The state of being a citizen of a certain social, political, national or human resource community is generally referred to as ‘Citizenship‘. A person with citizenship, being a member of a political community such as of a particular country or city is called a citizen. It can also be termed as the relationship between an individual and a particular country.
In ancient Greece, the major political entity was the city/state, and citizens were generally members of particular cities/states. However, from the last five hundred years, citizenship is mostly associated with being a member of a particular country. There are instances of some entities crossing national boundaries such as trade organizations, non-governmental organizations and multi – national corporations. The term “citizen of the world” does apply to people having less ties to a particular country and more of a sense of belonging to the world in general.
Of late, this policy is divided between jus sanguinis (right of blood) and jus soli (right of soil) countries. Through a jus sanguinis policy, one becomes a citizen based on ancestry or ethnicity, and is related to the concept prevalent in Europe. Through a jus soli policy, anyone born on the territory of the state becomes a citizen, one that is similarly practiced by many countries in the Americas, including the USA.
Another way to become a citizen is by getting married to a person holding the citizenship (jure matrimonii) or through naturalization. Recently, some inter governmental organizations have raised the concept related to citizenship to the international level, where it is applied to the totality of the citizens of their constituent countries combined.
Another interesting concept is the, “Commonwealth Citizenship”. It has been in place ever since the establishment of the Commonwealth of Nations. A person can hold this type of citizenship only by being a citizen of a Commonwealth member state and this also offers certain rights and privileges within some Commonwealth countries. Some nations do not ask for tourist visas from citizens of other Commonwealth countries. Another interesting point is that, in some Commonwealth countries, resident citizens of other Commonwealth countries have political rights. They can vote in local and national elections and in some instances can even contest in the elections. One can work in any position (including the civil service) except for certain specific positions.
Individuals considered to be specially admirable or worthy of distinction are granted “honorary citizenship”.
US citizenship is the highest status granted to a legal member of the US. You ought to undergo various levels of processing before getting referred to as a full-fledged US citizen. It gives specific rights, duties, privileges and economic benefits (that includes federal assistance). The US also has a dual citizenship system through which one can be a citizen of the state of residence as well be a citizen of the US. Though the US government does not endorse this form, it does recognize its existence and accepts holding multiple citizenship by US citizens. To qualify for US citizenship, you should be at least 18 years or older and a permanent resident. There are additional requirements other than these. Applicants satisfying all the requirements should file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization with the USCIS.