A Consular Report of a Birth Abroad (CRBA) may be needed to prove your child’s citizenship if they were born outside of the United States. You can obtain a CRBA (Form FS-240) for your child at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where they were born.
To get a CRBA for your child, you can submit an application with the U.S. embassy or consulate. You will then need to sign the completed CRBA application form in front of a consular officer or notary. Discover more about CRBAs and if your child needs one in this guide.
What Is a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or CRBA?
A CRBA is a document proving citizenship or nationality. This document can be obtained for children of U.S. citizens who are born in a foreign country. A CRBA does not grant citizenship. Instead, it proves that the child has U.S. citizenship. A CRBA does not work as a form of identification. Instead, it serves the sole purpose of proving citizenship.
Eligibility Requirements for CRBA
Many factors must be considered when determining whether your child qualifies for a certificate of birth abroad. The citizenship of the parents and their marital status play key roles in this determination. In most cases, if your child does qualify for a CRBA, they must be under the age of 18 when the application is submitted.
Two Married U.S. Citizens
When married U.S. citizens have a child while abroad that child will be eligible for a CRBA if at least one of the parents is biologically related to the child or one of the parents lived in the United States of one of its territories prior to the child’s birth.
A U.S. Citizen Married to a U.S. National
In this situation, the same rules apply, except the U.S. citizen has to have been physically present in the U.S. for at least a year prior to the child’s birth.
A U.S. Citizen Married to a Non-U.S. Citizen
A child born abroad will be eligible for a CRBA in this situation if they were born on or after November 14, 1986, and the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the United States for at least five years prior to the child’s birth. Note that at least two of those years must have come after the parent’s 14th birthday.
The child in question must either have been born to the married couple or born abroad through in vitro fertilization (IVF) or surrogacy and be in the legal parental custody of the married couple.
An Unmarried Male U.S. Citizen
A child can automatically obtain U.S. citizenship and qualify for a CRBA in this situation if they were born abroad and their male U.S. citizen parent:
- Submits a written statement committing to support the child financially until they turn 18
- Proves they were a U.S. citizen when the child was born
- Provides evidence of their blood relation to the child
- Was physically present in the U.S. for at least five years prior to the child’s birth with at least two of those years coming after the father’s 14th birthday
An Unmarried Female U.S. Citizen
Eligibility, in this case, will depend on when the child was born. If the mother was physically present in the U.S. for one year before the birth of the child and then gave birth to the child abroad before June 12, 2017, the child will be eligible for a CRBA.
If the child was born on June 12, 2017, or later, the mother must have been physically present in the United States for a full five years with two of those years coming after turning 14, for her child to meet the CRBA requirements.
Do All Children Born Abroad Qualify for a CRBA?
No. If a child’s parents do not meet the requirements above, they will not be eligible for a CRBA because they do not automatically become citizens at birth. However, it may still be possible to obtain citizenship through your parents by other means.
Who Can’t Get a CRBA?
Parents of a qualifying child can obtain a CRBA for the child at the embassy or consulate in the country where the child was born. However, a CRBA form must be submitted before the child turns 18.
How to apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA)
After determining if your child qualifies for a CRBA, you can begin the application process. The first step is to complete Form DS-2029. Some countries may require you to complete additional paperwork as well. After completing the application form, you will need to gather all the necessary documents.
You will need an original and a copy of:
- The child’s birth certificate
- Your marriage certificate (if applicable)
- Evidence of the U.S. citizenship of one or both parents
- Evidence of U.S. citizen parent’’ physical presence in the U.S. prior to the child’s birth
- Divorce papers or death certificates showing the end of previous marriages (if applicable)
- Official statement of legal guardianship (if not the child’s birth parent)
You will then need to check with the local embassy or consulate to determine how much you will need to pay and how the CRBA and other documents will be returned to you. You may need to purchase envelopes and stamps to have the documents mailed to you.
You can then schedule a CRBA appointment on the embassy’s website. At the appointment, you will submit the application, sign it, and pay the processing fee.
How Much Does It Cost to Apply?
The application cost varies depending on the country in which you are applying. Check with your local embassy or consulate.
Consular Report of Birth Abroad vs. Birth Certificate
A consular report of birth abroad essentially works in place of a birth certificate for proving citizenship. However, unlike a birth certificate, it can not function as an identity document.
Who Can Replace or Amend a CRBA?
Several parties can replace or amend a CRBA, including:
- The child listed on the CRBA, if 18 or older
- A parent, if the child is under 18
- An authorized government agency
- A person with written authorization from the individual listed on the CRBA
How to Replace a CRBA
To replace a CRBA, you must submit a notarized letter including:
- Your full name at birth
- Any other names you’ve used
- Your birthdate
- Your parents’ full names
- Your parents’ birthdates
- Your passport information (if applicable)
- Serial number of Form FS-240 (if known)
- Your signature
- Your mailing address
- Your phone number
- Your email
You must also submit a copy of your valid photo ID, along with a $50 fee in the form of a check or money order made payable to the U.S. Department of State.
How to Amend a CRBA
To amend a CRBA, you must submit a notarized letter with the same information needed to replace a CRBA found in the above section. You must also submit original or certified copies of documents that show the changes you are requesting. This can include a:
- Foreign birth certificate
- Court-ordered adoption or name change
- Marriage or birth certificates of adoptive or legitimating parents
You will also need the original CRBA, any replacement FS-240s, and any other birth records issued by the U.S. Department of State or a notarized affidavit stating the loss or destruction of these documents.
You will also need a copy of your valid photo ID and a check or money order made out to the U.S. Department of State for $50.
Can I provide permission to another person to request my record?
Yes. The person must be your family member or close friend. You must know the person for at least five years. And below are the information you need to provide:
- Consent authorization letter with your signature to the requesting person.
- Your secondary IDs photocopy
- A notarized statement from the requesting person on behalf of you
- A primary photocopy of the requesting person
How to Request an Apostille on Consular Document
If you need an apostille on your CRBA, you must submit a notarized request and a copy of a valid state-issued ID to the U.S. Department of State. If your CRBA was issued in the last five years, you will not need to pay a fee. Otherwise, you will need to include a check or money order in the amount of $50.
What if My Child Does Not Qualify? Can I Still Transmit My Citizenship?
There are other possible avenues to transmit citizenship to your child if they do not qualify for citizenship at birth. You can find out more about these options for transmitting citizenship to your child by checking the website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Apply for a CRBA Before Your Child Turns 18
Your child will need a CRBA before they can obtain a U.S. passport. Delaying getting a CRBA for your child could make things much more difficult for your child if they want to claim their U.S. citizenship later. Don’t delay in applying to obtain Form FS-240 today.