Naturalization
Overview
Naturalization is the acquisition of citizenship
Citizenship
Citizenship is the state of being a citizen of a particular social, political, national, or human resource community. Citizenship status, under social contract theory, carries with it both rights and responsibilities...

 and nationality
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....

 by somebody who was not a citizen of that country at the time of birth.

In general, basic requirements for naturalization are that the applicant hold a legal status as a full-time resident
Permanent residency
Permanent residency refers to a person's visa status: the person is allowed to reside indefinitely within a country of which he or she is not a citizen. A person with such status is known as a permanent resident....

 for a minimum period of time and that the applicant promise to obey and uphold that country's laws, to which an oath or pledge of allegiance is sometimes added.
Encyclopedia
Naturalization is the acquisition of citizenship
Citizenship
Citizenship is the state of being a citizen of a particular social, political, national, or human resource community. Citizenship status, under social contract theory, carries with it both rights and responsibilities...

 and nationality
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....

 by somebody who was not a citizen of that country at the time of birth.

In general, basic requirements for naturalization are that the applicant hold a legal status as a full-time resident
Permanent residency
Permanent residency refers to a person's visa status: the person is allowed to reside indefinitely within a country of which he or she is not a citizen. A person with such status is known as a permanent resident....

 for a minimum period of time and that the applicant promise to obey and uphold that country's laws, to which an oath or pledge of allegiance is sometimes added. Some countries also require that a naturalized national must renounce any other citizenship that they currently hold, forbidding dual citizenship
Multiple citizenship
Multiple citizenship is a status in which a person is concurrently regarded as a citizen under the laws of more than one state. Multiple citizenships exist because different countries use different, and not necessarily mutually exclusive, citizenship requirements...

, but whether this renunciation actually causes loss of the person's original citizenship will again depend on the laws of the countries involved.

Nationality is traditionally based either on jus soli
Jus soli
Jus soli , also known as birthright citizenship, is a right by which nationality or citizenship can be recognized to any individual born in the territory of the related state...

("right of the territory") or on jus sanguinis
Jus sanguinis
Ius sanguinis is a social policy by which citizenship is not determined by place of birth, but by having a parent who are citizens of the nation...

("right of blood"), although it now usually mixes both. Whatever the case, the massive increase in population flux due to globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

 and the sharp increase in the numbers of refugee
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 following World War I created an important class of non-citizens called stateless persons. In some rare cases, procedures of mass naturalization were passed. As naturalization laws were created to deal with the rare case of people separated from their nation state because they lived abroad (expatriates), western democracies were not ready to naturalize the massive influx of stateless people which followed massive denationalizations and the expulsion of ethnic minorities from newly created nation states in the first part of the 20th century, but they also counted the (mostly aristocratic) Russia
History of Russia
The history of Russia begins with that of the Eastern Slavs and the Finno-Ugric peoples. The state of Garðaríki , which was centered in Novgorod and included the entire areas inhabited by Ilmen Slavs, Veps and Votes, was established by the Varangian chieftain Rurik in 862...

ns who had escaped the 1917 October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 and the war communism
War communism
War communism or military communism was the economic and political system that existed in Soviet Russia during the Russian Civil War, from 1918 to 1921...

 period, and then the Spanish refugees
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

. As Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt was a German American political theorist. She has often been described as a philosopher, although she refused that label on the grounds that philosophy is concerned with "man in the singular." She described herself instead as a political theorist because her work centers on the fact...

 pointed out, internment camps became the "only nation" of such stateless people, since they were often considered "undesirable" and were stuck in an illegal situation (their country had expelled them or deprived them of their nationality, while they hadn't been naturalized, thus living in a judicial no man's land).

After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the increase in international migrations
Human migration
Human migration is physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. Historically this movement was nomadic, often causing significant conflict with the indigenous population and their displacement or cultural assimilation. Only a few nomadic...

 created a new category of refugees, most of them economic refugees
Foreign worker
A foreign worker is a person who works in a country other than the one of which he or she is a citizen. The term migrant worker as discussed in the migrant worker page is used in a particular UN resolution as a synonym for "foreign worker"...

. For economic, political, humanitarian and pragmatic reasons, many states passed laws allowing a person to acquire their citizenship after birth (such as by marriage to a national – jus matrimonii – or by having ancestors who are nationals of that country), in order to reduce the scope of this category. However, in some countries this system still maintains a large part of the immigrated population in an illegal status, albeit some massive regularizations (in Spain by José Luis Zapatero
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is a member of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party . He was elected for two terms as Prime Minister of Spain, in the 2004 and 2008 general elections. On 2 April 2011 he announced he will not stand for re-election in 2012...

