Are persons born in U.S. embassies U.S. citizens, if their parents are not citizens?

  • The Fourteenth Amendment provides that children born in the United States become American citizens regardless of the citizenship of their parents.

    Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    There also are rules for who is/isn't a citizen in territories or former U.S. territories.

    What about U.S. embassies, Are persons born in U.S. embassies U.S. citizens, even if their parents are not citizens?

  • No, the Fourteenth Amendment does not bestow citizenship by birth in the USA, because an embassy is not part of the USA.

    As the U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual Volume 8 notes, US embassies are not part of the United States and do not acquire U.S. citizenship under the 14th Amendment.


    c. Birth on U.S. Military Base Outside of the United States or Birth on U.S. Embassy or Consulate Premises Abroad:

    (1) Despite widespread popular belief, U.S. military installations abroad and U.S. diplomatic or consular facilities abroad are not part of the United States within the meaning of the 14th Amendment. A child born on the premises of such a facility is not born in the United States and does not acquire U.S. citizenship by reason of birth.

    The US State Department notes:

    U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, as well as foreign embassies and consulates in the United States, have a special status. While diplomatic spaces remain the territory of the host state, an embassy or consulate represents a sovereign state. International rules do not allow representatives of the host country to enter an embassy without permission --even to put out a fire -- and designate an attack on an embassy as an attack on the country it represents.

    Nothing wrong with question, but the Q&A format is best suited to each question getting its own post. This allows the correct answers to bubble to the top, where if I answer the Q here, the correct answer might get lost/deleted.That being said, (No, McCain is eligible to be elected president. 7 FAM 1111a.(2))

    It would be helpful to point out (because some people seem to find it confusing) that being born outside the US does not mean you are not born a US citizen. Children of US citizens are frequently citizens at birth.

    @DJClayworth, I am considering that, but perhaps i should just edit the question to be more clear? "Are persons born in a US embassya US citizen regardless of their parentage?" That is what i was getting at with the 14th amendment background.

  • Foreign embassies in the USA have some special status, but they are on US ground. There is an exception where the newborn baby of a foreign ambassador or his/her wife doesn't become US citizen by birth, but that is due to the status of the parents, not the exact place of birth - I would think that in most cases a baby would be born in a private home or in a hospital anyway, and not in an embassy.

    Likewise, if a highly pregnant US citizen enters a foreign embassy, and unexpectedly gives birth, that child will be US citizen by birth.

    Children of most US citizens are US citizens by birth, regardless of where they are born. The case that's really of interest is that of a non-US citizen, not a diplomat, whose child is born in an embassy to the US.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM