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The age of majority is the threshold of adulthood as recognized or declared in law. It is the moment when minors cease to be considered such and assume legal control over their persons, actions, and decisions, thus terminating the control and legal responsibilities of their parents or guardian over them. Most countries set the age of majority at 18, but some jurisdictions have a higher age and others lower. The word majority here refers to having greater years and being of full age as opposed to minority, the state of being a minor. The law in a given jurisdiction may not actually use the term "age of majority". The term typically refers to a collection of laws bestowing the status of adulthood. The age of majority does not necessarily correspond to the mental or physical maturity of an individual.

Age of majority should not be confused with the age of maturity, age of sexual consent, marriageable age, school-leaving age, drinking age, driving age, voting age, smoking age, gambling age, etc., which each may be independent of and set at a different age from the age of majority.

Although a person may attain the age of majority in a particular jurisdiction, they may still be subject to age-based restrictions regarding matters such as the right to vote or stand for elective office, act as a judge, and many others.

Explanation[]

Age of majority can be confused with the similar concept of the age of license,[1] which also pertains to the threshold of adulthood but in a much broader and more abstract way. As a legal term of art, "license" means "permission", and it can implicate a legally enforceable right or privilege. Thus, an age of license is an age at which one has legal permission from government to do something. The age of majority, on the other hand, is legal recognition that one has grown into an adult.[2]

Age of majority pertains solely to the acquisition of the legal control over one's person, decisions and actions, and the correlative termination of the legal authority of the parents (or guardian(s), in lieu of parent(s)) over the child’s person and affairs generally.

Many ages of license are correlated to the age of majority, but they are nonetheless legally distinct concepts. One need not have attained the age of majority to have permission to exercise certain rights and responsibilities. Some ages of license are actually higher than the age of majority. For example, to purchase alcoholic beverages, the age of license is 21 in all U.S. states. Another example is the voting age, which prior to the 1970s was 21 in the US, as was the age of majority in all or most states.[3] In the Republic of Ireland the age of majority is 18, but one must be over 21 years of age to stand for election to the Houses of the Oireachtas.[4] Also, in Portugal the age of majority is 18, but one must be at least 25 years of age to run for public office and 35 years of age to run for president.[5] A child who is legally emancipated by a court of competent jurisdiction automatically attains to their maturity upon the signing of the court order. Only emancipation confers the status of maturity before a person has actually reached the age of majority.

In almost all places, minors who are married are automatically emancipated. Some places also do the same for minors who are in the armed forces or who have a certain degree or diploma.[6]

Civil law[]

Template:Refimprove section In many countries minors can be emancipated: depending on jurisdiction, this may happen through acts such as marriage, attaining economic self-sufficiency, obtaining an educational degree or diploma, or participating in a form of military service. In the United States, all states have some form of emancipation of minors.[7]

The following list the age of majority in countries (or administrative divisions) in the order of lowest to highest:

Up to age 15[]

  • Template:Flagicon Saudi Arabia[8] – age of majority is based on physical signs of puberty (bulugh), with age 15 as the upper limit.
  • Template:Flagicon Iran[9] – 9 lunar years (female only), 15 lunar years (male only)

Age 15[]

Template:Col-3

Template:Col-3

Template:Col-3

  • Template:Flagicon Yemen[12]Template:Efn

Age 16[]

Template:Col-3

Template:Col-3

  • Template:Flagicon Kuwait[16]
  • Template:Flagicon Palestine
  • Template:Flagicon Pakistan[17] (female only)
  • Template:Flagicon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Template:Col-3

  • Template:GBR
    • Template:Flagicon Scotland[18]Template:Efn
  • Template:Flagicon Vietnam[19]

Age 17[]

Template:Col-3

  • Template:Flagicon North Korea[20]

Template:Col-3

  • Template:Flagicon Tajikistan[21]

Template:Col-3

  • Template:Flagicon Timor-Leste[22]

Age 18[]

