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 overseas to parents, of whom one or both are U.S. Citizens. The CRBA is also referred to as Form FS-240, after its document number. The Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or Form FS-240 document, serves the same purpose as a Certificate of Citizenship, U.S. passport or a Certificate of Naturalization in certifying the acquisition of American citizenship for a child born outside of the United States.
Who Is Eligible to Apply for Form FS-240/Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA)?
To qualify for Consular Report of Birth Abroad, the child born abroad must meet the following conditions:
- One or both of the child’s parents must be U.S. citizens at the time of birth
- The U.S. citizen parent must prove that they were physically present in the U.S. for the required minimum length of time (usually 5 years).
- A blood relationship between parent(s) the child must be established. (Additional evidence such as blood tests may be required).
- Only children who acquired U.S. citizenship at birth and are under 18 are eligible to apply for a CRBA. Children of U.S. citizens born abroad who are now over the age of 18 cannot apply for Form FS-240, but have other options of obtaining their citizenship (see below)
How to Apply for a FS-240/Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA)
Here are the steps for obtaining a Form FS-240 document:
- Gather all the required evidence. These include: documents proving the child’s birth; proof of U.S. citizenship(s) of one or both parents; proof of their marriage (if applicable)*; and evidence that the parent(s) were physically present in the U.S.
- The birth must be reported to the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy without delay. Not reporting the child’s birth in time could cause complications in establishing his or her U.S. citizenship in the future.
- Application procedures vary for embassies or consulates in different jurisdictions around the world, making it necessary to Contact the embassy or consulate responsible for the region where your child was born and find out their specific application procedures. Usually, the local U.S. embassy/consulate website will have this information.
- After the application is approved, the consular officer will issue a Form FS-240 document, or Consular Report of Birth Abroad. The parent(s) will receive an original copy. Additional copies, replacement documents or amendments may also be requested at any time.
*In cases where the father is a citizen and the mother a non-citizen, the father typically signs an affidavit stating he is the child’s biological father and will financially support he child.
Who Is Not Eligible for a FS-240/Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA)
Individuals born in: 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 Philippines (before 1946) are not eligible to apply for a CRBA. These territories are (or were) part of the United States, individuals born there in the appropriate time frames are not considered to have been born abroad and are already U.S. citizens. These individuals may apply for a U.S. passport based by providing their birth certificate and any other documents required in by the statutes governing U.S. citizenship in that territory.
Can Individuals Over 18 Who Are Children of U.S. Citizens Apply for CRBA?
Individuals born overseas to U.S. citizen parents who are now over 18 are not eligible to apply for CRBA. They use Form N-600 to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship, or they may apply directly for a U.S. passport.
It’s Not Always So Clear-cut. Contact Us for Help with Your Case.
These are just a few straightforward scenarios in which a child born abroad to parents who are U.S. citizens 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 the immigration laws are not so clear cut. Whatever your situation, feel free to contact us for a more in depth look into your individual situation.