Of legal age

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The age of majority , rarely also referred to as majority or majority , is the age from which a natural person is legally considered to be an adult . Sometimes the more general term “maturity” is used for it.


In Germany (since January 1, 1975) the age of majority is attained with the completion of the 18th year of life, § 2 BGB . This gives the natural person full legal capacity and at the same time receives the right to stand as a candidate at the municipal and federal level ( Article 38 (2) sentence 1 of the Basic Law ). At the state level, the age for eligibility in all states is 18 years. The right to vote for federal acquires a person, regardless of the determination of age, with the completion of the 18th year ( Art. 38 , para. 2 GG). Under criminal law , a person between the ages of 18 and 21 is considered to be an adolescent , to whom juvenile criminal law or general criminal law can be applied depending on the individual case .

Adults of legal age may also:


In France, a law of September 20, 1792, reduced the age of majority for most of the country from 25 to 21 years. On April 16, 1806, a few months after the founding of the Kingdom of Württemberg , the rule of majority of 25 years, as it had previously applied in Old Württemberg , was extended to the newly acquired property, as there were partly different regulations. In many other regions of Germany, too, the age of majority continued to come at the age of 25 in the first half of the 18th century.

In Württemberg , the law of 30 June 1865 reduced the age of majority from 25 to 23 years.

In the German Reich the age of majority was set at 21 years by a Reich law of February 17, 1875 (entered into force on January 1, 1876). This was preceded by the law on the age of majority of December 9, 1869, in which the future German Emperor Wilhelm I reduced the age of majority for his Kingdom of Prussia from July 1, 1870 to 21 years.

Since January 1st, 1900 this has been regulated by § 2 BGB with the same content. Furthermore, § 3 stipulated that the civil status court could award persons who had reached the age of 18 years of age, so that these rights and obligations accordingly arose earlier.

In the German Democratic Republic , the law on lowering the age of majority of May 17, 1950, which came into force on May 22, 1950, reduced the age of majority to the age of 18. As a result, all persons in the GDR who were born between May 22, 1929 and May 22, 1932, came of age on May 22, 1950.

Before 1975 young people in the Federal Republic of Germany came of age at the age of 21. The “Law Regulating the Age of Legal Age” of July 31, 1974, which came into force on January 1, 1975, reduced the age of majority to the age of 18. As a result, all persons in the FRG who were born between January 1, 1954 and January 1, 1957, came of age on January 1, 1975.


In Austria , the age of majority ( § 21 ABGB ) was reduced by law on July 1, 1973 from 21 to 19 and on July 1, 2001 from 19 to 18 years. However, you are entitled to vote at the age of 16. In Austrian law, the age of majority must be distinguished from the age of majority (here, in particular, the age of criminal responsibility is meant). According to Section 21 (2) ABGB , minors in Austria reach these at the age of 14. Anyone who has already reached the age of 18 but not yet the age of 21 is criminally considered a young adult in accordance with Section 1 no. 5 JGG, to whom the Youth Court Act applies.

Age requirements higher than the current age of majority apply e.g. B. for the passive eligibility as Federal President , for the steering of dangerous goods transports or the piloting of commercial aircraft ; lower ones for amateur radio , driving a bicycle , a motorbike , a light motorcycle .


The age of majority in Liechtenstein is reached by exceeding the age limit set by law. From this point in time, a natural person is fully the bearer of rights and obligations in the company. The age limit in Liechtenstein is also 18 years for participating in political rights.

Reaching the age of majority coincides with reaching full legal age, provided that a person has not been completely or partially incapacitated (§§ 270 ff ABGB ) and is therefore not in a position to legally dispose of their own assets. A distinction must therefore be made between reaching the age of majority and coming of age in Liechtenstein.


In Switzerland , the age of consent has been 18 years since January 1, 1996 according to Art. 14 ZGB . Before it was 20 years.

The age of majority or eligibility to vote fell to about 1848, particularly in the rural community - cantons along with the age of the defense capacity, so she was between 14 and 18 years. However, this special feature did not exist in the former city-cantons. For example, in the canton of Glarus in 1830 every over 16 year old was a member of the Landsgemeinde (Landmann), in Appenzell Ausserrhoden every 18 year old, in Graubünden every 17 year old, in Valais every 18 year old.

Many political communities organize young citizens' celebrations for Swiss citizens who come of age.

