- Carlos Jasso/Reuters
- President Donald Trump said he wants to issue an executive order ending birthright citizenship in the US.
- Also known as “jus soli”, it’s a policy whereby any child born within a country automatically becomes a citizen of that nation.
- More than 30 other countries recognize birthright citizenship.
A week before the midterm elections, news broke that President Donald Trump said he wanted to issue an executive order ending birthright citizenship in the US.
Birthright citizenship is a policy whereby a child is granted citizenship by the country they are born in.
The United States has recognized birthright citizenship, or “jus soli” as it’s known around the world, since the passing of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868.
- Olivia Reaney/Business Insider
Critics of birthright citizenship say it encourages immigrants to come to the country and have so-called “anchor babies.”
In criticizing the policy, Trump told Axios that “we’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States.”
That’s not true. While birthright citizenship is by far a rare policy throughout the world, more than 30 other countries recognize jus soli, and even more adhere to more restricted forms of birthright citizenship.
Here are the countries that recognize birthright citizenship*:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- Saint Kits and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United States
More countries recognize jus soli in some cases
Other countries recognize birthright citizenship in special circumstances. In some cases, countries will confer citizenship to orphans or to children with stateless parents. These countries include:
But in the vast majority of countries, citizenship is determined by descent (also known as “jus sanguinis”). That can mean something different in each country, but for the most part it means having at least one parent who is a citizen of that country.
Some countries, like Poland, require that both parents be citizens. Countries with patriarchal or matriarchal societies determine citizenship through the father’s or mother’s citizenship, respectively. For example, in Andorra, the mother needs to be a citizen for the child to become a citizen at birth.
In several Muslim countries, such as Bahrain and Iran, the father needs to be a citizen for the citizenship to transfer, which creates complexities for children born out of wedlock.
In recent years, several countries have transitioned from birthright citizenship to jus sanguinis. Those countries include India and Malta.
*It should be noted that many countries that recognize birthright citizenship do not apply the rule to the children of foreign diplomats residing in the country for work.