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Birth Tourism Explained-What is Birth Tourism?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 1

How to Get a Second Citizenship for your Baby

How to Get a Second Citizenship for your Babythumbnail
My Dual Citizen Baby


We all want to give our children choices, options and advantages.  Arranging a second citizenship for your child can give the child more options such as the ability to travel easier without visas, legally live and work in more than one country, and perhaps attend school in another country as a citizen not paying international tuition fees.  They can also connect with another culture, maybe your's if you immigrated.  All this is possible when you arrange for your child to gain more than one citizenship at birth. 

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Difficulty:  Challenging


Things You'll Need

  • Research citizenship laws of your target countries
  • A child on the way
  • Passports to travel
First, identify one or more alternate countries for your child's citizenship.  You will need to research what the citizenship laws are in each target country.  Good Wikipedia articles exist on many country's citizenship or nationality laws.  For Canada, just search "Canada nationality law wiki" or substitute whichever country you wish to research. 
Second, understand the principles behind nationality laws.  All counties either follow the principles of jus soli or jus sanguinis, with most following some combination of the two sources of nationality law.
Jus soli is the principle whereby a child born in a country's territorial jurisdiction acquires that country's nationality (such as United States, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, France [including in its overseas dependencies]). Think of it as referring to being born on the soil of the country. In the United States for example, any child born on US soil becomes a citizen regardless of who their parents are (diplomats excepted).
Under a primarily jus sanguinis based system, either the father or mother must normally be a citizen of the country in question in order for the child to become a citizen at birth (such as China, Israel, Switzerland).  In other words, citizenship is based on parentage, not location of birth. The downside to jus sanguinis is that it can be very limiting to growing the number of citizens, and may even create stateless persons in a country with guest workers.  Brunei famously has tens of thousands of residents without any citizenship because there are tens of thousands of guest workers, yet the only way to be born as a citizen is to have a citizen parent, and immigration rules make becoming a citizen by naturalization is nearly impossible.    
While jus soli creates new citizens at birth regardless of what the legal status of the parents in the country is, jus sanguinis can be applied to create citizens anywhere in the world that citizens of a country are living.  Establishing duel or multiple citizenships usually involves working between the two systems.  
For example, a child born to a Canadian (who was themselves born in Canada) anywhere in the world becomes a Canadian at birth automatically.  However, because Canada has a mixed jus soli/jus sanguinis system, any child born on Canadian soil becomes a Canadian at birth.  Canada therefore casts a broad net that makes it fairly easy to become a Canadian at birth.
For this guide, we will assume the child will get one citizenship by jus sanguinis in the country you the parents normally live in. The family will  travel to a second country where the child will be born and thereby acquire the second citizenship by jus soli.
To arrange a second country of citizenship for your newborn while the child also obtains your citizenship, you need to confirm that as a parent you will pass your citizenship to the child under jus sanguinis, not just under jus soli. To do this you must research the nationality laws of your own country. For example, if you are a USA citizen born in the USA your child will become a USA citizen regardless of where they are born on earth.
Confirm that the second country offers citizenship based on jus soli and you can meet any requirements. For example, any child born in France becomes a French citizen at birth, regardless of the parents' citizenship status. In contrast, a child born in Japan to non-Japanese citizen parents will not be a Japanese citizen.
Arrange to travel to the second country well ahead of the birth, flying before pregnant women can no longer fly (rules vary by airline).
Depending on the parent's citizenship situation, it may be necessary to arrange a long enough visa or right to reside to take you through the birth and time required to get two new passports for the child.
Promptly after the birth, obtain the birth certificate and any certified translations of the birth certificate required for the passport applications. Obtain all passport application forms and carefully check them before hand so you do not have unexpected delays.
Passports do not grant citizenship - that is either automatic under nationality law or obtained by application.  
Apply for passports for both the baby's citizenships - especially the one the baby was not born in. You will need to get the baby's "home" country passport in hand to reenter your "home" country. A citizen can not obtain a visa to visit the citizen's own country - they expect you to get the passport in hand. This step can take a month or two or maybe longer because you will be applying through an embassy abroad adding to the time to process.
Keep all your documents in good order so the child can make good use of their two citizenships in the future.  Generally it is a good idea to enter each country that you hold citizenship with using that country's passport.  
Each country manages nationality law with or without regard to other country's nationality law.  Some countries accept multiple citizenships (often by silence on the topic) while some flat-out outlaw multiple citizenships.  Peoples Republic of China voids citizenship of Chinese who take up another citizenship.  Canada has no concerns with multiple citizenships.  Sometimes children are required to choose a citizenship when they reach adulthood.  You will want to understand the expectations, and keep up with changes in nationality laws to make sure your child retains the second citizenship.

Tips & Warnings

  • This process is sometimes called birth tourism

  • Carefully check everything so you do not have any unintended consequences.





Aug 24, 2011 7:08am
Interesting article thanks Jade Dragon
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