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Nationality is membership of a nation or sovereign state. Citizenship is determined by jus soli, jus sanguinis, or naturalization. In some areas of the world, one's nationality is determined by their ethnicity, rather than citizenship. Nationality affords the state jurisdiction over the person and affords the person the protection of the state.

By custom, it is the right of each state to determine who its nationals are. Such determinations are part of nationality law. In some cases, determinations of nationality are also governed by public international law—for example, by treaties on statelessness and the European Convention on Nationality.

The word citizenship is often used in a different sense from nationality. The most common distinguishing feature of citizenship is that citizens have the right to participate in the political life of the state, such as by voting or standing for election. The term national can include both citizens and non-citizens.

Alternatively, nationality can refer to membership in a nation (collective of people sharing a national identity, usually based on ethnic and cultural ties and self-determination) even if that nation has no state, such as the Basques, Kurds, Tamils and Scots.

Individuals may also be considered nationals of groups with semi-autonomous status which have ceded some power to a larger government, such as the federally recognized tribes of Native Americans in the United States. Spanish law recognises the autonomous communities of Andalusia, Aragón, Catalonia, Valencia, Galicia and the Basque Country as "nationalities" (Nacionalidades), while in Italy, the German speakers of South Tyrol are considered to be Austrian Nationals.


Nationality vs Citizenship

In some countries, the cognate word for nationality in local language may be understood as a synonym of ethnicity. To determine citizenship, the nations in these areas of the world follow the principle of jus sanguinis rather than jus soli. But even then these countries would determine one's nationality by their ethnicity, rather than their citizenship.

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