Countries that confer citizenship by birth. An idiot’s guide to “jus soli” and Birth Tourism

For many Nigerians, getting a second passport is quite high on their hierarchy of needs. There are several pathways to citizenship with varying degrees of ease and complexity depending on the country. In the US for instance, it’s a bit of an **anfractuous conundrum** as their four standardised pathways include: citizenship by birth, citizenship through derivation, citizenship through acquisition and citizenship through naturalisation.

This article would focus on the first of the aforementioned pathways within a global purview. Citizenship by birth is perhaps the most seamless of all existing pathways given that the individual in question barely had to break a sweat to obtain the status. It is a right conferred on an individual by virtue of being born in a country or territory that has a Jus Soli rule in place.

Jus Soli, a Latin word for “right of the soil”, is a rule that offers unconditional citizenship to anyone born in a nation’s territory. This implies that the citizenship of a child is determined by the place of its birth. It is based on the English Common Law

Donald Trump infamously and erroneously stated in the terminal days of his presidency that the US was the only country in the world that had a Jus Soli system in place. In his own words, “We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States.” He made this statement as part of a call to abolish Citizenship by birth in America.

Donald Trump was wrong in his claim as the US is only one of over 30 countries that automatically grants UNCONDITIONAL citizenship to people born on their soil.

Citizenship by birth is contrasted by Jus Sanguinis which translates to “Law of Blood” and is a rule wherein a progeny inherits citizenship from the parents. There are quite a few people who would go out on a limb to say that getting your child a foreign citizenship in a world class country is perhaps the best inheritance one could offer their offspring.

There are quite a smorgasbord of critiques of Jus Soli for a phalanx of reasons but the loudest of which happens to be that it encourages immigrants to enter a country and have “anchor babies”.

An anchor baby is a child given birth to in a country with birthright citizenship to enable non-citizen parents to gain residency and citizenship privileges. It is NOT ILLEGAL AND THERE IS NOTHING STOPPING YOU FROM GIVING YOUR CHILD A HEAD START in this world.

While this is a highly contentious issue within political echelons with a lot of polemic discourse and rhetoric, it is safe to assume our readers are 100% in support of Jus Soli. So let us dive right in.

Below are the 35 countries that recognise citizenship by birth UNCONDITIONALLY.

  1. Antigua and Barbuda
  2. Argentina
  3. Barbados
  4. Belize
  5. Bolivia
  6. Brazil
  7. Canada
  8. Chile
  9. Costa Rica
  10. Cuba
  11. Dominica
  12. Ecuador
  13. El Salvador
  14. Fiji
  15. Grenada
  16. Guatemala
  17. Guyana
  18. Honduras
  19. Jamaica
  20. Lesotho
  21. Mexico
  22. Nicaragua
  23. Pakistan
  24. Panama
  25. Paraguay
  26. Peru
  27. Saint Kits and Nevis
  28. Saint Lucia
  29. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  30. Tanzania
  31. Trinidad and Tobago
  32. Tuvalu
  33. United States
  34. Uruguay
  35. Venezuela

The US and Canada happen to be the only two “FIRST WORLD” countries on this list. The UK abolished Jus Soli on the 1st of January, 1983. Ireland was a popular destination for African birth tourists till the law was abolished in a 2004 referendum making her the last country in Europe to do so.

It is important to note that children of foreign diplomats or enemy forces domiciled in the country are excluded from this right. Countries like Luxembourg could offer citizenship to orphans or children with stateless parents provided the children are born on their soil.

Birth tourism Is quite a popular option for expectant mothers with a visa. The US Center for Immigration Studies estimates that over 30,000 births in the US as a result of birth tourism. All the women in that statistic were on tourist visas.

Birth tourism with the end game of citizenship for your child could be highly beneficial to the child as it effectively guarantees a better quality of life to many alongside the opportunity of owning a second passport. There is also the possibility of naturalisation of the parents in many cases. In the US for instance, the child could sponsor the parents to migrate once they reach the age of 21.

There is no denial that many participants in birth tourism misrepresent the purpose of their journey in order not to jeopardise their chances of obtaining an entry visa. But it is what it is.

BRAZIL happens to be a very interesting option for birth tourism given that the health care is relatively cheap compared to the US and Canada and they boast world class healthcare facilities and a highly efficient health system. Another upside of Brazil is that non-citizen parents of a child born on Brazilian soil can fast track their naturalisation. The waiting period is just one year! For other countries it can be anything between two to seven years.

Find out about the strength of the passports of the listed nations based on the Henley Index HERE to help you in your decision making.

Also find our about countries that offer VISA FREE travel to Nigerians HERE.

Goodluck and GODSPEED

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