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The Citizenship Rights of Harry and Meghan’s Second Child

On February 14th, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s spokesperson confirmed that the couple is expecting their second child. Sources verify that the baby is due at the end of spring. Despite stepping back from official royal duties, Prince Harry remains sixth in the royal line of succession, coming after his father, Prince Charles, his brother Prince William, and William’s three children.

Harry and Meghan’s second child will be in eighth place, after their older sibling Archie, who is currently the seventh in line to the throne. The child’s arrival will move the Duke of York (Prince Andrew) and his children and grandchild (Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, and Princess Eugenie’s son) down—as well as everyone in line after them.

Meghan and Harry are currently living in California, United States. According to US law, in most situations, any child born in the US or one of its territories automatically becomes an American citizen.

This is called ‘birthright citizenship’ (or ‘jus soli’) and is protected by the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, which, in Section 1, states that, “All persons born or naturalised in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” This does not include children born to diplomats and other recognised government officials from foreign countries, since such children are not born subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Those born in the US can hold US citizenship for life unless an affirmative action to renounce it is taken.

Due to the fact that Prince Harry is no longer a working royal, the child, if born in the US, would obtain US citizenship at birth. If born outside the US, the child would nonetheless obtain US citizenship as his mother is a US citizen who will (likely) be married to the father at the time of the child’s birth and lived in the US for more than five years before the child’s birth, of which at least two were spent in the US after she turned 14.

In another example of citizenship by descent, the new baby will automatically become a British citizen given that the baby will be born after 1 July 2006 and Prince Harry is a British citizen by birth.

Aside from birthright and descent, there are other methods to gain a second citizenship. An increasingly popular process of obtaining citizenship is through citizenship by investment, where a vetted investor can acquire citizenship of a country upon making a significant financial contribution to that country.

Once attained, in most cases, as is the case under the Citizenship by Investment Programmes of the Commonwealth of Dominica and the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis, citizenship is held for life and can be passed on to future generations. By virtue of their citizenship, successful investors also earn the right to live, work, and study in the country and gain greater travel mobility.

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