United States

In the United States , age of majority is determined by the federal , state, and territories . In most states and territories and where federal law applies, it is under 18 years of age. Special regulations exist in:

Other countries

Of age with
  • 16
  • 17th
  • 18th
  • 18 and 19
  • 19th
  • 20th
  • 21st
  • According to the New York Convention on the Rights of the Child of November 20, 1989, the age of majority begins at the age of 18, unless the law applicable to the child occurs earlier. National laws provide for the age of majority:

    Country Of legal age with
    AfghanistanAfghanistan Afghanistan 18th
    EgyptEgypt Egypt 21st
    AlbaniaAlbania Albania 18th
    AlgeriaAlgeria Algeria 19th
    AngolaAngola Angola 18th
    ArgentinaArgentina Argentina 18th
    ArmeniaArmenia Armenia 18th
    AzerbaijanAzerbaijan Azerbaijan 18th
    AustraliaAustralia Australia 18th
    BahamasBahamas Bahamas 18th
    BahrainBahrain Bahrain 21st
    BarbadosBarbados Barbados 18th
    BelgiumBelgium Belgium 18th
    BhutanBhutan Bhutan 18th
    BoliviaBolivia Bolivia 18th
    Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina 18th
    BrazilBrazil Brazil 18, eligibility to vote at 16
    BruneiBrunei Brunei 18th
    BulgariaBulgaria Bulgaria 18, eligibility to vote at 16
    BurundiBurundi Burundi 21st
    ChileChile Chile 18th
    TaiwanRepublic of China (Taiwan) Taiwan 20th
    China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 18th
    DenmarkDenmark Denmark 18th
    GermanyGermany Germany 18th
    DjiboutiDjibouti Djibouti 18th
    DominicaDominica Dominica 18th
    Dominican RepublicDominican Republic Dominican Republic 18th
    EcuadorEcuador Ecuador 18th
    El SalvadorEl Salvador El Salvador 18th
    Ivory CoastIvory Coast Ivory Coast 21st
    EstoniaEstonia Estonia 18th
    FijiFiji Fiji 18th
    FinlandFinland Finland 18th
    FranceFrance France 18th
    GabonGabon Gabon 18th
    GibraltarGibraltar Gibraltar 18th
    GreeceGreece Greece 18, until 1998: 17
    GuatemalaGuatemala Guatemala 18th
    Guinea-aGuinea Guinea 21, previously at marriage
    GuyanaGuyana Guyana 18th
    HondurasHonduras Honduras 21st
    Hong KongHong Kong Hong Kong 18th
    IndiaIndia India 18th
    IndonesiaIndonesia Indonesia 18th
    IranIran Iran 15 lunar years for men, 9 for women, eligibility to vote and driving license at 18
    IrelandIreland Ireland 18th
    IcelandIceland Iceland 18th
    IsraelIsrael Israel 18th
    ItalyItaly Italy 18th
    JamaicaJamaica Jamaica 18th
    JapanJapan Japan 20, from 2021: 18
    YemenYemen Yemen 16
    CambodiaCambodia Cambodia 18th
    CameroonCameroon Cameroon 21st
    CanadaCanada Canada 18 years: Alberta , Manitoba , Ontario , Prince Edward Island , Québec and Saskatchewan . Alberta Manitoba OntarioOntario Prince Edward Island QuebecQuebec Saskatchewan 
    19 years: British Columbia , New Brunswick , Newfoundland and Labrador , Northwest Territories , Nova Scotia , Nunavut and Yukon . British Columbia New BrunswickNew Brunswick Newfoundland and Labrador Northwest TerritoriesNorthwest Territories Nova Scotia NunavutNunavut YukonYukon 
    QatarQatar Qatar 18th
    KenyaKenya Kenya 18th
    KyrgyzstanKyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan 16
    ColombiaColombia Colombia 18th
    Congo RepublicRepublic of the Congo Republic of the Congo 18th
    CroatiaCroatia Croatia 18th
    CubaCuba Cuba 18th
    LaosLaos Laos 18th
    LesothoLesotho Lesotho 21st
    LatviaLatvia Latvia 18th
    LebanonLebanon Lebanon 18th
    LiechtensteinLiechtenstein Liechtenstein 18th
    LithuaniaLithuania Lithuania 18th
    LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg 18, previously at marriage
    MacauMacau Macau 18th
    MalaysiaMalaysia Malaysia 18, voting rights from 21
    MaltaMalta Malta 18th
    MauritaniaMauritania Mauritania 18th
    MexicoMexico Mexico 18th
    Moldova RepublicRepublic of Moldova Moldova 18th
    MonacoMonaco Monaco 18 until 2002 21
    MozambiqueMozambique Mozambique 18th
    NamibiaNamibia Namibia 21, 18 years is discussed due to legal uncertainties
    NepalNepal Nepal 16
    New ZealandNew Zealand New Zealand 20th
    NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 18th
    Korea NorthNorth Korea North Korea 17th
    North MacedoniaNorth Macedonia North Macedonia 18th
    NorwayNorway Norway 18th
    OmanOman Oman 18th
    AustriaAustria Austria 18, right to vote from 16
    PakistanPakistan Pakistan 18 in men,
    16 in women
    PanamaPanama Panama 18th
    ParaguayParaguay Paraguay 18th
    PeruPeru Peru 18th
    PhilippinesPhilippines Philippines 18th
    PolandPoland Poland 18, previously at marriage
    PortugalPortugal Portugal 18th
    Puerto RicoPuerto Rico Puerto Rico 18th
    RwandaRwanda Rwanda 18th
    RomaniaRomania Romania 18th
    RussiaRussia Russia 18, partly 16
    Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia Saudi Arabia 18th
    SwedenSweden Sweden 18th
    SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland 18th
    SenegalSenegal Senegal 18th
    SerbiaSerbia Serbia 18th
    SeychellesSeychelles Seychelles 18th
    Sierra LeoneSierra Leone Sierra Leone 21st
    ZimbabweZimbabwe Zimbabwe 18th
    SingaporeSingapore Singapore 21st
    SlovakiaSlovakia Slovakia 18th
    SloveniaSlovenia Slovenia 18th
    SpainSpain Spain 18th
    Saint Kitts NevisSt. Kitts and Nevis St. Kitts and Nevis 18th
    SudanSudan Sudan 18th
    South AfricaSouth Africa South Africa 18th
    Korea SouthSouth Korea South Korea 19th
    SwazilandSwaziland Swaziland 21st
    SyriaSyria Syria 18th
    TajikistanTajikistan Tajikistan 17th
    TanzaniaTanzania Tanzania 18th
    ThailandThailand Thailand 20th
    Trinidad and TobagoTrinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago 18th
    Czech RepublicCzech Republic Czech Republic 18th
    TurkeyTurkey Turkey 18th
    TunisiaTunisia Tunisia 18th
    TurkmenistanTurkmenistan Turkmenistan 16
    UkraineUkraine Ukraine 18th
    HungaryHungary Hungary 18th
    UruguayUruguay Uruguay 18th
    UzbekistanUzbekistan Uzbekistan 16
    VenezuelaVenezuela Venezuela 18th
    United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates 21 lunar years (equivalent to 20 years and 4 months)
    United StatesUnited States United States 18 if federal regulations are applied, otherwise 18, 19, 21
    United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 18, in Scotland 16
    VietnamVietnam Vietnam 16, eligibility to vote at 18
    BelarusBelarus Belarus 18, until 2006: 16
    Cyprus RepublicRepublic of Cyprus Cyprus 18th

