What is a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) and which children born outside the United States acquire U.S. citizenship at birth?
The Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) is a light blue certificate which usually serves in lieu of a local birth certificate and is considered a basic U.S. citizenship document. U.S. citizen parents should file for a CRBA as soon as possible after their child’s birth. When filing for a CRBA for your child, you may also apply for his or her first U.S. passport and Social Security number at the same time. CRBAs cannot be issued for persons 18 years of age or older.
Children born outside the U.S. or its outlying possessions acquire U.S. citizenship at birth in the cases listed below. In ALL cases the U.S. citizen parent must have acquired his/her U.S. citizenship before his or her child’s birth.
A child with two U.S. citizen parents
- If a child’s parents are both U.S. citizens and at least one parent can show evidence that he or she resided in the United States or in one of its outlying possessions for any amount of time prior to the child’s birth.
A child with one U.S. citizen parent
- If a child was born in wedlock, the child acquires citizenship at birth if the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the U.S. prior to the child’s birth for a period of five years, at least two of which were after the parent turned 14.
- If a child was born to an unmarried U.S. citizen parent (out of wedlock), under certain circumstances described below, he or she may have acquired U.S. citizenship at birth.
- If the unmarried U.S. citizen parent is the mother, and she was physically present in the U.S. for at least one year prior to the child’s birth, the child acquired U.S. citizenship at birth.
- If the unmarried U.S. citizen parent is the father, the child acquires citizenship at birth if the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the U.S. prior to the child’s birth for a period of five years, at least two of which were after the parent turned 14. Additionally, the father must prove his biological relationship with the child. In cases where the evidence does not conclusively establish that an applicant is the biological child of the putative parent(s), the consular officer may recommend DNA testing of the U.S. citizen parent and applying child before the case can be processed to conclusion. The cost of the test is borne by the applicant. The submission to DNA testing does not guarantee the subsequent issuance of a U.S. passport; but in some cases, the results may rather preclude issuance. The Consular Section observes strict confidence in all CRBA cases. Click here for Information on DNA test procedures for Panama. (PDF 60 KB)
- The father (unless deceased) has agreed in writing to provide financial support for the person until the person reaches the age of 18 years.
For children born prior to November 14, 1986: If a child was born in wedlock, the child acquires citizenship at birth if the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the U.S. prior to the child’s birth for a period of ten years, at least five of which were after the parent turned 14. For children born to an unmarried U.S. citizen parent, other conditions may apply.
For Panama Only
- If a child was born in the former Panama Canal Zone between February 26, 1904 and October 1, 1979, and either parent at the time of the child’s birth was a citizen of the United States, the child acquired U.S. citizenship at birth.
- If a child was born in the Republic of Panama on or after February 26, 1904 and either parent at the time of the child’s birth was a citizen of the United States employed by the Government of the United States on official orders. (Please see “Evidence of U.S. Government Employment” below for instructions on how to provide evidence of government service.)
Adopted or step-children
The CRBA process officially documents the birth of individuals who acquire citizenship at birth through one of the means described above. American citizens should not apply for a CRBA for anyone who is not their biological child. In cases where the evidence does not conclusively establish that an applicant is the biological child of the putative parent(s), the consular officer may recommend DNA testing of the U.S. citizen parent and applying child before the case can be processed to conclusion. The cost of the test is borne by the applicant. The submission to DNA testing does not guarantee the subsequent issuance of a U.S. passport; but in some cases, the results may rather preclude issuance. The Consular Section observes strict confidence in all CRBA cases. Click here for Information on DNA test procedures for Panama. (PDF 60 KB)
American citizens who legally adopt children abroad and intend to take them to the U.S. to live must apply for an immigrant visa. This requirement also applies for stepchildren adopted as part of a marriage to a foreign national. Click here for more information on how to apply for an immigrant visa.
How to request an appointment
Applications for CRBA and the child’s first passport are by appointment only to ensure that parents are prepared for the interview and have all the necessary documents. Click here to schedule one appointment per child online. Please do not schedule an appointment until you have completed the required forms. If you have trouble scheduling an appointment online or downloading necessary forms, please e-mail us at Panama-ACS@state.gov. Please note that one appointment is required per child/applicant.
Who should come to the appointment?
