When Foreign Tourists Give Birth in the US

I imagine that more than once a British woman visiting Walt Disney World has given birth in an Orlando hospital. WDW is filled with British tourists every year, some of them pregnant, so in sheer numbers alone one or two per year would have to have a surprise delivery during their visit.

Since the 14th amendment to the Constitution states that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” are U.S. citizens, where does that leave children born to tourists? Is it simply a matter of buying an extra ticket for the plane ride home? Is there a lot of paperwork both in Orlando and back in [insert U.K. city of choice here]?

I have a niece who was born in San Diego. She has dual citizenship.

  1. By law, they are entitled to dual citizenship; at 18, they are technically “required” but in reality “encouraged” to choose one or the other.
  2. In practice, what usually happens (assuming the parents have no interest in the child having the option of American citizenship) is a birth certificate is issued here but no Social Security number or whatever; the family goes back to Britain, at which point they register the child as British (which basically involves submitting the same paperwork to the Home Office that you’d submit to register a newborn anyway, ie. copy of the birth certificate, proof of at least one parent’s citizenship, etc.)
  3. Bricker did a Staff Report about dual citizenship which explains the legal basis therefor (jus soli and jus sanguina): http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mdualcitizenship.html

AFAIK, The US grants automatic citizenship to any child born in the US - so your Brit/American baby could claim dual citizenship. However, not so for the pregnant US tourist dropping her sprog on the London Eye - here you must prove the child’s right to British citizenship (by having a British parent, for example).

Citizenship laws vary by country, but in the case of the US, a child born to a temporary visitor, who is not part of the diplomatic or consular corps of another country, will be a US citizen by birth. They are likely to also be citizens by descent of the country or countries that their parents come from – and that, of course, depends on the citizenship law of those countries.

Other countries don’t necessarily do the same. For example, a child born to a temporary visitor to Australia would not gain Australian citizenship automatically: a parent would need to be a citizen or a permanent resident of Australia.

And, of course, because of the different citizenship laws, it’s possible to be born stateless, i.e., the citizen of no country at all.

Well, my Dad was accidentally born in England, as it happens.

The depression was upon the land and my Grandfather feared for his wife and young daughter’s welfare. So he put them on a boat back to England, to her family in Manchester, to return when conditions improved or stabilized.

Turns out, my Grandmother had her menses through several of the first months of her pregnancy. She didn’t discover she was pregnant until on she was half way across the ocean. So my Dad was born in Manchester, making him a British subject.

He returned to Canada with his family while still under two, and never again visited England, was in the Canadian Army and never ever mentioned it. I only discovered this information as an adult and was surprised to learn I could get a British passport, as a result. I got all the paperwork and documentation required but never followed through as I wasn’t that interested in traveling in Europe at the time.

How common is the concept of jus soli-based citizenship? Other than the United States, what countries are there were you become entitled to citizenship automatically by being born within its borders regardless of your parents’ citizenship?

This canard pops up from time to time on this board and elsewhere, but at least for the U.S., it’s not true. The actual letter of the law is that loss of citizenship cannot occur unless you “perform certain specified acts voluntarily and with the intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship.” None of these would necessarily apply to someone born in the U.S. to foreign parents, though of course if they went into (say) politics or the military in their parents’ country things might get a little tricky. But there’s no “requirement to choose”, technical or otherwise, on the part of the U.S.

Take a gander at the Wikipedia page on jus soli. Assuming this is a comprehensive or near-comprehensive list, it looks like most Western Hemisphere countries have jus soli while most Eastern Hemisphere countries don’t. (Though there are, of course, exceptions.)

Canada didn’t have it’s own nationality laws until 1949. Your father would’ve still been a British subject if he was born in Canada.

Right, but there’s probably a confusion here. “British subject” is not the same as “citizen of the United Kingdom”. I was born a British subject in Australia, and became an Australian citizen when Australia adopted its own citizenship law in 1949. There was a period (1982 to 1987 I think) when I was a British subject under Australian law, but not under UK law. I think that Canadian citizenship law underwent a similar evolution, though not necessarily at exactly the same time.

Sometimes you get into weird things. For example a friend of mine was born in the UK, actually on a US base so he was born on US soil and born a citizen. However, for some reason he is not supposed to give blood because he was born “over seas”

Before 1949 therethe was no such thing as a “citizen of the United Kingdom”. There were British subjects, British protected persons, aliens, and the sovereign.

I don’t think this is true. He was certainly a US Citizen at birth, but because his parents were US citizens, not because of where he was born. Overseas military bases are not US soil.

I have an acquaintance who’s parents are American, but he was born in Saudi Arabia. He is not entitled to Saudi citizenship and thus is a US citizen only. But his parents are from Virginia, and because he has never lived in the US, he is not able to vote in federal elections because Virginia does not grant children of state residents the right to vote.

Really? I was born “overseas” (to American parents) on a US military base in South Korea, and it has never been an issue for me to give blood. Maybe he’s just afraid of needles and doesn’t want to admit it? :wink:

I believe there are some rules in the USA that ban people who’ve been to or perhaps lived in the UK during certain time periods. It’s not because it’s “overseas”, though, but because of the BSE/Mad Cow fiasco.

ETA: Ban them from giving blood, that is, not ban them from entering the USA.

The American Red Cross site’s In-Depth Discussion of Variant Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease and Blood Donation spells it out:

There are no general “overseas” restrictions on blood donation in the US, but a few that are specific to given countries and timeframes.

[We recently went through the matter in this thread.]

I am aware of this. My point is I only qualify for a British Passport today, because my Dad was actually born in Manchester.

I am British, born in Germany in a Canadian military hospital. I only have ever had British citizenship.

However because I was born out of the country and because both my children were born out of the country, and only have one British parent, they are both dual nationality British/Japanese but they have no right to pass their British citizenship onto their future children. They would have had this right had they been born in England.

There was a sticky bit of law that meant the because of where I’d been born I was told that I couldn’t pass my citizenship onto my kids at all, but my Dad had his original letter of appointment (from 1961!) showing that he was in Crown Service at the time of my birth, and that letter was sent for the birth of each of my sons and on that letter hung their right to the British passport.

My Dad was convinced that I could not be trusted to hold this letter in safekeeping and demanded it back each time. Thank goodness we are not going to have any more children…because he lost it!

Overseas are not US soil?