Duchess Meghan is still an American citizen, so Baby Sussex will be American too

The Duke of Sussex and Duchess of Sussex visit the Redwoods Treewalk in Rotorua

Some days, I do get kind of bummed out about everything the Duchess of Sussex gave up to marry Prince Harry. She gave up her acting career, her blog and her country for love. And in return, her new home has repeatedly spat in her face because she dared to exist and breathe while being an African-American woman. When Meghan and Harry first got engaged, we heard a lot about how she was planning on becoming a British citizen. Sources played a little fast and loose about whether Meghan would get any special treatment with her citizenship, but I would imagine it’s being fast-tracked compared to non-royal immigrants to the UK. But the fact of the matter is that Meghan is still an American citizen right now, and even if and when she becomes a British citizen, she might retain her American citizenship and simply become a dual citizen. But what of little Polo Baby? Children birthed by American women outside of America are still considered American citizens. I knew that – but I didn’t know there was a timeline on it:

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s royal baby is set to make history in more ways than one. In addition to being the first modern biracial royal in line for the throne (7th, in fact), Baby Sussex will also technically be a U.S. citizen and hold dual citizenship in the U.K. According to the U.S. State Department, a baby born abroad to a U.S. citizen and a non-American automatically acquires U.S. citizenship at birth if the U.S. citizen parent has lived in the U.S. or one of its outlying possessions for five years prior to the person’s birth (which Meghan has), at least two of which were after the age of fourteen.

An American can automatically transmit their citizenship to their child, and being a British citizen does not mean you can’t be a U.S. citizen. Even though the baby will born an American citizen, the couple will have to report the birth to an American consulate in order to acquire the official documents needed to prove U.S. citizenship. Then they will be eligible to apply for a passport for the baby, for example.

The palace previously said that Meghan, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, had plans to become a U.K. citizen (which is known to be a lengthy process) after marrying Harry. A spokesperson for the family said at the time that it was “too early to say” if she will retain her American citizenship after she becomes a British citizen. But while she’s going through the process, she will remain an American citizen. As it stands, their baby would obtain dual citizenship for the U.S. and U.K. if Meghan does not give up her American citizenship before she’s due to give birth.

As for whether Meghan will have to give up her American citizenship, it doesn’t seem so. Since she’s not marrying the heir to the throne, there’s less pressure all around. And she doesn’t come from royalty herself, as Prince Philip did (he had to renounce his title of Prince of Greece and Denmark before marrying Queen Elizabeth in 1947). Holding onto her American citizenship wouldn’t be quite as controversial as retaining a foreign title would have been.

[From People]

Royals used to love marrying other royals back in the day – foreign princes and princesses were always being shipped into other countries for arranged marriages, etc. But in the modern British royal era, it is unique. Personally, I hope Meghan chooses to retain her American citizenship, and I hope she and Polo Baby are just forever-dual citizens. And yes, I see it as the “worst case scenario” exit plan – if sh-t really does go haywire at some point, Meghan can simply return to America. The idea of that makes me sad, because that’s what the British tabloids want – they want to bully her into leaving. But she’d be dumb not to leave that as an option for herself.

Meghan Markle is see leaving the Met Breuer Museum ahead of her baby shower

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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169 Responses to “Duchess Meghan is still an American citizen, so Baby Sussex will be American too”

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  1. LizB says:

    This is not exactly correct.

    In order for a child born to a US citizen to get US citizenship, the mother or father actually has to go, in person, and file all the paperwork at the US embassy. If the parents do not do this, the child is NOT an American citizen and does not have any legal standing.

    If Meghan and Harry don’t do the paperwork, Polo Baby does NOT have US citizenship. It is a choice.

    Source: I am American living abroad, had two kids, had to register their birth and request US citizenship at the embassy.

    • Tina says:

      If they don’t file the paperwork at the US embassy, the child will not have any of the benefits of being a US citizen, but s/he will still have all of its obligations. Most importantly, whether the parents file the paperwork or not, US citizens are required to enter the United States on their US passports and (when they are adults) to file US tax returns.

      Source: foreign friend to a number of accidental Americans who had no idea about any of this and have suffered the consequences.

      • BlueOrange says:

        This isn’t true. My father was a US citizen but I was born and raised British by my British mother. That was the only citizenship I held until the age of 30. If you hold another citizenship and your parents just never bothered to report your birth to the embassy, none of the messy obligations, such as filing tax returns or entering the US on your American passport matter, since you’re not a US citizen. You only become one once registered. It’s an entitlement to register but not an obligation.

        It would probably be best for Meghan long term if she and her baby had duel nationalities. Less complicated long term. However in the mean time, I should imagine filing her taxes will be a complete nightmare.

      • Tina says:

        Nope. You were a US citizen from the moment of your birth. For most ordinary people, this won’t matter in a practical sense, because the US authorities simply don’t have the ability to check the nationalities of the parents of every person who enters the US. But if you make them aware of your parents’ nationalities, either through dealings with the US government (as my friend encountered, described below) or if the person is high profile (and this child will be high profile), the US authorities will be aware of their status and will expect Harry and Meghan to register the birth accordingly. It is a criminal offence for US citizens to enter the US on a non-US passport.

    • suharik26 says:

      same here. American living in London. Had to go to US embassy to register. And show i lived in US for more than 5 years.

    • BearcatLawyer says:

      It is simply not true that the child is not an American citizen and does not have any legal standing. That is NOT what the Immigration and Nationality Act says at all.

      Polo Baby acquires US citizenship at birth through an in wedlock birth to a US citizen mother who has lived in the USA for the required time period. What Polo Baby will NOT have automatically at birth is PROOF of his/her US citizenship, e.g., a passport. While typically parents apply for a US passport and/or register a foreign birth of a US citizen child with the appropriate US consulate, saying it is a choice is grossly misleading. The child is a US citizen by law. The only “choice” is whether the child obtains the necessary documentation thereof.

