A Child Born Abroad: A Guide For U.S. Citizens With Children Born Abroad

Whether you are overseas for work, vacation, or visiting family and is pregnant; there’s a chance your child may be born in that country. For those of you wondering how to get your child back to the US or if you even can bring them back, there’s more than one answer.

A Child With One Parent As A U.S. Citizen

If a child has at least one parent born in the US, they are immediately eligible for US citizenship and a passport upon arrival to the US. This process does not require any documentation unless the passport officials request proof of citizenship. In that case, it is highly recommended that you bring his or her birth certificate with you that shows evidence of the relationship.

This rule only applies to children under the age of 18, as you are a legal adult when you turn 18 and do not have the dependence of your parents to claim citizenship. Once you are 18, you will have to apply for US citizenship like other foreigners unless you manage to get an exception.

Born Abroad Near A U.S. Border

Another rule to gaining US citizenship if you were not born in the US is if you were born within 13.8 nautical miles of the US border. This is based on a law that was passed, which states that any country which has an ocean or body of water as a boundary has up to 13.8 miles of water as their territory.

This also includes situations where a plane has taken off from the US and is in the air. Until it lands in another country, it is still technically on US territory.

Born Abroad In A U.S. Territory

If you were not born in the United States but were born in a United States territory such as Guam or Puerto Rico, you become a US citizen regardless of the citizenship of the parents. This can be very lucrative for the child as when they grow up, they might have dual citizenship and will have the ability to travel almost anywhere in the world hassle free.

If you anticipate that your child will be born in another country and you are a US citizen, make sure you contact the nearest US embassy or consulate to get a status on what nationality your child will be upon birth and upon return to the US. By making sure that all the information is in order before the child’s birth, there is minimal chance of any complications when you come to the US with your child.

The entire process for getting a US passport and the specific laws that are in place might seem very complicated, but it is these very laws that ensure the safety of every US citizen. Having these rules makes sure that the ability to become a US citizen is not impossible and that even having a blood connection to someone can make you one as well. In the event that you do have a child born outside of the US, at least you won’t have to worry very much about them coming home with you.