's government and in Italy by Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi , also known as Il Cavaliere – from knighthood to the Order of Merit for Labour which he received in 1977 – is an Italian politician and businessman who served three terms as Prime Minister of Italy, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and 2008 to 2011. Berlusconi is also the...

's government).

United Kingdom

There had always been a distinction in English law (One of the three legal systems in the UK, along with Scots law and Northern Irish law) between the subjects of the monarch and aliens: the monarch's subjects owed the monarch allegiance, and included those born in his or her dominions (natural-born subjects) and those who later gave him or her their allegiance (naturalised subjects).

The modern requirements for naturalisation as a British citizen depend on whether or not one is the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen.

An applicant who is a spouse or civil partner of a British citizen must:
  • hold indefinite leave to remain
    Indefinite leave to remain
    Indefinite leave to remain is an immigration status granted to a person who does not hold right of abode in the United Kingdom , but who has been admitted to the UK without any time limit on his or her stay and who is free to take up employment or study, without restriction...

     in the UK (or an equivalent such as Right of Abode
    Right of Abode (United Kingdom)
    The right of abode is a status under United Kingdom immigration law that gives an unrestricted right to live in the United Kingdom. It was introduced by the Immigration Act 1971.-British citizens:...

     or Irish citizenship)
  • have lived legally in the UK for three years
  • been outside of the UK no more than 90 days during the one-year period prior to filing the application.
  • show sufficient knowledge of life in the UK, either by passing the Life in the United Kingdom test
    Life in the United Kingdom test
    The Life in the United Kingdom test is a computer-based test for individuals seeking Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK or naturalisation as a British citizen...

     or by attending combined English language and citizenship classes. Proof of this must be supplied with one's application for naturalisation. Those aged 65 or over may be able to claim exemption.
  • meet specified English
    English language
    English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

    , Welsh
    Welsh language
    Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

     or Scottish Gaelic language
    Scottish Gaelic language
    Scottish Gaelic is a Celtic language native to Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish, and thus descends ultimately from Primitive Irish....

     competence standards. Those who pass the Life in the UK test are deemed to meet English language requirements.


For those not spouses or civil partners of British citizens the requirements are:
  • at least five years legal residence in the UK
  • been outside of the UK no more than 90 days during the one-year period prior to filing the application.
  • indefinite leave to remain or equivalent must have been held for 12 months
  • the applicant must intend to continue to live in the UK or work overseas for the UK government or a British corporation or association.
  • the same language and knowledge of life in the UK standards apply as for those married to British citizens


All applicants for naturalisation must be of "good character". Naturalisation is at the discretion of the Home Secretary but is normally granted if the requirements are met.

United States

In the United States of America
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, naturalization is mentioned in the Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

.

Congress is given the power to prescribe a uniform rule of naturalization, which was administered by state courts. There was some confusion about which courts could naturalize; the final ruling was that it could be done by any "court of record having common-law jurisdiction and a clerk (prothonotary
Prothonotary
The word prothonotary is recorded in English since 1447, as "principal clerk of a court," from L.L. prothonotarius , from Greek protonotarios "first scribe," originally the chief of the college of recorders of the court of the Byzantine Empire, from Greek protos "first" + Latin notarius ; the -h-...

) and seal."

The Constitution also mentions "natural born citizen
Natural-born citizen
Status as a natural-born citizen of the United States is one of the eligibility requirements established in the United States Constitution for election to the office of President or Vice President...

". The first naturalization Act (drafted by Thomas Jefferson) used the phrases "natural born" and "native born" interchangeably.

The Constitution does not mandate race-neutral naturalization. Until 1952, the Naturalization Acts written by Congress still allowed only white persons to become naturalized as citizens (except for two years in the 1870s which the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 declared to be a mistake).

Naturalization is also mentioned in the Fourteenth Amendment
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.Its Citizenship Clause provides a broad definition of citizenship that overruled the Dred Scott v...

. Before that Amendment, individual states set their own standards for citizenship. The Amendment states that "all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof shall be citizens of the United States and of the State in which they reside."

