jus solis


''Jus soli'' ( , , ; meaning "right of soil"), commonly referred to as birthright citizenship, is the
right Rights are legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is describe ...

of anyone born in the territory of a state to
nationality Nationality is a legal identification of a person in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relations between nations. I ...
citizenship Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and th ...

. ''Jus soli'' was part of the
English common law English law is the common law legal system The contemporary national legal systems are generally based on one of four basic systems: civil law, common law, statutory law, religious law or combinations of these. However, the legal system ...
, in contrast to ''
jus sanguinis ( , , ; 'right of blood') is a principle of nationality law by which citizenship Citizenship is the status of a person recognized under the law of a country (and/or local jurisdiction) of belonging to thereof. In international law I ...
'', which derives from the
Roman law Roman law is the system of , including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of , from the (c. 449 BC), to the ' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor . Roman law forms the basic framework for , the most widely used legal s ...
that influenced the civil-law systems of
mainland Europe Mainland or continental Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly rega ...

mainland Europe
. ''Jus soli'' is the predominant rule in the
Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to East and West. ''North'' ...

; explanations for this local phenomenon include: the establishment of lenient laws by past European colonial powers to entice immigrants from the
Old World The Old World consists of Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any ...
and displace native populations in the
New World The "New World" is a term for the majority of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The rem ...
, along with the emergence of successful Latin American independence movements that widened the definition and granting of citizenship, as a prerequisite to the abolishment of slavery since the 19th century. Outside the Americas, however, ''jus soli'' is rare. Since the
Twenty-seventh Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland The Twenty-seventh Amendment of the Constitution Act 2004 (previously bill (legislation), bill no. 15 of 2004) amendments to the Constitution of Ireland, amended the Constitution of Ireland to limit the constitutional right to Irish nationa ...
was enacted in 2004, no European country grants citizenship based on unconditional or near-unconditional ''jus soli''. Almost all states in Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania grant citizenship at birth based upon the principle of ''
jus sanguinis ( , , ; 'right of blood') is a principle of nationality law by which citizenship Citizenship is the status of a person recognized under the law of a country (and/or local jurisdiction) of belonging to thereof. In international law I ...
'' ("right of blood"), in which citizenship is inherited through parents rather than birthplace, or a restricted version of ''jus soli'' in which citizenship by birthplace is automatic only for the children of certain immigrants. ''Jus soli'' in many cases helps prevent statelessness.Lung-chu Chen, ''An Introduction to Contemporary International Law: A Policy-Oriented Perspective'' (Oxford University Press, 2015), p. 223. Countries that have acceded to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness are obligated to grant nationality to people born in their territory who would otherwise become stateless persons. The American Convention on Human Rights similarly provides that "Every person has the right to the nationality of the state in whose territory he was born if he does not have the right to any other nationality."

National laws

''Lex soli'' is a law used in practice to regulate who and under what circumstances can assert the right of ''jus soli''. Most states provide a specific ''lex soli—''in application of the respective ''jus soli—''and it is the most common means of acquiring nationality. However, a frequent exception to ''lex soli'' is imposed when a child is born to a parent in the diplomatic or consular service of another state on a mission to the state in question.

Unrestricted ''jus soli''


* Chad (the choice to take Chadian citizenship, or that of the parents is made at 18 years of age) * * : Per the Tanzanian nationality law#Citizenship by birth, Tanzania Citizenship Act of 1995, "any child born within the borders of the United Republic of Tanzania, on or after Union Day, 26 April 1964, is granted citizenship of Tanzania, except for children of foreign diplomats." While Tanzania technically observes birthright citizenship, it is official practice that birth in Tanzania has to be further supported by descent from a Tanzanian parent to be recognized as a citizen by birth. This practice has gone uncontested in courts of law. Also, dual citizenship is not allowed after turning 18 years old. At 18 years old, Tanzanian citizenship will cease unless other citizenships are renounced.


Caribbean Islands

* : Guaranteed by the Constitution.Katherine Culliton-González
Born in the Americas: Birthright Citizenship and Human Rights
''Harvard Human Rights Journal'' (2012), Vol. 25, pp. 135–36.
* Barbados nationality law, Barbados: Guaranteed by the Constitution. However, the Barbados Ministry of Labour & Immigration recently proposed ending automatic birthright citizenship. * Cuba * * * * * * *

