← back to glossary ← back to glossary

Jus soli/ jus sanguinis/ principle of descent

Different countries have varying principles of determining citizenship. The jus soli principle (Latin for “right of soil”) is determining a person’s citizenship by the place where they were born. Jus soli is also referred to as birthright citizenship. Jus sanguinis, on the other hand, means the principle of determining a person’s citizenship through one or both of their parents’ citizenships. It means the “right of blood” and is also referred to as the principle of descent. In the Federal Republic of Germany where citizenship was originally determined by the citizenship of the child’s father only, since 1975 both parents can give their citizenship to their child. Since 1 January 2000, children born in Germany to parents without German citizenship can become German citizens through jus soli if one of their parents legally stayed in Germany for at least eight years prior to their birth. Since a change of law in 2014, these children can keep both the German citizenship and the citizenship they got from their parents through jus sanguinis. Before, they had to choose which citizenship to keep when turning eighteen (former option obligation).