Honorary citizenship

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A certificate of honorary citizenship. Hermann Frieser Ehrenburgerurkunde.jpg
A certificate of honorary citizenship.
Honorary Texas Citizen certificate issued to Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. HonoraryTexasCitizen-LeviEshkol.jpg
Honorary Texas Citizen certificate issued to Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol.

Honorary citizenship is a status bestowed by a city or other government on a foreign or native individual whom it considers to be especially admirable or otherwise worthy of the distinction. The honour usually is symbolic and does not confer any change to citizenship or nationality.


North America

By act of United States Congress and presidential assent, an individual may be named an honorary citizen of the United States. Since 1963, it has been awarded to only eight individuals.

Honorary Canadian citizenship requires unanimous approval in both houses of Parliament. The only people to ever receive honorary Canadian citizenship are Raoul Wallenberg posthumously in 1985; Nelson Mandela in 2001; the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso in 2006; Aung San Suu Kyi in 2007 (revoked in 2018); Prince Karim Aga Khan in 2009; and Malala Yousafzai in 2014.


In Germany honorary citizenship is awarded by cities, towns and sometimes federal states. The honorary citizenship is perpetual and persists after the death of the honoree, but can be revoked in exceptional cases by the council or parliament of the city, town, or state. In the case of war criminals, all such honours were taken away by "Article VIII, section II, letter i of the directive 38 of the Allied Control Council for Germany" on 12 October 1946.

In Ireland, honorary citizenship bestowed on a foreigner is full legal citizenship including the right to reside and vote. [1]


Members of the Righteous Among the Nations may be conferred honorary Israeli citizenship by Yad Vashem, or commemorative citizenship if deceased. Those who choose to live in Israel are entitled to a pension, free health care, and assistance with housing and nursing care.

In 2010, legislation was passed by the Knesset to confer honorary Israeli citizenship to all members of the Israeli defense forces and paramilitary organizations that operated in Mandate Palestine who died between 29 November 1947 and 31 December 1948. [2]


See also

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