Citizenship of a baby born in a foreign country – Make your child a Citizen

What is the citizenship status of a baby born abroad to only one American – US citizen (and generally the rule for citizen’s of other counties)? Cutting to the chase and with out all the legalese, a baby born in a foreign country where one parent is an US citizen can be a US dual citizen. Therefore, if you live in Europe and are married to a European or EU citizen the baby is a US citizen. However, the following steps must be taken to register the baby.

Get your baby a Citizenship they deserve.

Steps to register a baby in a foreign country as a US citizen

1. Go to the consulate with the baby
2. Original copy of the baby’s birth certificate
3. Original copy of the parent’s certificate of marriage
4. Parent’s passports
5. $65 USD

It is that simple. See the baby is already a U.S. citizen when born, even to one parent, it’s just really registering the baby as a citizen. Can a child be a dual citizen? yes, simple in the US they go by US laws abroad they go by the laws of that county.

Baby born abroad and Citizenship

There are many reasons why a child might be born in a foreign country. Usually it is a result of a marriage or relationship from an expat working abroad or military. Occasionally you have cases where there are dual citizens living in one country and want to claim nationality of the other another.

  • In the USA the fourteenth amendment outlines the basic citizenship law.

The world is neither black nor white today, and every type of relationship conceivable exists so governments have had to interpret the generalities of the laws to a finer granularity. Further there is a lot of human judgement and case by case situations when it comes to laws connected to determining if a child or adult can achieve citizenship though confirmation or naturalization or repatriation. Even in countries which are not based on case-law, but constitutional law, the department of immigration makes judgements based on past history. The US immigration laws come from the tradition of English common law.

  • Citizenship through confirmation – When one has always been a citizen the government just has to send you a letter to acknowledge this. This results when you provide documentation such as birth certificate. I would also call this birthright citizenship and it can come from place of birth or lineage (jus soli (right of soil)  or jus sanguinis (right of blood)).
  • Citizenship through naturalization – If you like in a country legally for a time specified in the codex as a good, contributing person to the society the government will grant you citizenship through naturalization.
  • Citizenship through repatratitization – This is a combination of the two ideas.  Borders have shifted in Europe and often countries were deleted from the map.
  • Babies born out-of-wedlock – Most confusion about the citizenship of a baby comes from babies born out-of-wedlock.
  • Mother is the Citizen –  If the baby is born to the mother who is a citizen in almost all cases the baby takes the citizenship of the mother regardless of where they are born. For example Title 8 U.S.C. § 1409 states the only requirement is the mother would have had to live in the USA for one year in her life.
  • Father is a Citizen – The father has to prove paternity and have lived in the USA for five years.  If the child grows up and reaches its 18th birthday then the father and child lose this right. This comes from many illegitimate children immigrating over with their father unaware after the age of 18. I personally find bias in the law.

Are immigration laws fair or just? – No. Humans are imperfect. Just look at history and the Dred Scott v. Sanford case.

Is the Department of immigration and Homeland security difficult? I have had mixed results. I would say most people are exceptionally nice and helpful. They are well-trained and screened. However, some of the lower level people often use poor judgement and you need to ask for a supervisor if you feel something is wrong.

Do not let a bad experience or person spoil your dream for immigration – For example, I was at the department in Jacksonville and when my three-year old daughter was walking around the bench we were sitting while waiting our turn, the security guard came over and was yelling at us (everyone was looking at him) that the situation needed to be contained and ready to remove her. The guy should be fired. I was going to issue a complaint but what is the point. I think he  was a contractor, but still he guy was buzzing, I think he could have been on something judging from his erratic behavior. I have had a lot of experience with people on substances and my layman’s evaluation is that guy should be fired. But do not let one person or situation get you off track.  These are all humans and you have to learn patience and courtesy and stay calm and smile a lot.

United States or European Union or other countries, the idea of the laws and they way they operate are similar.

My point is stay positive, do not go to the dark side. As God to remove any negative feelings you have and your visa and immigration journey will go better. We all have been wronged in life, but generally if you do the right thing and are patient good things will happen.

However, the people in the embassy are pretty nice and if you ever have questions you can set up an informational interview and the people will help answer your questions.

Do you need a lawyer to help with citizenship? – There are a lot of attorneys that will take your money. just open your wallet. In most cases all you need is to make an informational interview with Department of Homeland Security. Laws a clear and you can look up laws online and case history. If you are in a complex case, lookup.

For example, go here to look at the US law regarding immigration.

Anyone can search the Laws of any country, you do not have to be a legal professional. Most countries are democracies and the laws are clear.

  • My recommendation is if you use a lawyer abroad use one approved by the US embassy, they have a list is the lobby.
  • I also recommend using a specialist. This is someone who is not a lawyer but knows what they are doing, it is a lot cheaper. There are many expats and people who have even worked for the government that can help you and they charge less.

Travelling to the USA when you are pregnant  – Unlike European citizenship, being born in the US does pretty much guarantee citizenship for a child. However, I have heard that there is risk to the baby for air travel. You can read the statistics but it increases the chance of miscarriage. So be aware of the risk. I do not think anything is worth nonexistence.

What if you do not have the money?  The USA is all about money. I am sorry but it is true. Other countries to a lesser extent but the USA is about money. To get a visa or apply for anything it costs. You need to pay and pay more just for the application.

If you want to get a green card to the USA expect to be making about 30,000 dollar USD as shown on your income tax returns and US-based. Otherwise get a sponsor or apply for a lesser visa. Here is another resource you might want to explore.

What is an anchor baby? It is use as a pejorative term to describe infants born domestically in America and the relatives use the child’s legal status to gain access to rights and benefits.

Is it worth getting a citizenship to the USA? No always. Unless you have family ties or really have a love of the country, I think the USA is not what it was even twenty years ago. It is still a rich country and jobs are easy to get (paying $10 dollars an hour) but it is not what it once was because the global market has changed everything. You can make just as much money in Eastern Europe or India if you have skills that are in need. If you do not your, your absolute wages as an unskilled worker will be higher but not your relative wage. Sure it is a great country but there is crime and other negative social externalize you will have to pay for in non-monetary ways.