      More critically, even if parents do NOT register the birth or obtain a US passport for a child, that does not mean the child is forever barred from US citizenship. Over the past 21 years, I have helped dozens of adults who were born abroad to US mothers and fathers obtain certificates of citizenship and US passports. In some cases these children were WRONGLY told by immigration and consular officials that they were NOT citizens; a few were even illegally deported from the US.

      Source: I am a board certified immigration lawyer in Texas.

      • Tina says:

        Thank you!

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Thank you so much – it’s always nice to hear from you, Bearcat. There are so many misconceptions floating around and unless you’ve either lived through it (dual citizen here, one by birth and one by application) or are an expert like yourself, it’s something we don’t usually think about.

      • Lilly (with the double-L) says:

        Cool info. Thanks. My daughter was born in London too and the process is interesting. It’s fun to realize how many posters here also had children abroad.

      • Veronica S. says:

        Yep. If this wasn’t true, it would be a huge hassle for people like my sister who were born overseas to American military families. My parents did have to file for some minor legal paperwork when they got back to the States for purposes of proof, but my sister was absolutely considered an American citizen. It’s never been questioned, even with having an UK birth certificate on hand in her files.

      • Annabel says:

        Thank you for this comment. I was born in Canada to a Canadian mother and American father, and didn’t realize that made me an American until I was in my twenties.

        When I found out, I went to an American embassy with a stack of paperwork—the proof of my American father’s life in the US: everything from birth certificate to school transcripts to his US passport—and had a US passport and social security number within a few weeks. My parents didn’t get around to marrying until I was three years old, but this seemed not to matter for the purposes of claiming US citizenship.

      • PixiePaperdoll says:

        I’m glad you took the time! I was born outside the US to American parents and they didn’t fill out a damn thing. It just means that I have to use all of our birth certificates when I need official paperwork processed.

      • hogtowngooner says:

        @Annabel same with me. My mom is American and moved to Canada before I was born. She registered my birth with the US consulate, which is what I used to get my US passport.

        It’s a technicality, but it makes me a “natural-born US citizen” given I was a citizen from birth and was never naturalized as a citizen, even though I was not born there. It makes me giggle a bit when people say “you have to be born in the US to be president” because that’s not fully correct.

      • noway says:

        I’m just curious, and not sure you are still reading this, but I read the baby will keep his/her US citizenship and ability to file the papers for forms of US Citizenship, plus have the obligation of US Citizenship, (which is mainly taxes) until they are 18. At that point they may decline US Citizenship, but the parents can’t decline it for him/her beforehand. Is this correct? Also, can’t Harry and Meghan just get British passports for the baby, and let her/him choose later what to do? If you are dual citizen can you have both passports? If Meghan never gives up her US citizenship wouldn’t she have to file US taxes each year. The US tax service gets you everywhere. Is it hard to get back your US Citizenship if you give it up? Was this the same scenario with Grace Kelly and her kids?

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        Yes you can have 2 passports if you have 2 citizenships.it depends on the nations as to whether they permit dual citizenship, though. In some pairings, people have to choose.

        The passport is just an outcome of citizenship.

        If you give it up you probably go to the back of the line like everybody else.

        The US ended the draft but Selective Service registration is still something that happens. If conscription returned, non resident citizens not wanting to serve would stay away.

  2. Eliza says:

    It’s not automatic. They just need to apply.

    • Eliza says:

      We have family who are applying for their kids to be citizens. Mother American. Kids born abroad. They have the rights to the citizenship, but it’s not automatic and paperless.

      • noway says:

        My understanding is they are considered American Citizens for tax purposes, and technically they could have to file taxes depending on their income. Funny how it’s really a tax thing, from my understanding.

    • LizB says:

      Yes, correct.

      I am American, my two kids were born in (European country). I had to take them to the US embassy and fill out the paperwork. It’s not automatic.

      If Meghan and Harry don’t file, Polo Baby is not American.

    • Tina says:

      The child will technically be a US citizen whether they have completed the paperwork or not, but s/he will not be able to get any of the benefits of US citizenship without doing that.

    • BearcatLawyer says:

      See my reply to LIzB above. In this case Polo Baby will automatically acquire US citizenship at birth. When and how s/he obtains proof thereof is a separate matter.

  3. Nev says:

    Have a happy and safe birth Duchess.

    • y says:

      Concur. From my experience as a midwife, geriatric pregnancies can be tough, so I hope the baby takes just as long as it needs so they can both be healthy and happy.

      • Sam Louise says:

        “Geriatric” pregnancy? Meghan is 37, not 87. 37 is NOT an unusual age to have a child. Most women are still menstruating and ovulating into their late 40s.

      • Lise says:

        Sam Louise it’s not an insult or anything- any expecting mother aged 35 + can be termed “geriatric pregnancy”. Seems ridiculous but considering people used to be done have kids in their early 20s I guess the terminology hasn’t really evolved…

      • Ang says:

        @sam Louise hers IS considered “geriatric” in medical terms because she is a certain age. I am 37 now and when I get pregnant it will always be referred to as such since I’m over a certain age. She wasn’t calling Meghan Geriatric.

      • y says:

        Sam Louise, that’s the medical terminology for any pregnancy where the expectant woman is over 35. We also call pregnancies in expectant women below 20 adolescent pregnancies. As you can see from those terms they don’t really match up with who we would commonly refer to as geriatrics or adolescents. But, in my field, those are the terms. I’m a midwife. It’s not a term of insult.

      • Himmiefan says:

        The terms are insulting and need to change.

    • NIKKI says:

      Not so where I live. My GP laughed when I mentioned that terminology. I think that’s a US thing.


  4. Who ARE these people? says:

    Churchill’s mother was from the United States (heiress Jennie Jerome) but I don’t know what the rules were then.

    I hope Meghan keeps her US citizenship and there’s no real reason to give it up.

