Have you ever heard the terms “native born” and “natural born” and wondered what the difference is? Many people use these phrases interchangeably, assuming they mean the same thing. But there is actually a significant difference between the two.
A native-born person is someone who is born in a specific country or territory. This includes people who are born to foreign parents living in that country, as well as those whose parents are citizens of that country. On the other hand, a natural-born person is someone who was born with citizenship in a particular country, regardless of where they were born.
The distinction between native-born and natural-born individuals has been a point of debate in politics and law for years. For example, the U.S. Constitution states that only a natural-born citizen can become president of the United States. This has led to discussions about the eligibility of certain presidential candidates who were born abroad but may still be considered natural-born citizens. Understanding the difference between these two phrases is critical in many areas of life and can have significant implications for citizenship and political rights.
Legal requirements for natural born citizens
One of the most significant differences between native-born and natural-born citizens is the legal requirements for the latter. In the United States, a natural-born citizen is someone who was born on U.S. soil or born abroad to two U.S. citizen parents. The requirements for natural-born citizens are set forth in the U.S. Constitution.
- To be eligible for the U.S. Presidency, a natural-born citizen must be at least 35 years old, a resident of the United States for 14 years, and a “natural-born citizen” of the United States.
- The legal definition of a “natural-born citizen” is not explicitly defined in the Constitution, but it is generally understood to mean that the person was born on U.S. soil or born abroad to two U.S. citizen parents.
- In addition to meeting the eligibility requirements for the Presidency, natural-born citizens are also eligible for certain government jobs and security clearances that are not available to non-citizens or naturalized citizens.
These legal requirements for natural-born citizens are designed to ensure that those who hold the highest offices in the country have a strong allegiance to the United States and its values. By requiring natural-born citizenship, the founders of the country aimed to maximize the chances of having leaders who were invested in the success and well-being of the United States.
Qualifications to Become a Naturalized Citizen
To be eligible for naturalization, applicants must meet certain requirements set forth by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). These requirements include:
- Be at least 18 years of age at the time of filing
- Be a lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder) for at least 5 years
- Demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years
- Be physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing for naturalization
- Be able to read, write, and speak basic English
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government
- Be a person of good moral character
It is important to note that some of these requirements may have exceptions or additional requirements for certain groups, such as spouses of U.S. citizens and members of the U.S. military. Additionally, USCIS may require applicants to provide additional documentation or information to support their eligibility for naturalization.
To further understand the qualifications for naturalization, the following table breaks down the residency and physical presence requirements:
|Residency/Physical Presence Requirements
|The applicant has resided continuously in the U.S. for at least 5 years after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence
|The applicant has been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months during the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing for naturalization
|Continuous Residence – Spouses of U.S. Citizens
|The spouse has resided continuously in the U.S. for at least 3 years after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence and the U.S. citizen spouse has been a U.S. citizen for at least 3 years
|Physical Presence – Spouses of U.S. Citizens
|The spouse has been physically present in the U.S. for at least 18 months during the 3 years immediately preceding the date of filing for naturalization
|Continuous Residence – Members of the U.S. Military
|The applicant has served honorably in the U.S. military for at least 1 year and has lawful permanent resident status at the time of naturalization application
|Physical Presence – Members of the U.S. Military
|The applicant has been physically present in the U.S. for at least half of the time during the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing for naturalization
Understanding the eligibility criteria for naturalization is crucial for those seeking to become U.S. citizens. It is recommended that individuals consult with an experienced immigration attorney or accredited representative to better understand their specific circumstances and eligibility for naturalization.
History of natural born vs. native born citizenship
In the United States, the distinction between natural born and native born citizenship dates back to the country’s founding. The United States Constitution defines the requirements for becoming President in Article II, which states that only a “natural born Citizen” is eligible to hold the highest office in the land.
The distinction between natural born and native born citizens has its origins in the English common law tradition, which recognized two types of citizenship: jus soli (citizenship by birthplace) and jus sanguinis (citizenship by bloodline). When the United States was founded, the Constitution’s framers drew on both of these traditions to define citizenship in the new country.
- Jus Soli: Native Born Citizenship
- Jus Sanguinis: Natural Born Citizenship
Under the principle of jus soli, anyone born on American soil is considered a U.S. citizen, regardless of their parentage or their own nationality. This has been the dominant approach to citizenship in the United States from the beginning of the country’s history. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in 1868, enshrined the principle of jus soli in law and granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States.