I think the great advantage is the weather is better and English is a cool language to learn. The cultural experience is positive as people generally are friendly and there is a lot of exciting things to do like go to Disney and we have good TV. But I am telling you the world is changing and if getting your child a US citizen at all costs is your idea of being a good parent, it is a misconstrued notion. Better is to spend time with them on a daily basis and show them a lot of love, when they are under 18 years old.  Trust me, a US citizenship means nothing compared to spending an hour or so one-on-one with a child everyday and taking a real interest in them.

Let me know if you have any questions about being a US citizen though foreign birth with or without American parents or though grandparents or adoption or non-conventional methods of conception.

Author: Mark Biernat

I live in with family between two worlds, US and Europe where I create tools for language learning. If you found my site you probability share my passion to be a life long learner. Please explore my site and comment.

601 thoughts on “Citizenship of a baby born in a foreign country – Make your child a Citizen”

  1. when my wife went back to work in italy, we both didn’t know that i got her pregnant. she wasn’t able to go back here in the philippines because she had just arrived and still have to earn to pay for her plane ticket. she was left with no choice but to give birth in italy. If our baby will be brought to the philippines, can he still go back to study in italy? what are privileges he has being born in italy? please…

    1. jus sanguinis is the law of Italy. If your born in Italy it does not give you anything really. Your family must have Italian blood if you want citizenship. I think your child might have some visa or something for a while, but your baby will be treated as a Philippine citizen.

  2. my husband and i are iranian and we don’t have no child becouse we don’t like a baby with iranian nationality so i survay for countries that if i born a baby in other country our baby can be a citizen of that country

    1. I think the US for one. Jus soli is the idea that if you are born in the country you are a citizen. Most countries go by jus sanguinis that is citizenship by blood. I think Canada also is jus soli.

  3. It is very misleading what you website states regarding getting citizenship for the baby. Here in the Philippines it is a very lengthy, expensive and time consuming process.
    You must fill out a CBRA form and supply documentation including income, residency in the US for five years, proof of relationship with the mother (Filipina) and on and on and on. Then if you are lucky you get an interview in Manila and you try to get approval. I have been working on this for 3 months and have not yet been able to even get the Philippine birth certificate.

  4. You site states it is easy to get a baby US citizenship. Not true.
    I am having a difficult time proving my US residency for five years. I am on disability so no W2. I have no receipt of rent because I rented from a friend.

    1. I am very sorry for all your trouble. Really I am.
      Easy and hard are relative. I did 1 and 1/2 years of paperwork to get a Polish visa working all the time to get documents. 3 months is nothing. Work on it 40 hours a week for the next three months and you will get it. Its important for your son.
      It takes most of my friends about 3 days to get the paperwork together.
      Try tax records, school records, passport stamps, federal payments, etc. If there is a will there is a way. Go back to your school and get records. Do what it takes to get those records so you baby can get citizenship.

      I have been paying taxes since I was 16, are you saying you never filed a tax return in your life? What about school, what about passport and birth certificate, where were you born, I think your passport stamps will show you lived in the USA. And these are accepted at the embassy. You can even get government travel records. How old are you when did you move to the RP? I need more details but I am very sure you can provide proof you lived in the USA to get citizenship for your child. It is just in the RP you need this but everywhere. It is the law of the USA if you want to pass citizenship.

  5. In the Philippines one must file a CRBA and supporting documents. If I can not provide supporting documents can the Embassy deny my child his citizenship (born here in the RP)? I am on disability so the income is not taxable, hence no tax return (or 0 in the income section of the return).
    Plus the residency is a problem proving. Very frustrating.

  6. Also:
    I am on SSDI and my son should receive funds once I register him. Since my registering my son for his US citizenship is taking so long (to get the birth certificate) will the payments be retroactive….for example if I take him to Manila when he is six months old for his citizenship will the SSDI payments to him start with hix sixth month or will it be retroactive from his day of birth?

  7. Hi, My son is a British Citizen. I am a British Citizen and my son’s father is a US citizen. When we were applying for our son to get US citizenship by applying for a report of birth abroad, we did not get through because his father didn’t meet the physical requirements and his father’s parents are not US citizens. The only other option the representatives from the embassy suggested is for our son to immigrate to the US as a Lawful Permanent Resident. From my understanding when he has been admitted to the US he will automatically get US citizenship.

    Question is:

    Does he have to live there for 5 years or more to get a US passport or as soon as he enters the US he can apply for a passport?

  8. Oh and actually my son’s father spent a little bit more than fives years in a US country but only one year after the age of 14!

    1. Anon, If he was never a citizen like you state and his birth father did not live in the USA for five year so he could not pass the citizenship, then you are right you can apply for residence.
      To answer your question, if he gets US citizenship, he does not need to live in the USA for five years. You could apply at the US Chinese embassy or the US Congo embassy for all the USA cares. A citizens is a citizen. In fact, getting a passport abroad for a US citizen only takes a couple of days even if they have never stepped foot in the USA.

  9. Mark,

    I’m American (multi-generational, going back over 200 years). I’m married to another American. That’s the easy part. Here’s where it gets messy. I have a girlfriend in Argentina (Argentine citizen, no dual citizenship), and she’s now pregnant with my baby. I know the baby will have dual US and Argentine citizenship. However, what are the possibilities for the mother? Will she be able to easily acquire a visa to come to the US to visit, bring the baby up to visit, etc? Will having a baby who is a US citizen help her come here legally, and maybe even eventually gain citizenship as well, even though we are not and never will be married? Or if not gain citizenship, at least obtain travel visas easily and on a regular basis? I want the child to experience both cultures, and that requires the mother being able to travel here easily and possibly live here part of the year. Thanks.

