Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Alien


Quick Summary of Alien

A foreign-born person who has not qualified as a citizen of the country.

What is the dictionary definition of Alien?

Dictionary Definition

1) n. a person who is not a citizen of the country. 2) in the United States any person born in another country to parents who are not American and who has not become a naturalized citizen. There are resident aliens officially permitted to live in the country and illegal aliens who have sneaked into the country or stayed beyond the time allowed on a visa. 3) v. to convey title to property.

Full Definition of Alien

Foreign-born persons who have not been naturalized to become U.S. citizens under federal law and the Constitution.

Much of U.S. immigration relates to policies and law related to the legal status of aliens within the country.

Under UK law, the term ‘alien’ is defined by exclusion: any individual who is neither a British citizen nor a member of any one of several non-citizen ‘privileged’ groups in the UK, is considered an alien. The term ‘alien’ itself is ordinarily used to refer to a foreign national present in the UK.

On the whole, the law assumes that aliens are subject to the same legal rights and responsibilities as citizens of the UK, but with the following exceptions:

  1. Non-EU aliens have no right to vote in UK elections or become MPs.
  2. Non-EU aliens have no right to work, except where a permit has been properly granted.
  3. Non-EU aliens must register their whereabouts with the police during prolonged stays in the UK.

Any alien who engages in a criminal act may be deported.


The federal immigration laws determine whether a person is an alien. Generally, a person born in a foreign country is an alien, but a child born in a foreign nation to parents who are U.S. citizens is a U.S. citizen. The term alien also refers to a native-born U.S. citizen who has relinquished U.S. citizenship by living and acquiring citizenship in another country. Aliens are categorized in several ways: resident and nonresident, immigrant and nonimmigrant documented, and undocumented (“illegal”).

Related Phrases

British citizenship
Immigration and Naturalization

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Alien. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd.
October 04, 2022
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Alien. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: October 04, 2022).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Alien. Retrieved October 04, 2022
, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Alien are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 9th October, 2021 | 0 Views.