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The age of majority is the threshold of adulthood as recognized or declared in law. It is the moment when minor (law), 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. Those under the age of majority are referred to as minors and may be legally denied certain privileges such as voting, buying and drinking alcoholic beverages, buying tobacco or cannabis products, gambling, marrying, buying or owning firearms, owning property, entering into binding contracts, or getting full driving privileges. Age of majority should not be confused with the Coming of age, age of maturity, age of consent, 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.


Explanation

Age of majority can be confused with the similar concept of the age of license, 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. Age of majority pertains solely to the acquisition of 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 may be higher, lower, or match the age of majority. For example, to purchase alcoholic drink, 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. After the voting age was lowered in 1971 from 21 to 18, the age of majority was lowered to 18 in many states. In most US states, one may obtain a driver's license, consent to sexual activity, and gain full-time employment at age 16 even though the current age of majority is 18 in most states. In the Republic of Ireland the age of majority is 18, but one must be over 21 to stand for election to the Houses of the Oireachtas. 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 to run for president. A child who is legally emancipation of minors, 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. The age 18 is identified as the age of adulthood in the Jewish Talmud relative to having sound judgement to make monetary decisions as a judge. Here, the Talmud says that every judgment Josiah, the sixteenth king of Judah (c. 640–609), issued from his coronation until the age of eighteen was reversed and he returned the money to the parties whom he judged liable, due to concern that in his youth he may not have judged the cases correctly. Other Jewish commentators have discussed whether age 13 or 18 is the age to make decisions in a Beth din, Jewish Court.


Civil law

In many countries minors can be Emancipation of minors, emancipated: depending on jurisdiction, this may happen through acts such as marriage, attaining economic self-sufficiency, obtaining an educational academic degree, degree or diploma, or participating in a form of military service. In the United States, all states have some form of emancipation of minors. The following list the age of majority in countries (or administrative divisions) in the order of lowest to highest:


Age 15

* Iran – 9 lunar years (female only), 15 lunar years (male only) * Indonesia * Myanmar * Yemen


Age 16

* Cambodia * Cuba * Kyrgyzstan * State of Palestine, Palestine * Pakistan (female only) * Saint Vincent and the Grenadines * ** Scotland * Vietnam


Age 17

* North Korea * Tajikistan * Timor-Leste


Age 18

* Afghanistan * Albania * Andorra * Antigua and Barbuda * Argentina * Angola * Armenia * Australia * Austria * Azerbaijan * Bahamas * Bangladesh * Barbados * Belarus * Belgium * Belize * Bhutan * Bolivia * Bosnia and Herzegovina * Botswana * Brazil * Brunei * Bulgaria * Burundi * Canada ** Alberta ** Manitoba ** Ontario ** Prince Edward Island ** Quebec ** Saskatchewan * Chile * China ** China, Mainland China ** Hong Kong ** Macau * Colombia * Costa Rica * Croatia * Cyprus * Czech Republic * Denmark (incl. Faroe Islands and Greenland) * Djibouti * Dominica * Dominican Republic * Ecuador * Egypt * El Salvador * Estonia * Fiji * Finland * France * Germany * Georgia (country), Georgia * Ghana * Greece * Guatemala * Guinea * Guinea-Bissau * Guyana * Haiti * Hungary * Iceland * India * Iraq * * Israel * Italy * Jamaica * Japan (1 April 2022–) * Jordan * Kazakhstan * Kenya * Laos * Latvia * Lebanon * Liechtenstein * Lithuania * Luxembourg * Malawi * Malaysia * Malta * Mauritania * Mauritius * Mexico * Moldova * Monaco * Mongolia * Montenegro * Namibia * Nepal * Netherlands * New Zealand * Nigeria * North Macedonia * Norway * Oman * Pakistan (male only) * Palau * Panama * Paraguay * Peru * Philippines * Poland * Portugal * Qatar * Romania ("Minimum legal age in Romania") * Russia * Rwanda * Saint Kitts and Nevis * Saudi Arabia * Seychelles * Singapore (with exceptions, under the Civil Law Act.) * Slovakia * Slovenia * Somalia * South Africa * Spain * Sri Lanka * Sudan * Sweden * Switzerland * Syria * Serbia * Taiwan (2023–) * Tanzania * Trinidad and Tobago * Tunisia * Turkey * Uganda * Ukraine * ** England ** Wales ** Northern Ireland * Crown dependencies ** Isle of Man ** Jersey ** Guernsey * British Overseas Territories ** Gibraltar *: all states, territories, and Washington, D.C. except for those listed below * Uruguay * Uzbekistan * Vatican City * Venezuela * Zimbabwe


Age 19

* Algeria * Canada ** Nova Scotia ** New Brunswick ** British Columbia ** Newfoundland and Labrador ** Northwest Territories ** Yukon ** Nunavut * Republic of Korea, South Korea * United States ** Alabama ** Nebraska


Age 20

* Japan (–31 March 2022) * Taiwan (–2023) * Thailand


Age 21

* Bahrain * Cameroon * Côte d'Ivoire * Eswatini * Gabon * Grenada * Honduras * Kuwait * Lesotho * Madagascar * Niger * Samoa * Singapore * United Arab Emirates * United States ** Mississippi ** Puerto Rico * Zambia


Religious law

Religions have their own rules as to the Coming of age, 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 ''baligh'' (adult). *Judaism: the age of majority is 13 years for boys (bar mitzvah) and 12 years for girls (bat mitzvah) for religious purposes. However, Jewish law follows the law of the land if there is a difference, such as in marriage age. *Christianity (only Roman Catholic Church): 18 years., (1983).


See also

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


Notes


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Age of Majority Minimum ages, * Adulthood Legal fictions