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If an American gives birth abroad, can the baby get U.S. citizenship?

If you are an American and your child is born in another country, they may be eligible to acquire American citizenship. However, unlike children who are born in the U.S., this citizenship is not automatic.

In order to apply for your child’s U.S. citizenship, you’ll need to report their birth in person at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate – by filing a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA). While you can file this anytime before your child’s 18th birthday, it’s advised that you do this as early as possible.

When you submit the CRBA, it is also suggested that you apply for your child’s U.S. passport and Social Security Number at the same time. When your child travels to the U.S., they will need to enter on a U.S. passport.

What documents do you need?

Each country has their own process requirements for applying for a CRBA, so you should check the U.S. embassy or consulate website for the country where your child was born to get all of the details. Go to the U.S. Citizen Services section to find relevant information.

In most cases, in addition to your applications for a CRBA, U.S. passport and Social Security number, you will also need to bring the following documents with you to your appointment:

  • Your child’s birth certificate
  • Your child’s foreign passport
  • Passport-standard photo of your child
  • Any marriage, divorce or death certificates for either parent
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship by one or both parents
  • Proof of physical presence in the U.S. for any U.S. citizen parent
  • Passport or other government-issued photo ID of both parents – regardless of citizenship
  • Application fees

As an American, you have the right to pass on U.S. citizenship to your child. However, if your child is born abroad, the process is more complex and time consuming. It’s a good idea to consult with an immigration attorney to avoid any mistakes.

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