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Birth Tourism in the United States – What is it? and Why?

By Molly Thornberg |

birth tourism united states citizenship

Birth tourism continues to rise in the US.  I know there are places in Mexico that cater to plastic surgery tourism. You can go get a cheap boob job or tummy tuck, but  learn why giving birth in America is such a big deal to foreigners.

Why Would You Want to Travel Pregnant
Just to Give Birth in the United States?

Millions of tourists travel to the US each year – of those – thousands of legal immigrants who don’t live here but have a baby here, have given their children the gift of citizenship, which the U.S. grants to anyone born on its soil.  Yep, you read that right. By birthing your child here, your child receives the full benefits of a US citizenship. Those benefits includes the ability to travel to and from here easily as well as easy access to US education.

Birth Tourism - Maternity Houses and Hotels

Where there is an industry there is money to be made, and people are banking off of the birth tourism industry.  Maternity houses are setup to accomodate pregnant women slightly before and for up to 2 months after birth. The mother gives birth in a U.S. hospital and then recovers in the maternity house.  Prices for these services can reach up to $35,000.

Hotels are jumping in the game too by offering monthly rates, airport transfers and baby cribs.

Is Birth Tourism Legal?

The Houston Chronicle investigated this industry in June of last year.  Here is what a U.S. official said:

U.S. officials confirm that it is not a crime to travel to the United States to give birth so that the child can have U.S. citizenship. “You don’t deny someone because you know they’re going to the U.S. to have children,” said a U.S. Embassy spokesman in Beijing, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing embassy rules.

The spokesman, who said expectant mothers typically claim they are going to the United States as tourists, compared the baby consultancies to services that help foreign students apply for American universities: “If you have the money, they give you the service. They tell you how to prepare your dossier.”

“I’m sure people in Congress would call it a loophole,” the spokesman said.

What Are Your Thoughts on Birth Tourism?

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About Molly Thornberg


Molly Thornberg

Molly Thornberg is a wife and mother of four. She worked in web design and social media marketing before quitting to pursue blogging full time. On Digital Mom Blog, Molly shares "geeky" DIY projects, discusses the latest technology news, and talks about her life as a parent. Read bio and latest posts → Read Molly's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Birth Tourism in the United States – What is it? and Why?

  1. NoAdditives says:

    I don’t see why this is a big deal. It doesn’t guarantee the parents legal citizenship. In fact, a child cannot petition the government for their parent’s citizenship until they (the child) are 21, so who cares? If a woman comes to this country to get her child dual citizenship and then goes back to whatever country she lives in, how is this in any way a real concern? Because the child doesn’t have to go through all kinds of hassle getting visas, etc. if they want to go to a US college? Who cares? US schools are often much worse than European or Asian schools and our job market isn’t all that great. I don’t see a lot of incentives for coming to this country…

  2. Mary Grimm says:

    lol, really? Because we have more rights than a lot of other countries.

  3. NoAdditives says:

    At any rate, it simply gives them dual citizenship. It does not provide citizenship for the child’s parents, so why is this a big deal?

  4. blondie says:

    Yet for an American who gives birth outside the country, you have to pay to register your baby’s birth after meeting certain criteria! Ridiculous. It shouldn’t be allowed like that. The parent should have to have some sort of resident status at the very least…legal, of course! Besides, what good does it really bring?

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