Argentina is popular with expectant parents from Russia. According to the "Guardian", hundreds of Russian women traveled to the Argentine capital Buenos Aires last year to give birth there. The newborns automatically receive Argentine citizenship. The parents hope that this will give them new, better prospects than in their home country.
Pregnant women from Russia do not need a visa to enter Argentina. And the trend is likely to continue this year. The Guardian quotes Georgy Polin from the Russian Embassy in Argentina, who estimates that between 2,000 and 2,500 Russians moved to the South American country last year. Many of them women who were planning to give birth here. In 2023, that number could rise to 10,000, Polin is quoted as saying.
The "Guardian" writes of a boom in "birth tourism" in Argentina, but it is difficult to get exact figures. "Birth tourism" describes the journey to another country to give birth to a child – with the citizenship of that country. This is possible in countries with a place of birth principle, such as Argentina. The citizenship of the parents is irrelevant.
The Guardian quotes a Russian couple who gave birth to their daughter in Argentina last year. Your child is automatically an Argentine citizen. The parents plan to stay in Buenos Aires and apply for Argentine citizenship there. The fact that her daughter is Argentine simplifies the process. It could take less than two years for parents to be naturalized.
There is also a business behind it: The "Guardian" reports on agencies that organize travel documents, accommodation and hospital stays in Argentina for pregnant Russian women for sometimes several thousand euros. Eva Pekurova, the head of one of these agencies, who herself gave birth to a child in Buenos Aires last year, is quoted as saying: "Everyone is looking for a way out of the current situation in Russia. By giving my child an Argentine passport, I give him freedom." In addition to the privileges of an Argentine passport, her clients also chose Buenos Aires because of "the high quality of the healthcare sector".
A well-known example of the place of birth principle is the USA. The issue has been a political issue here for years. Under ex-President Donald Trump, the US government said a criminal "birth tourism industry" had developed. In early 2020, the U.S. Department of State enacted a new rule banning pregnant women from getting a visa if the presumed purpose of the trip is to give birth to a child.
Argentina is attractive to pregnant Russian women because it is one of the few countries that Russian nationals can still travel to without a visa.
With the Argentine passport, the families or, first of all, the babies have significantly more freedom than with a Russian one. As a result of the war of aggression in Ukraine, numerous countries have imposed sanctions on Russia. These also apply to travel. "Der Standard" reported in December about Russians who have now discovered Venezuela as a holiday destination. Not too many other options remain.
Many popular destinations in Europe are no longer. Entry into the Schengen area has been increasingly restricted over the past year in response to the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. The Schengen area includes 26 European countries - in addition to EU member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
Some European countries no longer issue tourist visas to Russian nationals. In others there are long waiting times, higher fees and requirements, for example with regard to bank accounts. In October, the "Berliner Zeitung" quoted the Association of Tour Operators of Russia as saying that it was "almost impossible" to obtain a German Schengen visa.
Life outside of Russia is also a way out of mobilization. The country needs new soldiers for its war. Experts are still expecting a new wave of forced recruitment in January.
Read here how the Kremlin is preparing the country for this.
Sources: The Guardian, Der Standard, Merkur, Deutsche Welle, Foreign Office, Berliner Zeitung, RND