Citizenship and naturalization both terms refer to the phenomenon whereby a person becomes a citizen of an independent state. Being a state citizen, you get several fundamental rights such as state protection, property ownership, independent life, and liberty. According to the law, citizens or naturalized persons in a state have a right to be dealt with. Such people get protection for jurisdictional matters whereby a noncitizen may not be tried in another state territory. In this article, we will be looking at the primary difference between these two concepts; citizenship and naturalization.

What is Citizenship: 

In the words of Merriam Webster, Citizenship is membership in a community.

The term citizenship is interchangeably used with a nationality that refers to the legal rights and responsibilities of an individual holding nationality. More specifically, it is the characterization of legal rights and obligations that can only be exerted after reaching the age of majority or that can only be practiced within the territorial boundaries. 

A person’s residence in a country does not imply that they are citizen of that country. If a person lives in another country without citizenship, they are often called aliens. Political treaties and the country’s laws in which they reside dictate their rights and responsibilities. For instance, Aliens in the United States must follow similar laws and taxes rates used and followed by U.S. Citizens.

Citizens are those people who are either born in a state’s territory or born to parents who are citizens of that particular state. A person can also acquire the citizenship of a state even if he is born in the airspace of that state. Citizenship can be of various types, but that doesn’t affect the legal status of a person. The types of citizenship include;

  1. a) Citizenship by Family: Whereby both or one of the parents being citizens of a state gives them the right to be called a citizen of that state as well.
  2. b) Citizenship by Birth: It is another type of citizenship where a person born in a state’s territory automatically becomes the citizen of that state. He/she doesn’t have any other relationship with the country.
  3. c) Citizenship by Marriage: This privilege is usually misused by people as they marry U.S. citizens for the sake of money and citizenship with no intention of living together. Therefore, USCIS designated the officer to identify the misrepresentation and miscommunication done by the immigrants to get U.S. citizenship. USCIS keeps an eye on this matter before giving the citizenship right to the aliens or the immigrants who applied to want to apply for U.S citizenship. 


Naturalization is usually conferred to those who have entered the country legally and been granted a stay permit or who have been granted political asylum and have resided there for a certain period. Naturalization is the legal procedure through which a person who is not a citizen of a country can get citizenship or nationality of that specific country. It may be created easily by a statute (requiring no work on the part of the individual), or it may need a petition or a resolution, as well as authorization by legal authorities. Naturalization standards vary according to the country, but they often include a vow to observe and support that country’s laws, accepting and swearing an oath of loyalty, and additional conditions such as a minimum legal residency and adequate knowledge of the dominant language or culture. Most countries require naturalization aspirants to abandon any other citizenship they currently possess to combat multiple citizenships. However, whether this surrender actually results in the loss of original citizenship in the eyes of both the host and native countries depends on the laws of the respective countries. 

To get naturalized in the country, the following specific requirements are necessary to be fulfilled:

  • Must be permanent residents of the state. 
  • Must be living for a certain period of time in the state.
  • Must be physically present for a certain period of time before applying for naturalization.
  • Must be of good morals and character. 
  • Must haven’t broken any laws of the country.
  • Must be able to understand and speak the country’s national language they are being naturalized into.
  • Must have adequate knowledge of the country’s history, background, and political structure.
  • Sometimes, they may have to take an oath of allegiance to that country.

These are the necessary requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to get naturalized in a country. After getting naturalized in a state, a person becomes entitled to exercise all rights that an ordinary citizen of a state has. The naturalization laws and requirements vary from country to country, and they are not homogenous throughout the globe. Still, most of the requirements are similar, except the living time in the country’s territory. For instance, the U.S. and Canada require people to reside in the country for 3-5 years as permanent before being naturalized. On the other hand, India requires people to live in the country for 12 whole years before being naturalized. 

Summing Up Differences

A method for acquiring citizenship of a state while you are from another state. It means being a citizen of a state, i.e., an inborn right.
Need to be done through the application process. Granted by the state itself.
Requirements must be fulfilled to get successful naturalization. Easily obtainable when either of your parents is citizens of that state already or by way of marriage.
Procedure and requirements vary from country to country. The process is identical in every country; when you are born in a country, you automatically become its citizen. 



  • retrieved on 22nd December 2021. 
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  • retrieved on 22nd December 2021.
  • retrieved on 22nd December 2021.