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Securing Citizenship from the Start: The Consular Report of Birth Abroad Process


For U.S. citizens giving birth abroad, securing American citizenship for their child starts with the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA). This guide explains the CRBA process, detailing the steps, required documents, and timelines, to help parents navigate this crucial procedure for their child’s citizenship. 

Understanding the CRBA

The CRBA is a document issued by U.S. consulates or embassies abroad that serves as proof of a child’s U.S. citizenship. It is available to children born abroad to U.S. citizen parent(s) and is a vital record, equivalent to a U.S. birth certificate. 

Eligibility for a CRBA

To be eligible for a CRBA, the child must have at least one parent who was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth and meets the required physical presence criteria in the United States prior to the child’s birth. 

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Step 1: Gathering Necessary Documents

Applying for a CRBA requires various documents, including proof of the parent’s U.S. citizenship (like a passport), evidence of the child’s birth (such as a local birth certificate), and proof of the parents’ relationship and marriage, if applicable. Parents should also provide documentation proving their physical presence in the U.S. prior to the child’s birth. 

Step 2: Completing the Application Form

Parents must complete Form DS-2029 (Application for Consular Report of Birth Abroad). This form asks for detailed information about the parents’ citizenship, marriage, and prior residences in the United States. 

Step 3: Scheduling and Attending the Consular Appointment

After preparing the application and gathering the necessary documents, parents should schedule an appointment with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. During the appointment, consular officers will review the documents, confirm eligibility, and may ask additional questions to verify the information provided. 

Timelines for the CRBA Process

The timeline for processing a CRBA application can vary depending on the specific U.S. embassy or consulate. Generally, it can take a few weeks to a few months from the appointment date to receive the CRBA. 

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Step 4: Receiving the CRBA and U.S. Passport

Once the CRBA is approved, parents can also apply for the child’s U.S. passport, which serves as further proof of citizenship. This is typically done concurrently with the CRBA application. 

Why Timely Filing is Important

It’s important to file for a CRBA as soon as possible after the child’s birth, as it simplifies proving the child’s citizenship and obtaining other necessary documents in the future. 

The Role of an Immigration Attorney

Navigating the CRBA process can be complex, especially when it comes to meeting the physical presence requirements and preparing the necessary documentation. An experienced immigration attorney can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout this process. 


Applying for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad is an essential step for U.S. citizens to secure their child’s citizenship from birth. Understanding the process, requirements, and timelines is crucial for a smooth application. With careful preparation and possibly the assistance of a legal expert, parents can ensure their child’s right to U.S. citizenship is affirmed from the start.