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What is the Difference Between Jus Soli and Jus Sanguinis?

Learn about the difference between two common laws that surround how citizenship is granted in the EU, Jus Soli and Jus Sanguinis.

Acquiring citizenship involves earning many civil rights including voting, employment opportunities, education, housing, healthcare, and more. Overall, if one has citizenship to a country, the easier that person can productively contribute to that society.

There are many reasons that an individual may want to seek, and many benefits of EU citizenship. Further, there are a few ways of acquiring EU citizenship, with certain people even having rights to some citizenships depending on their ancestry. Whatever a person’s reasons are for wanting a second citizenship status, ways to be granted citizenship are different in every country.

The following provides details about the two common laws that surround how citizenship is granted in the EU, Jus Soli and Jus Sanguinis.

Jus Soli Vs. Jus Sanguinis

Jus Soli

Jus Soli is a Latin term that means “right of soil” and regards obtaining citizenship. It is referred to as birthright citizenship because it means that a person acquires citizen rights at the time of birth in a particular country regardless of parental citizenship. In other words, the citizenship of a person is determined by the place they were born.
For example, if your parents move as immigrants to a particular country that abides by Jus Soli law and then you are born in that country, you will automatically gain citizenship rights. However, this citizenship law is not as popular as others with only 33 countries that follow this stipulation. In fact, Canada and the US are the only developed nations in the world that follow Jus Soli.

The advantage for a country to use this system is that it allows for generations of immigrant families to eventually become citizens. As the naturalization process is typically long and expensive, most immigrants will never gain citizenship status. Therefore, Jus Soli gives the immigrant family’s an easier, more accessible opportunity to citizenship.

Jus Sanguinis 

Jus Sanguinis is the other popular system that countries including many in the EU use to determine citizenship. Jus Sanguinis means “Right of Blood’ in Latin. This law states that citizenship is earned through parents or, in some cases, ancestors.

Under this law, it does not matter where a person is born. As long as their bloodline is from a country that follows Jus Sanguinis, they will be granted citizenship. This law is used to grant citizenship in some countries because it assumes that the core national values and loyalty will be acquired through socialization from your bloodline. Therefore, it does not matter where one is born to be a citizen.

Bloodline rights do not have to mean you can get citizenship just from your parents. In some countries, people can qualify for citizenship if their bloodline is from previous generations. This citizenship law overall believes that people in a nation are bounded together by ancestry.

Issues with Jus Soli

Issues surrounding immigration and gaining citizenship is a tricky topic that cannot easily be resolved. There is no citizenship law that is better than the other in theory, however, in practice countries have had issues with following Jus Soli.

As mentioned, Canada and the US are the only developed western countries that still follow Jus Soli. This is because other countries ran into problems, so they changed their laws to follow Jus Sanguinis.

Now, almost all the states in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania grant citizenship based on Jus Sanguinis. There are plenty of reasons that counties have ended Jus Soli, but a major factor is that it causes concern for illegal immigration.

Jus Soli was intended for immigrants to have a family line that eventually will become citizens of their current country of residence. However, some families only go to a certain country to give birth in these places for their children to automatically become citizens but never actually live there or become a member of society. Therefore, some use it to get around the immigration systems that are put in place.

Second citizenship is mostly obtained through the rights one has which depends on where they were born or their parent’s citizenship status. However, no matter your motivation for getting second citizenship, knowing how each country grants its citizens’ rights will give you an upper hand.

How Can I Get Started?

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If you’re interested in applying for European citizenship by ancestry, take our quick pre-screening assessment today and find out if you may be eligible.

Have more questions about the process and whether you may be eligible? Check out our FAQs or contact us today to learn more.