There are two major principles on which countries base their citizenship requirements: jus sanguinis (law of blood, aka jure sanguinis, by which a child acquires the nationality of his/her parents) and jus soli (law of soil, the automatic and unrestricted right to citizenship by territorial birth). Your nationality may depend on the blood that courses through your veins, in what territory you took your first breath, or a combination of the two. You may be a dual citizen of a foreign country and not even know it. This article looks at the history of jus sanguinis and jus soli and the requirements necessary for using the principles to claim dual citizenship in Ireland or Italy.
The first questions out of the mouths of most readers will be: “What does this have to do with me?” and “Why would I be interested?” Here are your answers.
If you are of Irish or Italian parentage, grandparentage, or even great-grandparentage that is provable by documentation, you may very well be eligible for dual citizenship in that country – meaning, you can obtain a passport from the country of your ancestors’ origin. Why would you want to obtain a second passport? I’ll get to that later, but for now, it’s important for you to understand the history behind the two principles of jus sanguinis, which extends the right of nationality or citizenship based on a child’s parents’ nationality, and jus soli, which extends citizenship based on which territorial jurisdiction the baby is born. Presently, the vast majority of countries use a mixture of both principles when granting or denying citizenship. How to become a latvian citizen
Since 2004, however, no European country recognizes just territorial birthright for unconditional birthright citizenship. The unified block of countries was solidified in 2004 when Ireland revoked its automatic right of citizenship solely by territorial birth.
To understand the difference between nationality by right of soil (jus soli) and right of blood (jus sanguinis) requires a visit to ancient Rome during mid-5th century BC, when the idea of nationality was a basic tenet of Roman Law – Ah ha! That’s why the terms are in Latin. To the Romans, an individual was first and foremost a member of a family, a tribe or a people – not just a territory.
The principle of recognizing bloodright was, at one time, the sole means of determining nationality in European countries. It is still adhered to by the majority of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Asia; however, it is now joined, in some cases, by the principle of territorial birthright. But the major practice of jus soli is observed by a minority of the world’s countries – the U.S. and Canada being among that small number.