A friend of mine wanted his wife to give birth in US so that the child can have both Indian and US citizenship. They pre-arranged all the medical facilities and their accommodation in the states. Unfortunately, their tourist visa application got denied.
When I researched upon the matter, I found that it was possible to give birth to a child in US on tourist visa but birth tourism is highly discouraged in the present times.
What is Birth Tourism?
People often travel to countries like USA, Canada and Australia to give birth to their children, which is termed as birth tourism. This is done mainly to obtain dual citizenship for the kids. According to US constitution, birth of a child in US automatically gives the child, rights and privileges of a US citizenship, says an article in Dyan Williams Law PLLC. Moreover, this also provides the foreign parent some immigration relief.
Officially, there are no regulations to prohibit birth tourism. However, if US custom officers found that you are pregnant and intentionally trying to have a child birth in the states, they might deny your visa application. Although in some cases where travel is for medical purpose related to childbirth, the consular officer might grant you a visa. You will have to provide sufficient proof of that.
Don’t forget to get insurance.
It is recommended that you get travel insurance when traveling to USA, as medical expense (even for common flu) can run into hundreds of dollars! Here are some of the best insurance for US visitors.
US Crackdown on Birth Tourism Industry
An estimated number of 36K birth tourists come to the US every year, says an article on Center for Immigration Studies. Studies have shown that thousands of pregnant women from different countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan and others are included in this figure. In the year 2014, approximately 60000 Chinese women went to US for childbirth.
This is increasing the number of immigrants in US, giving rise to social and economic problems; one of the many reasons why President Donald Trump is against ‘anchor babies’ or birth tourism. The rate of immigration fraud is increasing as well. Many people mislead the custom officers and use the loop-holes in the immigration laws to obtain US citizenship.
However, if you have decided to give birth to your child in US, you should decide upon important things such as choosing the right place and hospital where you want your baby delivered. Things will depend on how long you are going to stay in the states and if you will need to extend your visa, the carrier you are choosing for travel and the rules and regulations of the particular carrier.
Often, the flight companies do not allow women passengers in late pregnancies to travel, as it is extremely dangerous. You should also inquire about the estimate cost for giving birth to your child and whether these expenses can be covered in your travel insurance. US healthcare facilities are expensive.
Before deciding anything, it is advised to be aware of all the immigration laws and possible risks associated with the plan. There are no rules restricting pregnant women from entering the United States, but in case, you are denied visa, you should consult an experienced attorney who could provide you with possible solutions.
Can you travel to USA when pregnant to give birth?
It is perfectly legal for a pregnant person to visit the US. It is also okay for the person to give birth there. But there might be some roadblocks.
1. Air Travel during pregnancy
Airlines might refuse to board a pregnant person on the plane, if you are close to giving birth to avoid the risk of letting you do it on the plane. You will need to check with your airlines to know what their policy is.
2. Paying for child birth in US is expensive
Child birth in USA is super expensive and can go to thousands of dollars. According to an article on Business Insider..
The average cost to have a baby in the US, without complications during delivery, is $10,808 — which can increase to $30,000 when factoring in care provided before and after pregnancy.
So, while you arrive in the USA, you might be asked by the officers at port of entry, for proof on how you can support this kind of expense for your child birth in the US.
It might help having a good temporary medical insurance plan, but it would totally depend on the officer, whether to let you in to US soil or not.