Difference Between Nationality and Citizenship

Citizenship and nationality are terms that are used to define the status that a person possesses within a certain country or nation, however, although many believe that they mean the same thing; the truth is that they have different meanings. Difference Between Nationality and Citizenship

The confusion between the meaning and use of these two words is often due to the fact that most people share both; that is, their nationality and also their citizenship. But while this applies to most, it is good to keep in mind that this is not always the case; There are times when you are a citizen of a country, but not a national of it.

If you have doubts about it or are simply looking for a little more information to complement what you already know, then continue reading, because below we will explain everything you need to know about this interesting topic.

CITIZENSHIP  Difference Between Nationality and Citizenship

Citizenship is a more political and legal concept. It is associated with the recognition of the rights, duties and freedoms that the government of a country grants to a resident of the same. Basically, it refers to the characteristic of being a citizen in a certain country.

For example, a person who is a citizen of the United States might consider their nationality to be Native American, perhaps Cherokee; but that does not change the fact that she is a citizen of that country. The same is true of someone whose nationality is Tibetan; you will still be considered a citizen of China.


On the other hand, nationality is more associated with cultural identity. It can also be related to the place of birth, the place where the parents were born, the place where the ancestors come from or the place where the person feels ethnically connected.

Nationality is more permanent compared to citizenship, it is also more rooted in the person; although it is certainly legally possible to change your nationality. For example, someone who moves from one country to another, even after becoming a citizen of the new country, continues to retain their nationality. Imagine the case of someone from India who moves to the United States, there they could become a US citizen; but still be of Indian nationality.

Finally, both nationality and citizenship denote a sense of belonging. Both concepts define a group of people who have something in common, be it ethnicity, the place where they were born or the country to whose government they are subject.

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