to be concerned about my friend giving birth in the USA?

(803 Posts)
YoniGetAnOohWithTyphoo Thu 17-Oct-13 22:16:09

My friend 'P' got pregnant by an american citizen (unplanned, on holiday kind of thing...) anyway, cut a long story short: he has said that whilst he isn't interested in her (and much less in coming over to the UK to play happy families), he, and moreover his mother, seem very keen for P to come over and give birth in the US, all expenses paid.

Whilst this seems like a nice gesture on the face of it, i'm a bit worried. Notwithstanding the fact that P seems to honestly think she's gonna fly to the USA alone at about 35 weeks pregnant (don't they have rules about this sort of thing?) with all the suitcases in tow, if a baby is born in the USA i'm worried it will be an 'american citizen' and as such, won't just be allowed to fly back to the UK. Do any mumsnetters know about this?

I'm haven't said much yet because I don't want to hurt her feelings or scare her, I know at the end of the day it's her choice... but I can't help thinking she hasn't thought this through. What do you guys think?

MissMarplesBloomers Thu 17-Oct-13 22:20:32

Ooh its a red flag evening.

YANBU she should take legal advice, if he isn't interested in coming over here then he is not interested in her welfare, just in making sure the baby is somewhere he can control things & I would strongly suspect it would make Junior a US resient & therefore she'd have to stay (or they'd offer to keeop baby when her visa expired)

Also births in the US can be very medicalised unlike here (not all units are obv before I get a flaming!)

I think that she is being naive to think that she is going to feel like flying half way round the world at 35 weeks pregnant or with a newborn. I think she might need a friend to point that out to her. I think any baby will have dual nationality, but she shouldn't take it for granted and I would be suspicious of his motives in this, tbh. Although she might not thank you for pointing it out.

CoconutRing Thu 17-Oct-13 22:22:31

My first thought when I read this thread - his DM wants to get her hands on the baby!

jacks365 Thu 17-Oct-13 22:22:48

America varies by state and definitely in some she would need his permission to leave the state with the child. There is no good reason for her to travel there to give birth but if I were you I'd look up the specific state laws re custody etc. And talk them through with her.

CoconutRing Thu 17-Oct-13 22:23:36

... and not give the baby back....

missuswife Thu 17-Oct-13 22:24:31

Most airlines won't let you fly after 32 weeks. If you fly after 28 weeks, most airlines will require a doctor's note before they let you fly. She will need to ask the airline before buying her ticket.

If she gives birth in the USA, her child will automatically be an American citizen. In order to bring the baby back to the UK, it will need a passport. I would recommend she contact the British Consulate in the area where she plans to give birth to find out what they require in order to issue her baby with a passport.

In order to obtain a US passport for a baby, either A) both parents must be present or B) the other parent has to sign a special form stating the first parent is allowed to get a passport for the baby. This form has to be notarized (signature witnessed by a notary.). I do not know what the rules are for babies with only one parent named on their birth certificate.

I think your friend needs to do her research before going along with this plan as she may have a lot of paperwork/bureaucracy to deal with in order to bring the baby back to the UK.

VonNeurosis Thu 17-Oct-13 22:24:49

My understanding is that the child would bean American citizenship regardless of birth location as one parent is American.

That said she would be well advised to take expert advice, as if the child is born in America then brining it back to the UK could have Hauge convention implications.

Iamsparklyknickers Thu 17-Oct-13 22:26:51

I wouldn't be happy - surely it would cost a fortune to give birth in America as a non-resident?

Putting that and the other concerns aside, I'm pretty sure there are consequences to being an American citizen abroad. You have to file taxes annually (even if your not liable to pay anything), I certainly wouldn't thank my parents for that if I had no intention to ever live there.

I would be surprised if duel nationality couldn't be sorted when the child was older but it would be something I'd be looking into very carefully given the repercussions it could have on later on in life.

bimbabirba Thu 17-Oct-13 22:29:43

Yes the baby would be American and would need a passport to fly back to the uk. Airlines don't let you fly back until the baby air few weeks old anyway. Why would your friend want to fly to the US and give birth there, with all the added stress and burochratic complications, if she's not with the baby's father?

juneau Thu 17-Oct-13 22:30:09

Yes, the baby will be a US citizen, as long as it is registered it as such. Being born in the USA confers US citizenship. Having a US parent also confers citizenship, so this baby will certainly be entitled to be a US citizen, whether it's born in the UK or the US. This could definitely be an issue if she leaves the country with the baby and the father objects to that - he could actually prevent her leaving and taking an 'American' child out of the country without his permission (I'm a Brit married to an American, so I'm well aware of the rules). Worst case scenario - she could end up stranding herself and her child in the US permanently.

All airlines have rules about flying while pregnant - it varies from airline to airline, but she can look online and it will say what that particular airline's rules are and when the cut-off is for flying while pregnant.

She may be denied entry to the US as a Brit on a visa waiver who is heavily pregnant as it will be clear she's entering the US in order to give birth. Many women from developing nations do this to give their child US citizenship in order to illegally migrate to the US. Babies like this are called 'anchor babies' and it's a big issue for US immigration.

YoniGetAnOohWithTyphoo Thu 17-Oct-13 22:30:24

Yeah CoconutRing, that's what I thought too! I tried to talk to her sisters about it (thought she might take it better coming from them) but they seemed to be too scared of upsetting her to even discuss it, much less bring it up.
I'm glad you guys agree, sometimes I think she thinks i'm paranoid.

