Report Birth Abroad

As U.S. citizen parent(s), you should report your child’s birth abroad as soon as possible to the U.S. Consulate to establish an official record of the child’s claim to U.S. citizenship at birth. The official record will be the Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Form FS-240 which is a basic United States citizenship document.

Please Note: the name of your child that will appear on form FS-240 Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America (CRBA) must match exactly the name on the official birth certificate.  Phonetic Romanization of Chinese characters is acceptable.

Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA)

A Consular Report of Birth (CRBA) is evidence of United States citizenship, issued to a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents who meet the requirements for transmitting citizenship under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

CRBA applications must be made before the child’s 18th birthday, and we recommend that the parents apply for the CRBA as soon as possible after the child’s birth. For applicants older than age 18 who have never been issued a CRBA, please refer to Possible Derivative Claim to U.S. Citizenship. Anyone who has a claim to U.S. citizenship must be in posession of a valid U.S passport to enter and exit the United States, even if they have citizenship of another country, as well.

Please be advised that as of October 1, the U.S. Embassy and all Consulates General in China can no longer accept telephone calls, emails, or walk-in consultations regarding Social Security issues. Any questions or issues regarding the application for a social security number should be addressed to the Social Security Administration. The child’s passport and Consular Report of Birth Abroad are processed by the U.S. State Department and take approximately two weeks to arrive.

Original documents must be presented with the applications. All original documents will be reviewed by a consular officer and returned to the applicant. Visitors are not allowed to bring any electronic devices into the Embassy, so please bring hard copies of all documents and photos needed for the appointment. In order to efficiently establish the U.S. citizenship of your child, please bring the following:

  1. The child’s original Chinese birth certificate and a clear, high-resolution photocopy of it;
  2. Passports or other proof of their citizenship and identity (required for both parents) of the child’s parents. Please also bring clear and high-resolution photocopies of the documents;
  3. Original or certified copy of parents’ marriage certificate and a clear, high-resolution photocopy of it;
  4. Evidence of the U.S. citizen parent’s physical presence in the U.S. This applies if only one parent is U.S. citizen, see details below;
  5. One recent 2 inches by 2 inches (5×5 cm) photo (see photo  requirements);
  6. The following unsigned application formsConsular Report of Birth Abroad application DS-2029 (PDF 104 KB), U.S. Passport application DS-11. 
    Note: For DS-11 – enter zeroes in the SS# box. After you fill out the application online, print it, and bring it with you the day of your appointment.
  7. Prenatal and hospital birth records, pictures of the child’s growth and mother’s pregnancy;
  8. Both parents’ proof of termination of all previous marriage(s), if relevant; and
  9. Fees- USD 100 for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) and USD 115 for a passport.

More information on how to report the birth of a child is available at the Department of State’s website.

Physical Presence    

Physical presence is the actual time when the parent was physically within the borders of the United States. This means that any travel outside the United States, including vacation, should be excluded. Maintaining a residence in the U.S. does not constitute physical presence. You may submit tax returns, wage statements (W2s), school transcripts, utility bills, rental/lease agreements, etc. as evidence of your physical presence in the United States. If you submit W-2s as evidence of physical presence, please also submit a letter from the employer stating your period of stay in the U.S. If a parent is a naturalized U.S. citizen, previous Chinese passports can be used as evidence of physical presence.

Note: Any periods of time spent overseas with the United States Military/Government or qualifying international organization (such as the United Nations) may be computed as physical presence in the United States for transmission of citizenship purposes. Time spent as a dependent of such person may also be computed as physical presence. Military records or other proof may be requested.  

Additional Instructions

The child must appear in person with the parents when reporting the birth. Information on third party attendance during the passport and CRBA application process is available here (PDF 115KB).

In cases where the American citizenship of a child hasn’t been established, consular officers may require other documentation before a CRBA or passport can be issued. The consular officer will inform you of what documents may still be required.These documents should not be mailed, but must be presented in person at the Embassy/Consulate which has jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of birth or current place of residence.

Please note, once a U.S. passport is issued, the child’s parents must apply for a Chinese visa to ensure that they don’t have problems leaving the country. Please contact the local Chinese Exit and Entry Bureau (EEB) for information on how to apply for a Chinese visa.