    • Annabel says:

      My understanding is that you have to go to some effort to rid yourself of US citizenship. Most people who legally renounce their American citizenship do so because they live abroad and would just as soon not pay taxes in two countries.

    • noway says:

      For her there is a reason to consider giving it up taxes. The US is one of the few places where we collect taxes no matter where you are living at the time, now there may be ways to not owe, but generally you should files

    • mazzie says:

      Taxes might be reason to give it up. I can’t see the Royal Family allowing the IRS into their books.

  5. Oh No says:

    I’m curious what the tax situation would be if she retained both citizenships… Im completely clueless

    At tax season I pray to the old gods and the new that TurboTax is on point…

    • Bettyrose says:

      When I lived overseas, I didn’t have to pay U.S. taxes unkess I spent more than a certain number of days (20?) in the U.S. within a tax year.

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        But you had to file a return yes?

      • Bettyrose says:

        Oh yes, I definitely filed a return.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Bettyrose – sympathies. It’s such a pain in the butt! Your life is simpler now.

      • BeanieBean says:

        Oh, wow…I went to grad school for one year in England way back when & I now realize I didn’t do my taxes while living there. Oops.

      • Bettyrose says:


        As a student you may not have earned enough to require tax filing, but it’s generally still a good idea. You never know where a refund might be hiding. 🙂

      • Susan says:

        You were “paying” US taxes. It’s just that the country you lived in probably had a tax treaty with the US in which you were credited with the taxes you paid abroad. Essentially, if you are American earning money in a country without a tax treaty, you are screwed and get double taxed. If you are an American and live in a country with a tax treaty, you pay taxes equal to the greater of the two countries. So if your foreign taxes were less than your US taxes, your US return would have shown a tax due.

        Having said that, I believe that there is a $75,000 exemption for foreign earnings. Or there was the last time I looked into it.

      • WelcomeToATL says:

        According to that article, the baby WILL automatically be a US citizen, and both Meghan and the baby will be required to report income to the IRS

      • LizB says:

        The article is wrong. It is *not* automatic.

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        Baby would need above a certain level of income but given its position that might happen.

      • Tina says:

        The law (Immigration and Nationality Act) is very clear. The child will automatically be a US citizen at birth and, when s/he is an adult, will have to file US tax returns.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Yes. My husband and I are of course adults and as dual US-Canadian people, file in both countries but pay most of the tax to Canada (per the tax treaty). My daughter is still a student and doesn’t make enough money to file a US return. She is an adult, but her earned income isn’t there yet. It’ll be great when she’s making real money but some of it will go to the accountant…

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      Tax treaties help prevent paying double taxes but returns have to be filed in both countries because the US taxes on citizenship and not residency.

    • hogtowngooner says:

      She’d be taxed on income over a certain threshold ($100k or something to that affect). I know Canada and the US have a treaty that prevents double-taxation (ie, if you paid tax in Canada, you don’t have to pay the US if it were taxable there, and vice versa). I’d be astonished if the UK didn’t have one as well given how many Americans live there.

      • Susan says:

        The UK definitely has a tax treaty with the US. I think most if not all of the EU too.

  6. hoopjumper says:

    I think Meghan will have a genuinely hard time retaining her citizenship for tax reasons. Even as a citizen abroad, she’ll be expected to pay US tax as long as she retains her citizenship. I’ve been told by people fairly well versed in tax law that a lot of the perks she receives as a royal are very likely considered reportable, and her bill will be significant.

    • Eliza says:

      US us one of only 2 countries in the world that taxes citizens living abroad. I think if you meet criteria you only have to pay taxes on annual income earned over ~$100k. Which Meghan will surely surpass easily.

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      Yes the Foreign Tax Credit will be applied.

      She will also have to file the FBAR , Foreign Bank Account Report, but it’s basically a list.

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        Earned income…not investment income. How does it work for the British royals as they don’t earn income yet ahem work?

      • hoopjumper says:

        I was told that some of her housing (Frogmore) and the clothes she receives as gifts are likely reportable.

    • Tina says:

      There are significant tax costs to renouncing US citizenship as well. The exit tax alone is significant.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Good point. And they’ve increased it quite a bit. The IRS is really a bully, and the citizenship requirement stems from the Civil War. This has to change. A bill has been introduced in the US by Congressman Holding of NC but as he is a staunch Republican, I don’t trust his motives.

      • hogtowngooner says:

        Yep, and it’s an automatic 6 year audit or something.

    • MsIam says:

      She will have to pay taxes on her residual income from Suits. But as far as paying taxes on “perks”, the government would have to claim that this is payment for employment or some type of passive income. As far as I know, all of her “jobs” are volunteer positions, including the ones with the Commonwealth. Her clothing and housing are paid for by her husband, father-in-law and grandmother-in-law so I think they could be considered gifts, not compensation. Gifts are not taxed to the recipient. So I don’t know how they would consider that taxable income. But I think this might be new territory for the government because I don’t believe we have ever had a US citizen be a member of the BRF.

      • Eliza says:

        Harry and Meghan get a salary / stipend from Charles. Her residuals. As well as any investment earned income (stock sale, dividends etc). These would all be taxable.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Wallis Simpson – as she married into the BRF but he abdicated his kingship just before and yet still was titled, how did that work?

      • Kylie says:

        The tax system was more lax during Wallis’ time so she probably avoided having to deal with the tax issue.

      • notasugarhere says:

        They don’t receive a salary from either the Duchy or the Sovereign Grant. Their work expenses (clothing, staff) are paid by the Sovereign Grant.

      • Susan says:

        The US income issue is not going to be about earned income. Obviously that is going to be minimal since she is not working a traditional job. The HUGE issue is income earned from capital. So anytime she and Harry sell an asset like an investment, the IRS is potentially entitled to a cut.

      • notasugarhere says:

        I should have written their expenses come out of the Duchy, with their office funded by both the Duchy and Sovereign Grant. They may move to full Sovereign Grant funding next year.

