Why Prince Harry and Meghan’s Baby May Not Get American Citizenship

Will the upcoming British royal baby become an American? Possibly, but only if the royal parents-to-be do this one thing!

Meghan Duchess of Sussex and Prince HarryShutterstock

The world has caught a bad case of royal baby fever ever since Kensington Palace announced that newlyweds Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have a wee one on the way. Elated British royal fans from all over the globe have already started making their baby predictions from names down to the time of day for the birth. And, many have been wondering if the newest addition to the British royal clan will also become an American citizen much like his or her mum, Meghan. Don’t miss the most likely name for Prince Harry and Meghan’s baby.

Naturally, by birthright, the baby will be born both a Brit and an American. The State Department says that children who are born abroad to married parents where one is American and the other is an “alien” will automatically acquire citizenship at birth. That’s only if the American parent has been “physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for five years prior to the person’s birth, at least two of which were after the age of 14.” This stipulation only applies to babies born on or after November 14, 1986. For anyone else born prior to that date, the U.S. residential requirement for the American parent rises to ten years. Aside from citizenship laws, here are the 14 royal pregnancy rules Meghan Markle will have to follow.

Despite the fact that Meghan and her baby-to-be meet both of these requirements, there’s still one very important thing the new parents must do to get their child American citizenship—file a U.S. consular report of birth abroad. “In order to function, like any of us, it will need documents and proof, and for that, you need to have it validated,” Doris Meissner, who was commissioner of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service under President Bill Clinton told the New York Times. This particular form from the American consulate will serve as the child’s proof of U.S. citizenship and will also make him or her eligible to apply for a passport. (This is how one man’s life was changed by watching his father become an American. 

Unfortunately, we will just have to anxiously wait for the baby to be born to find out. Next, learn how Harry and Meghan’s baby will change the line of succession.

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Ashley Lewis
Ashley is an Assistant Editor at Reader’s Digest. She received her Master’s Degree from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in 2015. Before joining Reader’s Digest, she was a Jason Sheftell Fellow at the New York Daily News and interned at Seventeen and FOX News. When Ashley is not diligently fact-checking the magazine or writing for rd.com, she enjoys cooking (butternut squash pizza is her signature dish), binge-watching teen rom-coms on Netflix that she’s way too old for, and hiking (and falling down) mountains.