Under the principle of jus sanguinis, a person’s citizenship is determined by the citizenship of their parents, regardless of where they are born. This means that someone born outside of the United States to American parents would still be considered a natural-born citizen, even though they were not born on American soil. This approach has been less frequently used in the history of the United States, but there have been notable examples of presidential candidates who were considered natural-born citizens despite being born outside of the country. The most famous of these is probably John McCain, who was born on a military base in the Panama Canal Zone to American parents.
While the distinction between natural born and native born citizenship may seem arcane, it remains an important part of the legal framework of the United States. It has come into the national spotlight at various points in the country’s history, such as during the recent debate over whether Ted Cruz, who was born in Canada to an American mother, was eligible to run for President. Understanding the history of these concepts is essential to understanding the full complexity of citizenship in the United States.
Dual Citizenship and Natural Born Status
One significant difference between native born and natural born citizens is the issue of dual citizenship. Dual citizenship refers to the status of an individual who has citizenship of two countries at the same time. It is possible for natural born citizens to have dual citizenship if their parents are citizens of another country or if they gain citizenship of another country through marriage or naturalization.
However, for individuals who are native born citizens, holding dual citizenship can be a more complicated matter. The United States recognizes dual citizenship, but it does not actively encourage it. If a native born citizen wishes to acquire dual citizenship, they may need to renounce their U.S. citizenship or risk losing it unintentionally.
- In some cases, dual citizenship may be beneficial for individuals who have business or personal ties to multiple countries.
- However, it can also lead to conflicts of loyalty, and some countries may require individuals to give up their other citizenship before granting them certain rights or access to government positions.
- Furthermore, the legal implications of dual citizenship can be complex, and individuals should seek legal advice before making any decisions regarding their citizenship status.
Another difference between native born and natural born citizenship status is the eligibility to hold certain government positions. The U.S. Constitution restricts the eligibility of the President and Vice President to natural born citizens, meaning individuals who were born on U.S. soil or to U.S. citizen parents abroad. This requirement is meant to ensure that the highest offices in the country are held by individuals who have a strong connection to the United States and its values from birth.
|Native Born Citizenship
|Natural Born Citizenship
|Accrued through birth on U.S. soil or by law
|Accrued through birth on U.S. soil or by U.S. citizen parentage
|May have restrictions on holding dual citizenship
|No restrictions on holding dual citizenship
|Eligible for most government positions
|Eligible for all government positions, including the Presidency and Vice Presidency
Overall, while both native born and natural born citizens are recognized as citizens of the United States, there are important differences in their legal status and eligibility for government positions. Understanding the distinctions between the two can help individuals make informed decisions about their citizenship status and their role in American society.
Presidential Eligibility for Natural Born Citizens
One of the most debated topics in American politics is the eligibility of a presidential candidate to hold office as a natural born citizen. As defined by the Constitution, a natural-born citizen is someone who is born on American soil or born to parents who are both American citizens. This means that a natural-born citizen is someone who automatically becomes a citizen of the United States regardless of any legal process.
While native-born citizens and naturalized citizens can still be elected to higher office, the Constitution specifies that only a natural-born citizen may be elected president or vice president of the United States. This is because the Founding Fathers wanted to ensure that only someone who had a long-standing connection to America, through birth or lineage, could hold the most powerful office in the nation. However, there has been much debate and discussion over what exactly constitutes a natural-born citizen.
Requirements for Presidential Eligibility
- Must be a natural-born citizen of the United States
- Must be at least 35 years old
- Must have been a resident of the United States for at least 14 years
The “Birther Movement” and Presidential Eligibility
Despite the clear constitutional definition of natural-born citizenship, there have been numerous conspiracy theories and doubts cast on the eligibility of some presidential candidates. One of the most famous cases is that of Barack Obama, who was born in Hawaii to a Kenyan father and American mother, leading to baseless claims that he was not eligible to be president because he was not a natural-born citizen.
However, in 2011, Obama released his long-form birth certificate, confirming his citizenship and eligibility. The “birther movement” was largely discredited, but the controversy serves as a reminder of the importance of understanding and upholding the Constitution’s requirements for presidential eligibility.
While citizenship is a fundamental right for all those born in the United States, the requirement of natural-born citizenship for president ensures that those most closely attached to America’s values and traditions are the ones who hold the highest office. Understanding and upholding the Constitution’s requirements for presidential eligibility is integral to maintaining a strong and stable democracy.
|Natural-born citizens are:
|Naturalization process required for:
|Those born on American soil
|Those born outside of the US to non-American parents
|Those born to American citizen parents, regardless of where they are born
|Those who are not born US citizens but go through the legal process of naturalization
Understanding the difference between native-born and natural-born citizenship is important for maintaining the integrity of our political system and ensuring that those in leadership hold true to the values and principles that make America great.