    • noway says:

      Meghan’s situation isn’t just a person working over there for a few years, it’s a bit more than that. Plus her income is tied to Harry’s, and not really sure how that works with US tax law. I’m guessing they owe US tax money too as there is a threshold for making over a certain amount of money.

  7. Kittycat says:

    I dont see Meghan giving up her US citizenship.

    • LizB says:

      I can. TAXES.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Again, people don’t pay taxes twice on one income. There are tax treaties. Her situation will be complex, but there are accountants who specialize in this and she can afford their fees. Taxes aren’t the devil – having to reapply for US citizenship however could be a real bitch. In terms of diplomacy and the “special relationship,” it’s also best that she keep her US citizenship and her passport. Looking ahead, her son/daughter will be a US citizen (and they will likely obtain the proof for the child). If that child grows up and wants to go to school in the USA, work there, etc., it will be so much easier for Meghan to visit, follow etc. if she retains citizenship. And she’s got her mother in the USA, too.

      • noway says:

        On the IRS website it states we have a tax treaty with other countries that MAY eliminate or reduce taxes on citizens abroad. The UK treaty is about 100 pages long, somehow I doubt it just says all taxes are paid in the UK. I think people are applying their own situation to this, and the reality is Meghan doesn’t just have a job over in the UK. She is in the royal family, and get’s money from her husband’s family which happens to be the royal family and some from the government. If there was a situation where you owed tax money to the US, I’m guessing this might be it. The money is just more, and not regular salary income.

      • LizB says:

        @Who are these people
        Not ever country has a tax treaty with the US. And I know taxes aren’t the devil. Thanks for following me around and lecturing me on stuff I already know.

  8. Loretta says:

    I can’t wait for Baby Sussex. It would be so nice if the baby was be born on May 4, the same day as Audrey Hepburn. I’m hoping for a baby girl.

    • Becks1 says:

      If the baby is born today, or May 2, Cambridge stans will LOSE IT and it would be kind of hilarious (W&Ks anniversary today, May 2 is Charlottes bday).

      • Eliza says:

        I don’t think people get mad over shared birthdays. You can’t really control birth. I have a bday 4 and 9 days from 2 of my cousins. So even not being on the same day you still get joint parties, or family fatigue lol.

      • Becks1 says:

        @Eliza, oh I don’t get mad, and I don’t think William and Kate would give two figs if Baby Sussex and polo baby share a bday, but I think the fans will care. Something about stealing the spotlight etc etc.

      • Eliza says:

        @becks1 you might be right. I dont think even Queen Beyonce has as fanatical a following as Team Cambridge and Team Sussex. It’s quite scary at the moment.

      • Becks1 says:

        also, sorry. Clearly Baby Sussex and Polo Baby will share a bday, since they’re the same. I meant Charlotte and Polo Baby LOL.

    • Lucia says:

      I doubt Meghan give up her US Citizenship for all the reasons stated here. My best guess is that since her money is all tied up with the Royal Family, she may have some special or weird exemption. If not I think Charles will just pay it for her. It’s a unique set of circumstances. That said I feel for Meghan hard and couldn’t blame her for feeling a need to remove her American citizenship. I’m a Canadian citizen living in America and my husband is an American citizen. Tax time for us is not fun at all since our income typically pays for taxes in 2 countries.

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        Don’t you apply the provisions of the tax treaty? And you shouldn’t need to file in Canada as you don’t live there.

        We’re dual citizens living in Canada. Actual tax works out okay but it’s a real cost to pay the accountant for returns in both countries.

      • Lucia says:

        @Who No. For a few reasons: 1) My husband and I are well over the threshold with our combined income. That said I’ve typically been exempt from federal taxes. 2) I own a condo in Vancouver and since I rent it out, that property is taxed as income in Vancouver. 3) Because I was last a resident of BC, still have to pay provincial taxes on all of my income because well…BC 4) I still receive a large portion of my medical care in Vancouver since I live in Seattle and would rather not pay through the nose for it. So I pay for my insurance and the mail goes to my sister’s address as she lives in Vancouver.

  9. Seraphina says:

    I have read above that it’s nit automatic, but let’s be serious if Polo Baby applies, will the US deny??? Doubt it. Seriously doubt it.

    I love the fact that the baby will be able to be American as well. We are tied to England no matter what historically and now they have an American in the Royal Family. Marrying within other royals didn’t fair to well for many of them. Inbreeding and genetic diseases ran rampant.

    I wish Baby Sussex would get here soon. All hell will break loose with the media.

    • LizB says:

      It’s not automatic, meaning that the parents have to do the paperwork. If they don’t go to the embassy and file, the baby does not have any legal American citizenship. No US passport, SS card, certificate of birth abroad.

      The only way it’s “automatic” is that if filed, the child is pretty much guaranteed to be approved. But even then, it is not automatic. It is more complicated than that. Meghan (as the US citizen parent) has to give documentation proving how long she has lived in the US. It has to be above a certain threshold for the citizenship to be passed on.

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        Documentation shouldn’t be very difficult and if the US refused the application it would be a massive diplomatic problem.

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        It’s time consuming but not impossible. I’ve done it for 3 people for citizenship application. If she picks a period with less foreign travel, such as ages 14 to 19 (hiigh school and early college years), it would be easier. The US Canadian border crossings later might have harder documentation if she drove but air travel would have a clearer record. She needs a 5 year period after age 14, not to document everything to the present day.

      • Tina says:

        The child will be a US citizen whether the paperwork is completed or not, but without completing the paperwork, s/he will not be able to claim any of the benefits of US citizenship.

      • BeanieBean says:

        Wouldn’t that be the consulate & not the embassy? The consulate where’s all the nitty-gritty work gets done.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        As Bearcat Lawyer stated up top, the child is a US citizen at birth, but the parents (or child) need to apply for the *documentation* of that citizenship.

