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  • Nationality is the loyalty of an individual towards the State. Nationality is different from Citizenship and Domicile.


  • The International Court of Justice, dealing with Nottebohm Case defined Nationality as 'A man's nationality forms a continuing state of things and not a physical fact which occurs at a particular moment... A man's nationality is a continuing legal relationship between the sovereign state on the one hand and the citizen on the other.
  • Starke in An Introduction to International Law defined Nationality as 'the status of membership of the collectively individuals whose acts, decisions and policy are vouchsafed through the legal conception of the State representing those individuals.
  • Oppenheim defined Nationality as the link through which an individual can enjoy the benefits of International Law.

Modes of acquisition of Nationality

  • By Birth
  • By Naturalization: By adapting citizenship. Ex: Mother Theresa
  • By Resumption: Relinquish and start again
  • By Subjugation: One state conquered by another and hence nationality of its people changes
  • By Cession: A State is ceded in another State
  • By Migration: To leave one country or region to settle or work for a period in another

Related Cases

  • Liechtenstein vs Guatemala (Nottembohm Case (1955))
  • Belgium vs Spain (ICJ Reports 1970)

Modes of losing nationality

  • By release
  • By deprivation
  • By renunciation
  • By substitution
  • By long standing residence

See Also