Immigration Corner: I want to give birth in the US
Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,
I am pregnant for an American. However, we were informed that it is illegal to have the baby in the United States (US), whether paid for by us, or on Medicaid, as that is misuse and grounds for revocation of my tourist visa. I have, therefore, decided to have the baby back home. I am planning to have the father file a certificate of birth abroad, but he is living in America and will not be able to come to Jamaica to file it. Can he file a certificate of birth abroad for his baby from in America? How do we proceed from here? Is this the easiest and fastest route?
It is not illegal for a non-US citizen or permanent resident to have a child in the US. The problem only arises when the person does not pay for the cost of the birth of the child and allows Medicaid to cover the costs. There is actually an entire business sector designed around foreigners coming to the US and giving birth to US citizen children. Persons who have come to the States and given birth allowing Medicaid to cover the costs of the birth have had their visas revoked or have been denied the renewal of their non-immigrant visas.
The father of your child, as a US citizen, is allowed to transmit citizenship to his child if he can show that he is the biological father and that he has been physically present in the US for the requisite period. If you are not married, the father of the child may be required to take a DNA/paternity test to prove the biological relationship. He would also have to acknowledge paternity and agree to pay child support.
The US citizen parent does not have to be present at the US embassy, but must have the necessary forms notarised and also give notarised authorisation for you to act in their stead. The recording of the foreign birth must take place before the child is 18, but the sooner after birth that this is done, the better it is to prove the necessary steps.
- Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and personal injury law in Florida. She is a mediator, arbitrator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida; and an adjunct professor at Miami Dade College's School of Justice. firstname.lastname@example.org