Jus sanguinis

Jus sanguinis (Latin: right of blood) is a principle of nationality law by which citizenship is not determined by place of birth but by having one or both parents who are citizens of the state. Children at birth may automatically be citizens if their parents have state citizenship or national identities of ethnic, cultural, or other origins.[1] Citizenship can also apply to children whose parents belong to a diaspora and were not themselves citizens of the state conferring citizenship. This principle contrasts with jus soli (Latin: right of soil).[2]

At the end of the 19th century, the French-German debate on nationality saw the French, such as Ernest Renan, oppose the German conception, exemplified by Johann Fichte, who believed in an "objective nationality", based on blood, race or language. Renan's republican conception, but perhaps also the presence of a German-speaking population in Alsace-Lorraine, explains France's early adoption of jus soli. Many nations have a mixture of jus sanguinis and jus soli, including the United States, Canada, Israel, Greece, Ireland, and recently Germany.

Today France only narrowly applies jus sanguinis, but it is still the most common means of passing on citizenship in many continental European countries.

Some modern European states which arose out of dissolved empires, like the Austro-Hungarian or Ottoman, have huge numbers of ethnic populations outside of their new 'national' boundaries, as do most of the former Soviet states. Such long-standing diasporas do not conform to codified 20th-century European rules of citizenship.

In many cases, jus sanguinis rights are mandated by international treaty, with citizenship definitions imposed by the international community. In other cases, minorities are subject to legal and extra-legal persecution and choose to immigrate to their ancestral home country. States offering jus sanguinis rights to ethnic citizens and their descendants include Italy, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Lebanon, Armenia and Romania. Each is required by international treaty to extend those rights.

In recent years, the Gulf Cooperation Council states have ensured that nationality is not easily awarded to residents and expatriates, unless they have some ethnic connection. This is mainly because they fear that a larger population could be a threat to the existing political systems in these countries. In the workplace, preferential treatment is given to full citizens. State benefits are also generally available for citizens only and not residents.[3]

Jus sanguinis

Leges sanguinis

Many countries provide immigration privileges to individuals with ethnic ties to these countries (so-called leges sanguinis):

See also


  1. Kostakopoulou, Dora (2008). The Future Governance of Citizenship. Cambridge University Press. pp. 26–27.
  2. Vink, Maarten Peter; de Groot, Gerard-René (November 2010). "Birthright Citizenship: Trends and Regulations in Europe" (PDF). Florence: European University Institute. p. 35.
  3. Almazroui, Ayesha (18 March 2013). "Emiratisation won't work if people don't want to learn". The National. Abu Dhabi. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  4. The Federal Expellee Law (German: Bundesvertriebenengesetz), § 6, specifies that also foreign citizens of states of the Eastern Bloc (and their desdendants), who were persecuted between 1945 and 1990 for their German ethnicity by their respective governments, are entitled to become Germans. The argument was that the Federal Republic of Germany had to administer to their needs because the respective governments in charge of guaranteeing their equal treatment as citizens severely neglected or contravened that obligation.
  5. "Nationality Law: Article 976". Iran Data Portal: Princeton University. 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  6. English translation of the Polish Constitution.
  7. "Emigrantom z 1968 roku zostaną zwrócone obywatelstwa" [Polish citizenship reinstated to emigrants from 1968]. Wprost (in Polish). 4 March 2008. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  8. "Constitution of the Republic of Armenia". International Constitutional Law Project. 5 July 1995. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  9. "UN Commission On Human Rights: Question of the Violation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in any Part of the World". Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. 2006. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  10. Weir, Sarah. "Love and Marriage in Israel: Palestinian and Non-Orthodox Israelis Need Not Apply". If Americans Knew.org. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  11. Tannenbaum, Jessie; Valcke, Anthony; McPherson, Andrew (2009-05-01). "Analysis of the Aliens and Nationality Law of the Republic of Liberia". Rochester, NY.
  12. "Constitution of Lithuania: Article 32(4)". International Constitutional Law Project. 25 October 1992. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  13. http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-spain-sephardic-jews-20151001-story.html
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