    1. Argentina is a beautiful place for sure. Here is the problem. Children do not affect the parent’s citizenship. There is not law that a child can lead the parent to citizenship. Only a law about the transfer of citizenship to the child. However, for a tourists visa I think she will get a ten year tourist visa no problem. But this is only for a three month stay, six months in total a year. She can not ever over stay this time and it can not be back to back. But if you are talking about an immigration visa that is a whole different story. That is based on the law of the land, that is the USA. To get this you need marriage or a company to sponsor her under a special work visa, then its a long process. I am not a lawyer and maybe there is more to the story or I am wrong, but I am at the US embassy a lot talking about such issues. Basically she is either married to you or has no rights except to be a tourist.

  10. Hello,

    I am a US citizen who is pregnant. The child’s biological father does not want me to remain pregnant. For reasons that I prefer not to delve into, I am contemplating moving away to give birth. I would like to learn of a country that is easy enough to move to, seek gainful, even if blue collar, employment and establish residency. I understand that once the baby is born on foreign soil he/she will usually have citizenship in that country. From that point, I can file with a US embassy for a US birth, born abroad. Thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter.

    1. Sissy, you and your child will be a US citizen no matter where your child is born. Also you can get the citizenship of many, many other countries.
      I am a parent. I love being a parent. It is the greatest joy. I highly recommend you have your child as you stated you wanted to. You to me are a hero.
      You speak English. You like I can work in any country in the world and have an upper middle class income. Believe me. If you speak English, even if you have no education, you can teach English to foreigners. This is a fact.
      States and territories that observe jus soli include:
      * Argentina
      * Brazil
      * Canada
      * Chile
      * Mexico
      * Panama
      * Peru
      * Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
      * Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
      * United States
      * Uruguay
      * Venezuela
      There are more, but these are the best one. I like Argentina. It is a very beautiful place. You can teach English and no one will bother you. You can go to Uruguay to reset your passport if needed.
      But why not live in some remote place in the USA? Would that not be easier? I mean the USA is safe and your country.
      Many of these countries are not strict and you can resent your passport as a tourist every 3 months. But I do not know for sure. This has to be researched. I am not an expert on any of this.
      Me I would choose some place fun.
      If you have any question you can write to me personally.

  11. Hi…My husband is getting his PhD in Vermont and looking at a PostDoc position in Europe. If we are both US citizens and our child is born abroad, will our child have EU citizenship? US citizen? both?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated. Our family planning will depend on the answer to this citizen question.


    1. Hi your child born in the EU will in most cases be a US citizen only. Jus soli (law of ground) is the law only in a few counties. I think Malta was the last country in Europe to abolish the idea of Jus soli. I may be wrong, but I think no country in Europe will grant foreigners born on their soil citizenship.
      This is hard for Americans to believe but in Europe citizenship is based on blood not place of birth. The idea is Jus sanguinis (the right of blood). I was born in the USA but I am also a EU citizen (Polish) based on my family blood. But if an American is born here they are just American unless there is a special case on a stateless person etc. However, if you live in a country for about 7 years (usually less but the paperwork etc comes down to over seven years) you can usually get citizenship. Each country is different. Vermont is a nice place by the way. If I did not live in the magical city of Krakow I would consider living there.

  12. Thank you! This is very helpful. Will it be difficult for me to get a work visa or health insurance in Europe as a US citizen?


    1. Insurance is no problem in Europe. Most countries have social insurance or you can pay out of pocket. Work visa, it depends on many factors but if your an educated guy, I have not seen any foreigners have a big problem. But I know in the private sector they will hire you if you have a skill they need, just like in the USA. But to simply get a visa, then look for a job no. A company or university will get one for you if they hire you.

  13. Is it true that you are not granted Kuwaiti citizenship if your parents were not born there? Both my parents are not from Kuwaiti but lived there for quite some time when they had me, yet I am not a Kuwaiti citizen. I live in Canada now and a Canadian citizen, btw.

    1. Kuwait does not grant citizenship to people born in Kuwait unless they are of Kuwaiti blood. However, if you live there for a long time and you build a case why you deserve citizenship, they might consider you.

  14. I’m a Cuban-American citizen. Have been here for 15 years. I’m also pregnant, the baby father is a Cuban citizen. My question is, if I have my baby in Cuba is he an American citizen or Cuban citizen?

    1. That is a e. I think your baby is an American by law. If the mother is the parent, then the fact that the baby was born to an American is clear. Unlike if the father is the American. However, because of the closed political relation the USA has with Cuba, I do not have an answer for you. I do not know and would keep looking for the answer as it is a matter of seriousness for you. Could you get married to the father and he live in the USA? Maybe that is the best solution for the family.

  15. Thank you for responding to me. Yes we could get married but I was told is long process due to his profession. He is a doctor there and is very hard sometimes unlikely for doctors to be permitted to travel to the United States.

    1. That is true, as Cuba would be afraid of losing someone who is needed in their country. If you do find out the answer to your question could you post it here as I am sure others are also curious about citizenship of babies born in Cuba who have a parent with American citizenship.

  16. I a US citizen and just had a baby born in China. Is this baby a US citizen or a Chinese citizen?


    1. In theory your baby has citizenship in both countries. Therefore you have to prove that it is your child by bringing marriage documents etc. If you were the mother, it would be easier. But do not take my word for it, got to the US embassy website.

  17. I am from United Arab Emirates and my husband from Pakistan
    and I am pregnant for 8 month and I plan to give birth in France. So i can get citizenship for my baby.
    Can I find a country they give citizenship when born baby even though parents are nationals.

    1. In Europe and in France citizenship is determined by the nationality of the parents. Therefore, you baby will not be a French citizen. However, in the USA and Canada your baby would be a citizen as nationality, even of foreign babies are determined by place of birth.