I think it's time for a group of us to stage an intervention. She is sweet, but incredibly naive for a 28 year old...she is the kind of girl that can not fathom that others might have bad motives. I'm a bit annoyed her mother hasn't tried to talk her out of it tbh.

Will he allow the baby a passport?

A friend of mine lived in the US with her boyfriend and their baby. She got some problems extending her visa, was deported, stayed in prison a bit due to having overstayed her visa. She was sent back to the UK, without her baby. Her boyfriend and baby behind in the us. Naturally HE held the cards to her coming back, which of course he wanted as they were in a relationship.

Your friend would be foolish to agree to this. Let him come here for the babys birth....

Maybe rules have changed, but this was my friends experience.

Tikkamasala Thu 17-Oct-13 22:31:18

If the dad is not interested in playing a part in her and the child's life then I agree with you it's odd he should be so fussed about arrangements for the birth in USA, I agree it sounds suspicious.

Surely the child gets dual citizenship in any case by descent.

coffeeinbed Thu 17-Oct-13 22:32:22

It just doesn't make sense.
Why would they do that?

zipzap Thu 17-Oct-13 22:32:42

I'd ask them to put the money they would have spent on the birth in a savings account for the new child. Tied up until the child is 18 is fine but it will be something for them at some point and have a nice free birth on the NHS with no worries about the baby not being able to return home with her or her ending up stuck and penniless in the US...

If they are happy to do this then they are probably relatively genuine about wanting to do something nice for the baby. and that's great - they can be nice and create a savings account for the baby. If they aren't happy to do this then chances are they are trying to get the baby born in the US for their own nefarious reasons...

There are other threads on here that I've seen about people asking whether or not it is a good idea for their child to be a US citizen if they have the option (albeit usually because one parent is from the US and they can go back there for the birth, or expat parents working out there and wondering if they should come home, etc etc). I think that there's something to do with the US not being signed up with international tax agreements or something that means that even if you don't live in the US, if you are a citizen then you need to fill in a tax form (once you are old enough to) regardless of where you live and you are liable to pay tax regardless of where you live. The rules have been changing a bit recently (hence I was reading an article about it in the newspaper too) but whilst it might confer some advantages there are also some downsides to it too these days. Sorry I don't know more about it, just enough to know that it's an issue that needs to be looked into and decided upon, not just left up to chance.

Definitely sounds like there is some heavy duty research that needs to be done...

Good luck to your friend!

pianodoodle Thu 17-Oct-13 22:34:20

Seems very odd...

Why make the pregnant woman travel if he wants to see the baby surely he can make the journey if he has money for flights?

I wouldn't go if I were her. She'd be on her own, no family around for the birth. It's a lot of hassle just to give birth so it isn't like they're doing her a favour.

It doesn't make sense at all I'd be very wary of their motives tbh.

juneau Thu 17-Oct-13 22:36:15

Actually the worst case scenario is as detailed by Quintessential. She could end up being deported for being in the country illegally, while her 'American citizen' child could be handed over to the father. She would have no redress, as she'd be in the country illegally once her visa waiver (only 90 days), expires.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 17-Oct-13 22:38:03

YANBU. The fact that this man and his family are so unconcerned about DF's and her baby's wellbeing that they would ask DF to fly long distance in a late state of pregnancy and the newborn be subjected to unnatural changes in air pressure and recycled air (full of teeny tiny beasties to which the child has developed no immunity) proves that they care not a jot about her and her DC.

I know quite a bit about the $cost of giving birth in USA. We are fortunate enough to live in a country with excellent ante- and post-natal care. If American Bloke and his family really had the DC's best interests at heart, they would be better spending this money flying here and renting a flat closeby for a month.

CoconutRing Thu 17-Oct-13 22:42:55

My DSis thinks that once your friend is in the US, the baby will be born and the father will take her to court to prove that she is an unfit mother and get full custody. Your friend will be sent back to the UK without the baby.

Disclaimer - my DSis has an active imagination, but did point out that they sound like they have money so could afford to do this, as your friend will be over there alone and vulnerable.

zipzap Thu 17-Oct-13 22:43:44

maybe it's time to dig out some horror stories about bad births in US hospitals and nice births in UK hospitals. And effects on the baby of flying when very young (think there is a higher risk of cot death - not sure if it's been discredited but again if she is naive then you're looking for things to bolster your argument rather than be completely neutral!) to start to get her to realise that giving birth in america isn't going to be like she is in some american doctor's tv sitcom or film.

Maybe she just has really romantic notions about how it could all turn out.

The reality is though that if she starts to think about it, and starts looking on here, most people want their family around them when they are due to give birth and during/afterwards. if the movies are to be believed then everybody turns up at hospital when she goes into labour, the bloke might go in with her to help but will his mother want to go in to help too? And any other of his family? Very few people want their own mothers around when they actually give birth, let alone their MIL and certainly not their holiday fling's mother who they've never met and who might be planning on keeping the baby in the US for her to dote on there. And likewise afterwards - you want your own family and friends and your own familiar environment, not to be in somebody else's place where you don't have all your stuff and you don't feel at home.

hiddenhome Thu 17-Oct-13 22:44:09

If she has her baby in America them she will need to know that she'll end up deported and sent back here without her child. Chances are she'll never see it again. His family have probably persuaded him to do this so they get their grand child.

She needs to wise up fast hmm

expatinscotland Thu 17-Oct-13 22:46:12

There is no way I'd go over there.

olgaga Thu 17-Oct-13 22:48:34

Tell her to ask them to send the money to her up front. She can "change her mind" and at least have a financial cushion.

She would be off her rocker to go over there to give birth.

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