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Naturalization is a legal term for making a non‐citizen (alien) a citizen of a state. Some countries no longer use the term in their citizenship legislation, referring to the process as citizenship by conferral or grant. Naturalization is still the term used in the British Nationality Act 1981.

Under the common law, a person's place of birth created permanent allegiance to the sovereign of the land. Individuals could not revoke their allegiance and take up another nationality of their own accord. Naturalization under the common law could occur, but only through the acquisition of new territory by conquest or cession. Otherwise naturalization required legislation to override the common law.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe New Oxford Companion to Law
EditorsPeter Cane, Joanne Conaghan
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages2
ISBN (Electronic)9780191727269
ISBN (Print)9780199290543
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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