  18. I went to Mexico to go to my friends wedding and i ended up having my baby boy in Mexico. I am a u.s citizen and I am told that I have to get some papers to make my baby legal to come with me to the u.s. and that I cant cross the border with my new born baby without the proper papers. I think it is wrong for me to have to pay $ 1,450 for me as a u.s. citizen to have to pay money for me to be with my baby. Now i am here in the u.s. without my baby because I have to file these papers . I’m here looking for a job to pay for the papers I need! and no one is hiring right now so its taking a long time. then I have to pay another $2,000 for a plane ticket to go back to el rayo Mexico to get my baby and then I have to pay another $3,000 for the passport and the plane ticket for my baby and me to come back from Mexico. All of this is so much stress for me. I am here in the u.s. without my baby because I have to be for money and its driving me so crazy. I do not know what I need to do, or how I am going to come up with all of the money that i need to bring my baby here to the u.s. with me so he will have a healthy educated and full life. My baby is the most important person in my life. due to the fact that i have no family left. I think a baby should be with there mother and because of the citizenship laws now my 1 month old baby boy has to be without (me)his mother. Its not at all fair. I love my son (Jeovanni)more than he will ever know, and I cant be with him now but he will know in the future that i did not want to do this but its something i had to to for (Jeovanni’s) sake. I hope that he realizes that there’s no other love stronger than the love I have for him. He will know that my love for him gave me the strength to do this and overcome my fears, for my beloved baby boy (zaqh jeovanni corona)

    1. Your story is unbelievable for me and I do not know if it is true, but this is what I would do.
      1) Go directly to the US embassy and get them involve. Call your congressmen as soon as possible if you need to. Be proactive.
      2) You do not need that money. I think all you need is like 65 dollars at most. How do I know? You need a document of a registration of birth of a US citizen abroad. I know this for a fact. I did it. A passport for a child might cost more but lets say in total 150 USD. For both.
      You do not need a passport to get in the US if you are a US citizen traveling by land. Maybe a Passport card which is 35 dollars. Therefore, total cost is 100 dollars. If you have Internet connection you can afford 100 dollars.

      That is it. Go to the US embassy and website and do the research. You can come up with 65 dollars. In emergency they pay for US citizens stranded in foreign countries to get home.

      Work at Walmart, I would. Beg on the street, I would, begging is a very old profession. But you can come up with 100 dollars. Ask your extended family and what about the father? Where is the father? You are stressing out too much, everything will be ok as long as you are a US citizen that has lived in the US for 5 years in your life. And even if you are not, Mexico is a great place to live, one of my friends moved from Europe to Mexico, you could teach English.

      3) Why all that money for a plane ticket, something sounds funny with your story and I do not believe it fully. If you could go there and have a baby you can certainly afford another trip. I hitch hiked many places over 1000s of miles. Something is not adding up in your story. You do not have 65 dollars? You can afford a flight there but not $65 dollars to get your baby confirmed as a citizen?

  19. Hi,

    I am mexican-american, but I have lived all my life in Mexico. My baby was born in Mexico. I can’t prove I have lived the required time in the US, due to homeschooling and not working in the US (no papers to prove it). So what is the best option for me? Have my child get a visa or try for dual-citizenship? (My husband is mexican, by the way).

    1. Prove your citizenship and living in the USA with tax records. If you never even filed taxes, home schooling still requires a report to the state. Driver’s license, rent agreement, credit card or bank statements, passport stamps. What about mail or bills or library card or doctor or insurance notices. I can not believe you lived as a paperless, record less person in a tent. If you did not live in the USA for five years then your child can not get citizenship but most likely can get a visa at first, then citizenship.

  20. Hi!

    Currently I live in Canada. I came here to study my degree. I am almost done. I am a Mexican citizen who is a single mom. My baby was born in Canada. Only the baby will be Canadian? Is there any way both of us became Canadian? I have no intention to leave the country. In fact, I would like to stay. I will be applying for permanent residence. Nevertheless, seems to be a very long and tedious process.

    Thank you

    1. Ileana, this is a common question. I think you have to apply for residence. Why? Citizenship does not pass from the child to the parent. If this would be the case, every person in the world, would visit the US and Canada have a baby and get citizenship for the whole family. It does not work like that. Apply for a visa. I had to do this for Europe and it too countless years and a lot of work. But nothing in life including visas and a citizenship are just handed to you. If you want something you must be patient. Maybe if you get a lawyer there is another way, but I have not herd of it. However, your baby is a full Canadian citizen.

  21. I have a son that was born to a young lady in Panama what do I do he wants to come to the USA.

    1. Since the mother is clear because she gave birth to the father in the law, the father has to prove more as there are many scams of citizenship about this. Therefore, why not get married and be the boys father legally on paper?

  22. Hi, I have some questions, due to a somewhat play chess withed up situation. I’m American. My girlfriend who I intend to marry soon, lives in Mexico and is mexican. She used to live in the US, until deported. I’m moving to mexico soon. When we have a child, will he have american citizenship? And will my child and or wife be able to come to the US? My Fiance is barred from returning to the US until 2019 however.

    1. Your child will be American. This is what I think. Why? Because as long as you are married legally it is about you not her. It is about you as a US citizen, who is legal father as proven on paper and marriage certificate of your child. You have to simply prove you lived in the US for five years.
      Your child can come to the USA.
      Your future wife, will have to maybe get a lawyer and put together a case. Because she is your wife it will change things, but they do want to know if she was ever deported. You need to make a case against this, an appeal based on new evidence etc. I do not know if she will be able to come in the USA or not but I would make a case.
      Further, I have live outside the USA for many years its a lot of fun, to unplug from the matrix. No stress the most important thing is your love and marriage to your wife and of course your baby.

  23. My name is raj patel I have new baby born in india my wife is indian citizen she never come in us. i am us citizen i was live in us last 15 years. I was stay in us more than 9 years. I show my passport stamp and tax return to us consulate in india now they need to more proof to transmit citizenship to my daughter. I was live with some one else i don’t have electric bill or phone bill to prove. I have all my pay stub for more than 5 years that enough to prove the residency in us.

