Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Nationality and Citizenship

flagsNationality vs Citizenship

Nationality and citizenship are two terms that are sometimes used interchangeably. Some people even use the two words ‘“ citizenship and nationality — as synonyms. But this is not true and they differ in many aspects.

First of all let’s see what nationality means. In simple words, nationality can be applied to the country where an individual was born. Then what does citizenship stands for? It is a legal status, which means that an individual has been registered with the government in some country.

An individual is a national of a particular country by birth. Nationality is got through inheritance from his parents or it be called a natural phenomenon. On the other hand an individual becomes a citizen of a country only when he is accepted into that country’s political framework through legal terms.

Elaborating the two words, an individual born in India, will be having Indian Nationality. But he may have an American citizenship once he has registered with that country.

Well, No one will be able to change his nationality but one can have different citizenship. An Indian can have an American or Canadian citizenship but he cannot change his nationality. Another example is that people of the European Union may have European Union Citizenship but that person’s nationality does not change.

Coming to citizenship, some nations also confer honorary citizenship to individuals. But no country can confer honorary nationality on any one as his birthplace cannot be changed.

Nationality can be described as a term that refers to belonging to a group having same culture, traditions history, language and other general similarities. On the other hand, citizenship may not refer to people of the same group. For example, an Indian and may be having a US citizenship but he will not be belonging to the same group as that of the American nationals.

Summary

1. Nationality can be applied to the country where an individual has been born. Citizenship is a legal status, which means that an individual has been registered with the government in some country.

2. Nationality is got through inheritance from his parents or it be called a natural phenomenon. On the other hand an individual becomes a citizen of a country only when he is accepted into that country’s political framework through legal terms.

3. No one will be able to change his nationality but one can have different citizenship.


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14 Comments

  1. What is then the status if a person born in a country if his parents are citizens and nationals of another country? For example, what is the nationality of a person born in Uganda but both parents are born in India and both parents have British citizenship, the child also has British citizenship?

    • In this case, Uganda requires at least one parent to be a Ugandan citizen in order to transfer Ugandan citizenship. India does the same, and as such, you can apply for British citizenship based on a transfer from the British parents to the child.

  2. Well, I was born in India, immigrated to USA and recently became US Citizen. In the
    OCI card issued by Indian Government, my nationality is listed as USA.

  3. What would you say of a child that was born in the Colombia. His father is German and his mother is Italian. He would get the Colombian nationality, according to the Colombian laws. But he would also be a German and an Italian national because of his parents.

    • This is kind of “euro-Métis”. Usually the nationality comes with surname from father. But person could select the nationality depend on his mentality or language he talk .

      So he has German “nationality” with Columbia citizenship. But again in Colombia passport there is no such column as “citizenship”.

  4. what nationality would i be if i was born and grew up here in the US with parents both originally from thailand and i didn’t grow to with thai culture or traditions because i was adopted? can i be called a US national?

    • Theoretically No. You are still Tai by nationality. But practically In countries with liberal-democratic model the terms – citizenship and ethnic were been eliminated due to racist aspect.

      • In fact the US is unique country. There is No such nationality as “American” except native Americans. All nationalities were mixed and in order to unite all people in a into one nation without any exception and conflict, the term American “nationality” was implemented.

    • You are American! Simple as!

  5. what about having some one from Europe or Amerca born in one of the Golf contries such as Suadi Arabia, it is impossible to have their nationality or citizenship even if you grew up and worked there for so many years..!

  6. I wanted to post a small word to be able to appreciate you for those awesome tips and tricks you are writing on this website. My time-consuming internet look up has now been recognized with brilliant know-how to talk about with my contacts. I would believe that we site visitors actually are truly lucky to dwell in a good place with very many wonderful professionals with valuable secrets. I feel very much lucky to have come across the web page and look forward to so many more exciting moments reading here. Thanks again for everything.

  7. I just want to know, what will be the citizen of a Filipina if she is married to a stateless man?. and what will be the citizen of their children?

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