Keys to the Castillo

The Ultimate Guide to Birth Tourism

Table of Contents

Overview

Imagine a regular, frigid, dreary day at Vancouver International Airport.

Thousands of weary travelers from all over the world will be landing on Canadian soil today, for various purposes.

Enjoying activities in nature

Visiting family and friends

Starting a new job

Attending school

Or, perhaps their true purpose for a trip to Canada is more clandestine.

Out of all the travelers passing through the airport today, a portion of them will be pregnant women arriving in Canada, with the intention of giving birth while in the country.

In case you haven’t heard…

There’s been a lot of backlash recently against ‘birth tourism’ – the act of foreigners flying to another country, namely Canada and the United States, in order to give birth to their children in these countries.

Let me fill you in on how this works:

Both Canada and the United States abide by the principle of Jus soli. This is a Latin term that means ‘right of the soil’. Under this principle, anyone born in Canada or the United States, or even in a space considered to be under the jurisdiction of either country will automatically be granted citizenship. This includes an embassy, airplane, or sea vessel. This is also known as ‘birthright citizenship’.

To take this one step further, any children born to citizens of Canada or the United States, whether domestically or abroad, also automatically gain the parent’s citizenship.

Why Would Someone Do This?

Think about all the rights and privileges you might take for granted as an American or Canadian.

The right to work any job you’re qualified for

The right to reside ANYWHERE in the country

The right to do business

The right to access social assistance

The right to medical care

The right to attend school and pay domestic tuition

And…

The right to possess a crisp, shiny passport of your nation

We often lose sight of how damn lucky we are just by virtue of the genetic lottery, to be born in these countries. It may not seem like much to you, but starting a new life in the States or Canada is like a sky-high dream for nearly everyone in the rest of the world.

If a guy from the slums of India had the opportunity to hop on a plane and start a new life in Canada, even if it meant working the night shift in a 7-11… don’t you think he’d take it in a heartbeat?!

To be fair, there are a few separate reasons for birth tourism. One, being that the country someone resides in may not have the desired medical equipment, staff, procedures, or even just favorable conditions to birth a child. In fact, families with surrogate mothers might elect to go abroad to give birth, even to a country that doesn’t offer birthright citizenship, due to laws against surrogacy.

So we’re left with a very curious situation.

Not only do we have individuals who come into these countries legally…

But we are also faced with another conundrum: What happens when illegal immigrants have their kids in these countries?

The term for these children is ‘anchor babies’. You know, like the anchor of a ship, dropping into the depths of the ocean and… boom! Virtually no storm or tide can shift your position now, unless you allow it to.

Of course, the ‘ship’ here, refers to the child’s family.

Issues with Sponsorship

Thing is, it’s not quite as easy as some may think for family members of children born in Canada or the States to become citizens themselves. Tons of parents have their kids in these countries under the impression that the child can easily sponsor them or other family members when they come of age, or perhaps act as a channel through which the family can purchase property or conduct business in said country.

Canada: “having a Canadian child will not give you any special advantage to obtain permanent residence in Canada. The presence of children is of little relevance to most types of permanent residence applications, which focus on having work skills and education, or otherwise on the ability to become economically established in Canada.

If you have a Canadian child and you are not a Canadian permanent resident, you could still remain in Canada with the child as a temporary resident, such as a visitor, student, or worker, provided that you qualify for these types of status. However, the Canadian immigration authorities will not grant you temporary resident status simply because you have a Canadian child.”

 

United States: “The parents of a U.S. citizen who is at least age 21 are considered “immediate relatives” under U.S. immigration law. That means they are eligible for lawful permanent residence (a green card), allowing them to live and work in the United States. (See I.N.A. § 201(b), 8 U.S.C. § 1151(b).)

Plus, the child will be required to prove that his or her household income is sufficient to support their family and their parents at 125% or more above the U.S. poverty level, and that they must truly intend to live in the United States. A green card is not a travel document, and if the parents stay outside the U.S. too long, U.S. border authorities may come to notice that they truly “live” somewhere else, and deny reentry.”

Just a quick aside – It’s safe to assume that the United States offers such citizenship for the same reasons ancient Rome did: to increase the number of US tax-payers needed to pay off the country’s disastrous debt burden… which will never happen. Now, While U.S. citizens can apply for an exemption on the first $100,000 of their earned foreign income, this does not apply to investment income, dividends, or royalties.

 

How You Can Benefit

 

Regardless of how you may feel about this situation, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be ending anytime soon.

Rejoice, dear reader – it’s not all doom and gloom. At Absolute Courage dot com, I aim to provide you with the awareness of choices you probably didn’t even know you had.

Are you going to have kids sometime soon? If you are, you can take advantage of birth tourism as well, even if you have Canadian or American citizenship.

