Most children have citizenship by virtue of where they were born. However, for children born in transit between countries, determining citizenship can be a lengthy and trying process for their parents and families.
For births in the sky and at sea, there are certain regulations for children. When in an airplane, the U.S. State Department Foreign Affairs Manual states that children are given U.S. citizenship if they are born over a U.S. state or territory. This same citizenship right will be given to children if they are born within 12 nautical miles from a U.S. shore.
For planes that are not over a U.S. state or territory, the child is given the citizenship of the country that the plane is registered in.
These particular citizenship regulations came into play on March 23, when a boy was born on a flight between Ghana and Atlanta, Reuters reported. The mother was not due until April 15, and so was cleared to take the plane trip.
The case of the child, named Ebosalume, was further complicated by the fact that both his parents have different nations of citizenship: his mother is Nigerian and his father is a naturalized U.S. citizen. According to the source, Ebosalume has been given U.S. citizenship because of his father’s naturalized status.
However, citizenship is not as easy to determine for children of those individuals hoping to immigrate. Kevin Raymar Francis Domingo was born on a flight during a trip his mother, Aida Alamillo, was taking to the United States to visit her sister. Alamillo was in the process of trying to immigrate to the United States from the Philippines, and hoped to give birth to Kevin while on her visit, which led to a dispute over the child’s citizenship status.