October 7, 2013
A child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents may acquire U.S. citizenship at birth if certain statutory requirements are met. The child’s parents should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America (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 called a Form FS-240, in the child’s name.
According to U.S. law, a CRBA is proof of U.S. citizenship and may be used to obtain a U.S. passport and register for school, among other purposes.
The child’s parents may choose to apply for a U.S. passport for the child at the same time that they apply for a CRBA. Parents may also choose to apply only for a U.S. passport for the child. Like a CRBA, a full validity, unexpired U.S. passport is proof of U.S. citizenship.
Parents of a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen or citizens should apply for a CRBA and/or a U.S. passport for the child as soon as possible. Failure to promptly document a child who meets the statutory requirements for acquiring U.S. citizenship at birth may cause problems for the parents and the child when attempting to establish the child’s U.S. citizenship and eligibility for the rights and benefits of U.S. citizenship, including entry into the United States. By law, U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States.
Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen (CRBA, or Form FS-240)
If you are a U.S. citizen and have a child overseas, you should report his or her birth as soon as possible so that, if the child acquired U.S. citizenship at birth, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) can be issued as an official record of his/her U.S. citizenship. Report the birth of your child abroad at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Check the American Citizens Services portion of the webpage for the embassy or consulate closest to where your child was born for further instructions about how to apply for a CRBA. Please note:
U.S. Virgin Islands
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
Other Citizenship Documents Issued to U.S. Citizens Born Abroad
Certification of Report of Birth (DS-1350)
As of December 31, 2010, the Department of State no longer issues Certifications of Reports of Births (DS-1350). All previously issued DS-1350s are still valid for proof of identity, citizenship, and other legal purposes.
Certificate of Citizenship issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
A person born abroad who acquired U.S. citizenship at birth but who is over the age of 18 (and so not eligible for a CRBA) may wish to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship to document acquisition pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1452. Visit USCIS.gov for further information.