CRBA applications must be made before the child’s 21th birthday, and we recommend that the parents apply for the CRBA as soon as possible after the child’s birth.
Eligibility for CRBA
A child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent(s) may acquire U.S. citizenship at birth, if certain statutory requirements under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) are met. The parents should apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) and/or a U.S. passport for the child as soon as possible. Failure to promptly document a child who meets the statutory requirements for acquiring U.S. citizenship at birth may cause problems for the parents and the child when attempting to establish the child’s U.S. citizenship and eligibility for the rights and benefits of U.S. citizenship, including entry into the United States. A CRBA of a U.S. citizen is only issued to a child who acquired U.S. citizenship at birth and who is generally under the age of 18 at the time of the application.
Children under 18, born to U.S. citizens who are not eligible for U.S. citizenship as described above may be eligible under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. Further information is available from the website of the Department of State.
Transmission of U.S. citizenship depends on:
- At least one parent having the nationality of the United States at the time of the child’s birth;
- The existence of a blood relationship between the child and U.S. citizen parent(s);
- Documentary evidence demonstrating the U.S. citizen parent(s)’ presence in the United States prior to the child’s birth, as specified in the examples listed below.
Physical presence requirements
Examples of Documentation
Some examples of documentary evidence which may be considered to demonstrate that physical presence requirements have been met may include (but are not limited to):
- Wage and tax statements (W-2)
- Academic transcripts
- Employment records
- Rental receipts
- Records of honorable U.S. military service, employment with U.S. Government or certain intergovernmental international organizations; or as a dependent, unmarried child and member of the household of a parent in such service or employment (except where indicated).
- U.S. passport stamps may be considered a part of the evidence submitted, but should not be the sole documentary evidence. Drivers’ licenses do not constitute evidence of physical presence.
If you have other children who have been issued with a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, this may be considered as supplemental evidence.
What is Physical Presence?
Physical presence means the actual time you were in the United States. It is an exact accounting. If you were a student in the United States for an academic year, and went abroad for the summer, you have only 9 months of physical presence, not 12. The only exceptions to being on U.S. soil day for day for a minimum of 5 years are if you were in active U.S. military or U.S. Government service, and sent overseas.
How can you show it?
There are several ways to prove your physical presence. Official records from the United States, such as school transcripts, university and advanced degree transcripts are very helpful. A simple letter from the school saying you were a student there is usually not enough, but can supplement other records. Employment records or your social security statement in concert with a letter from an employer are helpful too. If you have copies of your W2 tax forms from your employer, salary slips, and tax returns, they will help to establish your presence.
We are also open to less standard verifiable evidence. For example, records of time spent volunteering in the U.S., records from court cases and vaccination and doctor records all can be used to show time in the United States.
Remember, the burden of proof is on you. You must be able to demonstrate to the consular officer’s satisfaction that you meet the physical presence.
These lists are not exhaustive and are meant to provide guidance only. Some of these documents alone are not sufficient evidence of physical presence, but combined could help you establish the necessary physical presence in the U.S. as required by the INA.