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U.S. immigration law: Automatic acquired citizenship

Perhaps you are one of many U.S. citizens in Texas who recently gave birth to a child while living abroad. While you may have been in another country throughout your pregnancy or only just arrived a couple weeks or months before you went into labor, you may have felt a bit nervous and anxious to be so far away from home during labor and delivery.

You may have been in contact with your regular doctor and medical team in the United States. You hopefully had a loved one or, at least, a trusted friend with you to provide support as you navigated new surroundings and medical systems. An important U.S. immigration law issue you might not have considered when giving birth to a baby overseas is citizenship.

Statutory requirements

If you are a U.S. citizen whose child is born in another country, you must fulfill the requirements for your son or daughter to obtain automatic acquired citizenship. You may obtain an application to sign that documents the fact that your child was born in a country outside the United States.

Once you sign and file this paperwork through the proper channels, you can use it for your child to obtain a U.S. passport, register for school and other purposes. The document is known as The Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA).

Things to know about CRBA

As with most U.S. immigration law processes, there are fees associated with filing a CRBA. You must pay these fees up front, and they are not refundable. The fees apply whether or not the government issues your child a passport.

Application fees regarding CRBA are separate from fees you would incur when applying for a passport.

In person presence required

Both you and your child must be present for a CRBA appointment. Officials will review your case at the time of your interview. They may also request additional documentation or paperwork.

You may not only be required to show your child's birth certificate but also your own proof of U.S. citizenship and your marriage certificate as well as your passport or any other documents that apply.

Legal complications regarding U.S. citizenship

Any time you travel, you may encounter challenging issues you were not expecting when you planned your trip. When such issues involve U.S. immigration law, however, it can be stressful and frightening. Especially if officials are questioning yours or your child's legal status or citizenship, things may get worse before they get better.

It is critical that you understand U.S. immigration law in order to be able to protect your rights as well as your child's. If a problem arises that you don't feel equipped to resolve on your own, you should not hesitate to reach out for additional support.

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