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Old 01-01-2009, 10:33 AM
R. P. McMurphy R. P. McMurphy is offline
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Baby born in flight. Citizenship?

This news article about a baby born in flight:

Says the baby is considered a Canadian citizen because it was born over Canadian airspace.

Is there a precedent for this? Couldn't this give rise to all kinds of crazy scenarios?
Old 01-01-2009, 10:50 AM
Spoons Spoons is online now
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Well, the item said "for customs purposes, the baby was being considered a Canadian citizen." It did not say the baby was going to be Canadian from here on in.

I'd imagine US Customs needs to record some kind of citizenship for all passengers getting off the plane; "Canadian" makes sense in this situation since the baby was technically born in Canada. It doesn't sound as if anybody had the luxury of time to find out for sure--someone had to make a decision on the spot as to the child's citizenship, after all. But later on, I'd also imagine somebody would take a look at the applicable laws and precedents, and figure out just what citizenship the child is.

In short, it seems to me that it was a quick but logical response to a rare and unusual situation, and will be resolved correctly at some point in the future.
Old 01-01-2009, 10:54 AM
Sevastopol Sevastopol is offline
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Note that the article says 'for customs purposes' which is a workaround IHMO for the laws in place if the infant were considered a Dutch/non-Canadian citizen. Troubles with customs & immigration on arrival.

As to the child's citizenship, that's a little more complicated. Firstly the parent's citizenship is likely to apply. As well, either the Montreal or Guardaljara (sp) Convention may apply which are likely to confer the citizenship of the country of departure (IIRC). On reflection it may be in the Warsaw Convention. Anyway, this child may have 2 or more citizenship entitlements at birth. But it's been a while. Some better informed person may be along later.

Last edited by Sevastopol; 01-01-2009 at 10:59 AM.
Old 01-01-2009, 11:03 AM
Ca3799 Ca3799 is offline
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I think it's a plot for when this child runs for simultanoeus leader of his or her countries one day.
Old 01-01-2009, 11:33 AM
Waffle Decider Waffle Decider is offline
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My WAG is that since the child is born in Canadian airspace, one can argue that he or she can claim Canadian citizenship under 3.1.a of Canadian Citizenship Act. However, I don't know if there are any exceptions hidden somewhere else that excludes birth that occurs on foreign vessel inside Canadian territory.

This page says that anyone born in the US can claim US citizenship, even on a foreign vessel. (except diplomats, of course)

Also interesting is that under Interpretation section 2.a of the Canadian law, it suggests that anyone born on a Canadian vessel anywhere in the world can claim Canadian citizenship. However, the page above suggests that this is not true for the US. So the child does not have a claim to US citizenship, even though the birth occurs on a US aircraft.

In addition, of course the nationality law of the parents' country/ies may also apply.

Last edited by Waffle Decider; 01-01-2009 at 11:34 AM.
Old 01-01-2009, 11:34 AM
Attack from the 3rd dimension Attack from the 3rd dimension is offline
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Looks as though she's not just a Canadian, but also a Newfoundlander.
Old 01-01-2009, 11:37 AM
Casserole Casserole is offline
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I always believed that you hadn't truly "entered" a country until you passed the customs agent, in which case, the baby would be the citizenship of whichever country the plane took off from.

At least, that's how I see it.
Old 01-01-2009, 11:49 AM
Driver8 Driver8 is offline
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Originally Posted by Casserole View Post
I always believed that you hadn't truly "entered" a country until you passed the customs agent, in which case, the baby would be the citizenship of whichever country the plane took off from.

At least, that's how I see it.
That is my gut reaction too, based on how airports are setup such that you can enter countries in landlocked or far from a border places. But reading the links above it seems that is not how the law works, since it appears a birth in flight over the United States makes you a citizen. I guess that makes sense given the "under the jurisdiction of the United State" clause in the law. I believe you would be under the jurisdiction of the United States in its airspace, and you definitely would be even if your parents where illegal immigrants who had never passed an immigration official.


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