Residency Vs Citizenship – What Does It Mean

Residency Vs Citizenship – What Does It Mean

Many are often left confused as to what the differences between residency and citizenship are. It’s not uncommon for people to believe they are giving up their citizenship when they relocate abroad, however, this simply isn’t the case as your citizenship is something you hold for life.

CS Global Partners recently designed an infographic on the differences between the two to help educate those who may be unaware of how to differentiate what residency means when compared with citizenship.


residence vs citizenship


Citizenship Rights

As a citizen, you essentially ‘belong’ to that country for your lifetime. For example, if you were born in England you would be a British citizen, which entitles you to a certain amount of rights in the country. These rights relate to the laws surrounding; rights to vote, working conditions and education and healthcare access. Your citizenship is something you pass onto your children.

If you’re a citizen, then you’re able to stay in the country for any length of time, without any minimum stay requirements being applied. You can also hold citizenship of a country without ever setting foot on its territory. This is sometimes the case for those who are born to parents with different nationalities, leading them to have dual citizenship.

Your citizenship entitles you to call upon your country for protection and assistance if you are ever in need. This means that you can access any embassy, consulate or diplomatic establishment when travelling abroad.

As a citizen, you are given a certain amount of certainty and stability about your status in your home country. According to Article 15 of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights you aren’t to be deprived your rights of nationality.

Holding a passport for your country enables you to travel visa-free to nations who have signed a travel agreement allowing free movement. Meaning that lengthy paperwork and passport control queues can be avoided.

Residence Rights

As a resident of a country, you must adhere to your visa requirements. Dependent upon your visa category, and the conditions of it, you are entitled to; freedom of living, working, travelling or studying within that country.

Residents don’t hold a passport for their country and are required to use their passport by citizenship instead. You are often given an international travel document or residence card to use for official documentation or travel.

You can leave and re-enter your country of residence as you please. However, you may be denied entry by an immigration official if you fail to fulfil any conditions which are associated with your residence visa and status in the country – including fulfilling any minimum stay requirements.

You’ll need to be free from serious criminal convictions before you apply and also throughout your residency as you risk losing your status or being denied entry in the first place.

In terms of job opportunities, your residency status will determine the employment opportunities you can access. For example, in the USA certain jobs require special security clearance that only US citizens or Green Card holders can access.

Holding a residence visa, you are able to improve your naturalisation eligibility, which then allows you to apply for citizenship later on. In order to be granted citizenship in a country that you weren’t born in you may be subjected to a number of written or verbal tests which you’ll need to pass.

It’s also important to remember, that although you are given a citizenship at birth, you are able to apply for a second citizenship by descent, residence or investment.