Applying for Citizenship

A Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA)

A Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) is an official record of U.S. citizenship issued to a person under age 18 who was born abroad to United States citizen parent(s) and acquired citizenship at birth. School districts, the Social Security Administration, and other local, state, and federal entities in the United States accept a CRBA as they would any birth certificate issued by local or state authority in the United States.  A DS-11 passport application may be used by anyone who claims U.S. citizenship by birth yet is over the age of 18 at the time of application.

Only the child’s biological parent or legal guardian, preferably the U.S. citizen parent, can apply for a CRBA by submitting an oathed DS-2029 application.  Either parent, including a non-U.S. citizen parent, may execute and sign this application.  However, the application process is generally much quicker and easier if the U.S. citizen parent, with knowledge of spoken and written English and the facts of his/her physical presence in the United States, appears on behalf of the child.  If the DS-2029 must be signed and executed by a legal guardian, a special power of attorney from the parent(s) or guardianship affidavit must be submitted.  Only in emergency cases will a parent’s presence be waived.  The DS-2029 application must be filed before the child’s 18th birthday, and the child must personally appear before a consular officer.

When applying for their child’s CRBA, parents will generally be encouraged to apply for a U.S. passport at the same time to ensure the accuracy and efficiency of consular services. If you are applying for a passport for a child under the age of 16, then federal law requires that both parents appear before a consular officer or passport agent in order to execute the passport application (DS-11 application for U.S. passport).  If this is not possible due to finances, incapacitation, or incarceration, the missing parent must then submit a DS-3053 statement of the consent notarized by a public notary or passport center in the United States or a U.S. consular officer abroad.

The child must always be present for both the CRBA and passport applications. All applicants without a fully and accurately completed DS-2029 and DS-11 and their child present will be turned away and will need to reschedule an appointment for a later date. Consular staff at the U.S. Embassy in Lomé are not authorized to provide legal advice or help in completing any of the required forms.  If you have a question concerning how to complete this paperwork, then you should seek the assistance of an attorney who specializes in immigration and nationality law or a public notary in the United States.  Additional information is available on the Department of State’s Consular Affairs’ website.

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