A recent China Daily article reports that for some mothers RMB 100,000, traveling while pregnant and giving birth in a foreign country are worthwhile investments for US citizenship. The 14th Amendment of the US Constitution grants citizenship to babies born on American soil, regardless of the nationality of the parents. As a result, every year a “portion of high-earning couples” are willing to spend the exorbitant amount of money necessary for agencies that provide such services, including an extended stay in the US, and medical coverage.
A huge time commitment, expectant mothers head to the States in their sixth or seventh month of pregnancy and then remain for the three to six months it takes to give birth and gain the coveted US passport. The Shanghai-based agency that specializes in such pregnancy-geared vacations helps women through the visa process, going so far as to tell them how to handle any customs snafus and providing legal assistance in the US should they only be granted a month-long visa.
Experts estimate that 400,000 babies a year are born in the US and given citizenship, even though their parents are not US-citizens. Although this includes many illegal immigrants already living in the US and is not limited to traveling mothers, it still indicates a huge trend in parents’ eagerness to gain a US passport for their children.