person can be national of only one country. Yes, a person can become a citizen of more than one country.

Definition of Nationality

Nationality is the legal status, which represents the country from which an individual belongs. An individual’s nationality denotes, the country where he/she is born and are the legal citizen. The status is acquired by birth, inheritance or naturalization. On the basis of constitutional provisions, every state sets the criteria which determine who can be the nationals of the country. It provides the country, rights over the person. Further, it provides the person, protection of the nation from other nations.

Based on international conventions, every sovereign state is entitled to determine its nationals, as per nationality law. One has the right enter or return to the country; they came from.

Definition of Citizenship

Citizenship is a status acquired by becoming a registered member of the state by law. Any person can become a member of the state by satisfying the legal requirements of the respective country. In simple terms, the virtue of being the citizen of the country is called citizenship.

By inheritance, marriage, birth, naturalization are the ways to become a recognized citizen of the country. Every state grants some legal rights and privileges to its citizens, and they are also bound to follow the rules and regulations framed by the government of the respective country.

Once the person becomes a citizen of the state, he has the right to vote, work, reside, pay taxes and take an active part in the country. Every person is a citizen of the country where he/she is born, but to become a citizen of some other country, one needs to apply for it.

Key Differences Between Nationality and Citizenship

The differences between nationality and citizenship can be drawn clearly on the following grounds:

  1. The status arising out of the fact that a person is the origin of a particular nation is called Nationality. Citizenship is the political status that can be obtained by meeting the legal requirements set by the government of the state.
  2. The nationality is an ethnic or racial concept. On the other hand, citizenship is a legal or juristic concept.
  3. The nationality of a person indicates his/her place or country of birth while the citizenship of a person shows that the individual is registered as a citizen by the government of the respective country.
  4. A person can become a national of a country by birth or by inheritance. As against this, there are a variety of ways through which an individual can become the citizen of a country, i.e. by birth, inheritance, marriage, naturalization or registration.
  5. The nationality of a person cannot be changed. However, his citizenship can be changed.
  6. The nationality of a person cannot be taken back, once acquired while the citizenship of a person can be taken back.
  7. A person cannot be a national of more than one country. In contrast, a person can possess citizenship of more than one country at a time.


Nationality, as the name suggests, is something in connection with the nation, which a person obtains by birth and is innate. On the other hand, citizenship is a bit different, which requires a person to fulfill the legal formalities to become a recognized member of the state. Further, nationality is a subject of international dealings while citizenship is a matter of country’s internal political life.

To acquire full citizenship, nationality is an essential condition but not the only condition to be fulfilled. It allows a person full civil and social rights along with political rights. The person who are national but they are not granted full rights of the country are known as a second-class citizen.

Difference Between Nationality and Citizenship

Category: International

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