        In the US, there are many international adoptees who are citizens but haven’t obtained Certificates of Citizenship. It is better if they obtain that, above and beyond passports, but even passports are proof of citizenship (even expired).

      • Katstar says:

        Canadian married to an American and living in the US. Taxes are a real bear- only certain exemptions apply to incomes over approx. $100k, so her tax bills depends on how she’s taxed in the U.K.. also to renounce citizenship is fee-based, from what I understand, and that fee is based on what 6 or 7 years of your future taxes would be. I do not envy the accountant (and legal team) dealing with all of this. I never had to get a TIN because I was never a dependent when we were abroad, but Harry might, depending on their financial relationship – and then he’s got to file with the US government as well (even if it’s a null return for information purposes).

      • LizB says:

        In the country I am in, you can do it at the main embassy in capital city, or the two counsulates in secondary cities. Your choice.

    • Eliza says:

      They do have the choice to not apply and have the child be solely a British citizen. I doubt they will and he/she will be dual. But the article is misleading. The child will have the right to claim its American citizenship, its not granted at birth because he/she will be born abroad.

      • Tina says:

        The law is very clear. Section 301(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act states that the following shall be citizens at birth: “(g) a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years.”

      • LizB says:


        The parents have to apply and fill out the forms. If they choose not to do that, the child is not legally American.

      • Tina says:

        @LizB, I have friends who have one American parent and one foreign parent, born abroad. No forms were completed at the US embassy, but the IRS still found one of them. For most people this wouldn’t be an issue unless they made a significant amount of money, but this child is high profile.

      • LizB says:

        I am an American living abroad with 2 childen born abroad and I have gone through this twice.
        Was the child making money? Why would the IRS care about a baby? Just curious.

      • Tina says:

        @LizB, this happened when the person was an adult. They applied for a US Taxpayer Identification Number because they were making money in the US, and it was discovered that way.

      • LizB says:


        Interesting. Thanks for explaining.

      • noway says:

        The US is odd in we collect taxes no matter where you are, but there are exceptions. Treaties, and thresholds with countries. Yes they would care about a baby that makes money. Not sure how a baby makes money, but I guess it could happen.

    • Sunnee says:

      I’m really curious as to why they did not create a special pathway for her to be a citizen. Denmark created Mary’s Law for Princess Mary which allied her to become a full citizen of Denmark upon her marriage. It would make things a lot easier, she is part of the BRF after all, and that is not an everyday occurrence.. But a hue and cry would be raised from others.
      Same with the baby. I’m sure it can be arranged Diplomatically for the child to just get automatic US citizenship.

      • Tina says:

        A hue and cry is putting it mildly! People would be absolutely up in arms if Meghan were permitted to jump the UK immigration queue in any way. (And the baby will have US citizenship automatically at birth, by law).

      • Yoyo says:

        The Royal Family said Meghan would follow the legal guide lines in applying for UK citizenship, no cutting the queue.
        An American passport is fine for Meghan.

      • Clare says:

        Why they didnt create a special pathway? Well because we are a constitutional monarchy and in theory there aren’t special rules for royals or royal adjacents. We are also a country that has treated (LEGAL) immigrants from the commonwealth, who contributed to this country enormously, appallingly in the recent past. A number of scandals plaguing the Home Office (the people who process immigration/visa applications. The pathway to British citizenship is very very arduous (I’ve just been through this and took citizenship last year), not to mention incredibly expensive. Not to mention the growing republican movement.

        There would be a huge outcry (IMO justified) if a member of the BRF was seen as getting special treatment, while families are literally torn apart because of increasingly discriminatory immigration rules. they can afford to do it the right way.

  10. Busyann says:

    I read somewhere that it’s incredibly hard to get American citizenship back if you give it up so Meghan would have likely been rightly warned against that.

    • Who ARE these people? says:


    • Eliza says:

      We’re a petty country. We hold grudges. You renounce your citizenship, it’s almost personal. You really have to fight hardto get it back and you’ll probably lose. I think in Meghan’s case they’d allow it if it was say following a divorce (like yay you showed those royals the democratic boot, welcome home) but in any other circumstances, no. I think they’ll weigh the pros and cons. She’s going to get taxed heavily either way.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        She will employ the Foreign Tax Credit and other provisions of the tax treaty to reduce her taxes as best as possible, but she won’t pay twice on every dollar of income. It’s likely their accountants will be shielding as much income as possible from tax, or deferring the tax on the income, anyhow.

        Yes the US is petty, it is making it hard to get in and hard to get out (for citizens, that is). Renunciation fees have been hiked and they might not do it if they don’t like your reason.

        Wealthy people who can live anywhere and hire good lawyers are renouncing.

      • Susan says:

        It has to be that way because of the way the taxes were set up to apply worldwide. If not, then every rich person would set up shop abroad, renounce their citizenship and avoid their US tax obligations, and then suddenly change their mind about citizenship later if it suited them. The only way to avoid that is to make it clear that if you renounce, it’s forever.

        If the taxation system were different, I bet the pettiness would be there to some extent but it wouldn’t be so extreme.

  11. AG-UK says:

    She will have to apply at the
    embassy she’ll get a SSN number then as well. She will be a US citizen for a while she has a visa that she keeps a year then ILR for a few years then she can apply for British citizenship yes I know they are the RF but they won’t be able to bypass from what I read in the Telegraph interview with some HOme Office guy awhile ago def now with all immigration stuff going on.

    • Eliza says:

      They and the child will have to come to America to finalize. At least with my family, they have to bring all documents to USA to get the kids born abroad from American mother their offical citizenship.

      • LizB says:

        Not sure when you family did that, but it was not necessary for my two kids. I last did it in 2016.

      • BearcatLawyer says:

        Eliza, this is not necessarily true in all cases. US passports and registrations of birth can be obtained from US consulates overseas. US certificates of citizenship, however, must be obtained from USCIS, and it is often easier to do that at a domestic USCIS office instead of an overseas one.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        US friends had their baby in France; I believe they took care of all the paperwork at the US embassy or consulate in Paris.

