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Mercer University School of Law



Comparative and Foreign Law

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Inheriting Citizenship, Scott Titshaw Jan 2022

Inheriting Citizenship, Scott Titshaw


Most of us become citizens at birth based either on our birthplace or our parents' citizenship status. Over thirty countries recognize birthplace citizenship, but inherited citizenship is nearly universal. Such universal legal rules are rare, and they are particularly remarkable in the context of citizenship, where state sovereignty is near its apex. This Article explores why inherited citizenship is necessary, even in nations recognizing birthplace citizenship. It surveys the history, definitions, purposes, current rules, politics, and global trends in this area and identifies three modern categories of birthright citizenship laws: primary inherited citizenship systems, dual inherited and birthplace systems, and …