    1. If you have 5 years of tax records for example or passport stamps this is enough. To pass citizenship to your foreign born baby. What specifically are they looking for? Proof of marriage or proof that you are the legal father or proof of residency? The law is the law and if you full fill all the requirements as stated in US law there should be no problem to get citizenship for you baby. There must be something missing here.

  24. Hi Mark,
    I am a US Citizen, married to man with Indian citizenship; and living in India (wevhave been here for 3 years now). We are expecting our first baby in July and need some clarification on what citizenship is best (in the long term) for our child.

    I spoke to the Vice-Consul at the US Consulate in India and they told me that when I report a birth abroad, my child automatically becomes a US Citizen (provided all the paperwork/fees are cleared) since I am a US Citizen.

    The problem we are facing is that, my husband owns a lot of property here in India and we want to make sure that if we elect to get American Citizenship for our baby, that in the future, the child can inherit the property now in my husband’s name.

    There is a scheme here in India called the OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) card, which is essentially like dual citizenship, but I just want to make sure that if we get the OCI card for the child (and not Indian Citizenship at birth) that he/she will be afforded all the rights of both countries (USA and India) in the future (and especially when he/she comes of age – 18 years old).

    Thanks for any advice/thoughts you could provide.

    1. I am not sure exactly. But here is the issue. I know about this card and it is basically like Indian citizenship. That is not the issue. I think the issue is taxes, not citizenship. As an American citizen your child will have to report worldwide income no matter if your child lives in another country or a citizen of another country. I live in Poland and Polish citizen but must report my income to both countries (US and Poland).
      Yes even my pittance I make teaching here I report to both countries. I am OK with that as I love being a dual citizen and there is a large exclusion for foreign income. But if your child will inherit say 20 million dollars that is different. But cross that bridge when you come to it. My advice is make your child a dual citizen. The benefits are amazing. And the world is changing so fast. Make your baby a citizen of both countries if you can. I highly recommend it.

  25. Hi Mark,

    Just a curious question, I hear there’s change of law in foreign parents to have baby in USA, there used to be the baby got US citizenship but I heard there’s slight change and I don’t know what (may be benefit for the baby?). And will the baby who born in the US (but foreign parents) get any support from US gov. if the baby go back to its parents’ country (he/she is in the stage of less than 18yrs old)??
    Thank you for your advice

    1. If a baby is born in the US it is a citizen, even if the parents are foreign and are not legal in the US and get deported the next day and take the baby with them, as long as they have a birth certificate to prove it.
      Jus soli is the idea behind Citizenship in the USA. Birthright to citizenship, even if born of foreign parents is determined by the 14th Amendment, there was a supreme court case United States v. Wong Kim Ark in 1898; and unless the supreme court rules otherwise or they change the constitution, the highest law in the land, then a baby born in the US is a US citizen no matter what.

  26. Hi Mark,
    How about the baby get back to his/her parents homeland, will the baby get any basic support from US gov. while overseas (applying for child under 18 years of age) such as education, medicare etc the same as if he/she gets while in the US land?
    Thanks Mark

    1. No, just the opposite. The parents not the US government is responsible for the child. In fact, if the parents do not take care of the child they could be legally in trouble with the USA. Further, the child for the rest of their life must file US taxes even if they live in another country and are a citizen of that other country.
      I am a US citizen and I live in Poland with a Polish citizenship and make a pittance but still must file US taxes as well as Polish taxes. Being a citizen is a responsibility.

  27. I am a American citizen on a tourist/visit visa in Kuwait. I am expecting a baby in April with my husband who is not Kuwaiti but has Kuwaiti residence. I was originally told all I need to do is our baby’s papers through the American Embassy so she gets her American passport, then once that is done we can all leave Kuwait. Now someone told my husband the baby needs exit papers which she cant get since she has no entry papers. Cant I legally leave the country with my own daughter if I report her birth abroad and apply and receive her passport?

    1. I do not know for a fact. However, I do know getting a US passport should be quick and no problem as long as you have proof that you personally lived in the USA for five years. Such as school records or tax records or even passport stamps. But you have to prove this. But do not worry, everything will be fine, your an American. Really. The US watches out for its citizens and foreign service like the embassy staff is very helpful. I have been an expat for 6 years, and my brother almost 25 years. Both of us have traveled the world and as an American citizen, everything was always OK.
      If you get this passport, I can not image that the country of Kuwait would prevent two American citizens from leaving the country (you and your daughter). I would talk to the US embassy about this, you can even send them an e-mail, just in case.

  28. I was a US Permanent Resident since April 2002 and I am now a US citizen (by Naturalization) since October 2007. I have been married since December 2008. My wife is a US Permanent Resident since April 2009. She is now about 7 weeks’ pregnant and the problem is that I cannot have insurance coverage from my employer to cover her prenatal care. It is also possible that she will not be also covered for the delivery. The fact is that I have to wait for open enrollment to have insurance coverage for her. This will not happen until May 2009, but the actual coverage will not be effective until September 2009. By that time, it might be that the delivery will have already occurred. Other insurance providers will not also cover her because the pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition.
    Because of these circumstances, we are thinking of having my wife travel to my home country for part of the prenatal care and the actual delivery. These services will not cost that much over there. However, I have a few questions and I’ll deeply appreciate your input.
    1. Will the baby be a US citizen since he/she will be born out of the USA? I read somewhere that one of the parents has to be a US citizen for at least 5 or 10 years for the baby to be also a US citizen. Is this correct?
    2. Will the baby be able to travel back with the mum to the USA?
    3. Once the baby is born, what are the steps to be taken to register the baby for US citizenship (provided this is possible)?
    4. What are the documents that will be needed?
    5. If I have missed any implication, feel welcome to bring any to my attention.
    Thanks for all your responses.

    1. Those are many question. I think that since you were not a US citizen for 5 years here, then you can not get citizenship for your baby if born abroad. I would talk the the US embassy to make sure. But that is the law.
      I think it is a very complicated situation I do not feel qualified to advise you one so I would ask at the US embassy or write or call them.

