Estate Planning for H-1B Workers: Part 1 – If my child is born here, is he a US Citizen?

baby-710360_1280Many people who are highly educated citizens of foreign nations come to work in the United States on a temporary basis on H-1B visas.  The H-1B visa allows an individual from another country with at least a bachelor’s degree (or significant experience) to come to work here in the United States in a “specialty occupation.”

The question has come up as to the citizenship of a child born here while the parents are technically only present here temporarily for work. Under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, all persons born in or naturalized by the United States, and subject to its jurisdiction, are citizens. Thus, generally a person born in the United States to parents who are non-citizens is a citizen. There are limited exceptions for foreign diplomats.  A child born in the United States to alien parents probably will have dual citizenship, since he would also be deemed a citizen of the country of his parents’ nationality. Nevertheless, the child would possess his U.S. citizenship unless he renounced it or lost it.

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