Continental North America

* : Subsection 3(2) of the Citizenship Act states that Canadian citizenship by birth in Canada – including Canadian airspace and territorial waters – is granted to a child born in Canada even if neither parent was a Canadian citizen or permanent resident except if either parent was a diplomat, in service to a diplomat, or employed by an international agency of equal status to a diplomat. However, if neither parent was a diplomat, the nationality or immigration status of the parents do not matter. Some Conservative Party members wish to end birthright citizenship in Canada to the children of tourists and unauthorized immigrants. * Mexican nationality law, Mexico: Article 30 of the Constitution of Mexico states that persons born in Mexican territory are natural-born citizens of Mexico regardless of their parents' nationality. The definition of "territory" includes vessels/aircraft flagged to Mexico travelling in international waters or airspace. * Birthright citizenship in the United States of America, United States: The Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1868, provides: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." The concept of birthright citizenship applying to the child born of a foreign national in the country without proper credentials has never been formally litigated, but the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in ''United States v. Wong Kim Ark'' (1898) allowed the government to deny citizenship to U.S.-born children only in the cases of children born to foreign diplomats and children born to enemy forces engaged in hostile occupation of the country's territory, and thus this decision is most often interpreted as barring the government from denying citizenship to a U.S.-born person based on the alienage of his or her parents. (see United States nationality law). : The U.S. Constituition's Natural-born-citizen clause (United States), natural-born-citizen clause, which determines the eligibility of those running for the office of President of the United States, President, has been at the center of a number of controversies and subject to various interpretations. Some of these interpretations entail a strict ''jus soli'', barring anyone who was not born on U.S soil from attaining the presidency, while others are more permissive. : From 24 January 2020, the Trump administration adopted a new policy to make it more difficult for foreign nationals to obtain a nonimmigrant visa to travel to the US to give birth on US soil to ensure their children become US citizens, a practice commonly known as "birth tourism." Conservatives in the United States have often called for legislative reforms, including an amendment to the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment, to end jus soli in the United States – particularly for children born to persons unlawfully present in the country. :Persons born in American Samoa (a Territories of the United States, U.S. territory) are not U.S. citizens at birth (they are non-citizen U.S. nationals, unless one of their parents is a U.S. citizen).American Samoa and the Citizenship Clause: A Study in Insular Cases Revisionism
harvardlawreview.org. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
In 2019, a federal court ruled that American Samoans are U.S. citizens, but the ruling was put on hold, and the litigation is ongoing.

Central America

* * : Jus sangui requires registration with the Costa Rican government before the age of twenty-five. * * * *

Continental South America

* Argentine nationality law, Argentina * * Brazilian nationality law, Brazil (requires that the foreign parents are not working for their country's government in Brazil by the time the child is born). * * * Paraguayan nationality law, Paraguay * Peruvian nationality law, Peru (registration required at 18 years of age) * Uruguayan nationality law, Uruguay *




* Pakistani nationality law, Pakistan

Restricted ''jus soli''

There is a trend in some countries toward restricting ''lex soli'' by requiring that at least one of the child's parents be a citizen, national or legal permanent resident of the state in question at time of the child's birth. Modification of ''jus soli'' has been criticized as contributing to economic inequality, the perpetuation of unfree labour from a helot underclass and statelessness. ''Jus soli'' has been restricted in the following countries:


* : According to Article 4 of the Nationality Law of the Arab Republic of Egypt, children born in Egypt gain citizenship at birth if their father or mother was also born in Egypt. * : A person who was born in Morocco to parents also born in Morocco and whose immigration is legal, can register as a Moroccan two years prior to becoming adult. * : A person born in Namibia to a Namibian citizen parent or a foreign parent who is ordinarily resident in Namibia, is a Namibian citizen at birth (see Namibian nationality law). * : Since 6 October 1995, a person born in South Africa to South African citizens or permanent residents is automatically granted South African citizenship (see South African nationality law). * : A person born before 1994 gains Sudanese nationality at birth if his father was also born in Sudan. If his father was not born in Sudan, he can apply to the Minister to be granted Sudanese nationality. * : Individuals born in Tunisia are citizens by birth if their father and grandfather were born in Tunisia. Additionally, the person must declare before becoming an adult (20 years) that he wants to be a citizen.


* * Chilean nationality law, Chile *: Constitution of the Dominican Republic, The constitution was amended on 26 January 2010. The amendment broadened the definition of the 2004 migration law – which excluded from citizenship children born to individuals that were "in transit" – to include "non-residents" (including individuals with expired residency visas and undocumented workers). *: Article 94 of the Constitution of Colombia, constitution grants Colombian nationality by birth provided that at least one of the parents is a Colombian national or a legal resident. By presidential decree, in August 2019 nationality was granted to children of Venezuelan migrants born in Colombia regardless of residential status of their parents.


