Nationality vs Citizenship
Nationality and Citizenship are two words that are often confused as two words that give the same meaning when there is, in fact, a difference between them. As a result of this difference that exists between nationality and citizenship, they have to be understood differently and should not be interchanged. Both of these terms appear with regard to someone’s status in a country. These terms matter a lot when it comes to living in a country. That means they are very important for anyone. How they matter and what is the difference between nationality and citizenship will be discussed in this article.
What is Nationality?
Nationality is a term that determines the place or the country where a particular individual is born. It is important to know that nationality is derived from inheritance from one’s parents. It is also possible to derive nationality from a natural phenomenon. One of the most important differences between nationality and citizenship is that nationality can never be changed for that matter. Nationality cannot be offered to someone. So, there can be no instance of any country offering honorary nationality to any individual. Also, nationality is a word that refers to the common culture, traditions, and language of other people of the same nation.
What is Citizenship?
Citizenship, on the other hand, is the country in which a particular person or an individual has registered his name for citizenship. Citizenship too can be by birth; a person automatically becomes the citizen of the country of his or her birth. There are various other reasons too to grant citizenship such as one or both parents are citizens, married to a citizen, or naturalization. This shows that a person of a particular nationality need not necessarily have the citizenship of the same country. He can have his citizenship in a different country too. For example, think of a person born in the United States of America. His nationality is American. Yet, he registers with the government of UK as a citizen. There, though he is an American national, he has got British citizenship.
Moreover, a person can become a citizen of a particular country or can attain the citizenship of a particular country only if the political framework of that particular country accepts his or her application. In other words, it can be said that a particular person can become a citizen of a particular country only if everything goes well in legal terms. Otherwise, his application for the citizenship in a particular country can be denied as well. Citizenship can be changed according to one’s wish. Thus, a person can have a different nationality and a different citizenship at a given time. It is not necessary that both should be one and the same.
It is interesting to note that there are instances of some countries offering honorary citizenship to certain people especially the celebrities and other people of great importance in social and public life. Moreover, citizenship is a word that may not refer to people of the same group. For example, an African may have the citizenship of the United States and yet does not belong to the group of American nationals.
What is the difference between Nationality and Citizenship?
• Nationality is a term that determines the place or the country where a particular individual is born.
• Citizenship, on the other hand, is not always automatic, but can be granted by the government of the country due to various reasons. Of course, a person automatically becomes the citizen of the country of birth. This is the major difference between nationality and citizenship.
• A person of a certain nationality can have the citizenship in another country.
• Birth and inheritance can be ways of getting a nationality. However, citizenship can be obtained in a country other than birth, if the government of the relevant country accepts the application of citizenship.
• One of the most important differences between nationality and citizenship is that nationality can never be changed. Citizenship can be changed according to one’s wish.
• Another important difference between nationality and citizenship is that nationality is a word that refers to the common culture, traditions and language of other people of the same nation while citizenship may not be so.
Hence, it is very important to know that the two words nationality and citizenship should be used with difference and are not interchangeable in their usage for that matter.
Images Courtesy: African- American boy via Wikicommons (Public Domain)