Children Born Abroad: How To Get Citizenship From Parents

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When a baby is born in the United States, he or she receives U.S. Citizenship by virtue of the U.S. Constitution. However, this fact is not true for children born outside of the United States (except for foreign U.S. Soil). When a child is born abroad, their birth must be proven to the U.S. Embassies/Consulates in the foreign countries or the children must apply for citizenship from USCIS after coming to the United States.

The easiest and most economical method to acquire citizenship for a child (under 18) is applying for a “Consular Report of Birth Abroad for a U.S. Citizen,” in short the CRBA, the DS-2029 Form. This process is appropriate whether a child has one parent who is a U.S. Citizen, or where both parents are U.S. Citizens. However, under current law, the U.S. Citizen Parent(s) must meet residency requirements: 5 years for fathers or 1 year for mothers.

By completing this process, the child will qualify to receive a U.S. Passport (DS-11 processing), and may easily travel with the parents. It must be said, that the DS-2029 does not technically provide a U.S. Birth Certificate that proves citizenship, but rather an FS-240, CRBA, or Consular Report of Birth Abroad, which acts like a birth certificate in that it proves the child’s U.S. Citizenship.

However, if a child turns 18 prior to performing the DS-2029 process, all that was stated above is no longer applicable, and the child (now adult) must submit an N-600 Form to USCIS.

Trying to provide US Citizenship, travel with a recognized or unrecognized US Citizen Child, and Citizenship filings, in general, can be complex and confusing. It is best to speak with an Immigration Attorney with Citizenship questions.


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