* : Children born to a foreign father with valid residency permits who himself was born in Bahrain have right to citizenship. * : In 1996, Cambodia changed the law to grant citizenship to children born to foreign parents only if they are living legally in the Kingdom of Cambodia (under Article 4(2)(a) of the 1996 Nationality Law). * Indian nationality law, India: A person that was born in India from 26 January 1950 until 1 July 1987 is a citizen by birth, regardless of the parents' nationality. It began to be restricted in 1987. As of 2020, a person born in India is a citizen if at least one parent is a citizen, and the other parent is a citizen or a legal migrant. These measures were brought in largely in reaction to illegal migration from Bangladesh. * : Children born in Japan to stateless or unknown parents are Japanese nationals at birth. * Pakistani nationality law, Pakistan: Pakistan has jus soli in practise. However, it is restricted to non-refugees. As was decided by Peshawar high court. Thus in practise Pakistan only has restricted jus soli. * : A person born in Malaysia on or after 16 September 1963 with at least one parent being a Malaysian citizen or permanent resident is automatically a Malaysian citizen (see Malaysian nationality law). * Mongolia: A person born in Mongolia to foreign parents with valid residency permits can apply for Mongolian nationality when they turn the age of 16. A child in Mongolian territory with unidentified parents can receive Mongolian citizenship (see Mongolian nationality law). * Right of abode in Hong Kong, Hong Kong: Since the July 1997 transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong, most political rights and eligibility for most benefits are conferred to permanent residents regardless of citizenship. Conversely, PRC citizens who are not permanent residents (such as residents of Mainland China and Macao) are not conferred these rights and privileges. The Basic Law of Hong Kong, Basic Law provides that all People's Republic of China nationality law, citizens of the People's Republic of China (PRC) born in the territory are permanent residents of the territory and have the right of abode in Hong Kong. The 2001 case ''Director of Immigration v. Chong Fung Yuen'' clarified that the parents need not have right of abode and as a consequence many women from Mainland China began coming to Hong Kong to give birth. By 2008, the number of babies in the territory born to Mainland China mothers had grown to twenty-five times the number five years prior. Furthermore, persons of Chinese ethnicity (wholly or partly) with PRC nationality born in Hong Kong are PRC nationals with Hong Kong permanent residence Non-PRC citizens born to non-PRC citizen Hong Kong permanent resident parents in Hong Kong also receive permanent residence of Hong Kong at birth. Other persons must have "ordinarily resided" in Hong Kong for seven continuous years in order to gain permanent residence (Articles 24(2) and 24(5)). * Right of abode in Macau, Macau: Similar to Hong Kong, most political rights and eligibility for most benefits are conferred to permanent residents regardless of citizenship since the December 1999 transfer of sovereignty over Macau, according to the Macao Basic Law, Basic Law of Macau. Becoming a Macau permanent resident has slightly different requirements depending on an individual's nationality. Acquisition by birth operates on a modified jus soli basis; individuals born in Macau to Chinese nationals or to Portuguese citizens Domicile (law), domiciled there are automatically permanent residents, while those born to other foreign nationals must have at least one parent who possesses right of abode (see Right of abode in Macau). Article 1. * : Any child born to parents with Taiwanese people, Taiwanese citizenship, even those living abroad, can acquire Taiwanese nationality at birth. Children born in Taiwan to stateless parents or have unknown parentage are considered Taiwanese nationals at birth (see Taiwanese nationality law). * : Thailand operated a system of pure ''jus soli'' prior to 1972. Due to illegal immigration from Burma, the Nationality Act was amended to require that both parents be legally resident and domiciled in Thailand for at least five years for their child to be granted Thai citizenship at birth. Furthermore, someone who has Thai citizenship by sole virtue of ''jus soli'' may be stripped of Thai citizenship under various conditions (such as living abroad), which does not apply to people who have Thai citizenship by virtue of ''jus sanguinis''. * : Article 976(4) of the Civil Code of Iran grants citizenship at birth to persons born in Iran of foreign parents if one or both of the parents were themselves born in Iran. See Iranian nationality law. * : Children born in Israel who have never acquired another citizenship are eligible to apply for Israeli citizenship between their 18th and 21st birthday if they have lived in Israel for over 5 years (see Israeli citizenship law).