I remember meeting a guy who was from California. Everything about him was as American as it gets – the way he talked, the way he walked, the way he drank, and so on.

Only, he revealed a surprising fact to me as we got to know each other.

He was born in Panama to American parents.

He was a Panamanian citizen.

You can also imagine my shock when he started speaking Spanish even better than me (at the time).

When you think of Panama, what comes to mind?

The canal, beaches, a solid banking industry… and a foreigner-friendly tax haven.

Sounds like a great place to have a child, if I may say so.

Even if starting a family is something way down the line for you, here is a list compiled by yours truly to inform you of all countries that abide by the principle of jus soli (citizenship by birth)… and a few choice benefits to be derived from doing so.

 

List of Countries Offering Birthright Citizenship in 2019

Unrestricted birthright citizenship – anyone born in these 30 countries gains automatic citizenship.

Organized by Region

 

Americas:

Caribbean:

Africa:

Asia:

Europe:

Oceania:

Antigua and Barbuda – A country that consists of three major islands (Antigua, Barbuda, and a third uninhabited island called Redonda) in the Atlantic Ocean, near Puerto Rico. This nation is a member of the Caribbean Community. Visa-free access to Russia and the EU.

Tax rates range from  0% from EC$ 1 – EC$ 36,000 (tax exempt allowance),

10% from EC$ 36,001 – EC$ 180,000,

25% on income greater than EC$ 180,000

Antigua and Barbuda does not levy estate tax nor inheritance tax.

Rental income earned by nonresidents is taxed at a flat rate of 20%

Capital gains are not subject to taxation in Antigua.

Property tax is levied on all properties located in Antigua, but not in Barbuda.

 

If a taxpayer earns capital gains regularly and frequently, the capital gains are considered as income from trade or business and taxed at standard income tax rates.

Argentina – Citizenship here cannot be renounced. Interestingly, there exists a territory of the coast of Argentina called the Falkland Islands, which is still disputed with the British. Not only is it possible to automatically receive Argentenian Citizenship at birth, but also apply for British Citizenship later down the line. Visa- free access to Russia and the European Union. Income tax for residents ranges between 9-35%. For all you sports enthusiasts, it might excite you to know that Argentina has been the uninterrupted world polo champion since 1949 and is the source of most of the world’s top 10 polo players today. provide world class facilities that are much cheaper when compared to any other Western country.

Barbados – Known as the birthplace of rum.  Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 25-38%. Citizenship here makes you eligible to be a commonwealth citizen too, which allows you to enter other commonwealth countries without a visa, as well as eligibility for a  commonwealth scholarship. Capital gains are not taxable in Barbados.

Belize – Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 0-25%

Bolivia – one of the lowest crime rates in Latin America. Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 0-25%

Brazil – careful with this one. According to the law, Brazilians cannot renounce their citizenship. Brazilians do not require a visa to visit Russia, unlike many other nationalities, plus, they have visa-free access to the European Union. Strangely, Brazilians need visas for the United States, Canada, and Australia. Male Brazilians also have a 12-month military service obligation. They enjoy visa-free or visa on arrival access to 171 countries and territories. Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 0-27.5%. provide world class facilities that are much cheaper when compared to any other Western country. In addition, if you choose to have a child in Brazil, or with a Brazilian national, the naturalization process can be fast-tracked if you so choose, with just a one year wait time.

Canada – It’s understandable why Canada is a wildly popular option for most expecting parents, particularly the Chinese. In fact, it’s been reported that some families will pay upwards of $30,000 USD for medical care and post-natal care in ‘birth houses’. Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 19-54%.

Chad –

Chile – visa-free or visa on arrival access to 174 countries and territories, ranking as third most powerful in the Americas behind Canada and the United States. The only Latin America country that has visa-waiver access to the United States. Visa-free access to Vietnam, Russia, and the EU. Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 0-35%.

Costa Rica – Visa-free Access to Russia and the European Union. Nestled right in between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the South, Costa Rica has some of the most beautiful beaches on Earth, hence the name, which translates to ‘rich coast’. Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 0-25%.

Dominica – Visa-free Access to Russia and the European Union, no property taxes. Known as the ‘nature island’, Since they gained independence from the UK in 1978, English is the official language here. Municipal taxes are levied on properties in Roseau and Canefield urban areas, but otherwise, there are no traditional property taxes associated with most nations. 4% stamp tax. Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 0-35%. Another interesting thing to note about Dominica is the relatively easy admittance into medical school, compared to the rigorous requirements of schools in the United States or Canada. Despite recent criticisms that many of these institutions are run purely for-profit and churn out graduates who do not go on to secure appropriate employment, a number of students still flock to these schools because they are able to legally practice medicine in countries such as the United States and Canada once they’ve completed their program. One notable institution is Ross University (https://www.statnews.com/2017/02/17/caribbean-medical-schools/)

Ecuador – Visa-free Access to China and Russia Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 0-35%. For any of you interested in Cryptocurrency, unfortunately, it is completely banned in Ecuador. Another notable trait of this country is that they use the US dollar on a national scale.

