Consular Report of Birth Abroad
If you are a U.S. citizen and you are the parent of a
child born outside the United States, you need to document your child's U.S. citizenship with a
Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA). A CRBA, or
Form FS-240, is a document similar to a birth certificate.
You have to apply for this document with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate
in the country of your child's birth before his 18th birthday. On
the other side, if your child is 18 years of age or older, he will have
to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship with USCIS.
If your child does not have a U.S. travel document, you should consider
reporting your child's birth as soon as possible at the nearest U.S.
embassy or consulate, in order to avoid complications.
The U.S. embassy or consulate will provide one original copy of an eligible
child's CRBA. The
CRBA application can be filed only at a U.S. embassy or consulate, and the presence of
one or both parents may be required at the interview.
How to Get a U.S. Birth Certificate if Born Abroad
You will need to bring some documents with you to your appointment to the
U.S. embassy or consulate. If the consul determines that the child has
acquired the U.S. citizenship at birth, a consular officer will approve
the CRBA application and the Department of State will issue a CRBA, which
is essentially an overseas birth certificate. If the CRBA application
is not immediately acceptable, the officer will tell you what you need
to do in order to complete the process.
The CRBA is recognized in the United States as proof of acquisition of
U.S. citizenship and it is acceptable evidence of citizenship for obtaining a passport,
entering school, or health benefits.
Additionally, you may also wish to complete the Form
SS-5-FS (Application for a Social Security Card). The child's parents may also choose to apply for a U.S. passport
for the child at the same time that they apply for a CRBA.
Once the application is approved, your child's CRBA and passport will
be sent to you by courier within approximately
three to four weeks. The Social Security Card will be sent to you directly by regular mail
four to six months.
If the child was born abroad from
one U.S. citizen parent and one alien parent
in wedlock, he or she acquires U.S. citizenship at birth if it is provided the American
parent was physically present in the U.S. for the time period required
by the law.
Under the 22 CFR 50.7, the CRBA may be canceled if it appears that such
document was illegally, fraudulently, or erroneously obtained, or was
created through illegality or fraud. The person will be given a written
notice of the cancellation, together with the specific reasons and the
procedures for review. It may be helpful to consult with an immigration
lawyer to review your CRBA process.