Legal majority

"Legal age" redirects here. For other uses, see Legal age (disambiguation).

The age of majority is the threshold of adulthood as it is conceptualized (and recognized or declared) in law. It is the chronological moment when minors cease to legally be considered children and assume control over their persons, actions, and decisions, thereby terminating the legal control and legal responsibilities of their parents or guardian over and for them. Most countries set majority at 18. The word majority here refers to having greater years and being of full age; it is opposed to minority, the state of being a minor. The law in a given jurisdiction may never actually use the term "age of majority" and the term thereby refers to a collection of laws bestowing the status of adulthood. The age of majority is a legally fixed age, concept, or statutory principle, which may differ depending on the jurisdiction, and may not necessarily correspond to actual mental or physical maturity of an individual.

Age of majority should not be confused with the age of sexual consent, marriageable age, drinking age, driving age, voting age, etc., which all may sometimes 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, he or she 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.


Age of majority can be confused with a similar concept, 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 control over one's person, decisions and actions, and the correlative termination of the legal authority and responsibility 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, the age of license to purchase alcoholic beverages is 21 in all U.S. states. Another example is the voting age, which prior to the 1970s was 21, while the age of majority was 18 in most states. 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.[3] Also, in Portugal the age of majority is 18, but one must be at least 25 years of age to run for public office.[4] A child who is legally emancipated by a court of competent jurisdiction automatically attains to his or her maturity upon the signing of the court order. This is distinct from the legal process by which a child might be taken into foster care and/or made a ward of the court. Foster care and court wardship do not confer maturity upon the child so separated from his or her parents (or guardians). Only emancipation confers the status of maturity before a person has actually reached the age of majority.

Almost all jurisdictions automatically confer emancipation (and with it, the status of majority) upon otherwise minor individuals who are married. Some do likewise for minors who are on active duty in the armed forces.[5]

Countries and subdivisions

The following list the age of majority in countries (or administrative divisions) as appropriate:

Age 15

  • Indonesia Indonesia (for females) [6]
  • Iraq Iraq
  • [3] re bulugh and hodud]

Age 16

  • Bolivia Bolivia (voting age is 18 years)
  • Cuba Cuba[7][8]
  • Colombia Colombia (voting age is 18 years old)
  • Guatemala Guatemala
  • Guinea-Bissau Guinea-Bissau (but vote since 18)
  • Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan[9]
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom
  • Turkmenistan Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan Uzbekistan[11]

Age 17

  • North Korea North Korea
  • Tajikistan Tajikistan [12]
  • Gibraltar Gibraltar[13]
  • East Timor East Timor