The Naturalization Act of 1795
Naturalization Act of 1795
The United States Naturalization Act of January 29, 1795 repealed and replaced the Naturalization Act of 1790. The 1795 Act differed from the 1790 Act by increasing the period of required residence from two to five years in the United States, by introducing the Declaration of Intention...

 set the initial parameters on naturalization: "free, White persons" who had been resident for five years or more. The Naturalization Act of 1798
Naturalization Act of 1798
The Naturalization Act, passed by Congress on June 18, 1798, increased the amount of time necessary for immigrants to become naturalized citizens in the United States from five to fourteen years...

, part of the Alien and Sedition Acts
Alien and Sedition Acts
The Alien and Sedition Acts were four bills passed in 1798 by the Federalists in the 5th United States Congress in the aftermath of the French Revolution's reign of terror and during an undeclared naval war with France, later known as the Quasi-War. They were signed into law by President John Adams...

, was passed by the Federalists and extended the residency requirement from five to fourteen years. It specifically targeted Irish and French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 immigrants who were involved in Democratic-Republican Party politics. It was repealed in 1802.

An 1862 law allowed honorably discharged Army veterans of any war to petition for naturalization, without having filed a declaration of intent, after only one year of residence in the United States. An 1894 law extended the same privilege to honorably discharged 5-year veterans of the Navy or Marine Corps. Over 192,000 aliens were naturalized between May 9, 1918, and June 30, 1919, under an act of May 9, 1918. Laws enacted in 1919, 1926, 1940, and 1952 continued preferential treatment provisions for veterans.

Passage of the Fourteenth Amendment meant that, in theory, all persons born in the U.S., and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens regardless of race. Citizenship by birth in the United States, however, was not initially granted to Asians until 1898, when the Supreme Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment did apply to Asians born in the United States in United States v. Wong Kim Ark
United States v. Wong Kim Ark
United States v. Wong Kim Ark, , was a United States Supreme Court decision that set an important legal precedent about the role of jus soli as a factor in determining a person's claim to United States citizenship...

.

The enabling legislation for the naturalization aspects of the Fourteenth Amendment was the Naturalization Act of 1870
Naturalization Act of 1870
The Naturalization Act of 1870 was a law passed by the United States Congress concerning immigration and immigrants. It was created to deal with two immigration issues:...

, which allowed naturalization of "aliens of Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

n nativity and to persons of African descent", but is silent about other races.

The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act
Chinese Exclusion Act (United States)
The Chinese Exclusion Act was a United States federal law signed by Chester A. Arthur on May 8, 1882, following revisions made in 1880 to the Burlingame Treaty of 1868. Those revisions allowed the U.S. to suspend immigration, and Congress subsequently acted quickly to implement the suspension of...

 banned Chinese workers and specifically barred them from naturalization. The Immigration Act of 1917
Immigration Act of 1917
On February 4, 1917, the United States Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1917 with an overwhelming majority, overriding President Woodrow Wilson's December 14, 1916 veto...

, (Barred Zone Act) extended those restrictions to almost all Asians.

The 1922 Cable Act
Cable Act
The Cable Act of 1922 is a United States federal law that reversed former immigration laws regarding marriage, also known as the Married Women's Citizenship Act or the Women's Citizenship Act...

 specified that women marrying aliens ineligible for naturalization lose their US citizenship. At the time, all Asians were ineligible for naturalization. The Immigration Act of 1924
Immigration Act of 1924
The Immigration Act of 1924, or Johnson–Reed Act, including the National Origins Act, and Asian Exclusion Act , was a United States federal law that limited the annual number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already...

 barred entry of all those ineligible for naturalization, which again meant non-Filipino Asians.

Following the Spanish American War in 1898, Philippine
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 residents were classified as US nationals. But the 1934 Tydings–McDuffie Act, or Philippine Independence Act, reclassified Filipinos as aliens, and set a quota of 50 immigrants per year, and otherwise applying the Immigration Act of 1924 to them. The quotas did not apply to Filipinos who served in the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

, which actively recruited in the Philippines at that time.

Asians were first permitted naturalization by the 1943 Magnuson Act
Magnuson Act
The Magnuson Act also known as the Chinese Exclusion Repeal Act of 1943 was immigration legislation proposed by U.S. Representative Warren G. Magnuson of Washington and signed into law on December 17, 1943 in the United States...

, which repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act. India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and the Philippines were allowed 100 annual immigrants under the 1946 Filipino Naturalization Act. The War Brides Act
War Brides Act
The War Brides Act was enacted in 1945 to allow spouses and adopted children of United States military personnel to enter the U.S. after World War II. The law temporarily lifted the ban on Asian immigration and the quotas on European immigration that had been established by the Immigration Act of...

 of 1945 permitted soldiers to bring back their foreign wives and established precedent in naturalization through marriage
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

.

