Should You Include Nationality on Resumes?
Written by James Bunes, Author • Last updated on April 23, 2024

Should You Include Nationality on Resumes?

Including your nationality on resumes may seem strange in the US, but there are occasions where it’s beneficial or even necessary. Including your nationality can help you streamline the hiring process, but in some cases, it could lead to detrimental hiring discrimination. This blog post details when you should and shouldn’t list your nationality on resumes and how to do it right.

Should you mention your nationality on your resume?

It isn’t common to list your nationality on resumes in the majority of English-speaking countries. The US, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand have anti-discrimination laws in recruitment that prohibit employers from hiring candidates based on a number of personal details. This includes:

  • Nationality
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Date of birth
  • Marital status
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Citizenship
  • Disability

This law makes it largely irrelevant to include nationality on resumes and helps you avoid illegal discrimination.

Further, because of these laws, omitting nationality on resumes has become a normal part of the work culture for English-speaking areas. This means that including it could make your resume look strange or unprofessional. Something that different will definitely catch the hiring manager’s eye, and not in a good way.

Many experts also agree that nationality isn’t relevant to most job roles and you should use the space on your resume for more valuable points, such as experience, education, and skills. These factors are directly related to success in the position and they’re what the recruiter is looking for.

However, that being said, there are still occasions where it’s beneficial or even required to put your nationality on your resume. Let’s look at that next.

When to put your nationality on your resume

Including nationality or citizenship on resumes isn’t a part of usual US culture, but certain occasions call for it, such as applying for a government job or if you have a unique, foreign name.

Here are the top six reasons to list nationality on resumes.

You have a foreign name

If you have a unique or foreign name, it may lead hiring managers to mistakenly believe that you aren’t a citizen, and therefore, don’t meet the right requirements for the role.

Including a quick mention of your nationality on your resume or cover letter will quickly answer a recruiter’s questions about your eligibility so they can focus on your qualifications.

This also shows respect for the hiring manager’s time because they can continue to the next stage without too much back and forth.

All of your work experience is abroad

Certain professionals have an extensive work history in different countries and this can be greatly beneficial for displaying cultural competence and adaptability.

However, it may lead recruiters to believe you live elsewhere.

For example, a US-based graphic designer may have work experience with several agencies in the Middle East, but all of it was done remotely from New York.

This tells the employer quickly that they won’t have to provide sponsorship support if they’re interested in hiring you.

If it’s required that you speak the language of your nationality

Some employers are specifically looking for professionals who speak a certain language – for example, a job posting for a project manager who speaks English and Spanish.

In these cases, you’ll want to showcase your nationality clearly, such as in your cover letter or your resume summary. This displays that your language skills are natural, native, and fluent.

Read our blog post on how to include language skills on resumes to learn more insights on this topic.

If the company works with clients of your nationality

Companies are always on the lookout for employees that help them connect to their customers and clients. If an organization regularly works with people of your nationality, you would be a great asset.

Prominently displaying your nationality will stand out to these employers and show them that you can connect to the culture and needs of their client base.

Applying in a country where putting nationality on resumes is normal

It may not be common practice in English-speaking areas, but putting your nationality on resumes is standard practice in many countries. If you’re applying to a company in one of these regions, it’s essential to follow their customs.

For example, it’s normal to include a photo of yourself and your nationality on a resume in Japan. While you may not be used to it, it’s important to align with cultural practices so your resume looks professional.

Applying for a government job

Most government positions require people to be of the same nationality as the government in order to secure the job. This is due to the large number of risks and security issues associated with government roles, and it also helps ensure your loyalty to the country.

Listing nationality on resumes saves the recruiter time so they immediately know whether or not you’re eligible and can immediately compare your resume to other outstanding candidates.

Expert Tip:

Always align your resume to the role you’re targeting. Considering your potential employer’s client base and whether or not it’s a government position are only a handful of ways to do this. Examine job ads and tailor each resume specifically to them to increase your odds of being seen and landing your dream job.

How to state your nationality on your CV

Do you need to list your nationality on your resume? We’ve got you covered.

Put your nationality on resumes simply and discreetly. Try placing it at the bottom of your resume in a footnote, so it is subtle and natural.

Here are a few ways to do it:

  • “No work authorization required”
  • “No sponsorship required”
  • “Authorized to work for any US employer”
  • “US Citizen”

You can check out some examples in action on our selection of resume templates.

Are you listing your nationality to showcase your language skills or your connection to a company’s client base? In these circumstances, it’s important to make your nationality prominent, such as in your cover letter or summary. For example:

“I’m an exceptional salesman of Vietnamese descent who excels in bilingual communication.”

It’s important to note that while some countries put nationality in personal information or contact details, this is strange and not recommended in the US.

However, if you’re applying for a role in a country where it’s common, such as Japan or South Africa, include it in your personal information.

“Put your nationality on resumes simply and discreetly. Try placing it at the bottom of your resume in a footnote, so it’s subtle and natural.”

When you don’t need to mention your nationality

Nationality on resumes isn’t required or common in nearly all circumstances. Unless you’re applying for a role that needs a certain citizenship or trying to clarify your country of residence, it’s best to leave it off completely.

This is especially important in a country with anti-discrimination laws, such as the US and UK. Hiring managers in these areas are instructed to ignore this information when it’s present.

This means that listing your nationality on resumes not only opens the door to illegal discrimination but also wastes valuable space.

Resumes are typically only 1 to 2 pages in length, so it’s best to critically examine your resume content and ensure you cover your best skills and experience in that space. Listing nationality when you don’t have to, and the recruiter will ignore it anyway, only takes up space that could be used to describe your qualifications.

It’s also important to note that if you need to include your nationality in your application, it doesn’t need to take up resume space. Try including it in your cover letter or on your LinkedIn profile, which should be linked to in your resume contact details.

Think Critically Before Putting Nationality on Resumes

For job seekers from certain countries, it’s natural to include nationality on a resume, but for others, it’s strange and unheard of.

We recommend you take a critical approach and consider:

  • Your country of residence
  • The country of your potential employer
  • The role you’re applying for
  • The skills needed for the role

Take in all these factors and make a well-informed decision whether or not to include your nationality. 

Once you’ve made your decision, jump over to CVwizard’s Resume Builder to easily create a professional resume tailored to your dream job.

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James Bunes
James Bunes
James Bunes, copywriter, editor, and strategist, combines job search and HR writing experience to produce actionable content on resumes, career advice, and job search tactics.

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