Difference Between Nationality and Citizenship

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.

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 a citizen of the country is called citizenship.

By inheritance, marriage, birth, naturalization, and registration 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.

Difference Table

GroundsNationalityCitizenship
MeaningNationality 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.
ConceptEthnic or racial.Legal or juristic.
RepresentsThe place or country where the individual has taken birth.Individual is registered as a citizen by the government of the country.
WaysBirth and Inheritance (depending on the rules prevalent in the country)Birth, Inheritance, Marriage, Naturalization, etc.
Can it be changed?NoYes
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.

Author: Shubham siwach

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