Israel Palacio/Unsplash
Israel Palacio/Unsplash

Global Naturalization


The manner in which citizenship should be allocated is one of the most sensitive decisions in any political community. And yet, naturalization policies have no clear theory; they include “a little bit of everything”—citizenship tests, loyalty oaths, integration contracts, attachment requirements, and language demands. Some requirements are knowledge-based (language proficiency, civic knowledge), other demands are behavior-based (good moral character, residency), and others are based on ties with the host country (residency, family, employment). Often, the goal of these policies is unknown, their format is arbitrary, their guiding ideology is controversial, and their justification is unclear.

The project has two goals: [1] empirically, it seeks to collect naturalization laws and policies worldwide (in cooperation with the GLOBALCIT Project); [2] normatively, it analyzes questions related to the law and theory of naturalization. How should states “create” new citizens—under which international standards, rules, and procedures? Which naturalization goals, means, and criteria are justified? And should a modern theory of naturalization follow a jus nexi principle of membership and, if so, what should its meaning in an era marked by globalization and digitalization?

Overall, the project seeks to present a new account of naturalization and investigate legal and moral limitations in regulating requirements for access to citizenship.