If you are a U.S. citizen and the biological parent of a child born outside of the United States, you should document your child’s U.S. citizenship with a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA).
There are different requirements for the transmission of citizenship to a child based on the year the child was born, the marital status of the parents, and whether the father, mother or both parents are U.S. citizens. The U.S. citizen parent must have been a U.S. citizen when the child was born. U.S. citizen parent(s) will be required to demonstrate physical presence in the United States prior to the birth of the child. View transmission requirements at the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs website.
Step 1: Complete CRBA application form DS-2029.
Do not leave any items blank. For any question that does not apply, mark “N/A” (not applicable).
Name of child:
Some parents prefer the name appear on U.S. documents using the naming convention of only the paternal last name. For instance, the child’s name on Mexican documents is listed as Mary Jane REED SMITH, but U.S. documents may only show Mary Jane REED (without the second/maternal last name of SMITH). If you would like your child’s name on the U.S. documents to be different from your child’s name in Mexico, please complete form DS-60 Affidavit Regarding a Change of Name. Please note that only reasonable name change requests will be considered.
Step 2: Complete passport application form DS-11. Do not leave any items blank. For any question that does not apply, mark “N/A” (not applicable). Click to view a sample completed DS-11 (PDF 656kb). We encourage you to apply for a CRBA and passport at the same time. Because all fees are non-refundable, we recommend that you initially pay only for the CRBA application at our office cashier. Once approved, you will have the option of returning to the cashier to pay for the passport application. Click for minor passport application information.
Step 3: Gather documents, make photocopies. On the day of your appointment, you must present an original and one photocopy of all pages for each of the following:
- Child’s original Mexican birth certificate issued by the civil registry. You should request the “book true copy” (“copia fiel del libro”) version. We do not accept short-form/extract versions (“extractos”) nor “interesado” copies. To see an acceptable sample, click here (PDF – 378kb).
- Copy of the Mexican Secretary of Health birth certificate (often called hospital birth certificate, “certificado de alumbramiento,” or “nacido vivo”). This document is given to the mother in the hospital soon after the child’s birth, and contains the baby’s footprint and mother’s fingerprint. To see a sample, click here (PDF – 303kb). If you handed the original document into the Mexican civil registry without keeping a copy, you may request a true copy from the civil registry’s files.
- Proof of citizenship for the U.S. citizen parent(s), such as an original U.S. birth certificate, passport, CRBA, naturalization certificate, or certificate of citizenship.
- Proof of identity for each parent, such as valid original passport, government-issued driver license, state ID, or voter registration card (PDF – 62kb).
- If the child is already of school age, proof of identity such as his/her Mexican school certificate(s) (PDF – 126kb).
- Pregnancy and birth records: dated ultrasounds (PDF – 136kb) containing name of mother, laboratory test results, doctor/ultrasound/hospital receipts, pictures of the mother pregnant, pictures of mother and baby immediately following the birth and during the hospital stay. Baby and mother’s hospital identification bracelets, crib card, discharge orders, paid hospital bill.
- Marriage/Divorce Certificate(s): If parents are married, provide an original or certified copy of the marriage certificate and any prior divorce decrees.
- Proof of relationship between parents: For example, time-stamped photos of the couple together before, during, and after the pregnancy, photos of the U.S. citizen parent with the newborn baby, Western Union money transfer receipts, birthday cards, email printouts, lease agreements, bank statements, home utility bills, or IRS tax declaration documents showing shared address, etc. Proof the couple was together at time of conception, i.e. passport with entry and exit stamps, Mexican or U.S. temporary or legal residency documents, etc.
- Proof of physical presence in the United States: Documents showing when the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the United States, regardless of immigration status. Valid time includes when undocumented, as a Legal Permanent Resident, or U.S. citizen. All physical presence must have occurred prior to the birth of the child. Examples of documents to bring include vaccination records, baptismal certificate, military discharge papers, elementary and middle school report cards, high school and college transcripts and diplomas, W2s (from employment held while in the United States), Social Security statement (PDF – 452kb), etc. More information about minimum physical presence requirements may be found here (PDF – 100kb).
- If the child was conceived via assisted reproductive technology (ART) or via a surrogate, please click here and here for additional important information. You must present all documents related to the contracted ART/surrogacy service, and the child’s conception and birth.
