If your child is born on vacation, are they a U.S. citizen?

On Behalf of | Feb 18, 2022 | US Immigration Law

You tend to visit the United States frequently for vacation, but you’ve never actually become a citizen. It’s certainly something you’re thinking about for the future, but you haven’t done it yet.

On one such trip, you and your spouse come to the U.S. for vacation before your child is born. However, the labor starts early and the child is born at a U.S. hospital. Are they now a citizen?

Birthright citizenship in the United States

They could very well qualify for birthright citizenship. Under U.S. law, citizenship is automatically given to anyone who is born on American soil. This makes sense in a country like the United States, which was mostly formed by immigrants over the centuries. It was important for all who arrived to know that they could be citizens of this new country, and that continues today.

There are exceptions

That said, there are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, perhaps you are a government official or a diplomat from your home country. That’s why you travel to the United States so often. The laws have been updated so that children born to these individuals are not automatically U.S. citizens. They may still be able to become such in the future, but they don’t instantly qualify through birthright citizenship.

Why is this done? The issue is simply that many of these diplomats spend a large amount of their time in the U.S. That doesn’t mean that they want their children to be U.S. citizens, but their work as government officials may mean that they have to stay for extended periods of time. It’s important for them not to have to make their family plans around their job, so they are able to have children in the U.S. without worrying about these complications.

In most cases, though, the average person who comes to the United States on a visa and has a child should know that their child is likely a citizen at birth. This could dramatically impact the future for your family or what you have planned, and so it’s important to know about all of your legal rights, your child’s rights and the options that you have.