Template:Col-3

  • Template:Flagicon Afghanistan
  • Template:Flagicon Albania[23]
  • Template:Flagicon American Samoa[24]
  • Template:Flagicon Andorra[25]
  • Template:Flagicon Antigua and Barbuda[26]
  • Template:Flagicon Argentina[27]Template:Efn
  • Template:Flagicon Angola[28]Template:Efn
  • Template:Flagicon Armenia
  • Template:Flagicon Australia[29]
  • Template:Flagicon Austria[30]
  • Template:Flagicon Azerbaijan
  • Template:Flagicon Bahamas[31]
  • Template:Flagicon Bangladesh
  • Template:Flagicon Barbados[32]
  • Template:Flagicon Belarus[33]
  • Template:Flagicon Belgium[34]
  • Template:Flagicon Belize[35]
  • Template:Flagicon Bhutan
  • Template:Flagicon Bolivia
  • Template:Flagicon Bosnia and Herzegovina[36]
  • Template:Flagicon Botswana
  • Template:Flagicon Brazil Template:Efn
  • Template:Flagicon Brunei
  • Template:Flagicon Bulgaria
  • Template:Flagicon Burundi
  • Template:Flagicon Canada[37]
    • Template:Flagicon Alberta
    • Template:Flagicon Manitoba
    • Template:Flagicon Ontario
    • Template:Flagicon Prince Edward Island
    • Template:Flagicon Quebec
    • Template:Flagicon Saskatchewan
  • Template:Flagicon Chile
  • Template:Flagicon China[38]
  • Template:Flagicon Colombia
  • Template:Flagicon Costa Rica
  • Template:Flagicon Croatia Template:Efn
  • Template:Flagicon Cyprus
  • Template:Flagicon Czech Republic[40]Template:Efn
  • Template:Flagicon Denmark (incl. Faroe Islands and Greenland)[41]
  • Template:Flagicon Djibouti[42]
  • Template:Flagicon Dominica
  • Template:Flagicon Dominican Republic[43]
  • Template:Flagicon Ecuador
  • Template:Flagicon Egypt[44]

Template:Col-3

  • Template:Flagicon El Salvador[45]
  • Template:Flagicon Estonia
  • Template:Flagicon Fiji
  • Template:Flagicon Finland[46]
  • Template:Flagicon France[47]Template:Efn
  • Template:Flagicon Germany[48]
  • Template:Flagicon Georgia
  • Template:Flagicon Ghana
  • Template:Flagicon Greece[49]
  • Template:Flagicon Guatemala
  • Template:Flagicon Guinea
  • Template:Flagicon Guinea-Bissau[50]
  • Template:Flagicon Guyana
  • Template:Flagicon Haiti
  • Template:Flagicon Hungary
  • Template:Flagicon Iceland
  • Template:Flagicon India[51]
  • Template:Flagicon Iraq[52]Template:Efn
  • Template:IRL[53]
  • Template:Flagicon Israel
  • Template:Flagicon Italy
  • Template:Flagicon Jamaica
  • Template:Flagicon Japan (1 April 2022–)[54]
  • Template:Flagicon Jordan
  • Template:Flagicon Kazakhstan[55]
  • Template:Flagicon Kenya[56][57]Template:Efn
  • Template:Flagicon Laos
  • Template:Flagicon Latvia
  • Template:Flagicon Lebanon
  • Template:Flagicon Liechtenstein
  • Template:Flagicon Lithuania
  • Template:Flagicon Luxembourg
  • Template:Flagicon Malawi[58]
  • Template:Flagicon Malaysia[59]
  • Template:Flagicon Malta[60]
  • Template:Flagicon Mauritania
  • Template:Flagicon Mauritius
  • Template:Flagicon Mexico[61]
  • Template:Flagicon Moldova
  • Template:Flagicon Monaco
  • Template:Flagicon Mongolia
  • Template:Flagicon Montenegro
  • Template:Flagicon Namibia[62]
  • Template:Flagicon Nepal
  • Template:Flagicon Netherlands[63]Template:Efn
  • Template:Flagicon Nigeria
  • Template:Flagicon North Macedonia
  • Template:Flagicon Norway[64]