The 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act (better known as the McCarran–Walter Act), lifted racial restrictions, but kept the quotas in place. The Immigration Act of 1965 finally allowed Asians and all persons from all nations be given equal access to immigration and naturalization.

Illegal immigration
Illegal immigration
Illegal immigration is the migration into a nation in violation of the immigration laws of that jurisdiction. Illegal immigration raises many political, economical and social issues and has become a source of major controversy in developed countries and the more successful developing countries.In...

 became a major issue in the US at the end of the 20th century. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
The Immigration Reform and Control Act , , also Simpson-Mazzoli Act, is an Act of Congress which reformed United States immigration law.In brief the act:* required employers to attest to their employees' immigration status....

, while tightening border controls, also provided the opportunity of naturalization for illegal aliens who had been in the country for at least four years. Today, lawful permanent resident aliens can apply for naturalization in the U.S. after five years, unless they continue to be married to a U.S. citizen, in which case they can apply after three years of permanent residency.

The Child Citizenship Act of 2000
Child Citizenship Act of 2000
The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 is a United States federal law that allows certain foreign-born, biological and adopted children of United States citizens to acquire United States citizenship automatically. These children did not acquire U.S. citizenship at birth, but they are granted citizenship...

 streamlined the naturalization process for children adopted
Adoption in the United States
Adopton in the United States is the legal act of adoption, of permanently placing a person under the age of 18 with a parent or parents other than the birth parents in the United States.-Overview:...

 internationally
International adoption
International adoption is a type of adoption in which an individual or couple becomes the legal and permanent parents of a child that is a national of a different country...

. A child under age 18 who is adopted by at least one U.S. citizen parent, and is in the custody of the citizen parent(s), is now automatically naturalized once admitted to the United States as an immigrant or when legally adopted in the United States, depending on the visa under which the child was admitted to the U.S.

India

The Indian citizenship and nationality law and the Constitution of India
Constitution of India
The Constitution of India is the supreme law of India. It lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles, establishes the structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions, and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of citizens...

 provides single citizenship for the entire country. The provisions relating to citizenship at the commencement of the Constitution are contained in Articles 5 to 11 in Part II of the Constitution of India. Relevant India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n legislation is the Citizenship Act 1955, which has been amended by the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 1986, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 1992, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2003, and the Citizenship (Amendment) Ordinance 2005. The Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2003 received the assent of the President of India on 7 January 2004 and came into force on 3 December 2004. The Citizenship (Amendment) Ordinance 2005 was promulgated by the President of India and came into force on 28 June 2005.

Following these reforms, Indian nationality law largely follows the jus sanguinis
Jus sanguinis
Ius sanguinis is a social policy by which citizenship is not determined by place of birth, but by having a parent who are citizens of the nation...

(citizenship by right of blood) as opposed to the jus soli
Jus soli
Jus soli , also known as birthright citizenship, is a right by which nationality or citizenship can be recognized to any individual born in the territory of the related state...

(citizenship by right of birth within the territory).

China

The People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 gives citizenship to persons with one or two parents with Chinese nationality who have not taken residence in other countries. The republic also gives citizenship to persons born to permanent residents of China. Furthermore, individuals may apply for nationality if they have a near relative with Chinese nationality, if they have settled in China, or if they present another legitimate reason.

The naturalization process starts with a written application. Applicants must submit three copies, written with a ball-point or fountain pen, to national authorities, and to provincial authorities in the Ministry of Public Security and the Public Security Bureau. Applicants must also submit original copies of a foreign passport, a residence permit, a permanent residence permit, and four two-and-a-half inch long pictures. According to the conditions outlined in the Nationality Law of the People's Republic of China
Nationality Law of the People's Republic of China
The Nationality Law of the People's Republic of China regulates citizenship in the People's Republic of China . Such citizenship is obtained by birth when at least one parent is of Chinese nationality or by naturalization....

, authorities may also require "any other material that the authority believes are related to the nationality application."

Israel

After Israel gained its independence in May of 1948, the Israeli parliament created two laws regarding immigration, citizenship and naturalization: the Law of Return
Law of Return
The Law of Return is Israeli legislation, passed on 5 July 1950, that gives Jews the right of return and settlement in Israel and gain citizenship...

 and the Israeli Nationality Law
Israeli nationality law
Israel's nationality law defines the terms through which one can be granted citizenship of the state of Israel. It also includes the Right of return for Jewish diaspora...

