The Meaning of Country of Residence: What It Is and How To Use It

This guide will give you all of the information you need on the phrase country of residence, including its meaning, usage, example sentences and more!

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What does the phrase country of residence mean?

Country of residence is a phrase used to describe the country that a particular person inhabits or resides in permanently. Law Insider states that the phrase country of residence can either mean a place of legal residence, or a current country one resides in as evidenced by an official document, or where one pays their taxes or has registered with a medical practitioner.

Many believe that country of residence and country of citizenship are the same thing, but this is not always the case. Merriam-Webster English Dictionary states that while these two are often the same for many people, sometimes a person who is a resident somewhere is not necessarily a citizen. If someone applies for a green card, receives it, and lives in a certain country, they are have permanent resident status in that country, but are not considered a citizen. These people could be considered expats or foreign nationals. In this case, the resident has a right to work and live in said country, but may be restricted against voting in federal elections, or can be subject to deportation if they violate the law. 

In another example, one could be attending university in a country in which they are not a citizen. However, if they have established health insurance through their school as an international student, they could be considered a resident in certain circumstances. The line between resident and citizen is sometimes difficult to determine.

Certain schools may define country of residence differently. For example, the London School of Economics and Political Science defines the country of residence of its students as where they have resided for the last three years and where they consider “home.” The country of residence for a student could affect one’s scholarship or tuition costs, or admittance eligibility.

Usually, a country of residence is asked for on forms like visas, citizenship applications, passport applications, insurance policy applications, income taxes, or other legal forms. The country of residence will usually be the same as the place where a person’s passport is from.

What are synonyms of the phrase country of residence?

Power Thesaurus lists many synonyms for the phrase country of residence. However, in legal documents, these may not always be completely synonymous, so users should exercise caution and be careful when interchanging legal terms.

  • Country of establishment
  • Home country
  • Host country
  • Receiving country
  • Domicile country
  • Place of residence
  • Recipient country
  • Country of origin
  • Accepting country

Where is the phrase country of residence commonly seen?

The phrase country of residence is commonly seen on customs forms. For example, the CBP Traveler Entry Form which people must fill out when they enter the country provides the government with basic information about a person, including their country of residence, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Here, one must disclose their residence status. According to Cornell, in the context of this form, a “resident” is classified as someone who is a citizen of the United States or formerly resided in the United States, including citizens who are residents of American Samoa, Guam, Mariana Islands, or the Virgin Islands. There is a lot of room for gray area on what it means to be a resident in many contexts.

If one is applying for a driver’s license, the DMV will ask for proof of residence. This could mean an electric or gas company bill, employment document, mortgage bill, or another legal document confirming where someone lives.

How can country of residence be used in a sentence?

Country of residence is not often a term used in casual speech. If someone was casually asking what someone’s country of residence is, they may say, “Where are you from?” or “Where are you traveling from?” In this case, one would likely reply with their country of residence.

However, if one was speaking to a customs agent or other government official, they may use the official term country of residence. For example, James is a US citizen and resident traveling from the United States to New Zealand on vacation. When he arrives, the customs agent stops him to ask him a few questions.

James: Good morning.

Customs Agent: Good morning. Passport, please.

James hands the customs agent his passport and she looks it over, then scans it.

Customs Agent: Country of residence?

James: United States.

Customs Agent: Reason for your visit?

James: Vacation.

The customs agent takes a last look at James’ passport, stamps it, and hands it back to him.

Customs Agent. Welcome to New Zealand.

Here, the customs agent uses the term country of residence to ask where James is traveling from, or where his home is.

Overall, the phrase country of residence is used to describe where someone has a permanent home or permanent residence. Sometimes this can be synonymous with the word citizen, but other times, the two have separate meanings, and people should be careful not to conflate the two. The definition of country of residence can change between different legal forms, so if a form is asking for one’s country of residence, they should be sure to read the form carefully or ask for clarification so they do not accidentally write the wrong country based on the different definitions.

Sources:

  1. https://www.lawinsider.com/dictionary/country-of-residence
  2. https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/what-is-the-difference-between-a-citizen-and-a-resident
  3. https://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/141831/on-the-definition-of-country-of-residence-in-the-us-customs-form
  4. https://www.cbp.gov/travel/clearing-cbp/traveler-entry-form
  5. https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/19/148.2
  6. https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/uploads/2020/06/residency_docslist.pdf
  7. https://lfylive.lse.ac.uk/lfy/tc/enquiries/enquiry.html?a=4&q=30400&searchString=
  8. https://www.powerthesaurus.org/country_of_residence
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