    See also

    Web links

    Individual evidence

    1. ^ Report on the assessment of the draft of the first section of the civil code for the Grand Duchy of Hesse elected committees of the first and second chambers , Leske, Darmstadt 1846, p. 386, full text in the Google book search
    2. August Ludwig Reyscher (Ed.): Complete, historically and critically processed collection of the Württemberg laws. Fues, Tübingen 1839, volume 7, part 4, p. 2, full text in the Google book search
    3. ^ The new judicial legislation in the Kingdom of Württemberg. Official hand edition. JB Metzler, Stuttgart 1874, Volume V, Part 1, p. 160, full text in the Google book search
    4. ^ Paul Stoepel: Prussian Law Codex. An authentic impression. Supplement 1868-1869. Frankfurt 1871, full text in the Google book search
    5. ^ GDR law on lowering the age of majority of May 17, 1950, GBl, p. 437.
    6. BGBl. I p. 1713
    7. Online textbook on civil law, Chapter 4, A.II.5
    8. The age of criminal responsibility in Austria is reached at the age of 14 ( § 4 Juvenile Court Act - JGG). Minors (0 to 14 years of age) "who commit an act that is threatened with a penalty are not punishable" ( Section 4 (1) JGG )
    9. Art. 29, Paragraph 2 of the State Constitution (LV): "In state affairs, political rights are available to all nationals22 who have reached the age of 18, who have their normal place of residence in the state and who do not have the right to vote." Art. 111 LV: " In community matters, all nationals residing in the community who have reached the age of 18 and are not entitled to vote and have the right to vote are entitled to vote. "
    10. Art. 14 ZGB
    11. Status of treaties - ratification status from the CRC. UN Treaty collection , accessed on March 19, 2019 .
    12. up to May 1, 1990 21; since 18 (Article 488 of the Civil Code )
    13. since July 5, 1974 (loi no 74-631). From 1792 to 1974, the age of majority was 21.
    14. ^ The Civil Code pf the Islamic Republic of Iran. (PDF) p. 112 , accessed on September 12, 2016 (English, Article 1210, Note 1).
    15. asia.nikkei.com ( Memento of the original from October 1, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / asia.nikkei.com
    16. Sandra Grauschopf: Age of Majority in Canada by Province. What is the Age of Majority in Each Canadian Province? In: contests.about.com. About, Inc., September 11, 2016, accessed January 29, 2017 .
    17. canadaonline.about.com (Engl.)
    18. ^ Art. 476, Civil Code
    19. Loi n.1.261 du 23/12/2002 abaissant à dix-huit ans l'âge de la majorité civile. Princier Governorate, Principauté de Monaco, December 23, 2002, accessed October 15, 2016 (French).
    20. PDF at www.lawreform.gov.na  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.lawreform.gov.na  
    21. www.lac.org.na
    22. Age of Majority Act 1970 No 137 (as of September 3, 2007), Public Act
    23. ^ North Korea fact sheet
    24. www.pcw.gov.ph ( Memento of the original from December 29, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.pcw.gov.ph
    25. Polish Civil Code (kodeks cywilny), Art. 10 § 2, p. 1.
    26. www.youthpolicy.org
    27. www.youthpolicy.org
    28. www.youthpolicy.org
    29. minors.uslegal.com
    30. www.youthpolicy.org