How do I know my child is eligible to be a U.S. citizen?
The answer to this question depends on the relationship you have with the other biological parent of your child.
For Children Born in Wedlock:
A child born outside of the United States or its Outlying Possessions to two U.S. citizen parents is entitled to citizenship, provided one of the parents had, prior to the birth of the child, been a resident in the United States or one of its outlying possessions (no specific period of time is required.)
A child born outside of the United States or its Outlying Possessions to a U.S. citizen parent and a non-US citizen parent, who are married to each other, is entitled to citizenship provided the US citizen parent was physically present in the United States of one of its outlying possessions for five years, at least two years of which were after s/he reached the age of fourteen. This period of physical presence must have taken place prior to the birth of the child and must be supported by documented evidence.
For Children Born Out-of-Wedlock:
A child born outside of the United States or its Outlying Possessions to a U.S. citizen mother out-of-wedlock. The U.S. citizen mother must have lived for at least once continuous year in the United States or its Outlying Possessions. This period of physical presence must have taken place prior to the birth of the child and must be supported by documented evidence. Periods spent overseas with the U.S. government/military or as a government/military dependent, may NOT be computed as physical presence in the U.S.
A child born outside of the United States or its Outlying Possessions to a U.S. citizen father out-of-wedlock. The U.S. citizen father must have been physically present in the United States or its Outlying Possessions for five years, at least two years of which were after he reached the age of fourteen. This period of physical presence must have taken place prior to the birth of the child and must be supported by documented. He must also provide the following information:
- Acknowledgement of Paternity and Affidavit of Financial Support for the child until s/he reaches the age of 18, must be completed by the U.S. citizen father if he cannot be present for the interview. This form is a part of Form DS-5507 (PD 35 KB); or,
- Paternity is established by a competent court before the child attains the age of 18 years.
What does physical presence mean?
Physical presence in the U.S. means just that, you are physically present in the U.S., or in one of its Outlying Possessions. Merely maintaining a residence, possessing a driver’s license or paying taxes, does not evidence your physical presence in the United States. Additionally, any travel outside of the U.S., including short trips to Canada or Mexico, cannot be counted towards your time in the U.S.
How can I prove my physical presence?
Primary evidence of your time spent in the U.S. is your current and old passports showing entry and exit stamps, official school transcripts and U.S. military discharge papers. Secondary evidence includes original utility or telephone bills, and bank statements on original letterhead with ATM transactions in the U.S. Other documents may be accepted on a case-by-case basis. In all cases, documents must be original and/or a certified copy of the original.
Will I be required to do a DNA test?
In certain complex cases, a consular officer may suggest DNA testing. Should the biological parents agree to DNA testing, further instructions on how to proceed will be given at the end of the interview.
What if only one parent can be present for the interview?
Both parents are strongly encouraged to appear for the CRBA interview. However, if the U.S. citizen parent cannot be present for the interview, the following documents must be completed and signed by the American parent, notarized and then submitted with all other supporting documents to the Consulate:
- Completed Consular Report of Birth Abroad application: Form DS-2029 (PDF 61 KB)
- Completed Affidavit of Parentage, Physical Presence and Support: Form DS-5507 (PDF 35 KB)
- Notarized copies of U.S. citizen parent’s passport(s). Must include ALL pages, including blank pages.
Please be aware that should the parent present for the interview not be able to adequately answer questions asked by the consular officer, processing of your child’s CRBA application may be delayed. In some circumstances, the consular officer may request to interview the non-appearing parent.
Should you wish to apply for a passport on your child’s behalf at the same time, please see Passports for Minor Children Under the Age of 16.
What if my name is not on the birth certificate?
We require both parents’ names to be on the birth certificate. Before your scheduled appointment, please check your child’s birth certificate for accuracy and completeness.
How long can I expect the interview to last?
The length of the interview truly depends on you and how well you are prepared. Most delays are caused by incomplete applications. All applications must be completed before arriving at the Consulate or your appointment may be cancelled and you will be asked to reschedule an appointment for a later time.