Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA)
A Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) is a document issued by a U.S. embassy or consulate that grants U.S. citizenship to children born abroad to parents, where one or both are U.S. citizens. The CRBA is also known as Form FS-240, based on its document number. The Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Form FS-240 serves the same purpose as a Certificate of Citizenship, a U.S. passport, or a Certificate of Naturalization in certifying the acquisition of U.S. citizenship for a child born outside the United States.
Who is Eligible to Apply for Form FS-240/CRBA?
To qualify for the Consular Report of Birth Abroad, the child born abroad must meet the following conditions:
- One or both parents of the child must be U.S. citizens at the time of birth.
- The U.S. citizen must demonstrate physical presence in the United States for the required minimum time (usually 5 years).
- There must be a blood relationship between the parent(s) and the child. (Additional evidence such as blood tests may be required).
- Only children who acquired U.S. citizenship at birth and are under 18 years old are eligible to apply for a CRBA. Children of U.S. citizens born abroad who are now over 18 years old cannot apply for Form FS-240 but have other options to obtain their citizenship (see below).
How to Apply for a CRBA?
Here are the steps to obtain Form FS-240:
- Gather all required evidence. This includes: documents proving the child’s birth; proof of U.S. citizenship of one or both parents; proof of their marriage (if applicable)*; and evidence that the parent(s) were physically present in the United States.
- The birth must be reported to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate without delay. Failing to report the child’s birth on time could cause complications in establishing their U.S. citizenship in the future.
- Application procedures vary for embassies or consulates in different jurisdictions around the world, so it is necessary to contact the embassy or consulate responsible for the region where your child was born and learn about their specific application procedures. Typically, the local embassy or consulate’s website will have this information.
- After the application is approved, the consular officer will issue a Form FS-240, or Consular Report of Birth Abroad. The parent(s) will receive an original copy. Additional copies, replacement documents, or amendments can also be requested at any time.
*In cases where the father is a citizen and the mother is not, the father typically signs an affidavit affirming that he is the biological father of the child and will provide financial support to the child.
Who is Not Eligible for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA)?
Individuals born in the U.S. Virgin Islands (after 1917); American Samoa (after 1900); Guam (after 1952); Swains Island (after 1925); Puerto Rico (after 1899); Panama Canal Zone (before 1979); Northern Mariana Islands (after 1978) and the Philippines (before 1946) are not eligible to apply for a CRBA. These territories are (or were) part of the United States, so individuals born there in the appropriate time periods are not considered born abroad and are already U.S. citizens. These individuals can apply for a U.S. passport by providing their birth certificate and any other document required by the laws governing U.S. citizenship in that territory.
Can Individuals Over 18 Years Old Who Are Children of U.S. Citizens Apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA)?
Individuals born abroad to U.S. citizen parents who are now over 18 years old are not eligible to apply for a CRBA. They should use Form N-600 to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship or can directly apply for a U.S. passport.
It’s not always this straightforward. Contact us for help with your case.
These are just a few simple scenarios in which a child born abroad to U.S. citizen parents can obtain citizenship. There are many other possible scenarios where minor or adult children born abroad can derive or acquire U.S. citizenship from their parents, where immigration laws are not as clear. Whatever your situation, feel free to contact us for a more detailed analysis of your individual case.