If a baby is born on a plane, do they get a naturalized space passport, like they do if they are on land in a foreign country?

Mudassir Ali
Feb 12, 2020 03:27 PM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Feb 12, 2020 03:28 PM

There have been some 50 people born on an airplane, mid-flight (since the beginning of flight). The oldest one would have been 91 years today (born in 1929, on a flight from Miami, Forida, USA).

Babies born on an international flight (in an airplane) will automatically get citizenship of their parent(s). This is the first, and default option.

Whether they get some additional citizenship will depend on several things. Some countries give citizenship to babies born on their territory. And in this group, some of them include their airspace, so if a baby is born on an airplane flying through their airspace, the baby will get that citizenship, provided that the flight originated, or landed in that country (overflights don’t count).

The laws tend to agree that the nationality of an aircraft is defined by the country of its registration. In general, this means that a child born on an aircraft should be treated as if born on the territory of the country of registry. This isn’t always the case, since national laws do not extend this to childbirth. USA gives children born on aircraft citizenship if the birth occurred while in the USA airspace. UK has similar laws.

For the most part, the rules for birth on the aircraft (or on a ship) are the same as rules on land: if the country gives citizenship by birth on its territory, and the craft is within its territory/airspace/waters, the baby is a citizen automatically. If it doesn’t give citizenship by birth (and most countries don’t), then birth on a plane doesn’t make a difference.

Children born on aircraft flying from one country to another, at a moment the flight was over some third country, almost universally only get citizenship of their parents.

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