Foreign national

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A foreign national is any person who is not a national of a particular country. For example, a foreign national in Canada is someone who is neither a Canadian citizen nor a permanent resident.[1]


The law of Canada divides people into three major groups: citizens, permanent residents, and foreign nationals.[1] Under Section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection of Canada (IRPA), "foreign national means a person who is not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, and includes a stateless person."[2]

United States[edit]

The term foreign national is not defined in US immigration law, which uses the term alien instead. However, the term is used in US election law to identify people who are not allowed to contribute to federal campaigns. For that purpose, the definition excludes permanent residents even though they do not possess US nationality: "the term 'foreign national' means... an individual who is not a citizen of the United States or a national of the United States (as defined in section 1101(a)(22) of title 8) and who is not lawfully admitted for permanent residence, as defined by section 1101(a)(20) of title 8."[3] In other words, US citizens, US nationals, and US permanent residents are not foreign nationals for the purpose of making campaign contributions.[4]

See also[edit]