Immigration Corner | Will this move affect my baby?
Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,
I am an H2B worker in the United States. I had a baby while being here, but I need to take him to Jamaica. Is it OK for me to take the baby with me? What documents do I need to travel with him? Daycare is very expensive here, so I want to take him to Jamaica to have him stay with his father. Is that going to cause any problems?
Your child is an American citizen by birth and a Jamaican by decent. In order for the baby to travel he/she must have travel documents – a passport. Since you are in the United States, you need to establish the baby’s birthright by obtaining the birth certificate and his passport. Please ensure that the father’s name is added to the baby’s birth certificate for a myriad legal reasons.
To obtain the baby’s passport, you will need the consent of the father if he is unable to appear in person with you and the baby to apply for the passport. The information to obtain a passport for a minor child can be found on the US Department of State’s website at www.travel.state.gov. This is necessary to ensure that both parents agree to the issuance of a passport for a child to prevent childhood abduction.
If you accepted Medicaid for your expenses for the birth of your child, you will have issues in the future with non-immigrant travel and/or the renewal of non-immigrant visas. One of the conditions of a non-immigrant visa is that you do not become a public charge on the government of the United States, and accepting government assistance to pay for your medical expenses is a violation of your visa. Your American citizen child is eligible to receive any and all benefits of that citizenship. If you paid all the expenses for the birth, or are making payments, please keep proof for future travel and visa renewals.
When you take or send your child to Jamaica, he will land as an American citizen with a limited time to remain in Jamaica. You or the father of the child should secure his Jamaican citizenship including his/her Jamaican passport. This way the child will have dual citizenship and will be allowed to remain in either country for as long as he wishes without penalty.
Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington, Esq is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and international law in Florida. She is a mediator and former special magistrate and hearing officer in Broward County, Florida. firstname.lastname@example.org