Individuals of a particular nation are supposed to owe allegiance to their states. Such individuals who owe permanent allegiance to a state are known as nationals of a state. Nationality may therefore be defined as the “status of a natural person who is attached to a state by the tie of allegiance”. The term nationality signifies the legal tie between the individual and the state. Oppenheim has stated that nationality of an individual is his quality of being a subject of a certain state.
Difference between Nationality and citizenship:
The term nationality differs from citizenship though they are on many occasions are used interchangeably. Nationality is the quality of belonging to a particular state by which the person is internationally known. Thus, nationality creates a legal relationship between the state and the individual under international law. Citizenship, on the other hand, denotes the relationship between the person and the municipal law. In other words, we may say that through nationality the civil and natural rights of a person may come under international law whereas the rights of citizenship are the sole concern of state law. The concept of citizenship is therefore irrelevant to international law. A citizen possesses full civil and political rights. In other words, all the nationals who enjoy political and civil rights are called citizens, as distinguished from other less favoured national. Hence, all the citizens may possess the nationality of a particular state but it is not necessary that all nationals may be the citizens of that particular state. For instance, United States of America Nationality Act of 1940 lays down that the citizen is, as a rule, employed to designate persons endowed with full political and personal rights within the United States, while some persons – such as those belonging to territories and possessions which are not among the states forming the union – are described as nationals. They owe allegiance to the United States and the United States National in the contemplation of international law; they do not possess for rights of citizens in the United States