Financial guide for traveling to have a baby in the US, Canada

  • Giving birth to a baby in the US, Canada or Ireland is often the wish of any immigrant, especially from Nigeria
  • This is mainly because, their children get to be automatic citizens of these countries aka anchor baby.
  • There are also medical reasons that prompt parents to have their babies abroad.
  • Despite this advantages, most people still do not know how to go about this and fail to understand the financial implication.

It is the dream of every immigrant family especially Nigerian to travel to the United States or Canada at least at some point in their lives.

Even more desirous is to travel out to give birth to their unborn child due to other incentives such as, stable economy, better healthcare as well as the privilege of the child being a citizen of the US and that of their parents.

What countries give citizenship by birth to foreigners?

Presently, the United States of America and Canada give citizenship by birth to foreigners. It is known as Authority of the soil. United Kingdom doesn’t give citizenship by birth. The process is quite expensive as one will have to cough out between $10,000 to $30,000.

The class of Visa for those seeking to travel out with their pregnant spouse for the purpose of giving birth either in the United States of America or Canada is generally called medical Visa. For those going to the United States for such purpose, you need to apply for US B-2 Visa.

Documents you need to give birth abroad

The Application requirements are same as a normal non immigrant tourist visa. Below is a list of some of the requirements which must be packaged before applying for the Medical Visa:

  • A valid International Passport, which should not be expiring within the next 6 months
  • Non Immigrant visa electronic Application form DS-160, which can be downloaded online
  • 2 recent colored passport with white background. One will be uploaded online with your DS-160 Form while the second one will be brought along during Visa interview.
  • Receipt of payment for your $160 Non refundable visa processing fee
  • A duly stamped bank account statement
  • Referral medical letter from accredited hospital, which must be written on the hospital letter headed paper indicating history of patient from the Nigeria hospital signed by the doctor
  • Acceptance letter from the USA hospital stating they have accepted to care for the patient. The letter should show the duration of treatment, cost of treatment, nature and any previous health issue by the patient. EDD(Expected date of delivery).
  • Police clearance certificate
  • Supporting documents of your relationship to your sponsor, if he/she I not your spouse.

The above requirement/ documents are not all-inclusive as changes are made frequently by the embassy of the United States and Canadian authorities.  It is important to take note of certain facts before even thinking of applying for a Medical Visa.

Factors to consider

Accommodation

You can make arrangements for accommodation Private, either with family members and/or friends or public (hotel or paid apartment. Staying with family and friends has advantages and disadvantages.

Disadvantages range from unnecessary stress, lack of freedom, extra cost and lack of privacy.

Advantages include easy adaptation to the environment, getting access to sliding scale and freedom of association. A sliding scale is a little financial discount hospitals give for medical purposes to foreigners if they provide documents from those that are accommodating them.

To help cut cost of accommodation, its best to get a self paid accommodation at a cheaper rate on a monthly basis.

Transportation

I will suggest getting service cab(This can be really expensive. It can’t be compared to Nigerian taxis so please do not make the mistake. As the meter reads, your hard currency is going) or getting transport ticket which is cheaper.  It is important to plan ahead of time the mode of transportation to be used as this may eat deep into the budget of the medical trip.

Getting the right medical center

Giving birth in the USA and Canada is quite expensive as most medical centers don’t give the actual and total cost before delivery. The cost is normally given to the patient one month after delivery.

There are a lot of cheap medical centers where you can pay very little; A lot of people choose hospitals close to where they live, but if you can, and you are on a tight budget look for medical centers down town.

It is also important to add that, fees are paid separately to the hospital where the child will be delivered, consultant gynecologist, pediatrician, prenatal from obstetrician etc.

We will suggest a public medical facility which is the best for a self paid patient. The eventual choice of a medical center will depend on several factors: cost of treatment, cost of accommodation and flight.

It is important to note that normal delivery in the United States is cheaper when compared to giving birth via Cesarean Operation. A normal delivery costs an average of $9,500 while a Cesarean Operation goes as high as $15,000 but usually not below $12,000.

Understanding the finance

 

In total, having a child abroad can cost as high as N10 million (assuming $10,000 delivery cost), by the time you include cost of air tickets, accommodation, feeding, transportation and other ancillary cost.

For those who do not have the entire money to pay for medical bills in one go, it is often advised that you discuss a payment plan with the hospital and all that is being owed. In the payment plan, agree how often you will send money towards paying down your bills and make sure you adhere to it completely.

If, you default in payments your details will be sent to debt collectors who will in turn send it to the immigration department.

Once it gets to them, they might ban the parents of the child from ever entering the United States by simply denying them of visa. If you like make the payments years later, they could still deny you of payments as that trust has been breached.

Getting Citizenship for your child

 

After the birth of your child, citizenship is not automatic, as you have to follow the normal process of getting a US passport, Nigerian passport/Visa/travel documentation.

To do this, you will have to go to a US Post office in the City of birth, along with the birth certificate of the child. You will also provide other documents, such as your passport details and that of your spouse.

Once there, they will take a picture of your baby and post the passport to you. it can take between a week and two weeks for the passport to get to you.

If your child’s travel document is his or her international passport, you do not have any issues if you are returning when your baby is less than two years