People Born On Aeroplanes

AnonyJoolz

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#1
I was drawn to this interesting subject after reading a news item about such a rare occurrence. It's a very small club to be a part of!

It seems the law around what nationality any baby born whilst aloft at how-ever-many-thousand feet can be quite complex, varying from taking the mother's nationality, to the nationality of the country that the aircraft is registered to, to becoming a citizen of the country that was being flown over when born. The issue is broadly split between two principles - jus sanguinis and jus soli, right of blood and right of soil, respectively. The former means citizenship is determined not by place of birth but by the nationality of the parents, while the latter is the reverse

The 1961 UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness can apply if the infant would otherwise be stateless but only 73 of the world's nations have ratified it.

The 1948 British Nationality Act can confer nationality if the baby qualifies as British through parentage even if not born on British soil.

As it currently stands, children born in Canadian airspace are automatically extended Canadian citizenship, as are babies born in US airspace. This also includes over territorial waters.

Shona Owen, born in 1991 on a flight from Ghana to London has under 'place of birth' in her UK passport “on an aeroplane 10 miles south of Mayfield, Sussex”

[image: Shona Owen]

There's some interesting articles online : https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/people-born-on-airplanes/index.html

https://www.npr.org/sections/krulwi...tionality-an-airplane-puzzler?t=1550689861981
 

INT21

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#3
Possibly more interesting is why mothers-to-be are even allowed on a plane in the first place.

I do believe there are rules against flying if close to giving birth.

Why are these not enforced ?

INT21.
 

kamalktk

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#4
"to the nationality of the country that the aircraft is registered to"

That would be bad news if you were flying on Koryo Air (North Korea).
 

AnonyJoolz

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#5
What is the maximum altitude at which sovereign airspace is claimed?

The Kármán line?
I think it may well be! Having a look at Jus soli on good ol' Wikipedia tells me that all of the countries granting unrestricted citizenship are in the American continents apart from Pakistan and Tanzania https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jus_soli

Possibly more interesting is why mothers-to-be are even allowed on a plane in the first place.

I do believe there are rules against flying if close to giving birth.

Why are these not enforced ?

INT21.
The rules vary from airline to airline but usually restrict air travel after 28-32 weeks IIRC, so most of in-air arrivals are either premature or as happened to Ada Guan and Wesley Branch in 2015, down to the woman having no idea she was pregnant.
 
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AnonyJoolz

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#8
What will happen to the first person born in space?
From a nationality point of view, I think the wee person would have to claim jus sanguinis citizenship from either parent.

I recall reading that on the ISS, astronauts are bound by their own country's criminal codes and laws, and IIRC, under other Space Law treaties and conventions that the moon (for example) cannot be claimed as territory. I find the concept of Space Law as a field of legal study fascinating! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_law

I guess the little one could claim to be the world's youngest astronaut?
 
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EnolaGaia

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#9
As far as I know, there's only one clear-cut scenario that's been addressed. The original space treaties from the 1960's specified that a spacecraft launched from earth is property of, and subject to the laws of, whichever nation owns the spacecraft. My (now obsoleted) interpretation would be that a baby born on a Space Shuttle mission would be construed as having been born on US-controlled territory and hence would be accorded US citizenship.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves ... Most space missions still involve much less than 9 months' time in space, and all still require enduring a launch. The launch itself is a physically stressing experience nobody would recommend for a pregnant woman.

As a result NASA’s official policy forbids pregnancy in space. Female astronauts are tested regularly in the 10 days prior to launch.
... From this 2015 article in Smithsonian Magazine, which (yes, yes ... ) goes on to discuss sex in space and the longer-term issues of babies born in long-term space colonies.
 

Lord Lucan

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#11
What about ships? Is it the same as aircraft? A friend I had years ago, both parents Australian citizens, was born onboard a ship docked in the harbour of Aden, Yemen. As an Australian citizen, he told me he was entiltled to a Yemeni passport as well as but had never bothered (why would he?) Would this be so?
 

EnolaGaia

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#12
What about ships? Is it the same as aircraft? A friend I had years ago, both parents Australian citizens, was born onboard a ship docked in the harbour of Aden, Yemen. As an Australian citizen, he told me he was entiltled to a Yemeni passport as well as but had never bothered (why would he?) Would this be so?
The situation is complicated for births either in international air space or international waters.

The biggest reason for complication is that national laws regarding birthright to citizenship vary from one nation to another.

The oldest applicable maritime / nationality laws (which may or may not still be in effect) associated presumptive nationality with the country in which the ship is registered at the time.

The only scenario I know of in which the ship's or aircraft's country of registration definitely serves as the recognized basis for ascribing citizenship concerns babies born in international spaces who would be stateless if not accorded citizenship in the vessel's 'flag nation'. This is, of course, a relatively rare situation.

Aviation treaties designating aircraft as virtual territories of the nations in which they're registered don't extend to issues of nationality / citizenship.

As I understand it, the bottom line is that each nation controls assignment of its nationality / citizenship via its laws, and these laws vary so much there's no single universal answer.

Your friend's claim of being a candidate for Yemeni citizenship is plausible, but I can't find any confirmation for it. If Yemeni law were like US law, birth inside its territorial waters or docked at its ports would count as birth on its soil.
 
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