This question struck me as I was watching a TV show. You live in Los Angeles , California but you are visiting Portland, OR. You hop on a flight from Phoenix to Atlanta, GA. While on the flight you give birth to the baby, let’s say over Utah
What place is the baby’s birthplace and what county do you record it in?
It varies, but as I understand it, the recommended place of birth is where the baby gets off of the plane. I have heard of birth certificates where the place of birth is recorded as in an airplane, X miles from (location Y). Occasionally the place of birth will be recorded as the place where the flight originated from.
If you happened to be flying over the ocean (outside of any country’s territorial boundaries) instead of flying over Utah, the birth place will be recorded as “in air”. Similarly, a baby born on a ship will have their birthplace recorded as “at sea”.
Citizenship issues can get a bit tricky. Usually the child’s citizenship is assumed to be the same as the parent’s citizenship, but the child can have a claim to citizenship in the country that they were flying over, or the one that they landed in.
Disclaimer - IANAL and this is based only on things that I have read over the years.
I concur with the above. We hashed out the technicalities back in the “birther” days.
This is apparently a fairly common occurrence. I know I’ve seen in the Guinness World Record book that if you look up “plane passenger, youngest”, it reports that airborne births have been reported every year for the last few decades. Surely the legal mechanisms must be fairly well established.
The same issue would be raised if the baby was born in a vehicle (ambulance or otherwise), or an air ambulance.
Would a baby born of non-US parents flying over US territory be a citizen? A natural born citizen?
This Atlas Obscura article summarizes the very rough status of such things as I understand them.
In many cases the country that the airliner is registered in “defines” the country where the birth is considered to occur. But there’s a bunch of exceptions, including the USofA. And even then things are far from clear.
And that’s just the “country” of birth issue. Citizenship then has to be worked out.
A lot of forms, say for a passport, don’t just ask for the country of citizenship. You have to put down a “place of birth”, e.g., “New York City”. I imagine consistency is of some importance to bureaucrats so that if you wrote “in air” on one certificate, you shouldn’t change that, and the place of birth will be printed in the passport as “in air” (or “at sea”, “Antarctica”, etc.). Simple enough.
Citizenship laws are a different issue, which is why some people automatically have triple or quadruple citizenship at birth while others are stateless.