Birthright Citizenship

Birthright Citizenship

The Right to Citizenship at Birth varies from country to country.

Citizenship is not necessarily automatically acquired by birth in a country.  For instance, generally, a child born in the U.S. automatically acquires citizenship, however a child born in Israel does not generally automatically acquire citizenship unless the mother is an Israeli citizen or she was married to an Israeli citizen at the time of conception and birth. If the Israeli Citizen Father was not married at the time of conception and birth of his child (in Israel or abroad), a court ordered DNA paternity test will more than likely be required to determine that an Israeli Citizen is the father, before a child can be registered as an Israeli Citizen, .

Furthermore, the parent of a U.S. Citizen does not automatically acquire a legal status in the U.S. merely by virtue of his child’s birth in the United States.  A USC child must be at least 21 years old before he or she can petition for permanent residency (Green Card) on behalf of an alien parent.  Thereafter, the parent may acquire Citizenship only in a Naturalization Process.

An Israeli child or resident may not petition the Ministry of Interior for residence on behalf of an alien parent who is not eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return or Citizenship Act, except under very narrow Humanitarian circumstances.

Although the Minister of Interior has broad discretion in approving otherwise ineligible petitions for residency in Israel, this discretion is generally narrowly construed.  Since there is no legal definition of Humanitarian or other criteria for the purpose of this discretion, very often the Petitioner’s Application is summarily denied by the Ministry and the only recourse available to the Applicant is to Petition the Administrative Court for judicial review of the Ministry’s Decision.

In fact, the Administrative Court will rarely intervene or review the Ministry’s Decision unless the petitioner can prove that the Ministry did not comply with the law or that it did not  fulfill its legal obligation as an Administrative Office of the Government (did not review the application or only did so superficially, did not reply, acted unreasonably  or made an unreasonable decision under the circumstances, etc.)

Before applying for Citizenship or Residency in the U.S. or Israel it would be prudent to consult with an Immigration Attorney.  Remember, that in an age of advanced information technology capabilities, nearly everything is recorded for future reference.


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