  12. Flying fish says:

    US citizen or not…I’m on baby watch.

  13. Lucia says:

    I think the baby will have American citizenship just to give them a way to “opt-out” of being a royal.

    When Charles takes over and if his plans to shrink who is on the list succeeds, then I believe while there will be a place for Harry, there may not be a place in the royal family for his kids, especially when William takes over. I think giving that child an escape route to America through citizenship is the best idea.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Hmm! It could be the more interesting question of whether Harry tries to obtain US citizenship by virtue of his American spouse. Or whether that’s even a possibility in the BRF.

      • Lucia says:

        That’s not an option while Queen Elizabeth is alive. It may be an option when Charles takes over. He may even encourage Harry to do such a thing. Charles is far more liberal than his parents.

  14. GR says:

    But from the article quoted above, it seems that she would have had to have lived in the in US recently, which she hasn’t. She’s been in the UK for a year, and Canada for 6-7 years before that.

    • LizB says:


    • Tina says:

      No, all Meghan needs is to have lived in the US for five years at some point, at least two of which years need to be after the age of 14. She easily meets that requirement.

    • Erinn says:

      Did she live full time in Canda, though? Or just during filming/promotion.

      • Yoyo says:

        Filming lasted nine months, don’t know if she spent the year in Canada and visited California for three.
        After meeting Harry she was spending her hiatus with him.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      She can confirm residence between the ages of 14 and 19, when she was in high school and early college. That’s easy. She just needs a minimum of 5 years after the age of 14. It’s not confirmation of residency to the present day, just that she had a significant stake on US soil during her adult years.

  15. nola says:

    The article says she should retain US citizenship as a backup plan. But let’s pretend that the worst happens and they do divorce. Would she really be able to take the baby and flee to the US? I imagine that would be a huge security issue. Did Diana even have “custody” of W & H after the divorce? I’ve seen people comment on here before that Diana had the boys 3 weeks out of the year or something ridiculous like that because of their school schedule, so I assumed that Charles had legal custody.

    • Tina says:

      The family courts here are very reluctant to allow a parent to relocate very far away from the other parent. Even without the royal angle.

    • Lucia says:

      Actually, per Royal law, the Queen legally had custody of William and Harry. In a technical sense, even William and Kate do not have legal custody of their children, Queen Elizabeth does.

      If they divorce, Charles would technically have custody if he were King. Now, Queen Elizabeth and Charles are not without compassion and would likely do what was in the best interest of the child(ren). The only stipulation I can see is Meghan must remain in the UK. In Diana’s case, I think there were genuine concerns about the kids being in Diana’ care (her borderline personality disorder) that never were disclosed. They spent most of their time in school at that point anyways so I actually think the Queen had some concerns about the effect the divorce had on them. I actually think Diana and Charles had equal amounts of time with them and it wasn’t much. I think William and Harry spent more time with Elizabeth and Philip than anyone else, especially given how pissed off Elizabeth and Philip were over Charles’ affair with Camilla. It would especially make sense given how liberal Charles is and how conservative William is. I think William has been heavily influenced by Philip.

      • Tina says:

        @Lucia, that custody malarkey is all nonsense. A family lawyer here in the UK explains why: http://www.alternativefamilylaw.co.uk/blog/will-harry-and-meghan-have-custody-of-their-own-children/

      • Lucia says:

        Tina, did you read that? It’s not proving me entirely wrong. But I will concede that the laws in the 1700s are likely not legal in this day and age.

        Legally speaking, nothing regarding custody from Charles and Diana was ever filed and I think Diana didn’t challenge it because she knew there was some behavior of hers that might bury her and take off the wronged victim in this whole thing. It would ruin her PR so she took the money and the jewels.

        The Queen still has control over the children and does dictate how they behave. Whether it holds up in court or not is something that has yet to be tested and I doubt it ever will. The BRF doesn’t need that kind of negative publicity of a custody battle.

      • Tina says:

        The important legal point is that we don’t have custody in the UK any more (since the Children Act 1989), which is why it didn’t form part of the Charles and Diana separation agreement.

        His points are as follows: 1) the 1771 court case Marlene Koenig relies on is no longer a valid precedent because Parliament has subsequently made legislation in this area and did not exempt the royal family (doctrine of parliamentary supremacy). 2) The Children Act 1989 removes the idea of custody entirely from family law and makes it clear that married parents have parental responsibility over their children. 3) Even if neither point above was correct (which they are), the 1771 case applies only to children and grandchildren of the monarch, not great-grandchildren.

      • Lucia says:

        I understand that Tina, it’s why I placed emphasis on Charles and if they divorced when he is king.

        Honestly, we don’t 100% know if Parliament Supremacy applies to them but they will never go out of their way to test the waters for fear if the consequences to The Crown so we assume it does but it legally has not been tested. In the case of Diana and Charles, they were no longer married and by most accounts, the Queen and Philip absolutely stepped in when it came to custody with a private agreement never disclosed. Both Charles and Diana never spoke against the agreement and since the princes were away at school, it made any agreement that much easier but it seems they spent more time with their grandparents than either of their parents.

      • Tina says:

        No, the doctrine of parliamentary supremacy is part of English law and applies to everyone (even the royals). It means that what Parliament does in the form of legislation is superior to what the courts do (even the Supreme Court) and overrides their decisions. I’m a solicitor (lawyer) here, I know what I’m talking about.

        We do not have the concept of custody in English law any longer, and that applied to Charles and Diana like everyone else. The children spent most of their time at school and alternated visits to their parents in the school holidays before Diana’s death. Charles had sole parental responsibility following her death.

      • Susan says:

        Lucia, I read that article and it does completely refute what you wrote. It clearly states that there is no such thing as custody in the monarchy and it refutes the “strangeness” of the Charles/Diana lack of custody in their divorce agreement (since the concept of custody no longer even exists in British law).

