Birth tourism, also popular under the term birth tourism, consists of planning by pregnant couples who want to have children in other countries. The purpose of this practice is to ensure that the child has benefits and, above all, dual citizenship that is facilitated in the country chosen to give birth. Though tempting, conducting birth tourism takes a lot of planning time and is extremely bureaucratic.
More than examining the possible locations or how the baby can benefit in each location, it is necessary to consider more complex issues. Travel company rules, up-to-date documentation, and hospital and lodging expenses provided are some of the issues to consider.
Daniel Toledo, a lawyer specializing in international law, explains that birth tourism is common and considered legal in several countries, as long as there is no fraud in the information provided to border agents. “When making a decision, it is necessary to speak with a specialist lawyer to understand which countries allow citizenship based on the simple fact of birth or whether there are other requirements,” he says.
Where to do birth tourism
According to recent surveys, there are about 36 countries that allow birth tourism, including Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Cuba, Panama, Jamaica, Pakistan, Fiji, Canada and the United States. The latter, according to Toledo, is the champion of the search for people who want to give birth on international soil.
The countries of the European Union restrict this tourist activity by not guaranteeing automatic citizenship of foreign children, regardless of how many they are born in their territory. In these cases, it is taken into account whether the child has ancestors or parents who are citizens of that country.
Several countries also only grant dual citizenship to babies with at least one legal guardian; in some of these countries are still required to meet a minimum length of stay. These are, for example, the cases of India, New Zealand, Morocco, Israel, Australia, Hong Kong and South Africa.
The benefits of birth tourism
By being born voluntarily in another country—that is, without places of refuge, for example—the lawyer explains that children begin to receive all the civil and political rights of that country, something that is seen as a long-term investment. that child’s life.
This birth position is set to jus solis; that is, it is characterized as a person entitled to the nationality of the place where he was born, without necessarily excluding the nationality of the country of origin. For example, Brazil considers all children of Brazilians to be Brazilians, regardless of the country where they were born.
In addition to dual citizenship and the right to come and go, some countries may offer access to educational institutions (especially attractive for higher education) and political shelter; in addition to allowing, for example, a withdrawal from Brazilian military service, in the case of men. There are also countries that facilitate access to the labor market, increasing that person’s chances of consolidating economically abroad.
Which documents need to be organized?
Toledo says that in order to carry out birth tourism, those responsible have to plan a lot. The first step is to regularize the documents, including visas and authorizations that allow that traveler to stay in a particular country for a long period of time.
Keep in mind that the standard airline policy is that pregnant people who are about to give birth should not travel by plane, at least in extreme emergency. For this reason, it is recommended that the person settles in the country several months before the end of the pregnancy.
The attorney draws attention to the need to contact doctors and hospitals in the destination of interest so that reservations can be made. For this, it is recommended that tourists have an international health plan. Most travel insurance policies only cover up to the 28th or 34th week of pregnancy; that is, without health insurance, those responsible must bear all the costs.
Finally, Toledo warns that those responsible should not forget that that newborn child must also have regularized documents to return to Brazil. This means that the newborn child also needs a passport. Tourists should consider the estimated time for the document to be ready as they will have to wait for the bureaucratic process to be completed.
How is birth tourism seen by countries?
As much as it is a legal practice in several countries, most countries view birth tourism with concern and even disapproval, especially in countries that are considered developed. In some cases, banning such actions has even become part of the electoral agenda.
Other provisions promoted to reduce birth tourism include non-coverage from the public health system (in countries that have it), high childbirth prices for foreigners, fines or the ban on visas and documentation of tourist residence for people with disabilities. advanced gestation period.
In addition to economic issues, Toledo argues that the concern is related to the child’s failure to fulfill the duties of the child to the nation where it was born. This is because, in addition to the benefits, that person must in theory meet the requirements implied by that nationality, such as military enlistment or even paying taxes, for example.
“Passport is granted because of free transit and residence, but those responsible forget the problems of paying taxes and responsibilities with the country,” Toledo points out to birth tourism.
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