Information for international families with children:

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Having a Baby and U.S. Citizenship

If your baby will be born in the U.S. her or she will be considered a U.S. citizen. U.S. laws do not require that your baby give up citizenship from your home country (if they are considered as such by the laws of your country), but your home country may not accept the dual citizenship status. Contact your home country embassy in the U.S. to register their birth and if you have questions about citizenship. Parents of a U.S. citizen child are eligible to apply for U.S. permanent resident status when the child is 21 years old.

Your child born in the United States cannot be your F-2 dependent.

To travel and re-enter the U.S., your child will need a U.S. passport. You can obtain the application from the Madison Post Office, 3902 Milwaukee Street, or download the forms from the U.S. Department of State web site.

Public Assistance

Nonimmigrants are not eligible for public assistance in the U.S.  However, as students with dependents are quick to learn, the costs of health insurance for their family members can be quite high. Unfortunately, some people may be unable to bear the financial burden and choose to risk not having health insurance coverage. When they are unexpectedly faced with the birth of a child, some families may turn to the aid of the U.S. government. In some cases, hospital staff or doctors may even suggest that an international student or scholar take advantage of such public assistance.

The fact that you may be encouraged to sign up for public assistance by hospital staff or other “official” does not mean that you are eligible. The consequences of accepting such assistance are that if you leave the U.S. and want to return, you may be stopped at the U.S. border and denied entry until the amount of public assistance you received has been repaid.

Unattended Children

There are strict laws about leaving very young children alone, either in cars, in public, or at home. The law states that it is a crime to leave anyone in a car who is incapable of getting out without help. These laws stem from cases where young children have died from being left in cars with closed windows in warm weather. In addition, it is considered “child neglect” to leave very young children unattended (such as outside of a restaurant) or home alone. It is better to awaken a sleeping child than to risk their possible harm, and/or face arrest.

Car Safety Seats

Wisconsin state law requires that children under age 4 be restrained in an appropriate, federally approved car seat. The law in Wisconsin further requires that children ages 4 to 8 ride wearing a seat belt or a federally approved car seat or booster seat. All other drivers and passengers must always wear a seat belt while in a moving car.

Child Passenger Safety

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children ages 2 to 14, due in large part to the nonuse or improper use of child seats and seat belts. Working with parents and our partners our goal is to ensure every child is properly secured and safe every trip, every time.

We would like to ask if you are a parent that is not sure which car seat to use? Are you overwhelmed by the choices and worried about how to properly install your car seat? The UW-Madison Police Department has 3 Child Passenger Safety Seat Technicians that have attended and completed the necessary training through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Our technicians volunteer their services at car seat events throughout Dane County and schedule one-on-one appointments. At the appointments, technicians teach anyone who transports children the proper way to ensure their child’s safety seat is appropriate for the child’s needs, for the vehicle and how to always use the safety seat correctly.

To schedule a one-on-one consultation contact:
Police Officer Kristin Radtke or 608-262-4524

If you have questions or have other issues you would like to discuss, you are encouraged to speak with the friendly staff at the International Student Services Office, located at 716 Langdon Street, 217 Red Gym.