What if my child is born in Bolivia
(Santa Cruz, Bolivia)
Someone asked today: If foreigners in Bolivia have a child born in Bolivia, is the child automatically, or easily eligible for citizenship? If so, how long does it take and what laws apply to then taking the child out of the country back home with the parents?
This question came in through my expat website. Here's how I responded:
Are you asking if the child would automatically be a Bolivian citizen? or if the child would also be a citizen of his/her parents' country(s)?
If a child is born to foreigners in Bolivia, the child is automatically a Bolivian citizen and will be given a Bolivian birth certificate. The child would also be eligible to get a Bolivian passport. In addition, the child would also have the obligations of a Bolivian citizen when he/she is of legal age.
If you are wondering if the child would be a citizen of YOUR country, you have to go to your country's Embassy or consulate and register the child and request citizenship. Some countries allow dual citizenship and some don't. I'm not sure which country you're writing from. And some countries allow dual citizenship with certain countries, and NOT with others.
If, for example, you are American, you can register your Bolivian-born child at the US embassy in La Paz. The US does allow dual citizenship with Bolivia at this time. Your child would be given a US birth certificate, passport and social security card.
But there are a lot of considerations. For example, are you and your husband both from the same country? If you are from one country and your husband from another, and one of your countries doesn't allow TRIPLE citizenship, you might have to choose which citizenship (aside from Bolivian) to give your child - yours or your husband's.
And finally, there is another option. If you don't want your child to have Bolivian citizenship, I've heard you can go to court and have the Bolivian citizenship annulled (if you and your husband are both foreigners).
I'm American and my son was born in Bolivia. I applied for his US citizenship at the US embassy in La Paz. The paperwork was not difficult and I did it all in 2 days. I don't remember how much it cost, but it wasn't much. About 8 weeks later I was sent an envelope with his US original birth certificate, his social security card and his US passport.
Since he has a US passport he can come and go from Bolivia with me without any problem. When we leave the country we exit with his US passport. We also re-enter Bolivia with his US passport. However, because he is also a Bolivian citizen, he doesn't need a visa to enter Bolivia like I do. We just show immigration his Bolivian birth certificate and they exempt him. He also doesn't need to apply for residency here.
All of this is from my own experience. I'm not an immigration lawyer and laws change frequently (especially with US-Bolivia relations not being at their best at this time) so I would really encourage you to contact your country's embassy in Bolivia (especially if you are American) and get the latest from them.
I'm sure that there are as many responses to this as there are families. If someone has had any other experiences please share.
You can click on "post comments" below to share on this site (for future visitors to this site) or respond to the original message on my expat website here (so the person who asked this will get your answer). See the original message posted here.