- Prepare application fee of $100 USD. If you also wish to apply for a passport, the fee is $105 USD ($205 USD total). We accept U.S. dollars, Mexican pesos, or major credit cards. You will pay at the Embassy on the day of appointment. The fees are non-refundable.
- Documents in addition to those listed herein may be requested following interview with a consular officer.
Step 4: Make an appointment: Click here to schedule an appointment with the embassy, a consulate, or a consular agency. Click here to find your nearest consulate. Please note that many U.S. Consular Agencies do NOT accept CRBA applications. Review the list of permitted and prohibited items before coming to the embassy or consulate.
Click here for a printable CRBA checklist (PDF – 262kb).
Step 5: Appear at the Embassy for appointment: Both parents and the child must personally appear. First, you will pass through airport-style security screening. Next, you will present your documents at a reception window. Then, you will pay the CRBA application fee at the cashier window. Finally, you will interview with an American consular officer.
Proof of Pregnancy — Please bring original documents and photocopies of prenatal records and/or other evidence of mother’s pregnancy. These are helpful in establishing the existence of the pregnancy as well as the biological relationship of the child to the mother, regardless of her citizenship. NOTE: For Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), please click here.
Tips for your appointment:
- Proving maternity/paternity and physical presence to transmit citizenship to a child is the responsibility of the parent(s), not the Embassy.
- Never assume that, because you successfully applied for another child’s U.S. citizenship, you do not need to bring any evidence to interviews for subsequent children. You must bring all supporting documents with you for each application.
- In some cases, consular officers may request DNA evidence to prove the biological relationship. If DNA evidence is requested, you will be given written instructions. You must follow Embassy procedures, including DNA sample collection is witnessed by an American Embassy staff member and use of an AABB accredited laboratory.
- You must bring hard-copy printouts of all documents, photos, ultrasounds, etc. No digital media will be accepted. We are not able to access the internet on your behalf to view evidence and documents associated with your application, and are prohibited from inserting USBs, DVDs, etc. into our computer terminals.
If approved, and where applicable, you will pay an additional document delivery fee at a nearby DHL office. You will receive the CRBA and passport at an address you choose, or at a DHL location, approximately two to three weeks after your interview date.
We strongly recommend you apply for the child’s Social Security number once you receive the CRBA and U.S. passport. You must complete the SS-5 application form (PDF – 239kb) and check www.ssa.gov for application procedures. If you apply at the Embassy in Mexico City, we will submit the completed SS-5 application to the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) after we receive the child’s passport. In this way, you avoid an extra trip to the Embassy. More information on FBU hours, contact information, procedures, and to ask questions about an SS-5 application we submitted on your behalf, visit here.
More Information: Click here to watch an instructional video on applying for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad. While this video was prepared by U.S. Consulate General Guadalajara, it reflects general application procedures throughout our offices in Mexico. The video is currently in Spanish only. Click here for a video, in Spanish, about the importance of documenting your child with a U.S. passport. You may also visit the Department of State’s website here. (PDF 132 KB)
Options for Parent Not Able to Transmit U.S. Citizenship to Child
A consular officer will inform you, verbally and in writing, of the decision regarding your child’s application. If a parent has not accrued sufficient physical presence in the U.S. to transmit his/her U.S. citizenship to the child, the child will be denied a Consular Report of Birth Abroad. Options to still obtain U.S. citizenship for the child then include:
- The U.S. citizen parent may file an immigrant visa petition for the child (IR2, biological child of a U.S. citizen). If the child is approved an immigrant visa and enters the U.S. on this visa before turning 18 years old, he/she will automatically become a U.S. citizen (under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000). For more information please visit the U.S Mexico website and the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
- Under certain circumstances U.S. citizen grandparents of the child may add their time in the United States to the time of the U.S. citizen biological parent so the child may naturalize. This is under Section 322 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act and is adjudicated by a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office in the United States. For more information on this procedure please visit the USCIS website and the N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: All passport and CRBA applicants, including adult or minor passport renewals and replacement of emergency passports, require an appointment. If you were given 90 days to provide additional evidence, whether for a CRBA or passport application, you need to make an appointment here to return and submit the additional documentation.