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Citizenship is a legal status that identifies a person as a member of a particular state. Our article is intended to give you an explanation of citizenship as well as a change if necessary. It entails a series of rights and duties and is a central element in the relationship between the individual and the state. Thus, citizens usually enjoy civil rights, which can cover a wide range from social security to the right to vote. However, citizenship also imposes obligations, and in some countries citizens are required to perform military service, as is the case in Turkey, for example. Apart from that, probably the most common duty is to pay taxes. In this regard, different countries can differ greatly from each other, while some countries tax their citizens worldwide, such as the USA make, the following applies to some countries, such as PanamaThe territorial tax concept means that citizens only pay taxes if they earn money within the borders. Detailed comparisons between the tax systems of different countries can be found here: Emigration Lexicon.
But a citizenship has not only a legal meaning, but also a political meaning. Both within a country and in points of contact with other countries and nationalities, citizenship can play a major role. Especially when emigrating, citizenship can be crucial. How easy it is to get a visa in another country, whether you are allowed to buy property and invest without further problems, but also how welcome a person is in a country are all factors that can be strongly determined by citizenship. People often talk in this context about how strong or powerful an identity card, and thus citizenship, is. A detailed comparison of 97 citizenships can be found here: Citizenships Lexicon.
In addition to law and politics, however, citizenship also has a cultural significance. A sense of belonging and identity and the sharing of values can be expressed through citizenship. For emigrants in particular, obtaining citizenship can be the big, final step towards integration in their new home country. But how does one obtain citizenship?
Obtaining a new citizenship is a process that can differ fundamentally from country to country and always depends on various factors. However, the following conditions are often involved:
1. length of stay:
Most countries require that applicants have lived legally and continuously in the country for a certain period of time before they can apply for citizenship. This period varies, there are countries that are ready to grant citizenship after only one or two years, while others require more than ten years.
2. language skills:
In many cases, applicants must demonstrate sufficient proficiency in the official language of the country in which they are applying for citizenship. This may require a language test.
3. integration and knowledge of the country:
Some countries expect applicants to have a basic understanding of the country’s culture, history, and political institutions. This may require an integration course or a naturalization test. The U.S. is a well-known example, requiring a passing score on a citizenship test in order to obtain citizenship. In this, it is tested whether the person has established a connection with the country, this is verified via certain facts that “every good American” should know. In this, it is tested whether the person has established a connection with the country, this is verified via certain facts that “every good American” should know.
4. righteous behavior:
Applicants must usually prove that they have not committed any serious crimes and that there are no ongoing criminal proceedings against them.
5. maintenance of legal residence:
Applicants must often prove that they have a valid residence permit and that their presence in the country is legal.
6. taking of a teuee oath:
Some countries require applicants to take an oath to the constitution and laws of the country to express their loyalty and commitment to the new homeland.
The course of the process itself, is usually very similar. First, the application for citizenship is submitted, then it is examined by state authorities and a decision is made. After that, the applicant is officially granted citizenship.
But what happens to the previous citizenship?
Dual citizenship means that a person is a citizen of two different countries at the same time. This status can be acquired by birth, marriage or naturalization. While some countries accept dual citizenship without restriction, others prohibit or restrict it.
Dual citizenship offers the same benefits as ordinary citizenship, but in two countries. Thus, people can travel and live in both countries without a visa, they get access to social systems, the labor market of both countries and much more. However, dual citizenship can also lead to complications; tax liability in particular can be complex, depending on the country.
There are a few ways to obtain dual citizenship. One way is through birth, for example. A child automatically receives the citizenship of the country in which it is born (the so-called right of the soil), but also the citizenship of the parents (the so-called right of the blood). Another way is to obtain citizenship through marriage. Some countries grant citizenship to foreign nationals after marriage to a citizen, but this does not apply to all countries. A third path to dual citizenship, works through naturalization. For this, the above-mentioned path to obtaining citizenship must be followed. If the new citizenship is granted and the respective country recognizes dual citizenships, one can keep one’s original citizenship. A fourth way is that of money; some countries offer citizenship for sale. Here, individuals can be granted citizenship of the country through investment or direct purchase and, depending on the country, may be able to retain their previous citizenship.