El Salvador – Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 0-30%.

Fiji – visa-free Access to Russia and China. No property taxes. Fiji also has a territorial tax system that allows residents to pay no tax on income earned outside of Fiji, such as through an offshore company. However, there is a stamp tax of 3% for citizens, and 10% for non-citizens. (A stamp tax is also known as a real estate transfer tax. Essentially, when you buy the property, you pay a percentage of the purchase price to the government as a stamp duty on the transfer of ownership). Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 0-20%.

Grenada – English is the official language, visa-free Access to Russia and China. A notable medical school here is St. George’s University School of Medicine

Guatemala – visa-free access to Russia and the EU The domestic Income tax rate is quite low compared to other countries, ranging from 5-7%

Guyana – visa-free Access to Russia

Honduras –

Jamaica – visa-free Access to Russia Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 0-25%.

Lesotho –

Mexico – Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 2-35%. For all you athletes and gym rates out there, it might interest you to know that a number of performance enhancing drugs which are illegal in countries such as Canada or the States are sold over the counter in Mexico, such as testosterone.

Nicaragua –

Pakistan – Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 7.5-31%.

Panama – Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 0-27%. provide world class facilities that are much cheaper when compared to any other Western country.

Paraguay – here’s a country to take a close look at. Residents are not taxed on foreign-sourced income. Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 8-10%.

Peru – Visa-free access to Russia, Thailand, and the E.U. Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 0-30%.

St. Kitts and Nevis – Not only is this a gorgeous country, but it’s known worldwide for both its non-existent income tax rate of 0% as well as its citizenship by investment program. Even if you pass on having a child here, you can secure yourself a passport for an investment of $200,000 US through their citizenship by investment program.

Saint Lucia – also a commonwealth nation, these citizens have access to social security in UK, right to vote, live, work, and study. That’s why UK is the most preferred destination to the emigrants there.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines –

Tanzania – Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 15-30%.

Trinidad and Tobago – Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 0-25%.

Tuvalu –

United States – Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 0-49.3%. In recent years, many Americans have become aware of how their citizenship can be seen as a double-edged sword. Even if you earn all your income outside of the United States, you are taxed based on your citizenship. As a result, there is a growing number of Americans who are opting to renounce their citizenship, effectively severing this tie and reducing their tax burden significantly.

Uruguay – Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 0-30%.

Venezuela – Domestic Income tax rate ranges from 6-34%.

 

In total, based on region, we have…

  • 19 in South America
  • 3 in North America
  • 3 in Africa
  • 5 in Oceania

 

Ireland was the last European nation to abolish birthright citizenship in 2004

 

I realize that not all of these places are known as ‘great’ countries, but things can change.

As a quick recap, let’s go over what birthright citizens have access to, regardless of the country:

  • The right of abode
  • The right to own property
  • Possibly a more favorable tax situation
  • The right to education
  • The right to social services
  • The right to employment or conduct business
  • The right to vote
  • The right to run for public office (some countries do not allow dual citizens to do this)
  • The right to consular assistance while abroad
  • The right to a passport

Not to mention also the unique opportunities that come from experiencing a different culture and language.

For example, an American family could send their Panamanian-born son to school there for a year. Even after just a few months, their son will be conversational in Spanish, with almost no extra effort – it’s an environment that’s conducive to acquiring the language.

Or perhaps you want to conduct business, like buy rental properties, or open a bank account in one of these countries. You can do that more easily via your foreign-born child.

 

Questions and Concerns

 

Is birth tourism legal?

What are the costs?

How should I deal with customs when entering another country?

Which countries are harder to get into for this purpose?

What documents do customs officials usually ask for?

What kind of accommodation should I arrange?

What is the process for registering a child and obtaining documents such as birth certificate and passport?

What should I do while not visiting the doctor?

Cost estimates, billing and clearing bills before you leave

Which countries provide vaccinations?

 

What do I do if I need an extension of stay due to medical issues?

 

 

Closing Thoughts

At the end of the day, you can’t blame parents for desiring to give their children the maximum amount of choices in life. As an individual who enjoys multiple citizenships, I already know first-hand how beneficial and life-changing a pocket-sized government document can be.

So does anyone who’s ever taken the leap to immigrate.

In some ways, criticism of those taking advantage of these laws is warranted, but this trend shows no signs of slowing down. If you’re planning on starting a family, and you’ve confirmed that your children will receive your citizenship via descent, I suggest you allow the idea of birth tourism to simmer in your mind. After all, the law could change at any moment, and your opportunity to give your children more options could be snatched away tomorrow.

Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below, and pass this article on to whoever you think will find it useful.

To your fortune,

Andreas Alexander

 

 

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