        The only thing I guess that weighs in your favor is that that is just one lawyer practicing family law and so obviously it’s not clear it’s actually accepted law. But it did seem convincing.

  16. notasugarhere says:

    This is a similar situation to Grace Kelly, Queen Noor, and Kendra Spears. Those royal houses did fine with heirs being US/Monagasque/Jordanian/French citizens. I’m sure the Windsors will survive. At least one of Princess Madeleine’s children is a US citizen too.

  17. zee says:

    I highly doubt that Meghan will ever return to the US. If she and Harry got divorced she’d lose her children to the BRF. They would of course grant her access to them and they may go on vacations together like Diana did post divorce but any children born into the BRF officially belong to the royal family and they’ll never let them go. I don’t believe Meghan would just leave her children behind to start a new life in America. She is stuck in England for the rest of her life no matter how awful the tabloids treat her.

    • Tina says:

      The children don’t belong to anyone, and certainly not the royal family. The Children Act 1989 is very clear that both parents (if married) automatically have parental responsibility for their children. But I agree that Meghan probably isn’t going anywhere, as it is true that the courts generally will not permit a parent with parental responsibility to remove the child(ren) from the other parent with parental responsibility.

      • zee says:

        But the BRF will keep main custody of the children in case of a divorce, they’ll live with them and not with Meghan. If Meghan left the country she wouldn’t get to see her children anymore.

      • Tina says:

        No, we don’t have the notion of custody in English law any more. See the discussion above. As married parents, Meghan and Harry will both have parental responsibility at birth, and they will retain that until the child is 18 (other than in the highly unlikely event they do something egregious and parental responsibility is removed from them by a court).

    • Casey20 says:

      Correction..according to the Brits..they “own” Meghan and her baby…..

  18. Starkiller says:

    If this were almost anyone other situation she would be wise to renounce her US citizenship (a ridiculously expensive and humiliating process, but if you plan to live in Europe full time and are eligible for the passport of a European country the benefits come nowhere close to outweighing the drawbacks). However, it’s VERY hard to get back, and if the Brits succeed in railroading her out of the country she’d end up in a very difficult position. Since there’s a virtually nil chance of her ever becoming Queen consort, best to keep it in this case.

    • Casey02 says:

      Why would she or anyone want to be Queen Consort…it’s a life of complete misery and will only get worse. Kate will put up with Williams BS the rest of her life for the title and she will watch the British media eat her children alive as they come of age…..Meghan’s good as DoS. She gets the privilege, the job of her dreams and hopefully as time passes, as normal a life a working Royal can have…

  19. Amelie says:

    The child is entitled to US citizenship but doesn’t automatically become one. Meghan will have to go to the embassy with all her baby’s paperwork and apply for it. So the baby isn’t considered a citizen until all the paperwork is submitted and goes through the application process. The baby needs a passport to prove US citizenship and until that happens it will only be considered a UK citizen. A person is not a citizen unless it can prove it with official papers/ID. I could see them not getting it though so her kid won’t be subject to US tax law. In all likelihood her kid will spend the majority of its life in the UK. They can ask the Monaco Royals for advice. Grace Kelly was American so technically all 3 of her kids might have US citizenship if they bothered applying for their US passport.

    I went through something similar with French citizenship. I’m born in the US but with a French parent. French citizenship is hereditary but as my parents never bothered to get me my French passport at the Consulate when I was young, I had to take care of it myself when I was 20. I had to drag my father with me to the Consulate in NYC so he could be there to prove I said who I said I was and update documentation like the “Livret de famille” and so forth. It was fairly easy and didn’t take long and within 6 weeks my French passport was ready. But until I had that passport, the French government would have treated me as an American citizen. It was always “oh technically you’re French but you just need your passport.” That’s what made it official.

    • Tina says:

      Read the posts above. The baby is a US citizen automatically at birth, by operation of law. People are not understanding the difference between what is required by the US government for a US citizen child to be given a passport and the legal status of that child.

      The laws are also different in each country. The US requires that US citizens must enter the US using US passports, but I’m not aware that France has a similar requirement. If Harry and Meghan had a child who did not file any paperwork or obtain a US passport and went to visit Doria in the US on his/her UK passport, there would still be a technical violation of the law.

    • Susan says:

      I have the same with Irish citizenship. It’s less that you weren’t French from birth (you were), just that the French authorities had no idea you existed. If you had ever got into trouble and requested the assistance of the French embassy, they would help after confirming you were a citizen, passport or no passport. Getting the passport is the best way to do those steps in advance though.

  20. perplexed says:

    “Some days, I do get kind of bummed out about everything the Duchess of Sussex gave up to marry Prince Harry.”

    Why, though? None of us know her personally. She looks contented enough. It’s not good to get that drawn into someone’s life who we don’t know personally.

  21. Ref7 says:

    A child born in the UK or the Falkland Islands to a parent who is a British citizen or ‘settled’ in the UK or the Falkland Islands is automatically a British citizen by birth.

  22. notasugarhere says:

    It appears HM just “awarded” the Royal Victorian Order to Kate, in the middle of the affair rumors spreading all over social media. The Queen has her ways of trying to distract.

    • OriginalLala says:

      HM waited so long to give Kate any orders, I always thought it was because she did so little work. but this year she has received two! I guess the orders have nothing to do with merit and hard work and more to do with…just being royal.

      • gayle says:

        You beat me to it. I was about to question the “merit” aspect myself.

      • Casey02 says:

        Maybe the honor has to do more with keeping a Duchess happy because husband is out planting turnips!

    • Becks1 says:

      @Nota that was my first thought. “William really IS running around on Kate!”

    • Beach Dreams says:

      Remember that the Queen did the exact same thing with Andrew when the Epstein allegations picked up steam. I’m not sure this is going to have the mitigating factor they were hoping for.