 . The Law of Return, enacted on July 15, 1950, gives Jews living anywhere in the world the right to immigrate to Israel. This right to immigrate did not and still does not grant citizenship. In fact, for four years after Israel gained independence, there were no Israeli citizens .

On July 14, 1952, the Israeli parliament enacted the Israeli Nationality Law . The Nationality Law naturalized all citizens of Mandated Palestine, the inhabitants of Israel on July 15, 1952, and those who had legally resided in Israel between May 14, 1948 and July 14, 1952. The law further clarified that naturalization was available to immigrants who had arrived before Israel's creation, immigrants who arrived after statehood was granted, and those who did not come to Israel as immigrants but have since expressed desire to settle in Israel, with restriction. Naturalization applicants must also meet the following requirements: be over 18 years of age, have resided in Israel for three out of the five preceding years, have settled or intend to settle permanently in Israel, have some knowledge of Hebrew, and have renounced prior nationality or demonstrated ability to renounce nationality after becoming a citizen of Israel .

Because of Israel's relatively new and culturally-mixed identity, Israel does not grant citizenship to persons born on Israeli soil. Instead, the government chose to enact a jus sanguinis system, with the naturalizatoin restrictions listed above. There is currently no legislation on second-generation immigrants (those born in Israel to immigrant parents). Furthermore, foreign spouses can apply for citizenship through the Minister of the Interior, but have a variety of restrictions and are not guaranteed citizenship .

Other countries

The following list is a short summary of the duration of legal residence before a national of a foreign state, without any cultural, historical, or marriage ties or connections to the state in question, can request citizenship under that state's naturalization laws.
  • Argentina
    Argentina
    Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

    : 2 years continuous as a permanent resident immediately before the application (dual citizenship is allowed)
  • Denmark
    Denmark
    Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

    : 9 years continuous as a permanent resident immediately before the application (dual citizenship is not allowed)
  • Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    : 3 years continuous (1,095 days) as a permanent resident (dual citizenship is allowed)
  • Colombia
    Colombia
    Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

    : 5 years as a permanent resident (dual citizenship is allowed).
  • Finland
    Finland
    Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

     6 years of continuous residence (dual citizenship is allowed).
  • Netherlands
    Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

    : 5 years continuous (dual citizenship allowed under specific circumstances, such as acquiring a spouse's nationality, otherwise prohibited)
  • New Zealand
    New Zealand
    New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

    : 5 years continuous (reside in NZ for at least 240 days in each of those 5 years, 1,350 days in total) as a permanent resident immediately before the application (dual citizenship is allowed)
  • Norway
    Norway
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

    : 7 years out of the previous 10 (with out-of-realm vacations of up to 2 months per year) as a permanent resident immediately before the application (dual citizenship is permitted under certain conditions)
  • Belgium
    Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

    : 3 years continuous (dual citizenship is allowed)
  • Ireland
    Ireland
    Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

    : 5 years over the last 9 years, including at least 1 year before applying. Dual citizenship is allowed, however Irish citizenship can be revoked if a naturalized citizen obtains citizenship of another state (other than automatic citizenship by marriage) subsequent to naturalization.
  • France
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

    : 5 years continuous. (dual citizenship is allowed)
  • Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

    : 10 years continuous. (dual citizenship is allowed)
  • Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    : 8 years continuous. (dual citizenship is generally allowed only for other EU nationals)
  • Switzerland
    Switzerland
    Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

    : 12 years (the years between the age of 10 and 20 count double). (dual citizenship is allowed)
  • Sweden
    Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

    : 5 years continuous (dual citizenship is allowed). 4 years continuous for stateless people and refugees.
  • Chile
    Chile
    Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

     : 5 years continuous. (dual citizenship is not allowed).
  • Turkey
    Turkey
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

    : 5 years continuous residence (dual citizenship is allowed). The applicant must be a fluent speaker of the Turkish language.
  • Israel
    Israel
    The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

    : 3 years out of the previous 5 as a permanent resident (dual citizenship is allowed). All naturalization requests are at the discretion of the Minister of the Interior.

