|Countries with birthright citizenship (jus soli): U.S.A.
Up until the mid 1990s, the shabby, ill-equipped Hungarian health care system did not appeal to the pregnant expat. The norm was to head home for the final trimester and give birth in the home country. Nowadays, however, with the establishment of Western-style health care at medical centers like Rozsakert and Dr.Rose and hospitals like Telki, expat moms are increasingly opting to have their babies in Hungary, and by all accounts, are very satisfied with the maternity treatment provided.
However, having a baby in a country which is not the parents’ passport home, can raise questions regarding the nationality of the baby. For example in the U.S., the 14th Amendment to the constitution entitles all babies born on U.S. soil to U.S. citizenship, even if born to an illegal alien. Moreover, when the baby grows up and eventually turns 21, they can then sponsor their whole family to join them in the States. Citizens of the Republic of Ireland recently held a referendum to abolish a similar birthright citizenship clause in their constitution. Ireland was the last country in the E.U. to dispose of such a law, the U.K. having scraped their version in the 1980s and Spain in the 1990s. Such birthright citizenship (latin: jus soli or ‘right of territory’) is controversial as it often leads to the phenomenon of ‘anchor babies’, i.e. women from developing countries traveling to the developed world to give birth, so they can secure citizenship for the baby and the probability of citizenship for its extended family.
So, in common with the rest of the E.U., a baby born to foreign parents on Hungarian territory is Not entitled to Hungarian citizenship. Normally, under the nationality heading on the birth certificate, ‘unknown’ or the nationality of both parents is written, as the passports of the newborns parents will need to be presented at the hospital in order for the birth certificate application process to begin. The parents then must apply for a passport, report of birth abroad (and sometimes a social security number) from their own embassy. It is recommended they contact their own embassy for specific details on the process particular to their own country. If the family has legal residency in Hungary the child will receive the same automatically. A good relocations company will coordinate all the above. Please note that if the family does not have legal residency the child will have to follow all the same tourist requirements of his/her family’s nationality.
To obtain the baby’s residency, the birth certificate, passport and report of birth are needed. However, unlike a child born abroad, a visa is not needed. But, if the expat mother has returned to her home country for the birth, she will need to make sure that she has a birth certificate, passport and a visa for the baby if she wishes to obtain Hungarian residency status for the child upon her return.
Entitlement to Citizenship of Republic of Hungary
BY BIRTH: Birth within the territory of Hungary does not automatically confer citizenship. The
exception is a child born to unknown or stateless parents.
BY DESCENT: Child, at least one of whose parents is a citizen of Hungary, regardless of the
child’s country of birth.
BY NATURALIZATION: Hungarian citizenship may be acquired upon fulfillment of the
– Persons with no ethnic ties to Hungary must reside in the country for eight years.
– Foreigners who marry Hungarian nationals, or who are parents of Hungarian citizen
minors, or who have been adopted by Hungarian nationals, or who have been recognized
as refugees by Hungarian authorities, need only reside in the country for three years.
– Members of an ethnic Hungarian minority of another country need only reside in the
country for one year.
DUAL CITIZENSHIP: RECOGNIZED
LOSS OF CITIZENSHIP:
– VOLUNTARY: Voluntary renunciation of Hungarian citizenship is permitted. Persons seeking
to renounce citizenship must address a written statement to the President of the Republic. The
Embassy can provide information and assistance, but is not able to act for the person.
– INVOLUNTARY: The following is grounds for involuntary loss of Hungarian citizenship:
Naturalized citizenship was gained by false statements.