As a U.S. citizen parent(s), you should report your child’s birth abroad as soon as possible to the U.S. Embassy or a U.S. Consulate to establish an official record of the child’s claim to or acquisition of U.S. citizenship at birth. CRBA applications must be made before the child’s 18th birthday. The official record will be the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA), Form FS-240. This form is evidence of U.S. citizenship, issued to a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents who meet the requirements for transmitting citizenship under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Applying for a Consular Report of Birth (CRBA)
A Consular Report of Birth (CRBA) is evidence of United States citizenship, issued to a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents who meet the requirements for transmitting citizenship under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
CRBA applications must be made before the child’s 18th birthday, and we recommend that the parents apply for the CRBA as soon as possible after the child’s birth. Anyone who has a claim to U.S. citizenship must be in possession of a valid U.S passport to enter and exit the United States, even if they have citizenship of another country, as well.
Do all children born abroad qualify for a CRBA?
To transmit U.S. citizenship to a child using this method, certain conditions much be met to qualify:
- At the moment of birth, one or both of the parents must be U.S. citizens.
- The parent in the family that is transmitting citizenship (the U.S. citizen) must have a minimum period of physical presence in the United States or its territories. Please see the information below for exact requirements in the situation matching your case.
- There must be a biological or surrogate relation between the child and the U.S. parent of the family that will transmit citizenship.
- There is a legal relation between the child and the U.S. parent of the family that will transmit citizenship.
Physical Presence Requirements:
Birth to a U.S. Citizen Parent Married to an Alien Parent, or Birth to an Alien Unmarried U.S. Citizen Father
A U.S. citizen parent may transmit citizenship if s/he has been physically present in the United States for a certain period of time prior to the child’s birth. For children born on or after November 14, 1986, the citizen parent must prove that s/he was physically present in the U.S. for 5 years, 2 of which were after age 14. It is important to recognize that the burden of proof is on the applicant. Physical presence may be proven by presenting a combination of records such as school transcripts, social security statements, old and current passports, etc., to show that the physical presence requirement has been met.
Birth to Two U.S. Citizen Parents
A child born to two U.S. citizen parents abroad acquires citizenship at birth, so long as either parent had a residence in the United States or its possessions sometime before the child’s birth. There is no specific length of physical presence required.
Birth to Unmarried U.S. Citizen Mother
An unmarried U.S. citizen mother may transmit citizenship to a child born abroad if she has been physically present in the United States for a certain amount of time prior to the child’s birth. For children born between November 14, 1986 and June 11, 2017, mother must prove that she was physically present in the U.S. for a minimum period of one continuous year. For children born on or after June 12, 2017, mother must prove that she was physically present in the U.S. for 5 years, 2 of which were after age 14. It is important to recognize that the burden of proof is on the applicant. Physical presence may be proven by presenting a combination of records such as school transcripts, old and current passports, vaccination records, etc., to show that the physical presence requirement has been met.
Reporting the Birth of a Child Abroad
How to Apply
You can now apply for a CRBA electronically in La Paz and Santa Cruz! This new online feature allows U.S. citizen parents to complete a CRBA application online, upload all required documents, and submit payment prior to the in-person interview.
- To apply for a CRBA online, you need to create a MyTravelGov account. MyTravelGov is a secured, encrypted portal. Watch this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVgRyLQd3jA&t=4s) to learn more about creating your account.
- Once you have created a MyTravelGov account you can access eCRBA and submit your application online. The easy-to-use online process provides applicants with step-by-step instructions on how to complete the application. You may review the necessary documents for the CRBA application in advance by reviewing this checklist.
- Once you complete the online application and submit payment, you will then be directed to schedule your appointment at La Paz or Santa Cruz. Please schedule your appointment at least 72 hours after payment submission. This provides time for your payment to be processed prior to your CRBA interview. Please Note: Do NOT make another (or duplicate) payment for a CRBA ($100) at the Embassy.
- Attend you scheduled in-person interview with your original documents and their photocopies (single-sided). Original documents will be returned to you after reviewing your application. You must provide English translations for all foreign language documents. The child must be present at the time of application. Generally, both parents also attend the interview.
Once the citizenship claim has been approved, the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) will be printed in the United States and sent to the U.S. Embassy in La Paz within 4 weeks of the date in which the Consular Officer informs you that the application is complete. If the application was submitted at the Santa Cruz Consular Agency, the CRBA will be sent to the Santa Cruz Consular Agency. If you are required to bring additional evidence to comply with U.S. law, you will have 90 days from the date of the interview to submit the evidence.
In some instances, it is not possible to conclusively determine the U.S. citizenship of a child at birth based on the documents submitted. In these cases, the Consular Officer may request a DNA exam to establish parentage. This will involve the supervised taking of saliva samples from the parties involved by an accredited laboratory. Please do not conduct independent DNA exams, as only results from the U.S. Embassy requested tests can be used to determine a genetic relationship for citizenship purposes.
Child’s first U.S. passport
If you wish to apply for your child’s first passport you may do so at the same appointment. For passport information refer to Passport for Minors Under 16.
Social Security Card
Once you receive your child’s Consular Report of Birth Abroad and U.S. Passport, please contact the SSA Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) located in Costa Rica to request information on how to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) for your child. For more information on their services and how to contact them, please visit their webpage at: https://cr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/social-security/.
If my child does not qualify for a CRBA, can I still transmit U.S. citizenship?
If your child does not qualify for U.S. citizenship under this process, you may be able to transmit citizenship under other possible methods. Please contact USCIS for more information at: https://www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship/citizenship-through-parents.
The Child Citizenship Act of 2000
The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows certain children who are born abroad to U.S. citizen parents or adopted children of U.S. citizens to acquire U.S. citizenship. These children do not acquire U.S. citizenship at birth; however, they may qualify to obtain U.S. citizenship when they enter the U.S. as Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs).
How to replace a Consular Report of Birth Abroad
In order to obtain a replacement document for a lost, stolen, or mutilated Consular Report of Birth Abroad, you will need to contact Passport Services at the U.S. Department of State. Instructions are available at travel.state.gov/.