Citizenship and migration

Last updated on 31 March 2022

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, there are only 5 countries worldwide that grant them also voting rights in national elections 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 177 countries around the world, as well as for ordinary, i.e. residence-based, naturalisation in 41 European countries. 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 2018.