Integrity Legal

10th March 2010

Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA) are similar to birth certificates in that they note that a child was born, but they differ in their reason for issuance. A Consular Report of Birth Abroad also notes that a child was born an American Citizen. There are two ways that a child can be born an American Citizen. One way is by birth in the United States. Although, the American Immigration and Nationality Act defines “United States” (for purposes of US Immigration) as all of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico birth in the non-US states or the District of Columbia may or may not cause the transmission of automatic Citizenship depending upon the situation. That being said, birth in the 50 US states definitely confers automatic Citizenship. However, there is another method of transmission of United States Citizenship and that is by blood. A United States Citizen may transmit their citizenship to their child outside of the US if  at least one of the child’s parent’s meets the legal requirements for Citizenship transmission. This can become complicated as automatic citizenship transmission can be dependent upon many factors.

In order to obtain a Consular Report of Birth Abroad an applicant usually makes an appointment with the American Citizen Services Section of the appropriate US Embassy or US Consulate. In Thailand, the CRBA interview would likely take place at either the US Embassy in Bangkok or the US Consulate General in Chiang Mai.

What concerns us in this post is the prospect of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad Denial. If, by law, an American Citizen cannot transmit their Citizenship to their child automatically because the US Citizen parent did not spend enough time physically present in the US at the time of the child’s birth, then a Consular Report of Birth Abroad may not be issued and the child may not be entitled to a US passport. It should be noted that in some cases a parent cannot prove up their actual presence in the United States, but later procures proof. In this case, it may be possible to re-apply for the CRBA and, assuming the new evidence is acceptable to the Consular Officer, thereby legally prove transmission of Citizenship. However, there are some cases where the transmission of Citizenship either cannot be proven or did not, in fact, occur. In situations such as these, Americans are basically left with one option: they may petition for an Immigrant visa for their child. An American Citizen may petition for Immigrant visa benefits for their child and upon approval of a visa application and petition, the child may enter the United States with their US Citizen parent. Under the provisions of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 if the child enters with their US Citizen parent in order to take up residence, then the “foreign” child becomes a US Citizen by operation of law upon lawful admission.

In this situation, the child may then obtain a Certificate of Citizenship (similar to a Naturalization Certificate) in order to prove their status.

For related information please see: US Visa Denial or CR1 Visa.


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