What would a baby’s citizenship be if it were to be determined that the child was born aboard an airplane? Which country are they flying over right now? The country from which the airliner originated its flight? Where exactly is it going to make its home? Is someplace completely different? These questions sound like a hypothetical problems…

Several considerations go into determining the citizenship of kids born in midair. Citizenship is automatically conferred upon a person by several countries, including the United States, to anyone born within their territorial airspace or waterways. In law, this concept is referred to by its Latin name, “jus soli,” which translates to “right of the soil.” Certain countries adhere to a legal doctrine called “jus sanguinis,” meaning “right of the blood.” This indicates that the citizenship of its parents will determine the baby’s citizenship.

The United Nations considers the nationality of a child born on a plane in-flight according to the airplane’s registered country. This is due to admiralty law which says that if the vessel you are traveling on is, for example, French, you are technically on French soil. Some countries point to the city where the child first disembarked the plane as the place of birth and to the airplane’s registered country as the place of citizenship. Of course, citizenship and birthplace are two different topics – citizenship is typically a more significant issue. It may require some paperwork, while writing a child’s birthplace on a birth certificate is often a less legally substantial consideration.

Check for the examples HERE


-Written by Glenn Tellier (Founder of CRIE and Grupo Gap).

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