Citizenship and migration

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Citizenship is a core feature of the international state system. Through laws on citizenship and electoral rights, states determine who belongs to the people in whose name they govern and for whom they assume responsibility vis-à-vis other states. This page highlights key differences between national laws regulating access to citizenship status and voting rights with a focus on how they affect international migrants.

Attribution of citizenship at birth varies around the world, as do the rules for naturalisation. A large majority of countries today accept dual citizenship either for immigrants, for emigrants, or for both. Especially in Europe and South America, voting rights are often granted to non-citizen residents in supra- and sub-national elections in their country of residence. However, only 5 countries worldwide grant voting rights in national elections to residents independently of their citizenship and none of these allows them to stand as candidates.

The first set of indicators below reflects the conditions for the acquisition of citizenship through descent (ius sanguinis) or birth in the country (ius soli) in 190 countries around the world, for residence-based naturalisation and for acquisition based on other grounds, as well as the conditions for voluntarily renouncing citizenship or for involuntary loss of citizenship. The second set of indicators shows the variation in local voting and candidacy rights of non-citizen residents in the EU-28 states, Switzerland, the Americas and Oceania. The final indicator shows patterns and trends of dual citizenship acceptance for expatriates from 1960 to 2020.