  29. I am a US citizen & my husband Argentine. We had our son in the US & he is a US citizen. What do we need to do to get him Argentine residency? We live in Argentina & someone (an official from immigration) told my husband our son automatically receives residency since the dad is Argentine & we just need to apply for his DNI. Is this right? I want to be sure & people can be shady here sometimes. Thanks!

    1. No problem to get residency for either the USA or Argentina, you just have to do the paperwork that is all and every thing is good.

  30. Hello, i have a question that hopefully you will be able to answer for me. i am a US permanent resident since 2005, i should get my citizenship by december 2010. My baby will be born abroad around october 2010. My girlfriend is not an American resident, and i would like to know if my baby will be able to get the American citizenship, even though i would not be a US citizen by the time he/she is born. I will become an american citizen a couple of month later. should i wait until i become a citizen and then go register my baby?

    1. The rule is you have to be a citizen at time of birth and have live in the USA 5 years and can prove it legally.

  31. Thank you Mark, so if my baby is born abroad before i get my US citizenship, i won’t be able to fill out one of those FS240 forms at the US embassy to register my baby as an American?

    1. I think that is the case, but check at the US embassy just in case.

  32. Hi, I’m living in USA as a temporary resident, I’m here on a work Visa which means that I can live and work here legally. My question is, if a have a baby during my temporary residence could the baby get the US citizenship?

    1. The baby will be a US citizen if the baby is born in the USA. If born abroad your baby will have your citizenship. Your baby’s birth will not affect your citiznehsip as citzenship is transferred from the parent to the child not the reverse.

  33. Hello,

    My wife and I are US citizens and travelling in the Mediterranean area. We’re expecting a baby and would like to have it in Israel is possible. We are trying to find answers to costs and legality of doing that. We understand the child will have the option of dual citizenship. We just don’t want to travel there and be turned away or find it exorbitantly expensive. Any help or suggestions?

    1. For sure contact the embassy about that. Isreali citizenship rules are a bit different and do not assume your baby will get citizenship just because your baby is born there.

  34. Hi, I’m a Mexican citizen and my husban is a Canadian, we are living in Mexico, now we’re expecting our first baby, living at the border with the US we have the oportunity to pay for our child to be born in the US, the question is.
    Being our baby born in the US and because of that being an US citizen could we live in the US? We wouldn’t be working there since we both have international jobs, but would it be possible (in order to provide the kid with a safer enviroment) for us to live in the US?

    1. I think not or half the world would do this. What you might do is apply for some special visa, but I do not know of any such thing. I think citizenship and visas pass from parent to child not child to parent.

  35. Hi,
    Mi histroy its quite different. My wife is a citizen (born in Panama), Im a permanent resident, and we are tryng to get a baby thru a surrogate mother in Panama. The rason its the affordable cost in Panama instead of USA. We are both living in USA.
    I will contact the USA consulade in Panama but, I dont know what to expect.
    tahnk you for your advise.

  36. What about kids that are about 14 and 15 that were born abroad and their father is a US citizen. I don’t think he ever registered them when they were babies, and now they are here in the US and they are appling for permanent residency. Is this right?

    1. Yes I think that is fine as they are not 18 years of age yet. Apply for citizenship, but be ready to prove a lot of things, such as marriage documents etc. Any woman can claim the father of her children is American, but for obvious reasons you have to prove it via legal documents to get citizenship.

  37. What if the parents are not married? What is the situation then?

    1. If it is the man who is the USA citizen, I think little or no chance to get citizenship. You need a legal connection or else any guy can say anything to get a baby citizenship.

  38. Hi ,
    so I’m pregnant and over stayed my visa ,I want to give birth here in USA ,so my child will have a us citizen .My questions is :can I get passport for my baby ,and after go back or no?
    Which documents do I need to apply for baby passport ? The father is not going to be on birth certificate ,he does not want this baby, but he is a US citizen .

    1. Alex,
      First congratulations you will have a baby of course. I am a father and very happy. Nothing in the world can replace the happiness of having a family.
      OK how to get the baby a US citizenship?
      1) Marry the father. The US government will do little if it is the father who is the citizen as there is not proof he is the father, legally. It is very complicated if he does not marry you as he must take action and meet a physical presence conditions.
      2) If that is not an option, as you have conveyed, have the baby in the USA.
      That is it. No other way in my opinion to get the baby a US citizenship.
      I am not a lawyer. And I am not giving any advice here so you might want to check this all yourself.
      However, I think your visa status has nothing to do with your baby’s citizenship. If your baby is born in the USA, even to an illegal immigrant, that baby is a US citizen based on Jus soli rather than Jus sanguinis.
      This means, and I am not recommending this at all, if you baby is born in the good old USA your baby is a full legal citizen, regardless of the father or the mother. It is the baby’s right based on ‘right of the soil’. This is in contrast to Europe of course.
      3) Just because the father wants nothing to do with the baby means nothing. If you were to get a DNA test (sometime after birth)and prove that this is his baby, under civil law you can get him to support the baby. This might not be recognized under Jus sanguinis for citizenship purposes, but for civil law purposes, I think he has some responsibility.
      Why do I care? I am a guy, being a father is great and I do not like it when guys are so cool about it all. There are a million things you can have in this universe and a million things you can not. Being a man is about knowing the difference between the two.
      You have a lot to think about. I do not know the law and not recommending anything. However, let me know what your thoughts are, and please use caps and grammar check for your comments.
      One last think look up some thing called ‘anchor children’ – look this up as it might help you.

  39. Mark thanks a lot!
    You are so supportive, more than any one else, no mention the father. To marry me is not an option for him, he knows that baby is his (I have no one else in my life), he said “I can not have this baby with you and I never want to see him/her .I never thought that after 2 years living together he will do so .
    The main reason why I want to give birth here, so my baby will have a US citizenship.
    I research a lot, and I know that my kid will have a birth certificate any way, but I do not know if I could get a passport for him so I could leave US. When you apply for baby passport you need proof of parent citizenship, and I do not have this. What should I do? I do not want to be stuck here alone, but I want my baby to have a future .