Children age 15 years or below being registered as U.S. citizens or soliciting a passport must come to the American Citizen Services unit with both parents. In extreme circumstances, when one parent cannot be present, he or she will have to complete a Statement of Consent or Special Circumstances (DS-3053) and get it notarized.
What forms do I need to bring to the interview?
Please bring the original documents listed below, which can be downloaded at the links provided. Documents in English and Spanish will be accepted, but original documents in other languages must be translated into English. E-mail us at Panama-ACS@state.gov if you have trouble downloading the forms or have other questions about the forms.
- Completed Application for Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America (Form DS-2029) (PDF – 104KB)
- Child’s Panamanian Birth Certificate – The COPIA INTEGRA of the child’s birth certificate is required to apply for a CRBA. (The copia integra birth certificate is a “complete” document, printed on legal size paper, with revenue stamps. The copia integra can be obtained at the Panamanian Civil Registry on Avenida Peru. The yellow common birth certificate, printed on half a page, is not acceptable as proof of birth.)
- Original evidence of U.S. Citizenship of one or both parents – Proof of U.S. citizenship may be a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, CRBA, Certificate of Citizenship or a Naturalization Certificate. (Military identification is NOT proof of U.S. citizenship.)
- Parents’ Marriage Certificate – Original or certified copy of parents’ marriage certificate if they are married.
- Evidence of Dissolution of Previous Marriages – If either parent has been previously married, submit original divorce decrees or death certificates of prior spouse(s).
- Proof of U.S. Physical Presence in the U.S. prior to child’s birth – U.S. citizen parents must document their physical presence in the U.S. Evidence of physical presence in the U.S. may consist of passport stamps, official school or university transcripts, employment and/or military service records, proof of U.S. Government service abroad, or evidence of time spent abroad as an unmarried dependent son or daughter living in the same household of a U.S. Government employee serving abroad.
- Completed U.S. Passport Application (Form DS-11) (click “Print a blank form DS-11”
- One Photo of the child (size 2”x2” with a white background)
- For information on how to apply for the Social Security Card, please visit Federal Benefits Unit. You will use this form, Application for a Social Security Number (Form SS-5) (PDF – 237 KB), to apply for a Social Security Card directly to the Federal Benefits Unit once your receive the Consular Report of Birth Abroad and U.S. passport.
Evidence of U.S. Government Employment – When applicable, the U.S. citizen parent should present evidence of U.S. Government employment at the time of the child’s birth. Evidence of U.S. Government employment might include military records, civilian or military orders, earnings and leave statements, W-2 income tax records or personnel actions (SF-50 forms). Click here for information on obtaining records from the former Panama Canal Zone.
The Consular officer may request additional evidence for the completion of your case. If this is the case, you will be given 90 days to comply with the additional requirements.
Fees for CRBA and first passport
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad: $100
- Passport application for minor (valid for 5 years): $115
- Passport application for minor, older than 16 years (valid for 10 years): $145
- Payable at the consular section cashier’s window in cash or by credit card (Mastercard, Visa, Diner’s Club, Discovery, American Express)
How long does it take?
Issuance of the CRBA and first U.S. passport takes between five and six weeks. All photo-digitized passports are produced at the National Passport Center in the U.S.
When your child’s documents are ready to be picked up, you will receive an e-mail from Panama-ACS@state.gov with instructions on how to pick them up. You may send another person to pick up the documents with a signed letter of consent, your child’s Panamanian birth certificate, a copy of your identification, and the cashier’s receipt.
Permission to Travel out of Panama for Minors
As of August 26, 2008, Panamanian Immigration Authorities require parental consent (in Spanish) and other documentation for minors traveling outside Panama with only one parent. This requirement applies to minors who are nationals or residents of Panama, not foreigners. Minors holding dual citizenship (Panamanian-U.S. citizens) are considered nationals for the purpose of this requirement. Even if the minor is only documented as an American citizen, the Panamanian government may prevent his/her departure if it suspects that the child may have a claim to Panamanian citizenship.
Additional copies of CRBA records
You will receive the original copy of your child’s CRBA. Completed CRBA records are permanently on file at the Department of State. Additional copies of a child’s CRBA may be obtained for a fee of $50.00 from:
Department of State
Passport Vital Records Section
44132 Mercure Cir.
PO Box 1213
Sterling, VA 20166-1213
To check the status of your FS-240 request, call 202-485-8300
Please access the following link for more information