Massive naturalizations

A few rare massive naturalization procedures have been implemented by nation states. In 1891, Brazil granted naturalization to all aliens living in the country. In 1922, Greece
History of Greece
The history of Greece encompasses the history of the territory of the modern state of Greece, as well as that of the Greek people and the areas they ruled historically. The scope of Greek habitation and rule has varied much through the ages, and, as a result, the history of Greece is similarly...

 massively naturalized all the Greek refugees coming back from Turkey
History of the Republic of Turkey
The Republic of Turkey was created after the overthrow of Sultan Mehmet VI Vahdettin by the new Republican Parliament in 1922. This new regime delivered the coup de grâce to the Ottoman state which had been practically wiped away from the world stage following the First World War.-Single-party...

. The second massive naturalization procedure was in favor of Armenian refugees coming from Turkey, who went to Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 or other former Ottoman countries
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. Reciprocally, Turkey massively naturalized the refugees of Turkish descent or other ethnic backgrounds in Muslim creed from aforementioned countries during redemption process.

Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 instituted a mass naturalization by Act of Parliament
Act of Parliament
An Act of Parliament is a statute enacted as primary legislation by a national or sub-national parliament. In the Republic of Ireland the term Act of the Oireachtas is used, and in the United States the term Act of Congress is used.In Commonwealth countries, the term is used both in a narrow...

 with the enactment of the Canadian Citizenship Act 1946
Canadian Citizenship Act 1946
The Canadian Citizenship Act is an Act of the Parliament of Canada, which was enacted June 27, 1946, and came into effect on January 1, 1947, recognizing the definition of a Canadian, including reference to them being British subjects....

.

After annexation
Annexation
Annexation is the de jure incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity . Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size...

 of the territories east of the Curzon line
Curzon Line
The Curzon Line was put forward by the Allied Supreme Council after World War I as a demarcation line between the Second Polish Republic and Bolshevik Russia and was supposed to serve as the basis for a future border. In the wake of World War I, which catalysed the Russian Revolution of 1917, the...

 by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 in 1945, communists naturalized en masse all the inhabitants of those territories—including ethnic Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

, as well as its other citizens who had been deported into the Soviet Union, mainly to Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

. Those persons were forcibly naturalized as Soviet citizens. Later on, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 granted to ethnic German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 population in Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and Kazakhstan full citizenship rights. Poland has a limited repatriation
Repatriation
Repatriation is the process of returning a person back to one's place of origin or citizenship. This includes the process of returning refugees or soldiers to their place of origin following a war...

 program in place.

The most recent massive naturalization case resulted from the Argentine economic crisis in the beginning of the 21st century. Existing or slightly updated Right of return
Right of return
The term right of return refers to a principle of international law, codified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, giving any person the right to return to, and re-enter, his or her country of origin...

 laws in Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 and Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 allowed many of their diasporic
Diaspora
A diaspora is "the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland" or "people dispersed by whatever cause to more than one location", or "people settled far from their ancestral homelands".The word has come to refer to historical mass-dispersions of...

 descendants to obtain—in many cases to regain—naturalization in virtue of jus sanguinis
Jus sanguinis
Ius sanguinis is a social policy by which citizenship is not determined by place of birth, but by having a parent who are citizens of the nation...

, as in the Greek case. Hence, many Argentine and Latin Americans acquired European nationality.

Since the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.Its Citizenship Clause provides a broad definition of citizenship that overruled the Dred Scott v...

 grants citizenship only to those "born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof", and the original United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 only grants Congress the power of naturalization, it could be argued that all acts of Congress that expand the right of citizenship are cases of massive naturalization. This includes the acts that extended U.S. citizenship to citizens of Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

, the United States Virgin Islands
United States Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands of the United States are a group of islands in the Caribbean that are an insular area of the United States. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles.The U.S...

, Guam
Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

, and the Northern Mariana Islands
Northern Mariana Islands
The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , is a commonwealth in political union with the United States, occupying a strategic region of the western Pacific Ocean. It consists of 15 islands about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines...

, as well as the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924
Indian Citizenship Act of 1924
The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, also known as the Snyder Act, was proposed by Representative Homer P. Snyder of New York and granted full U.S. citizenship to America's indigenous peoples, called "Indians" in this Act...

 which made all Native Americans
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 citizens (most of them were previously excluded under the "jurisdiction" clause of the 14th Amendment).

Naturalizations in occupied territories

The mass naturalization of native persons in occupied territories is illegal under the laws of war (Hague and Geneva Conventions). However, there have been many instances of such illegal mass naturalizations in the 20th century.

Denaturalization

Denaturalization is the reverse of naturalization, when a state deprives one of its citizens of his or her citizenship
Citizenship
Citizenship is the state of being a citizen of a particular social, political, national, or human resource community. Citizenship status, under social contract theory, carries with it both rights and responsibilities...

