Eligibility for a CRBA

  1. Eligibility for a CRBA
  2. Transmitting Citizenship

When a child is born to at least one U.S. citizen parent outside of the United States, U.S. law may confer citizenship on the child, depending on various factors.

Citizenship laws are complex, and it is impossible to address all factual situations on this website.  However, the most common cases are:

A U.S. citizen parent may transmit citizenship if s/he has been physically present in the United States for a certain amount 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.

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.

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 on or before  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.

In order to transmit U.S. citizenship to a child conceived through Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), a U.S. citizen father must be the genetic parent and a U.S. citizen mother must be either the genetic or gestational and legal mother of the child at the time and place of the child’s birth.  (A gestational mother is the woman who carries and gives birth to the child.)

For more information please read Important Information for U.S. Citizens Considering the Use of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Abroad.

Please keep in mind that in order to apply for a Report of Birth Abroad the transmitting parent must a U.S. Citizen before the child is born.

Most of these cases require the U.S. citizen parent to have spent a specific amount of time in the U.S. or, in some cases, time spent overseas working for the U.S. government and other organizations may count.  For specific information on each particular scenario please visit the Legal Considerations section on the travel.state.gov website.

Parents of a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen or citizens should apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) 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.

We remind you that by law, U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States.