* : Children born in France (including Overseas France, overseas territories) to at least one parent who is either (i) a French citizen or (ii) born in France, automatically acquire French citizenship at birth. Children born to foreign parents who do not fulfil either of these two conditions may acquire citizenship from age 13 subject to residence conditions (see French nationality law). A child born in France to foreign parents becomes a French citizen automatically upon turning 18, provided that they reside in France on their 18th birthday and have had their primary residence in France for a total (but not necessarily continuous) period of at least 5 years since the age of 11. * : prior to 2000 Germany's German nationality law, nationality law was based entirely on ''
jus sanguinis ( , , ; 'right of blood') is a principle of nationality law by which citizenship Citizenship is the status of a person recognized under the law of a country (and/or local jurisdiction) of belonging to thereof. In international law I ...
'', but now children born in Germany on or after 1 January 2000 to non-German parents acquire German citizenship at birth if at least one parent has a permanent residence permit (and had this status for at least three years) and resided in Germany for at least eight years prior to the child's birth. However, ''jus soli'' citizens will lose their German citizenship upon turning 23 unless they: (i) reside in Germany for at least 8 years during their first 21 years of life; or (ii) attend school in Germany for at least 6 years; or (iii) graduate from high school/college in Germany; or (iv) complete professional/vocational training in Germany. * Greek nationality law, Greece: Apart from regulations in past and historic nationality laws of Greece granting nationality ''jus soli'', Greek nationality law, Greek Nationality Code of 2004 states that "A person born in Greek territory acquires by birth the Greek nationality if not acquiring alien nationality or is of unknown nationality". Additionally, as from 2015's amendment of 2004 Cod (Law 4332 of 2015, G.G. A/76/9 July 2015), a child born in Greece by foreign parents, shall acquire the right of Greek nationality with a combination of preliminary school attendance and parents' legal residence in Greece (5 years, 10 if the child is born prior to 5 years of legal residence). One year after the implementation of the law (as from July 2016), 6,029 children had been granted Greek nationality, out of 27,720 submitted applications. * : On 1 January 2005, the law was amended to require that at least one of the parents be an Irish citizen; a British citizen; a resident with a permanent right to reside in Ireland or in Northern Ireland; or a legal resident residing three of the last four years in the country (excluding students and asylum seekers) (see Irish nationality law). The amendment was prompted by the case of Chen v Home Secretary, Man Chen, a China, Chinese woman living in mainland United Kingdom who travelled to Belfast (Northern Ireland, part of the UK) to give birth in order to benefit from the previous rule whereby anyone born on any part of the Ireland, island of Ireland was automatically granted Irish citizenship. The Chinese parents used their daughter's Irish (and thereby Citizenship of the European Union, European Union) citizenship to obtain permanent residence in the UK as parents of a dependent EU citizen. Ireland was the last country in Europe to abolish unrestricted ''jus soli''. (see Irish nationality law). * : A person born in Luxembourg is automatically a Luxembourgish nationality law, Luxembourg citizen if at least one of their parents was also born in Luxembourg. Additionally, a person born in Luxembourg to foreign, non-Luxembourg-born parents can become a Luxembourg citizen from the age of 12 if they have resided uninterrupted in Luxembourg for at least 5 years immediately prior to submitting the application, and if at least one of their parents lived in Luxembourg uninterrupted for at least 12 months immediately preceding their birth. Furthermore, a person born in Luxembourg to foreign, non-Luxembourg-born parents gains Luxembourg citizenship automatically upon reaching the age of 18, provided that they have lived uninterrupted in Luxembourg for the preceding 5 years and at least one of their parents lived uninterrupted in Luxembourg for at least 12 months immediately preceding their birth. * : A child born in Portuguese territory to who does not possess another nationality is a Portuguese citizen. Also, a person born to foreign parents who were not serving their respective States at the time of birth is a Portuguese citizen if the person declares that they want to be Portuguese and provided that one of the parents has legally resided in Portugal for at least two years at the time of birth. * : A child born in Spain to foreign parents may acquire Spanish citizenship ''jus soli'' under certain conditions, for example, if either one of the parents was also born in Spain or if neither of the parents can transmit their nationality to the child (such as stateless parents) * : Since 1 January 1983, at least one parent must be a British citizen or be legally "settled" in the country or upon the 10th birthday of the child regardless of their parent's citizenship status (see British nationality law). * : A person born in Malta on or after 1 August 2001 is automatically a Maltese citizen if at least one of their parents is Maltese or was born in Malta. Anyone born in Malta before 1 August 2001, regardless of their parents' circumstances, is automatically a Maltese citizen, as the country conferred unconditional ''jus soli'' until this date (see Maltese nationality law).


* : Since 20 August 1986, persons born in Australia acquires Australian citizenship by birth only if at least one parent was an Australian citizen or permanent resident; or else after living the first ten years of their life in Australia, regardless of their parents' citizenship status (see Australian nationality law). * * : Since 1 January 2006, a person born in New Zealand acquires New Zealand citizenship by birth only if at least one parent was a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident (includes Australian citizens and Permanent Residents) (see New Zealand nationality law), or if to prevent being stateless. * (): As mentioned above, people born in American Samoa do not acquire U.S. citizenship at birth, unless one of their parents is a U.S. citizen.


Some countries that formerly observed ''jus soli'' have moved to abolish it entirely, conferring citizenship on children born in the country only if at least one of the parents is a citizen of that country. * Maltese nationality law, Malta: Changed the principle of citizenship to ''jus sanguinis'' on 1 August 1989 in a move that also relaxed restrictions against multiple citizenship. However, anyone born in Malta before 1 August 2001 falls under unconditional ''jus soli'' and is a Maltese citizen.

See also

* Birthright citizenship in the United States * History of citizenship * ''Jus sanguinis'' * Nationality law * Birth tourism



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