. From the point of view of the individual, denaturalization means "revocation
Revocation
Revocation is the act of recall or annulment. It is the reversal of an act, the recalling of a grant, or the making void of some deed previously existing.-Contract law:...

" or "loss" of citizenship. Denaturalization can be based on various legal justifications. The most severe form is the "stripping of citizenship" when denaturalization takes place as a penalty for actions considered criminal by the state, often only indirectly related to nationality, for instance for having served in a foreign military. In countries that enforce single citizenship
Multiple citizenship
Multiple citizenship is a status in which a person is concurrently regarded as a citizen under the laws of more than one state. Multiple citizenships exist because different countries use different, and not necessarily mutually exclusive, citizenship requirements...

, voluntary naturalization in another country will lead to an automatic loss of the original citizenship; the language of the law often refers to such cases as "giving up one's citizenship" or (implicit) renunciation of citizenship
Renunciation of citizenship
Renunciation is a voluntary act of relinquishing one's citizenship . It is the opposite of naturalization whereby a person voluntarily acquires a citizenship, and related to denaturalization where the loss of citizenship is not voluntary, but forced by a state.-Historic practices:The old common law...

. Another case, affecting only foreign-born citizens, denaturalization can refer to the loss of citizenship by an annulment
Annulment
Annulment is a legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void. Unlike divorce, it is usually retroactive, meaning that an annulled marriage is considered to be invalid from the beginning almost as if it had never taken place...

 of naturalization, also known as "administrative denaturalization" where the original act of naturalization is found to be invalid, for instance due to an administrative error
Administrative Error
Improper administration or execution of a survey results in administrative errors. Such errors can be caused by carelessness, confusion, neglect, omission or another blunder.There are four types of administrative errors.- Data-processing error :...

 or if it had been based on fraud
Fraud
In criminal law, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation...

 (including bribery
Bribery
Bribery, a form of corruption, is an act implying money or gift giving that alters the behavior of the recipient. Bribery constitutes a crime and is defined by Black's Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or...

). In the US, the Bancroft Treaties
Bancroft Treaties
The Bancroft treaties, also called the Bancroft conventions, were a series of agreements made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries between the United States and other countries that 1) recognized the right of each party's nationals to become naturalized citizens of the other; and 2) defined...

 in the 19th century regulated legislation concerning denaturalization.

After World War II

Loss of U.S. citizenship was a consequence of foreign military service based on Section 349(a)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act until its provisions were found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1967. Following the 1923 United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind
United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind
United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind, 261 U.S. 204 , was a case in which the United States Supreme Court decided that Bhagat Singh Thind, who was a Punjabi Sikh, settled in Oregon, could not be a naturalized citizen of the United States, because he was not a "white person" in the sense intended in...

Supreme Court decision, which held Indian-origin immigrants could not claim to be Caucasian, and thus be given the privilege of US citizenship, A. K. Mozumdar
A. K. Mozumdar
Akhoy Kumar Mozumdar was an Indian-born lecturer and writer of the New Thought Movement during the first half of 20th-century United States...

, who had been naturalized ten years before, lost his nationality.

Yaser Esam Hamdi
Yaser Esam Hamdi
Yaser Esam Hamdi is a now-former American citizen who was captured in Afghanistan in 2001. It is claimed by the U.S. government that he was fighting against U.S. and Afghan Northern Alliance forces with the Taliban...

 was a U.S. citizen captured in Afghanistan in 2001. He was fighting against U.S. and Afghan Northern Alliance forces, siding with the Taliban. He was named by the Bush administration as an illegal enemy combatant, and militarily detained in the country for almost three years without receiving any charges. On September 23, 2004, the United States Justice Department agreed to release Hamdi to Saudi Arabia on the condition that he give up his U.S. citizenship, which was later revoked by the courts after his refusal to give it up.

In the United Kingdom

Section 4 of the British Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002
Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002
The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It received Royal Assent on 7 November 2002....

 gave power to the Home Secretary
Home Secretary
The Secretary of State for the Home Department, commonly known as the Home Secretary, is the minister in charge of the Home Office of the United Kingdom, and one of the country's four Great Offices of State...

 to ‘deprive a person of a citizenship status if the Secretary of State is satisfied that the person has done anything seriously prejudicial to the vital interests’ of the United Kingdom etc., except in the case where such might render the person stateless
Stateless
- Society :* Anarchy* Stateless communism, which Karl Marx predicted would follow capitalism and socialism* Stateless nation, a group of people without a nation-state* Stateless society, a society that is not governed by a state...

