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Citizenship for children born to visitors from abroad

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Maryland residents may be familiar with recent questions about the rights of U.S. citizens born abroad, but another question commonly arises about children born in the country to non-citizens. If a pregnant foreigner gives birth while visiting the country, the child is typically considered a U.S. citizen. In fact, such a child could even qualify to seek the office of President of the United States in the future. However, there is an exception when a child is born in the country to a foreign diplomat, in which case citizenship is not applicable.

Although one's child would be a citizen because of birth in the U.S., this does not imply any parental citizenship or residency rights. A parent cannot seek a green card in connection with their child's citizenship unless that child is at least 21 years of age. Additionally, that child would need to sponsor their parent in the effort to obtain citizenship.

Family issues have been prominent in the nation's discussions about immigration, especially when the issue of deportation arises. Others have raised concerns about non-citizens planning their travel to the U.S. in order to give birth while in the country. Although the future possibility of a child sponsoring a parent for a green card exists, at least 21 years would have to elapse first. A parent might seek other options for obtaining a green card or a work visa if there is an interest in being able to raise a child who is a U.S. citizen.

An immigration lawyer could be helpful for providing information about the options for a foreign parent to obtain permission to remain in the U.S. after giving birth. This might include assistance with gathering documentation and completing applications for a non-immigrant visa.

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