Citizenship at Birth for Children born outside the United States

If a child is born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parent, the child may acquire U.S. citizenship at birth if certain requirements are met.

As a general matter, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America (CRBA) is only issued to a child who (1) acquired U.S.

citizenship at birth and (2) is under the age of 18 at the time of the application.

 

Process: 

  • The child’s parents should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to apply for a CRBA to document that the child is a U.S. citizen.
  • If the U.S. embassy or consulate determines that the child acquired U.S. citizenship at birth, a consular officer will approve the CRBA application and the Department of State will issue a CRBA (also known as a Form FS-240) in the child’s name.
  • According to U.S. law, a CRBA is a proof of U.S. citizenship and upon receipt may be used to obtain a U.S. passport and register for school, among other purposes.
    • Alternatively, the parents may apply for a U.S. passport for the child at the same time they apply for a CRBA.

 

CRBA Requirements: 

In general, a child born outside the U.S. is a citizen at birth when the child’s parents Are not married to each other at the time of birth if:

  1. The parents are married to each other and citizens of the U.S. at the time of birth, and
    • At least one parent lived in the U.S. or its territories prior to the birth.
  2. The parents are married to each other and 1 parent is a citizen at the time of birth and
    • The birthdate is on or after November 14, 1986, and
    • The U.S. parent is physically present in the U.S. or territories for a period of at least five years at some time in his or her life prior to birth, of which at least two years were after his or her 14th birthday.
    • *If the U.S. citizen parent spent time abroad in any of the following capacities, this can also be counted towards the physical presence requirement:
      • Serving honorably in the U.S. armed forces
      • Employed with the U.S. government, or
      • Employed with certain international organizations.
    • *Additionally, time spent abroad by the U.S. citizen parent while the U.S. citizen parent was the unmarried son or daughter and a member of the household of a person who meets any of the three requirements listed can also be counted.
  3. The parents are NOT married at the time of birth, and
    • The genetic or non-genetic gestational mother is a U.S. citizen at the time of birth with a birthdate after December 23, 1952 AND the mother is physically present in the U.S. or its territories for a continuous period of at least one year, and 
    • The genetic father is a U.S. citizen at the time of birth, the mother is an alien, and the birth date is on or after November 14, 1986, and
      • A blood relationship between the person and the father is established by clear and convincing evidence,
      • The father had the nationality of the United States at the time of the person’s birth,
      • The father (unless deceased) has agreed in writing to provide financial support for the person until the person reaches the age of 18 years, and
      • While the person is under the age of 18 years one of the following occurs:
        • The person is legitimated under the law of the person’s residence or domicile
        • The father acknowledges paternity of the person in writing under oath, or
        • The paternity of the person is established by adjudication of a competent court, and
      • The U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the U.S. or its territories for a period of at least 5 years at some time in his or her life prior to the birth, at least 2 of which were after his or her 14th birthday.
      • *If the U.S. citizen parent spent time abroad in any of the following three capacities, this can also be counted towards the physical presence requirement:
        • Serving honorably in the U.S. armed forces;
        • Employed with the U.S. government; or
        • Employed with certain international organizations.
      • *Additionally, time spent abroad by the U.S. citizen parent while the U.S. citizen parent was the unmarried son or daughter and a member of the household of a person who meets any of the three conditions listed above can also be counted.

Additional Information:

  • The U.S. embassy or consulate will provide one original copy of an eligible child’s Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen.
  • A more secure Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen was introduced in January 2011. 
    • This new CRBA has been updated with a variety of state of the art security features, and is printed centrally in the United States. 
    • U.S. embassies and consulates no longer print CRBAs locally, but you still must apply there.
    • The central production was initiated to ensure uniform quality and reduce vulnerability to fraud. 
    • The previous version of the CRBA continues to be valid proof of U.S. citizenship.
  • You may replace, amend or request multiple copies of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen at any time.
  • Persons who acquired U.S. citizenship or U.S. nationality at birth in one of the following current or former territories or outlying possessions of the United States during relevant time periods are not eligible for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen because such persons are not considered to have been born abroad. Individuals born in these locations during the relevant times may establish acquisition of U.S. citizenship or non-citizen nationality, based upon the applicable agreement or statute, by producing their birth certificate issued from the local Vital Records Office along with any other evidence required to establish acquisition:
    • Puerto Rico
    • U.S. Virgin Islands American Samoa
    • Guam
    • Swains Island
    • The Panama Canal Zone before October 1, 1979
    • The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands after November 3, 1986
    • The Philippines before July 4, 1946

 

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our  firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their  efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is highly experienced in working with employment-based visas, adjustment of status, green cards, and PERM labor certification. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.