Birth Tourism

Updated 20-Sep-2023

The big issues for prenatal (besides choice of the mother) included (but are not limited to):

  • Place of birth
    • Country of birth
    • Hospital/home or birthing center

Country of Birth

Note for country of birth, the idea is to get dual or triple citizenship. This is possible if one or both parents are from a country which grant citizenship with birth, even if not present at birth. The two doctrines are jus soli - right of earth, and jus sanguinis right of blood.

For Jus Soli the main countries are the US and Canada, which grant unrestricted citizenship to anyone born in the country. However, most Central and South American countries also grant this, which is an exceptional opportunity for birth tourism. Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and many other countries could be considered.

For those (like myself) who are already US citizen, the easier route (for my progeny) is to simply live in the US for five years at some point, and then citizenship can be conferred to their children at birth, anywhere those takes births takes place.

In the case of my Thai wife, while Thailand does not recognize dual citizenship, any child born to a Thai mother is automatically a citizen of Thailand (even if that child has automatic citizenship in other countries). The same is the case in Vietnam.

For my children who are born dual nationals, acquiring another nationality (from a country which also recognizes dual nationality) is fairly straightforward. In the case of Europe, a good choice is France. There are several ways to acquire French citizenship, including: a two year post-baccalaureate degree in France; three years of service in the French Foreign Legion (or immediately upon being wounded in the Legion); and five year residence and French language ability (and earning a living wage in France during that time).

Switzerland is also an option, though best if anyone seeking citizenship spends six years there as a child, as those years count double towards the 12 year requirement. What is nice about Swiss citizenship is that it can be conferred on progeny, and also that it does not have to be revoked if seeking citizenship from certain other countries such as Germany. Also there is the downside of national service (if a part of the armed services, this may invalidate possessing other nationalities).

It is possible to gain several citizenships, and pass some along to one's children. Combined with a birth soil nationality, it would be possible if my son were to have children in Canada to a Vietnamese national, after having acquired French citizenship, and living in the US for five years, his children would have:

  • Canadian Citizenship (by virtue of being born in Canada)
  • French Citizenship (by virtue of father's French Citizenship)
  • Thai Citizenship (by virtue of father's Thai Citizenship)
  • US Citizenship (by virtue of father's US Citizenship)
  • Vietnamese Citizenship (by virtue of mother's Vietnamese Citizenship)

Of course all the requisite paperwork would have to be done, and passport applications applied for, but there is no reason why someone born in this regard cannot have the advantages of such multi-nationality. Indeed, in the case above, the Mexican, Vietnamese, Thai, French, US and Canadian citizenship becomes inherited by the grandchildren (my hypothetical great grandchildren), though there are conditions on passing on some of these nationalities.

For those countries where there are restrictions on non-citizens owning land and companies which can operate within the borders of certain countries and in certain industries, this kind of birthright is invaluable. The key is to find the Jus Soli countries which then allow unlimited Jus Sanguinis citizenship of progeny (regardless of location of birth). A few generations of this and a host of valuable citizenships can be collected at birth.

  • Recognize dual nationality, or at least do not require renouncement of other nationalities at birth
  • Allow for Jus Soli presence in the country as a basis for citizenship, regardless of paternity (children can acquire citizenship at birth)
  • Allow for Jus Sanguinis inheritance of citizenship of parents, regardless of location of birth (can pass on citizenship to progeny)
  • Have restrictions on land ownership, business ownership, or business sectors for non-citizens (renders citizenship more valuable)

Note that most countries have some limitations on granting of citizenship to multiple generations born outside of the country. This might require residence of a certain number of years (5 years for US citizenship to be granted progeny of US citizens born outside the US), or even a second generation having to be born back inside the country (Canada). At the very least, it makes sense for an American to travel to Canada and give birth, providing both Canadian and USA citizenship (the other way makes less sense, due to the nature of personal income taxed globally by the USA).