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Law Library Report on Citizenship Pathways and Border Protection in Various Countries

The following is a guest post by Eduardo Soares, our foreign law specialist for Portuguese-speaking countries.  Eduardo has previously written a post for In Custodia Legis on the legal history of capoeira in Brazil.

America gains a famous citizen / photo by Al. Aumuller, Oct. 1, 1940 (Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division). Photograph shows Albert Einstein receiving from Judge Phillip Forman his certificate of American citizenship.

Immigration, citizenship pathways, and border security are recurrent topics in the media.  You may have wondered:  How does immigration work in other countries?  What are the requirements to become a lawful citizen?  What happens to people who enter or stay in a country illegally?  Are borders really secure?  If you have asked one of these questions, been curious about these  topics, or wondered how other countries deal with immigration issues, I invite you to read a report that was recently published on the Law Library of Congress website titled Citizenship Pathways and Border Protection.

I had the privilege of coordinating this study, which was prepared by the foreign-trained attorneys who work in the Law Library’s Global Legal Research Center.  The report covers the laws and regulations of thirteen different jurisdictions in the areas of immigration, citizenship, and border control, including border control in the European Union (EU) and the visa regime for the Schengen area.  The countries analyzed were Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, GermanyIndia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

The naturalization of foreigners in New York City – Judge McCunn sitting in the Superior Court, passing on applications for citizenship, Friday evening, October 22, 1869 / BGHS. (Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.)

For many years I have been writing reports here at the Law Library about immigration law issues in Portuguese-speaking countries.  However, what made this study particularly interesting is that, as its coordinator, I had the opportunity to take a close look at the legal frameworks of the other countries in the study.  I prepared a comparative summary containing an overview of the immigration laws of the different countries; how unlawful entry and overstays of foreigners are perceived and dealt with; the requirements that have to be observed before an alien can acquire citizenship; and finally the management and security of their borders.

This brief introduction may have triggered a few additional questions in your mind, such as: What is the visa regime for the Schengen area?  How does a person acquire citizenship in India, Japan, or Mexico?  What are the requirements to obtain a permit to work in Australia, Germany, or the United Kingdom?  What happens to an alien that illegally enters or irregularly stays in Brazil, China, or Spain?

You can find the answers to these and many other interesting questions in our report, which is readily available to you.  Therefore, I renew my invitation for you to take a look at this study and get acquainted with the legal trends on these matters throughout the world.  You can also take look at our other reports that cover a range of topics, including a report on Guest Worker Programs that was published earlier this month.

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