    1. Well, thanks for your kind words, although I do not deserve them.
      Listen, your child deserves a future. Your baby has a future regardless of citizenship. I loved being a kid. Your child will love it too no mater what citizenship your child has or where the baby is born.
      The good news is kids do not know rich or poor that much unless you are talking the a really underdeveloped country. My wife grew up in communist Poland where they had nothing in the shops. Today it is a rich country, but my point is when she was a kid living in a small village with nothing, she was very happy. Your child does not have to live in the USA to be happy. I am an American and live in Poland and its great.
      The USA is OK if you want to be a worker for a company but there are many paths in life besides being a corporate slave.
      What country are you from if I may ask? Your child can get a passport for that country because of right of blood. She can get a passport for the USA, but you know better. If she has a US birth certificate that is the main thing.
      If she or he is with you that is the main thing. It does not matter where.
      What will you do for work? What are your skills? I do not know, teach languages, take a massage course, I used to sell things in the market. There is always a way. I use to go to Ukraine and buy things and bring it across the boarder to Poland and sell it in the market. I am a foofy American who was living in Beacon Hill, Boston from the upper class. Everything is good. Life is not always easy but it is beautiful and God watches over all of us. As a beleiver I do not care about rich or poor. Life is sacred with or with a US passport or money.
      The world of your child will be very different than the current world, in 25 years and the countries that are great might not be, and the ones that are not might be.
      The father should help you. If you in anyway can connect with an organization that helps people legally in your situation, many women’s organizations. There are many.
      I am not recommending anything, but if some how your child was born in the USA, that would go a long way. This is the modern age and in any state court the father would have to pay for the child’s well being until about the age of 20. I am a guy, but I am a father and a Christian first and think that is only fair.

    2. Do not waste anytime being angry or upset or stressed. All you need to do is relax during the pregnancy. If the father does not help, maybe he is afraid. Do not hold any resentment against him as he is the father of your child. You loved him and he loved you, even is everything is wrong right now try not to be too upset, even he is not being responsible. He most likely has wonderful qualities about him. He is the father of your child so wish him the best. And when the baby is here I would try to make him legally try to pay, but that is just me. But do not focus on him as much as your next steps for your baby. Remember what I said not matter what citizenship your child has as long as the baby is loved by you that is all that matters. You can find work doing many things. I mean look at me, I moved to Poland and I am doing fine and prefer it in many ways to the USA.
      The Slavic world is a very nice place to raise a child for me. This is what we are doing. I could live in the USA as we are dual citizens, but I do not want to. People in Eastern Europe are really into kids and it is pretty peaceful and old world values exposure to many languages, even if the economics does not match the USA.
      In the modern world you really do not need to work for a company. I mean I earned a lot in Boston in the corporate world, but here I really do not work and live a better life. I have websites and do a few things here and there and learned to write programs. In an international economy I would not say the USA is the best place to live.
      I spend all day with my family, in Boston I was a corporate slave.

      1. Also what do the grandparents have to say about all this? I can not image that they would be indifferent about their grandchild. Further, if you are totally in panic about money, not citizenship, write me when you have your child and I can tell you a legal way to make money.
        I stay home with my family. Citizenship for your baby is not as important as love. Next year you will be sleeping with your beautiful child no matter what country you are in. That is way more important than citizenship.

    3. One more thing. In 10 years when you have everything all sorted out and you have a beautiful child who loves you and is grateful everyday that you Mommy, maybe you will bump into the father and you will be in a better place in life than him. I personally think you will be.
      You can just say one thing to him:

      ‘Let me as you a question sport, when did you start thinking you were smarter than me?’

      Then just walk away. 🙂

  40. Just stumbled on here and wanted to clarify something- unmarried parents living abroad can get US citizenship for their child even if only one parent is a citizen.
    But- if mom is a US citizen, she needs to show proof of 1 year residency living in the US before baby’s birth and if dad does it he has to show 5 years.
    My unmarried partner and I had our baby in China this year and registered him under me (mom) since it was easier to get the “proof of prior residency”for me. I used my kindergarten tuition statement from 1978-79 school year! (Most people use a high school or college transcript, but anything showing month-to-month residency for a year works, including utility bills, rental contracts, etc.)
    If the father is US citizen and mom isnt, he can get US citizenship for his baby by providing the 5 year proof and signing an affadavid of parentage. If the kid is older he might need to do a DNA test to prove parentage but for babies, the procedure is pretty simple. The full details are on the website of the US embassy in Beijing and the procedures are the same worldwide. It’s not common here for there to be unmarried US guy having a baby with his Chinese girlfriend, but it certainly isn’t unheard of and the babies get US citizenship through the dad.
    BTW- you first have to get the “Consular report of birth abroad” and then the passport- the CRBA is required and is the official document that recognizes the baby’s citizenship. It is also quite pretty compared to a boring typical US birth certificate- my partner and I are jealous of our son’s pretty CRBA.

    1. You are right. Thank you for the valuable information. The issue is many times the father does not want a lot to do with the child, further, you are a woman. If the man was the US citizen it is very hard from what I hear to get citizenship for the child as there were too many scams in the past and now it is all viewed with extreme skepticism by the US. Too many times a woman would give birth and pay some American guy to say he was the father. This happened all the time. I have herd that people tried to get it from though the father and they eventually gave up because they were not married. Remember you got it because you are the citizen (and maybe the father also). Also to establish parentage: DNA testing, if you are otherwise unable to prove biological parentage, so you are right.
      CRBA is what you get, my daughter has one, I call it a birth certificate.
      Thanks for all the information. Anything like what you have conveyed helps other people in your situation.
      I am just curious, because I do not know, I am from a different world maybe, but why do people have children and decide not to get married if the relationship is OK?

