Pakistan: The Only Country in Asia With Birthright Citizenship

Pakistan is the only country in Asia that recognizes citizenship as a birthright. Only one in four nations in the world grant citizenship to all those born within their borders, according to a review of the nationality laws reviewed by EUI Global Citizenship Observatory.  Instead of birthright citizenship, the majority of countries today have citizenship by blood, in which children inherit citizenship from their parents. 

Citizenship as Birthright. Source: Quartz

Based on a review of the nationality laws of 174 nations, only 39, or about 1 in 4, grant citizenship to people born in the country, barring exceptions to children of diplomat parents, according to an article published in QUARTZ.  

Pakistan stands out as the only nation in Asia that grants citizenship as birthright.  It is the most common practice for the countries in the Americas: Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, among others, all follow this practice. Birthright citizenship is seen as a key measure of a nation's openness to immigrants.

Birthright citizenship didn’t exist in the US at the time of its founding. It was granted as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, followed by the Fourteenth Amendment and the 1898 Supreme Court decision in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, which led to the racial and ethnic diversity in the United States today.

The United Kingdom used to recognize birthright citizenship but the British government removed unconditional citizenship by birth in the British Nationality Act of 1981. Children born in the UK today can get citizenship only if they have at least one parent who’s a citizen or is a resident of the British territories. Germany loosened its policy in 2000, replacing the parent’s citizenship requirement with residency. Children born to a parent who has a German resident permit or has lived in Germany for at least eight years can get German citizenship.

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