Immigration and natural born status
When it comes to the difference between being native born and natural born, immigration plays a crucial role. Native born refers to individuals who were born on US soil. On the other hand, natural born status refers to individuals who were born to US citizens, even if they were born outside of the United States.
- Immigration and native born status: When individuals are born on US soil, they are automatically considered US citizens. This is known as jus soli, or right of the soil, and it is one of the ways in which individuals can become US citizens. Native born citizens can also include children of foreign diplomats or other temporary residents who do not intend to stay in the US permanently. When these children are born on US soil, they are considered native born, but not natural born, since their parents are not US citizens.
- Immigration and natural born status: Natural born status can be acquired if an individual is born to US citizens, even if they are born outside of the US. This is known as jus sanguinis, or right of blood. This means that if a child is born to US citizens who are living abroad, that child is considered a natural born citizen as long as one of their parents has lived in the US at some point in their life.
- Immigration and the presidential eligibility: The distinction between native born and natural born has important implications for presidential eligibility. According to the US Constitution, only natural born citizens are eligible for the presidency. This means that individuals who were born on US soil to non-citizen parents are not eligible to become president, while those who were born to US citizens – even if they were born abroad – are considered natural born citizens and are therefore eligible for the presidency.
Immigration plays a critical role in determining whether someone is considered native born or natural born when it comes to US citizenship. While jus soli and jus sanguinis are two ways in which individuals can become US citizens, natural born status is reserved exclusively for those born to US citizens, whether they were born on US soil or abroad. And the distinction between native born and natural born has important implications for presidential eligibility.
Constitutional amendments related to natural born citizenship
When discussing the topic of natural born citizenship, it is important to understand the constitutional amendments that have been made to clarify and adjust this concept throughout U.S. history. The following subsections detail some of the most significant constitutional amendments related to natural born citizenship.
The 14th Amendment
- The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1868 and grants citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States, including former slaves and their descendants.
- Section 1 of the 14th Amendment is particularly relevant to the definition of natural born citizenship, affirming that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
- While the 14th Amendment clarifies the definition of citizenship for those born in the U.S., there is still debate over whether this applies specifically to those who are considered “natural born” citizens for presidential eligibility purposes.
The 22nd Amendment
The 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1951 and limits the number of times a person can be elected to the office of President of the United States. However, this amendment does not directly address the concept of natural born citizenship.
The 26th Amendment
The 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1971 and lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. Again, this amendment does not directly address the concept of natural born citizenship.
Foreign-born individuals and presidential eligibility
While the 14th Amendment may grant citizenship to those born in the United States, there is ongoing debate over whether this applies specifically to those considered “natural born” citizens for presidential eligibility purposes.
|Place of Birth
|Presidential Eligibility Question
|Panama Canal Zone
|Was a foreign-born citizen eligible to run for President?
|Is a foreign-born citizen eligible to run for President?
|Is a U.S.-born citizen with foreign-born parents eligible to run for President?
In conclusion, while the 14th Amendment clarifies citizenship for those born in the United States, there is still debate over whether this applies specifically to “natural born” citizens for presidential eligibility purposes. The 22nd and 26th Amendments do not directly address this concept, and questions continue to arise regarding the eligibility of foreign-born individuals to run for the presidency.
FAQs: What is the Difference Between Native Born and Natural Born?
Q: What does ‘native born’ mean?
A: ‘Native born’ refers to a person who is born in a particular place, such as a country, city, or region. It is typically used to describe a person’s place of birth.
Q: What does ‘natural born’ mean?
A: ‘Natural born’ typically refers to someone who is a citizen of a country by birth. It is often used in the context of politics, such as the eligibility requirements for candidates running for office in the United States.
Q: Is there a difference between native born and natural born?
A: While they may seem similar, there is a subtle difference between the two terms. ‘Native born’ simply refers to a person’s place of birth, while ‘natural born’ goes a step further and implies that the person is a citizen of that country by birth.
Q: When would I use the term ‘native born’?
A: The term ‘native born’ can be used in a variety of contexts, such as describing someone’s place of birth on a job application or census form. It can also be used in casual conversation to discuss where someone is from.
Q: Why is the term ‘natural born’ important in politics?
A: The term ‘natural born’ is important in politics because it is the eligibility requirement for the President and Vice President of the United States. The Constitution specifies that these individuals must be natural born citizens of the country, which means they must have been born in the US or have two US citizen parents.
Thanks for reading about the difference between ‘native born’ and ‘natural born’! While the two terms may seem interchangeable, there is a subtle difference that can come into play in certain contexts. Whether you’re filling out a job application, discussing someone’s place of birth, or learning about the qualifications for running for President, understanding the meaning of these terms can come in handy. Be sure to visit again soon for more interesting insights!