  41. Hi
    I am a USA citizen. I was born in NY and I am 20 years old. I have a boyfriend that lives in the Dominican Republic and does not have papers. We have a long distance relationship. We both want to have a baby but I would like to know would I be able to give birth in the Dominican Republic and would my baby be a citizen. I just want him to be on my side during that time but if the baby wont be able to become a citizen then I will have to have the baby here in the U.S.

    1. If you have lived in the USA as a citizen for a total period of at least five years, and two of those years were after you turned 14. However since you are the mother and not the father, there is a part of the law that says the physical presence test is only 1 year. Check out the US embassy website because you want to be sure.

  42. Brief introduction. My name is Mark, I am a US citizen, married a wonderful Filipina in the Philippines in 2008. We had a wonderful baby boy in the Philippines in 2009. Left my wife and son in the Philippines late 2009 to look for work again here in America.

    I found this blog entry searching for information so I can apply my son for US citizenship. Seems easy enough, however I have a few questions.

    First question is regarding #4. Parent’s passport. My wife currently doesn’t have a passport and is in the process of establishing for one. Are both parents required to obtain a passport?

    Second question. Is it too late to register my son as a US citizen in the Philippines since he’s a year old already?

    Last question. Although you did not talk about Application for Certificate of Citizenship or Form N-600 I would like to hear your take on it. Would you recommend I take that route instead since I’m looking at returning in the Philippines probably December 2010? I guess I’m just looking for a quicker solution. Thank you.


    1. Your wife does not need a passport as you are the citizen. All you have to do is past the physical presence test of five years living in the USA, 2 of which after the age of 14. He has until he is 18 years old. Most people after a child is born wait a few years as talking care of a child during the first year is a lot of work and they never get the paper work together. So do not worry about his age in relation to citizenship.

      Why do you need form N-600? Your child is not applying for citizenship. Your child is basically a US citizen but just needs confirmation of US citizenship. That would be an a “application for consular report of birth born abroad”.

  43. Hi,

    got a question for you. Im an American Citizen living in Finland and I have a Finnish Girlfriend. She is pregnant with my child and due in July. We are not married. Im sure this type of question has been asked before but will ask again.
    Do we need to be married in order for the child to have US Citizenship even if I am on the birth certificate? How does this affect visiting the US or moving back eventually for both mother and child???
    Thanks in advance.

    1. You do not need to be married but it would sure help a lot. Since you are not married you need to prove you are the father. They do not take your word on it. Being on the birth certificate means nothing to the US government. Until you prove this all bets are off. You can take DNA testing etc. Then you have to prove that you have lived in the USA as a citizen for five years as a citizen.

      For the government marriage and you legally being the father or DNA testing is valid.

      Being a father is great. Maybe you want to get married, marriage is a great thing and kids need two parents despite what the media will tell you. Just a thought.

  44. Hi, I’m a US citizen, but my wife who is pregnant isn’t, we live in Ecuador, does my son qualifies to be a US citizen when he borns? also my wife had a daughter when she was single, what are the posibilities for my wife an her daughter (now mine also) to get the US citizenship? once again, we are living in Ecuador…

    1. As long as the children are legally your children though adoption or birth you should be able to get citizenship for them no problem with the other requirements fulfilled.

  45. i just read that one of the requirements are that I must prove that I was phisically in the US for at least 5 years, those 5 years must be as US citizen? or includes the time that i was ther as US resident? because I was US resident since feb 2002, and became US citizen in Dec 2008 and came to Ecuador in Sept 2009

    1. I am unclear on this rule myself. I have read a lot about it but it seems that you just have to be a resident not a citizen for those 5 years. Let me know if you find this out definitively.

  46. I’m a permanent resident card holder here in the states and I’m pregnant to a US citizen husband, I’m planning to have my baby born in my Island which is in Philippines, anyone of you here who can help me on how to apply for a dual citizenship of my baby? how long and what are the requirements and is it possible that I can bring my baby with me back to the US?

    1. Read the comments above and what the US embassy website says. Basically you and your husband need to take the baby to the US embassy and get a certificate of a US birth abroad. To do this you and your Husband must prove your husband has live in the US for 5 years and that he is your husband with the marriage certificate. Once this certificate is obtained, the passport will only take a few days.

  47. My Question Is Simple. How Many Times Has This LAW Been Amended Since The 1960’s When I Was Born?

  48. Hi mark, it is so interesting to read all these response on the topic you gave, but because of the abundant response, I cant read all of them. I just go to short question, I’m Indonesian and married to USA citizen, we are in the process of my visa to USA, he is confused if our new baby born needs visa to travel USA since she has dual nationalities (Indonesia and USA. our baby was born in Indonesia. do you have any info on it? thanks lot, you have been very helpful 🙂

    1. She needs an American passport. If she is a US citizen, like you say it will take no more than 10 days to get. She has to enter the US on the US passport and can not enter the US on any other visa or passport.

  49. I am a us citizen who married an australian citizen. we are living in Australia for the past 2 years and i have a spousal visa. we had a baby 4 mths ago. Now we are about to return to the u.s. for a short holiday(less than 90 days). I have a u.s passport, my husband has an australian passport and my baby has an australia passport. Can my husband and baby enter the u.s on their australian passports(and the visa waiver program?) or does my baby have to have a u.s. passport because he has claim to u.s citizenship?(by birth abroad)?

    1. If you have not yet claimed his citizenship then I think Australian is fine. If he is a US citizen on paper already then a US passport.

  50. me again!
    so really, what i am asking is, does my child born abroad have to formally claim their u.s. citizenship (and get a u.s passport) in order to visit the u.s. on a tourist visa or can he just travel as an australian on an australian passport (ie is claiming/registering the birth abroad and citizenship mandatory if we dont ever intend for our child to become a u.s citizen? can the child just always stay on an australia passport if we never live in the u.s.)
    thanks for any help!

    1. Yes if you do not claim your child as a US citizen he is not, therefore Australian is fine. But why not make your baby a US citizen? You child could be a dual citizen then latter give on citizenship up.

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