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Citizen Lame? Citizenship Around the World

Being an American is unlike any other nationality.  The United States is playfully called ‘the melting pot country’ for our open admittance of all races, religions, creeds and classes seeking US citizenship. The population of immigrants living in the US is the largest in the entire world, in fact 13% of all immigrants reside in the U.S. of A., or 40.4 million individuals.

Obtaining citizenship is not easy by any means and in some countries it is next to impossible, so how different is citizenship around the world?


becoming an american

A. Einstein Receiving His US Citizenship
Photo By Al. Aumuller [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The great American dream of hope and prosperity still exists around the world, as evident by the large number of people from foreign countries wanting to become legal American citizens. Foreigners or ‘foreign nationals’ with a green card,  also called LPR’s (Lawful Permanent Residents), totaled 1,062,040 in 2011.

This group of a million was comprised of refugees, asylees, temporary workers, foreign students, family members of US citizens with green cards and unauthorized immigrants. As much as  43% of the new green card holders in 2011 were immediate relatives of LPR’s or green card holders.

The hotly debated recurring political issue of immigration and immigration reform continues in the US, according to one estimate there were as many as 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States.

Across the pond becoming a British Citizen is not easy unless you have “qualifying connections” already, even the Home Office UK Border Agency explains that “British nationality law is complicated,” and advises one to seek professional advice in navigating a “Right of abode” and other citizenship statuses.

The British Nationality Act 1981, became enforceable on January 1, 1983 and dramatically revised the UK and British immigration laws overall, even including a “point” based system for work visa’s based on skill (talent) level.

Obtaining citizenship in the UK may be a royal pain in the rump, but some questions that have been documented about becoming a citizen of the UK are purely gut busting. Here are just a couple of the strangest questions about becoming a citizen, British, American or otherwise:

1.)    Will I get to meet Elton John?

2.)    Is everyone friends with the Queen?

3.)    Is it easier to find a wife in England?

4.)    Can you marry your car (or cell phone) in America?

5.)    If I live in American will I become a movie star?

6.)    I’ve committed a serious crime but have not been caught or convicted. Will I be immune once I move?

Turning the tables, here are some of the quite necessary questions from various government entities asked of applicants during the citizenship interview process;

  • Do you have a contract with your mobile service provider? If so who is it and how long?
  • Which supermarket do you shop at? What is the maximum number of items allowed in the speedy check-out line?
  • Have you ever been on the giving or receiving edge of a wedgie?

Members Of The Global Online Community Or “Netizens”

The term “netizen” has been floating around since at least 1997 but is far more commonly used in China. A “Netizen” is defined as a person that is actively involved in online communities and an avid user of the internet. Other terms have also been tried on and loosely try to capture being a citizen of the World Wide Web such as Internaut, cybercitizen and digital native. While International Internet Laws are not likely to be established on a global scale, cyber security and monitoring as well as translating are predicted to be among the fastest job growth sectors in the US in 2014.

Feature Image By Office of the President of the United States [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. He is pictured holding the “Citizens Briefing Handbook” which is a compilation of policy change recommendations gathered by Change.org. upon his inauguration into the White House in January 2009.

About Tonya O'Dell