Citizen is one who is a permanent resident of a state, owes allegiance to the state, and enjoys certain civil and political rights. The main points of difference between a citizen and alien are:

(a) A citizen is a permanent resident of a state, while an alien is a temporary resident, who comes for a specific duration of time as a tourist or on diplomatic assignment.

(b) Citizens enjoy political rights and participate in the functioning of govern­ment, i.e., exercise their right to vote, right to contest elections and right to hold public office. Aliens do not possess such rights in the state where they reside temporarily. They however enjoy certain civil rights, i.e., the rights to life, personal property and religion.

18. Citizenship is the legal bond between the citizen and the state. It is a two way relationship between them. On one hand, the state maintains certain rights and privileges for the individuals, i.e., the citizens. On the other hand, the citizen owes allegiance to the state and performs a number of duties.


Natural citizenship is determined by two principles (a) by blood or descent (b) by the place of birth. Natural citizenship is automatically gained by birth while naturalized citizenship is acquired after fulfilling certain conditions laid down by the country. Rules of acquiring citizenship vary from country to country.