Template:Col-3

  • Template:Flagicon Oman[65]
  • Template:Flagicon Pakistan (male only)[66]
  • Template:Flagicon Palau[67]
  • Template:Flagicon Panama
  • Template:Flagicon Paraguay[68]
  • Template:Flagicon Peru
  • Template:Flagicon Philippines[69]
  • Template:Flagicon Poland[70] Template:Efn
  • Template:Flagicon Portugal
  • Template:Flagicon Qatar
  • Template:Flagicon Romania ("Minimum legal age in Romania")
  • Template:Flagicon Russia Template:Efn[71]
  • Template:Flagicon Rwanda
  • Template:Flagicon Saint Kitts and Nevis[72]
  • Template:Flagicon Seychelles
  • Template:Flagicon Slovakia
  • Template:Flagicon Slovenia
  • Template:Flagicon Somalia
  • Template:Flagicon South Africa[73][74]Template:Efn
  • Template:Flagicon Spain[75][76]Template:Efn
  • Template:Flagicon Sri Lanka[77]
  • Template:Flagicon Sudan[78]
  • Template:Flagicon Sweden[79]
  • Template:Flagicon Switzerland[80]
  • Template:Flagicon Syria
  • Template:Flagicon Serbia
  • Template:Flagicon Tanzania
  • Template:Flagicon Trinidad and Tobago
  • Template:Flagicon Tunisia[81]
  • Template:Flagicon Turkey[82]
  • Template:Flagicon Uganda[83]
  • Template:Flagicon Ukraine[84]
  • Template:GBR[85]
  • Template:Flagicon Crown dependencies
    • Template:Flagicon Isle of Man[87]
    • Template:Flagicon Jersey[88]
    • Template:Flagicon Gibraltar[89]
    • Template:Flagicon Guernsey[90]
  • Template:USA:[91] all states and territories except for those listed below
  • Template:Flagicon Uruguay
  • Template:Flagicon Uzbekistan[92]
  • Template:Flagicon Vatican City
  • Template:Flagicon Venezuela
  • Template:Flagicon Zimbabwe

Age 19[]

Template:Col-3

  • Template:Flagicon Algeria[93]

Template:Col-3

  • Template:Flagicon Canada
    • Template:Flagicon Nova Scotia
    • Template:Flagicon New Brunswick
    • Template:Flagicon British Columbia
    • Template:Flagicon Newfoundland and Labrador
    • Template:Flagicon Northwest Territories
    • Template:Flagicon Yukon
    • Template:Flagicon Nunavut

Template:Col-3

  • Template:Flagicon South Korea[94]
  • Template:Flagicon United States
    • Template:Flagicon Alabama[95]
    • Template:Flagicon Nebraska[96]

Age 20[]

Template:Col-3

Template:Col-3

Template:Col-3

File:Coming of Age Day Ceremony.jpg

Coming of Age Day in Japan

Age 21[]

Template:Col-3

  • Template:Flagicon Bahrain[98]
  • Template:Flagicon Cameroon[99]
  • Template:Flagicon Côte d'Ivoire[100]
  • Template:Flagicon Eswatini[98]
  • Template:Flagicon Gabon[101]
  • Template:Flagicon Grenada[102]

Template:Col-3

Template:Col-3

  • Template:Flagicon United Arab Emirates
  • Template:Flagicon United States
    • Template:Flagicon Mississippi[105]
    • Template:Flagicon Puerto Rico
  • Template:Flagicon Zambia[58]

Religious law[]

Religions have their own rules as to the age of maturity, when a child is regarded to be an adult, at least for ritual purposes:

  • Islam: a person having reached the age of 15 or having entered puberty before that age is considered bulugh (adult).
  • Judaism: the age of majority is 13 years for boys (bar mitzvah) and 12 years for girls (bat mitzvah) for religious purposes.[106] However, Jewish law follows the law of the land if there is a difference, such as marriage age.
  • Christianity (including Roman Catholic Church): 18 years of age.[107]

See also[]

Template:Div col

  • Age of candidacy
  • Age of consent
  • Age of criminal responsibility
  • Emancipation of minors
  • Legal drinking age
  • Marriageable age
  • Mature minor doctrine
  • Secular coming-of-age ceremony
  • Voting age
  • Youth rights
  • Youth suffrage
  • Youth
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