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Surely you knew that there are certain countries, such as the United States of America, that offer citizenship just for being born there. Today we are going to explain how it works and which other countries offer this interesting option.

Although we have already talked in the past about how any normal person can get a second passport without having to become a spy or secret agent, today we thought it might be a good idea to dive a little deeper into the options offered by “birth tourism”. That is, the option of obtaining another nationality by being born in a country other than that of one’s parents.

As we have told you in other articles, holding multiple citizenships is not illegal, and of course, neither is moving to spend time in another country where your offspring can get an additional passport just for being born there.

While most babies come into the world in one place almost by chance, a few parents choose their children’s birthplace wisely, thus saving them a lot of hassle and offering them opportunities, i.e. to give them a great gift right from the start.

The expression birth tourism may sound a bit strange, but it is one of the aspects of the flag theory that should not be forgotten.

Your children may thank you for it in the future.

What does birth tourism mean?

Birth tourism means, roughly speaking, choosing foreign countries for the birth of your children. The point is to give your children a second nationality from birth, which can be very useful in their future life. Other advantages are, for example, better medical care or the escape from regulations on the population, such as China’s former one-child policy.

Contrary to popular belief, it is still possible to do birth tourism in several countries around the world. Here there is a big gap between the old and the new world.

Thus, it is possible to obtain birthright nationality in the entire American continent, except in Colombia and Chile.

If your son or daughter is born on the territory of (almost any) American country, he or she automatically gets the corresponding nationality.

The United States and Canada are especially popular for this, but in most cases, you will probably prefer to avoid the former, otherwise your children will have to file tax returns and, in many cases, pay taxes in the USA.

As we have explained in other cases, the US is a bad choice because it is taxed according to citizenship. The only potential advantage for parents from poor countries is the possibility that their children, when turning 21, can get their parents a permanent residence permit with an application for family reunification.

Fortunately, there are many other interesting alternatives, apart from the United States, because of the freedom of movement offered by the passport and because of other advantages. But, first of all, let us take a look at the legal situation that allows us to do birth tourism.

Nationality by birth: ius sanguinis and ius soli

The granting of nationality by birth follows two different principles: ius sanguinis and ius soli. There are also many countries that use both approaches or a mixed form.

Ius sanguinis (sanguis=blood) refers to children inheriting the nationality of their parents. Ius soli (soli=land), on the other hand, means that children obtain the nationality of the country in whose land they were born. Ius sanguinis is the most widespread principle, which is almost always applied in addition to ius soli. The latter, however, is almost exclusively confined to the American continent, although it is also applied in a mixed form in many Western countries.

Take the example of Spanish or German citizens. Since ius sanguinis applies anyway, you do not have to worry that your children will not inherit your nationality because of being born abroad. The following example illustrates how birth tourism works in Germany with the modified ius soli principle.

Until 2000, only ius sanguinis applied in Germany. Since 2000, however, children born in Germany have also been granted German nationality, provided that one of the parents has had a permanent residence permit for at least three years and has lived in the country for at least eight years (the difference in the number of years may be caused, for example, by asylum seekers).

In the case of Spain, the child of foreigners born in Spain must obtain a residence permit and live there for at least one year (although there are certain cases, in which children could automatically obtain Spanish citizenship).

Many other countries proceed similarly to Germany or Spain. To protect themselves from birth tourism, they make it a condition for obtaining citizenship that one of the parents has lived in the country for a certain period or that the descendant obtains a legal residence permit.

In which countries can you obtain a second citizenship by birth?

But let us ask the real interesting questions: Do you want to know which destinations would allow you to give your children that additional citizenship? Where is it possible to do birth tourism and which options are the most recommendable? After all, the priority is not only the nationality that can be obtained, but of course first and foremost the prospect of an uncomplicated birth. Nowadays, even in developing countries it is possible to obtain good quality care like that in Western countries, provided you choose the right hospital.

As we have already mentioned, countries on the American continent are mainly offered as destinations. Only Chile and Colombia have a modified ius soli principle here, which, as in Germany, requires one of the parents to have a residence permit.

The island states of the Caribbean, popular for the purchase of second passports, handle it differently.

You can obtain citizenship by birth in the Caribbean without a problem in Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as Trinidad and Tobago. If your children are born there, you will have given them a passport for which others currently pay between 110 and 165 thousand dollars.

Outside the New World, on the other hand, there are only a few countries where birth tourism is possible thanks to unrestricted ius soli. These include Pakistan, Lesotho, Tanzania, Cambodia (provided we have a one-year residence permit), as well as other islands in the Pacific, namely the Fiji Islands or Tuvalu.

These countries can be very attractive because of their exoticism, but, beyond that, they will not offer many advantages to your children.

They offer not very attractive passports, with little freedom of movement, and are countries without great prospects (perhaps apart from Cambodia).

The best destinations for birth tourism

If we stick to the American continent, the question arises as to which countries to choose. This ultimately depends on our personal preferences. Decisive factors are, for example, the freedom of movement of a passport or also the possibilities within a certain country. With the increasingly limited opportunities in our home countries, this can be an important factor.

For the greatest freedom of movement, Canada is offered first and foremost. But also, countries like Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil have good passports, which allow you to travel to many countries in the world without a visa.

If there are other characteristics that play a role for you, you will have to rethink the whole process. To make up our minds, it is not very different from considering these countries as a possibility for ourselves. Giving our children a nationality as a gift is the easiest way.

We cannot go far wrong in getting an additional passport for our children. The only important thing is not to follow the bad example of many by bringing their children into the world in the United States, as giving up that nationality brings great costs and problems.

In all other countries, the children have the possibility at any time to renounce the nationality when they are able to decide about it by themselves.

In some countries (those that allow only one nationality) this difficult decision often must be made at the age of 18 or 21. But, it is always better to have a choice than not to have a choice and possibly be stuck in a country that does not suit you.

The important thing is the opportunities that an additional passport can offer your children. If, when reaching the appropriate age, they do not want to use it, that is their decision.

If you are interested in this topic and want to learn more, you might be interested in our Citizenship Encyclopedia or you might want to book a consultation to create the perfect plan for you and your (future) family.

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