1) Introduction :

           Nationality is the medium through which an Individual can enjoy the benefits from International Law. A State exercises jurisdiction over its nationals, traveling or residing aboard, remain under its personal supremacy. International Law permits the exercise of such jurisdiction and sets the limits within which it can be exercised. The term Nationality signifies the legal tie between Individuals and the States.

2) Definitions of Nationality :


Charles G. Fenwick -

    Nationality may be defined as a bond which unites a person to a given State, which constitutes his membership in the particular State, which gives them a claim to the protection of that state and which subjects him to the obligations created by the laws of that State.

J.G Starke - 

          Nationality may be defined as the legal status of membership of the collectivity of individuals whose acts, decisions and policy are vouchsafed through the legal concept of the State representing those individuals.


See also... Double nationality and nationality of Married Women

3) Nationality and Citizenship :

            Nationality and Citizenship are often considered to be synonymous with each other. But the term nationality differs from citizenship. Nationality has reference to the jural relationship which may arise from consideration under International Law. On the other hand, citizenship has reference to the jural relationship under municipal law. In other words, nationality determines the civil rights of a person, natural or artificial, particularly with reference to the International law, whereas citizenship is intimately connected with civil rights under the municipal law.  Hence all citizens are nationals of a particular state, but al nationals may not be citizens of the State. In other words, citizens are those persons who have full political rights as distinguished from nationals, who may enjoy full political rights and are still domiciled in that country.


See in Detail... Difference between Nationality and Citizenship

4) Modes of Acquiring Citizenship : 

        According to Oppenheim there are five modes of acquiring of Nationality are as follows -


1) By Birth -

         The first and the most important mode of acquiring nationality is by birth. Nationality is conferred to a person by many States on the basis of birth. All those persons take birth within territorial limit of a State acquire the nationality of the State. This principle is called jus soli. United States, U.K and many other States of Latin American follow the principle of jus soli. Section 3 of the Indian Citizenship Act 1955 had provided nationality on the basis of birth.

2) By Naturalization - The second mode of acquiring a Nationality is by naturalization. A person requires nationality at birth. However, his nationality may later on change. When the nationality of a person changes subsequently, and he acquires the nationality of some other State, the process of acquisition is known as naturalization. A person may acquire nationality through naturalization in different ways. There are six ways which are as follows -
               (1) Through marriage. Example wife assuming her husband's nationality.
               (2) legitimation,
               (3) Option.
               (4) Acquisition of domicile,
               (5) Appointment as Government official
               (6) Grant on the application of the state. Adoption of the child by parents who are nationals of the other States also entitled the children to acquire the nationality of his parents. Section 6 of Indian Citizenship Act 1955 provides that a person make acquire citizenship by naturalization upon fulfillment of certain conditions.


3) By Resumption - 

              The third mode of acquiring Nationality is by resumption. Sometimes a person may lose his nationality because of certain reasons. Subsequently, He may resume, recover his original nationality after fulfilling certain conditions. Section 20 of the Citizenship rules 1956 provides a procedure for restoration of nationality.


4) By Subjugation - 

         The fourth mode of acquiring nationality is subjugation. Section 7 of the Indian Citizenship Act 1955 Lays down that if any territory becomes a part of India those persons from such territory shall automatically become Citizen of India.

5) By Cession - 

        The fifth mode of acquiring Nationality is Cession. When a part of the territory of a state is ceded to another State. All Nationals of the former acquires the nationality of the latter State.


6) By Option - 

        The Sixth mode of acquiring Nationality is by Option. When a state is proportioned into two or more States, the nationals of the former state have an option to become the nationals of any of the successor States. The same principle applies in the case of exchange of territory.


7) By Registration - 

         A person may acquire the nationality of a State through Registration. The process of registration may be different from one State to another depending upon the laws of that State. It takes place when a person becomes the subject of a state to which he was before an alien.


See also 

Modes of Loss of Nationality


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