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The place of birth (POB) or birth place is the place where a person was born. This place is often used in legal documents, together with name and date of birth, to uniquely identify a person. As a general rule with respect to passports, the place of birth is determined to be country that currently has sovereignty over the actual place of birth regardless of when the birth actually occurred.[citation needed] The place of birth is not necessarily the place where the parents of the new baby live. If the baby is born in a hospital in another place, that place is the place of birth. In many countries, this also means that the government requires that the birth of the new baby is registered in the place of birth.

In other countries, such as Sweden since 1947, there is a concept of födelsehemort ("domicile of birth"), which means that the domicile of the baby's mother is the registered place of birth.[1] The location of the maternity ward or other physical birthplace is considered unimportant. Likewise, Switzerland uses the concept of Heimatort/lieu d'origine/luogo d'origine ("place of origin"). A child born to Swiss parents is automatically assigned the place of origin of the parent with the same last name, so the child either gets their mother's or father's place of origin. A child born to one Swiss parent and one foreign parent acquires the place of origin of their Swiss parent. In a Swiss identity passport and Swiss identity card, the holder's place of origin is stated, not their place of birth.

Sometimes the place of birth automatically determines the nationality of the baby, a practice often referred to with the Latin phrase jus soli (it depends on the law of the country to give the nationality). More often, this may also depend on the nationality or nationalities of the parents (referred to as jus sanguinis).

There can be some confusion on the place of birth if the birth takes place in an unusual way: when babies are born in an airplane or at sea, difficulties can arise. The place of birth of such a person depends on the law of the countries involved, which include the nationality of the plane or ship, the nationality/nationalities of the parents and/or the position of the plane or ship (if the birth occurs in the territorial waters or airspace of a country).

Some applications may request the "Country of Birth" of the applicant. It is important to determine from the requester whether the information requested refers to the "Place of Birth" or "Nationality at Birth" of the applicant. For US citizens born abroad that under the US Constitution acquire US citizenship at the time of birth, the Nationality at Birth will be USA (American), while Place of Birth would be the country in which the actual birth takes place.


  1. ^ "Newborn children are registered as born in the parish where the mother was registered at the time of delivery." Tables on the population of Sweden 2006, page 430 ISBN 978-91-618-1383-4