What if the world’s borders were free and open, allowing unrestricted movement? If you could travel to anywhere, stay as long as you like, and seek employment wherever and whenever you chose?
Many find this concept intimidating, and countries often setup hurdles and roadblocks preventing unwanted immigration. In recent times, there has even been discussion by some to build a wall along the southern border of the United States to keep out the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. “Yes, my grandparents were immigrants, but you new immigrants are unwelcome”
Even doctoral graduates are increasingly unwelcome. “Thanks for studying in the United States, please take your advanced degree and go home.” These are interesting times
But what if we could bypass this whole mess, bureaucracy, and hypocrisy? What if, simply by being born in the right place, we could be welcome anywhere? What if we could be a Citizen of the World?
This was our goal in planning a Destination Birth
Citizens of the United Kingdom, for example, are free to travel to 173 countries sans Visa. They are also able to get work visas to other members of the former British Commonwealth, including Canada, New Zealand, Australia, amongst others
Citizens of the 28 countries in the European Union are able to travel and work in the other member countries, much as citizens of the US have free access to all 50 States
Citizens of the United States are able to travel to 172 countries sans Visa. Work abroad options are available, but getting a work permit in the EU might be more difficult than for a Canadian citizen (Yes, this is an oversimplification)
Our child will, through citizenship of his parents, have citizenship of the United States and Taiwan. But could we also provide future travel and work opportunities simply by being in a particular country when he is born?
What if in addition to a United States citizenship, our child could be a member of the EU (1st priority) or Commonwealth?
It turns out, with the exception of some interesting places like Pakistan, unconditional birthright citizenship (jus soli) is a New World phenomenon. And much like the borders of the US have become more restricted with time, so have the practices of many countries
Spain, for example, was our preferred destination, allowing GCCjr to be a citizen of Spain and the EU. But since neither of us are citizens of Spain, neither would GCCjr. Australia and New Zealand were also tempting, but both countries have abolished jus soli
So we started looking at countries that both follow jus soli and are members of the EU or Commonwealth. It’s a short list… Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Fiji, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Pakistan, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Canada seemed the obvious choice… great modern medical care, English speaking, easy border access with the US and 6 month entry permits, a strong University system… But GCCjr is due in April, and neither of us is a big fan of spending the winter so far north.
This puts us into the Caribbean, Fiji, or Central or South America, but as we move down the standard of living ladder, our interest level wanes. Sure, Dominica citizenship might one day allow a way of working in the UK… but it isn’t nearly as good as being a UK citizen
In the end, we concluded there was no great option for direct EU citizenship, and that back door options could just as easily be pursued with US Citizenship