Children Born Abroad: How To Get Citizenship From U.S. Parents


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 the USCIS.

The easiest and most economical method to acquire certificate of citizenship for a child (under 18) is applying for a “Consular Report of Birth Abroad for a U.S. Citizen,” 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However, if a child turns 18 prior to performing the DS-2029 process, all that was stated above is no longer applicable, and the child (now adult) must submit an N-600 Form to USCIS.

The more difficult and more expensive method to acquiring a certificate of citizenship is the N-600 Form, the same stated above. Generally, a child must meet the following criteria prior to turning 18 years of age:

1. At least one parent must be a U.S. citizen;
2. The biological child of that U.S. citizen parent;
3. Lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence; and
4. You must be living in the United States in the legal and physical custody of your U.S. citizen parent.

Both of the above methods will provide “certificates of citizenship,” which will give a foreign born child of a U.S. citizen parent their documentation that they are indeed a U.S. Citizen.


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