.

Between World Wars

Before World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, only a small number of countries had laws governing denaturalization that could be enforced against citizens guilty of "lacking patriotism
Patriotism
Patriotism is a devotion to one's country, excluding differences caused by the dependencies of the term's meaning upon context, geography and philosophy...

". Such denaturalized citizens became stateless persons. During and after the war, most European countries passed amendments to revoke naturalization.

In Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power or Bare Life
Homo sacer
Homo sacer is a figure of Roman law: a person who is banned, may be killed by anybody, but may not be sacrificed in a religious ritual....

(1998), philosopher Giorgio Agamben
Giorgio Agamben
Giorgio Agamben is an Italian political philosopher best known for his work investigating the concepts of the state of exception and homo sacer....

 mentioned a number of denaturalization laws that were passed after World War I by most European countries:
"It is important to note that starting with the period of World War I, many European states began to introduce laws which permitted their own citizens to be denaturalized and denationalized. The first was France, in 1915, with regard to naturalized citizens of "enemy" origins; in 1922 the example was followed by Belgium, which revoked the naturalization of citizens who had committed "anti-national" acts during the war; in 1926 the Fascist regime in Italy passed a similar law concerning citizens who had shown themselves to be "unworthy of Italian citizenship"; in 1933 it was Austria's turn, and so forth, until in 1935 the Nuremberg Laws
Nuremberg Laws
The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were antisemitic laws in Nazi Germany introduced at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party. After the takeover of power in 1933 by Hitler, Nazism became an official ideology incorporating scientific racism and antisemitism...

 divided German citizens into full citizens and citizens without political rights. These laws – and the mass statelessness that resulted – mark a decisive turning point in the life of the modern nation-state and its definitive emancipation from the naive notions of "people" and "citizen.""


The 1915 French denaturalization law applied only to naturalized citizens with "enemy origins" who had kept their original nationality. Later under Raymond Poincaré
Raymond Poincaré
Raymond Poincaré was a French statesman who served as Prime Minister of France on five separate occasions and as President of France from 1913 to 1920. Poincaré was a conservative leader primarily committed to political and social stability...

's government, another law was passed in 1927 which entitled the government to denaturalize any new citizen who committed acts contrary to the national interest
National interest
The national interest, often referred to by the French expression raison d'État , is a country's goals and ambitions whether economic, military, or cultural. The concept is an important one in international relations where pursuit of the national interest is the foundation of the realist...

.

In 1916, Portugal passed a law which automatically denaturalized all citizens born to a German father.

In 1922, Belgium enacted a law revoking the naturalization of persons accused of having committed "antinational acts" during the war; this was supplemented in 1934 by a new decree against people "in dereliction of their duties as Belgian citizens."

After 1926 in Italy, people who were deemed not to deserve the Italian citizenship or who were considered to represent a threat to the public order could lose their naturalization.

Egypt in 1926 and Turkey in 1928 enacted laws authorizing denaturalization of any person threatening the public order. Austria passed a similar law in 1933 by which it could denaturalize any citizen who participated in a hostile action against the state. Russia also passed several similar decrees after 1921.

In 1933, Nazi Germany passed a law authorizing it to denaturalize any person "living abroad" and began restricting the citizenship rights of naturalized citizens of Jewish origin, followed in 1935 by citizens by birth on the basis of the Nuremberg laws
Nuremberg Laws
The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were antisemitic laws in Nazi Germany introduced at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party. After the takeover of power in 1933 by Hitler, Nazism became an official ideology incorporating scientific racism and antisemitism...

.

During Vichy France
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

, 15,000 persons, mostly Jews, were denaturalized (between June 1940 and August 1944), following the setting up, in July 1940, of a Commission charged of revision of naturalizations since the 1927 reform of the nationality law.

Before World War I

In the United States, the proposed, but never ratified, Titles of Nobility amendment
Titles of Nobility amendment
The Titles of Nobility Amendment was proposed as an amendment to the United States Constitution in 1810. Upon approval of a resolution offered by U.S. Senator Philip Reed of Maryland, during the 2nd Session of the 11th Congress, TONA was submitted to the state legislatures for ratification...

of 1810 would revoke the American citizenship of anyone who would "accept, claim, receive or retain, any title of nobility" or who would receive any gifts or honors from a foreign power.

External links

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