      • Nic919 says:

        I did not recall that she had given it to Andrew in the midst of the Epstein debacle, but since that’s the case it does seem like she’s taking a page from the same playbook. There has certainly been no increase in workload. She did one engagement in April, which was attending the ANZAC service. For someone not on mat leave and future queen consort, that’s pretty pathetic. There weren’t even behind the scenes meetings posted in the court circular this month.

    • Bee says:

      The kensingtonroyal Instagram also just posted throwback photos to Will & Kate’s wedding for their 8th anniversary. All this really terrible timing reiterates is that he really did have that good old seven year itch. They seem so desperate to distract from that. It’s not working.

  23. Enough S Enough says:

    If the child is a US citizen he or she will have to pay income tax to the US, wherever he or she may live or work.

    That would be fun in about 18 years.

  24. Bee says:

    She gave up certain things, but she also gained a lot. Lifelong financial security, prestige, fame (which she seemed to want), titles, worldwide reach and a husband Prince. She was likely never going to be a true A-Lister acting wise, so she chose the next best thing. London is not some great sacrifice over America, it’s an awesome place.

    • Casey20 says:

      Unless you’re a Duchess OC married to the 6th inline with a baby on the way…. the abuse from the British Media she didn’t sign up for

  25. Darl and Stormy says:

    Two things; first whoever wrote this nonsense must not be a US citizen, or at least not a well educated citizen. Secondly who er wrote this either has ne er heard of Trump and the birthers movement against Obama or they have a horrendous memory. Where you were birn is a big deal for citizenship, you DO NOT get to automatically become a citizen because someone in your immediate family is (be they a parent or child). Do people not watch the news?

    • Casey20 says:

      Birther had nothing to do with citizenship. It had to do with the POTUS place of birth.. must be on American soil or territory. Dumpf claimed Obama was born in Kenya, thus ineligible for POTUS…This coming from a man that doesn’t know that his own father was born in Brooklyn and not Germany.

    • Tina says:

      Did you read any of the other comments? The State Department, two lawyers on this thread and other experts quoted in the press have said that the baby will be a US citizen at birth. I can’t believe I have to say this, but Trump and the birther movement were completely wrong. They were wrong mostly because Obama was born in the US (the US still has birthright citizenship, despite Trump’s efforts), but they were also wrong because even if he had been born in Kenya, he would have been a US citizen at birth because his mother was a US citizen who had lived in the US for five years after the age of 14.

      • Casey02 says:

        Tina: Birther wasn’t about citizenship. It was about place of birth. In order to be POTUS you must be born on US soil or US territory. Baby Sussex, for example, will be US citizen at birth but would be ineligible to run for POTUS.

      • Tina says:

        @Casey, the question of whether people who were born US citizens (but were born outside the US) can run for President is by no means settled. The question of what a “natural born citizen” means has never been defined by the Supreme Court. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/natural-born-issue-ted-cruz-not-settled-not-going-away-n499226

      • Casey20 says:

        Tina you are correct that the clause has not been challenged up to SCOTUS however, as stated above every POTUS has used the above as guidance to determine eligibility…… maybe one day baby Sussex will challenge and become POTUS and George King…. Now that would be something to see!

      • Tina says:

        Every POTUS up until now has been born in the US, so it hasn’t been an issue. If the republicans had chosen Ted Cruz as their nominee, I’m sure a court case would have been brought claiming that he was ineligible, and the matter would be settled one way or another then. But constitutional scholars differ strongly on the issue, it is not at all clear cut.

      • Casey02 says:

        John McCain faced the same question when he ran for office. Looks like we will have to wait for baby Sussex to challenge the law..

    • Susan says:

      This is absolutely false but your argument actually underlines why the “birther” smear was such bullshit. Obama’s mother was always American so his citizenship was never in question. There is a clause in the constitution though that makes it more difficult to be President than just mere citizenship. You must be a natural born citizen. Trump tried to play on racism to make it an issue and muddy the waters for the truly ignorant that Obama wasn’t a natural born citizen. But even if he was born In Kenya, he would be no different from Ted Cruz who was born in Canada and ran for President. Well, different, obviously because Cruz is white and Obama is black. But that’s the point, isn’t it?

  26. Dark and Stormy says:

    Ugh sometimes when I go back and read my comments on various sites I get embarrassed by both my tone and failure to edit. I’m almost always typing on a phone so some of my posts are impossible to read. Anyway just wanted to politely say that a natural born citizen (which can also happen abroad on a military base for example) is not the same as applying for citizenship. I think different countries handle it differently but immigration/naturalization etc is a big deal for minorities here, which from my point of view has become a humanitarian crisis for non whites. This article seemed to glorify a certain aspect of becoming a citizen while overlooking some of the very serious issues that others without better resources are facing.

    • Susan says:

      Natural born citizen isn’t determined by the country you were born in. It’s a legal term lifted directly from the constitution and only has one application in the law: whether you are entitled to be President. It is meaningless otherwise. The key issue is what natural born citizen actually means in practical terms. It’s clear it includes Americans born abroad on military bases and it’s clear it does not include naturalized citizens. However there is this whole other group of people born abroad who are still citizens at birth where people like to argue both sides even though the accepted consensus of legal scholars is that they are natural born. But since every President was born in the US or was a citizen before the adoption of the constitution, there hasn’t been an opportunity to have the Supreme Court actually rule on what “natural born citizen” means.

  27. xflare says:

    That article reads like it was written by some f**k yeh ‘Murica!! Trump supporter.

  28. Katherine says:

    It’s hilarious you keep referring to their baby as “polo baby” 😹
    I have some experience with this, had my baby in France as an American citizen. You just have to make an appt at the American embassy, go present some paperwork proving you are yourself an u.s. citizen like you claim, I.e. taxes, government id, proof you lived there the last couple years, school diplomas, etc. then you get your baby’s dual citizenship certificate in the mail. It was quick and easy in Paris. I imagine U.K. Is exactly the same because I remember asking for advice on reddit!