Age 18

  • Albania Albania[14]
  • Afghanistan Afghanistan
  • American Samoa American Samoa, United States[15]
  • Andorra Andorra[16]
  • Austria Austria [17]
  • Argentina Argentina[18]
  • Angola Angola
  • Australia Australia[19]
  • The Bahamas Bahamas[20]
  • Bangladesh Bangladesh
  • Barbados Barbados[21]
  • Belarus Belarus[22]
  • Belgium Belgium
  • Bhutan Bhutan
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina[23] (16 if minor gets married or has a child)[24]
  • British Crown dependencies
  • Brazil Brazil (those aged 16 or older can be emancipated upon marriage, by being approved for civil service, by graduating in college or for being economically independent)
  • Brunei Brunei
  • Bulgaria Bulgaria
  • Burundi Burundi
  • Cambodia Cambodia
  • Cameroon Cameroon
  • Canada Canada [28]
    • Alberta Alberta
    • Manitoba Manitoba
    • Ontario Ontario
    • Prince Edward Island Prince Edward Island
    • Quebec Quebec
    • Saskatchewan Saskatchewan
  • Chile Chile
  • China China [29]
  • Costa Rica Costa Rica
  • Ivory Coast Côte d'Ivoire
  • Croatia Croatia (16 if minor becomes a parent or marries – a judicial act is passed with prior hearing of minors parents and getting an opinion of the Social Care centre)
  • Cyprus Cyprus
  • Czech Republic Czech Republic (16 if minor marries)
  • Denmark Denmark (incl. Faroe Islands and Greenland)[30]
  • Djibouti Djibouti[31]
  • Dominica Dominica
  • Dominican Republic Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador Ecuador
  • El Salvador El Salvador[32]
  • Fiji Fiji
  • Finland Finland [33]
  • France France
  • Gabon Gabon
  • Germany Germany
  • Georgia (country) Georgia
  • Ghana Ghana
  • Greece Greece
  • Guatemala Guatemala
  • Guinea Guinea
  • Guyana Guyana
  • Haiti Haiti
  • Hong Kong Hong Kong
  • Hungary Hungary
  • Iceland Iceland
  • India India[34]
  • Indonesia Indonesia [6]
  • Iran Iran[35][36]
  • Republic of Ireland Ireland (or upon marriage)[37]
  • Israel Israel
  • Italy Italy
  • Jamaica Jamaica
  • Kenya Kenya
  • Laos Laos
  • Latvia Latvia
  • Lebanon Lebanon
  • Liechtenstein Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania Lithuania
  • Macau Macau
  • Republic of Macedonia Macedonia
  • Malawi Malawi[38]
  • Malaysia Malaysia
  • Malta Malta
  • Mauritania Mauritania
  • Mauritius Mauritius
  • Mexico Mexico
  • Moldova Moldova
  • Monaco Monaco
  • Mongolia Mongolia
  • Montenegro Montenegro
  • Nepal Nepal
  • Netherlands Netherlands
  • Norway Norway
  • Oman Oman [39]
  • Pakistan Pakistan
  • Palestinian territories Palestine
  • Panama Panama
  • Paraguay Paraguay
  • Peru Peru
  • Philippines Philippines[40]
  • Poland Poland [41] (or upon marriage which for women can happen at 16 the earliest, voting age is 18 always)
  • Portugal Portugal (minors are emancipated upon marriage - art.º 132.º Portuguese Civil Code)
  • Qatar Qatar
  • Romania Romania ("Minimum legal age in Romania")
  • Russia Russia (minors are emancipated upon marriage or in case of working on a labour agreement or being engaged in business activities)[42]
  • Rwanda Rwanda
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Kitts and Nevis [43]
  • [4] re hodud]
  • Serbia Serbia
  • Seychelles Seychelles
  • Slovakia Slovakia (16 if minor marries – a judicial act is passed with prior agreement of minor's parents)
  • Slovenia Slovenia
  • South Africa South Africa
  • Spain Spain
  • Sri Lanka Sri Lanka[44]
  • Sudan Sudan[45][disputed (for: see cited source re Zakaria Mohammed and hodud]
  • Sweden Sweden [46]
  • Switzerland Switzerland[47]
  • Syria Syria
  • Tanzania Tanzania
  • Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turkey Turkey [48]
  • Ukraine Ukraine [49]
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom
    • England England
    • Wales Wales
    • Northern Ireland Northern Ireland[50][51]
  • United States United States,[52] (except Alabama (19),[53] Nebraska (19 or upon marriage),[54] Puerto Rico (21)[55])
  • Uruguay Uruguay
  • Venezuela Venezuela
  • Vietnam Vietnam
  • Yemen Yemen
  • Zimbabwe Zimbabwe

Age 19

Age 20

  • Japan Japan; as of 2008, the age of majority in Japan was 20, but it had plans to lower it to 18.[58]
  • New Zealand New Zealand[59][note 1]
  • Taiwan Taiwan (Republic of China)
  • Thailand Thailand
  • Tunisia Tunisia [61]

Age 21

  • Bahrain Bahrain[13]
  • Chad Chad
  • Egypt Egypt[13]
  • Honduras Honduras[13]
  • Kuwait Kuwait
  • Lesotho Lesotho[13]
  • Madagascar Madagascar[63]
  • Namibia Namibia[13]
  • Singapore Singapore (Only for casino entry age, voting and marriage)
  • Swaziland Swaziland[13]
  • United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates

See also



es:Mayor de edad

id:Usia dewasa nl:Volwassene

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