European Convention on Nationality
The European Convention on Nationality (E.T.S. No. 166, signed in Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

, 6 November 1997) is a comprehensive convention of the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

 dealing with the law of nationality
Nationality is membership of a nation or sovereign state, usually determined by their citizenship, but sometimes by ethnicity or place of residence, or based on their sense of national identity....


Common practice among states at the beginning of the 20th century was that a woman was to have the nationality of her husband; thus upon marrying a foreigner she would automatically acquire the nationality of her husband, and lose her own nationality. Even once the nationality of a married woman was made no longer dependent on the nationality of her husband, legal provisions were still retained automatically naturalising
Naturalization is the acquisition of citizenship and nationality by somebody who was not a citizen of that country at the time of birth....

 married women, and sometimes married men as well. This could lead to a number of problems, including loss of the spouses' original nationality, the spouse losing the right to consular assistance
Consular assistance
Consular assistance is help and advice provided by the diplomatic agents of a country to citizens of that country who are living or traveling overseas.Such assistance may take the form of:* provision of replacement travel documents...

 (since consular assistance cannot be provided to nationals under the jurisdiction of a foreign state of which they are also nationals), and becoming subject to military service obligations. For these reasons, the Convention provides that neither marriage nor dissolution of marriage shall automatically affect the nationality of either spouse (article 4d).

Article 5 provides that no discrimination
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

 shall exist in a state's internal nationality law on the grounds of "sex, religion, race, colour or national or ethnic origin". It also provides that a state shall not discriminate amongst its nationals on the basis of whether they hold their nationality by birth or acquired it subsequently.

Article 6 relates to the acquisition of nationality. It provides for nationality to be acquired at birth by descent from either parent to those born within the territory of the state. (States may exclude partially or fully children born abroad). It also provides for nationality by virtue of birth in the territory of state; however, states may limit this to only children who would be otherwise stateless. It requires the possibility of naturalisation, and provides that the period of residence required for eligibility cannot be more than ten years lawful and habitual residence
Habitual residence
In conflict of laws, habitual residence is the standard used to determine the law which should be applied to determine a given legal dispute. It can be contrasted with the law on domicile, traditionally used in common law jurisdictions to do the same thing....

. It also requires to "facilitate" the acquisition of nationality by certain persons, including spouses of nationals, children of its nationals born abroad, children one of whose parents has acquired the nationality, children adopted by a national, persons lawfully and habitually resident for a period before the age of eighteen, and stateless persons and refugee
A refugee is a person who outside her country of origin or habitual residence because she has suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because she is a member of a persecuted 'social group'. Such a person may be referred to as an 'asylum seeker' until...

s lawfully and habitually resident on its territory.

Article 7 regulates the involuntary loss of nationality. It provides that states may deprive their nationals of their nationality in only the cases of voluntary acquisition of another nationality, fraud or failure to provide relevant information when acquiring nationality, voluntary military service in a foreign military force, or adoption as a child by foreign nationals. It also provides for the possibility of loss of nationality for nationals habitually residing abroad. Finally it provides loss of nationality for "conduct seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the State Party".

Article 8 provides nationals with the right to renounce their nationality, providing they do not thereby become stateless. States may however restrict this right with respect to nationals residing abroad.

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