Eligibility for a CRBA

In order for a child/applicant to be documented as a U.S. citizen, all three of the essential requirements must be fulfilled.

REQUIREMENTS FOR TRANSMISSION OF US CITIZENSHIP AT BIRTH

In order to transmit U.S. citizenship to a child, the U.S. citizen parent(s) must have been a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth and must have accrued sufficient physical presence in the U.S. to transmit citizenship.  The physical presence requirements depend on the child’s date of birth and the marital status of the parents at the time of the child’s birth.

For your child to benefit from US citizenship at the time of birth, US nationality law requires that certain conditions must be met.  The conditions have been modified by legislation over time, but none of the modifications were made retroactive, hence the variations defined here.  Below are the circumstances governing most instances.

Child born to two U.S. citizen parents who are married at the time of birth: A child born outside of the United States or its outlying possessions to two U.S. citizen parents is entitled to citizenship, provided that one of the parents, prior to the birth of the child, had been resident in the United States (the law does not specify a specific length of residence time.)

Child born out of wedlock to a U.S. Citizen mother on or before June 11, 2017:  A child born outside of the United States and out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother may be entitled to U.S. citizenship providing the U.S. Citizen mother had been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of at least one year (365 days) at some time prior to the birth of the child.  NOTE: Periods spent overseas with the U.S. government/military or as a government/military dependent, are NOT considered as physical presence in the U.S. for transmission under this category.

Child born out of wedlock to a U.S. Citizen mother on or after June 12, 2017:  A child born outside of the United States and out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother may be entitled to U.S. citizenship providing the U.S. Citizen mother had been physically present in the United States for at least 5 years, 2 after the age of 14 at some time prior to the birth of the child.  NOTE: Periods spent overseas with the U.S. government/military or as a government/military dependent, are NOT considered as physical presence in the U.S. for transmission under this category.

Child born in wedlock to one U.S. citizen parent and one non U.S. citizen parent on or after November 14, 1986:  A child born outside of the United States to one U.S. citizen parent and one non-U.S. citizen parent may be entitled to citizenship provided the U.S. citizen parent, prior to the birth of the child, had been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for five years, at least two years of which were after s/he reached the age of fourteen.

Child born in wedlock to one U.S. citizen parent and one non-U.S. Citizen parent on December 24, 1952 until November 13, 1986:  A child born outside of the United States to one U.S. Citizen parent and one non-U.S. Citizen parent, may be entitled to citizenship provided the U.S. Citizen parent, prior to the birth of the child, had been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a period of ten years, at least five years of which were after s/he reached the age of fourteen.

Child born in wedlock to one U.S. citizen parent and one non-U.S. Citizen parent on July 4, 1946 until December 23, 1952:  A child born outside of the United States to one U.S. Citizen parent and one non-U.S. Citizen parent, may be entitled to citizenship provided the U.S. Citizen parent, prior to the birth of the child, had been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a period of ten years, at least five years of which were after s/he reached the age of sixteen.

Child born in wedlock to one U.S. citizen parent and one non-U.S. Citizen parent  on January 13, 1941 until July 3, 1946:  A child born outside of the United States to one U.S. Citizen parent and one non-U.S. Citizen parent, may be entitled to citizenship provided the U.S. Citizen parent, prior to the birth of the child, had been physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions, any time before the applicant’s birth.

Child born in wedlock to one U.S. citizen parent and one non-U.S. Citizen parent before January 13, 1941: A child born outside of the United States to one U.S. Citizen parent and one non-U.S. Citizen parent, may be entitled to citizenship provided the U.S. Citizen parent had, prior to the birth of the child, been physically present in the United States any time before the applicant’s birth.

Child born out of wedlock to a U.S. Citizen father: A child born outside of the United States to a U.S. Citizen father where there is no marriage to the non-American mother is entitled to U.S. Citizenship provided the American citizen father had been physically present in the United States for the period of time as specified in previous paragraphs for children born in wedlock to one U.S. Citizen and one non-U.S. Citizen parent, either before or after November 14, 1986

Persons born to a U.S. citizen mother and non-U.S. citizen father automatically are considered legitimated.

Persons born in wedlock to a U.S. citizen father and non-U.S. citizen mother are legitimated by virtue of the marriage of the parents.  Evidence of the marriage should be submitted.

Persons born out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen father and non-U.S. citizen mother and not legitimated by the natural parents’ subsequent marriage can be legitimated under the Immigration and Nationality Act by one of two methods indicated below.

Method 1:  The person can be legitimated if:

  •  While the person is under the age of 18 years old, the father acknowledged paternity of the person in writing under oath or the paternity of the person was established by adjudication of a competent court,  and
  •  Before the applicant reached the age of 18, the father (unless deceased before the applicant’s 18th birthday) agreed in writing and under oath to provide financial support for the applicant until the applicant reaches the age of 18 years old.

 Method 2:  The U.S. citizen father must demonstrate that he:

  •  had legal residence in any of the States in the U.S. (after his child’s birth and before the age by which legitimation must occur),  and
  •  has met that state’s legal requirements to legitimate the child, then the laws of that state may legitimate the applicant.

Note: Legitimation requirements vary depending on the State legitimation law.  The Applicant must submit proof of the particular state’s law, and evidence of the legitimating act based on State requirement.  The legal evidence of residence may include driver’s license, voter registration card, rental/mortgage/bank receipts, military records, old letters (with U.S. return address), etc.

Persons born out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen father and non-U.S. citizen mother should use the table to determine which Legitimation Method applies to his/her case:

Date of Birth of the Person Applying for U.S. citizenship
Applicable Method
Age by Which Legitimation Must Occur

On or before 11/14/68
Method 2
21

On or after 11/15/68 and before 11/14/86
Method 2
(turned 18 y.o.  before 11/14/1986)
21
Method 1
(turned 18 y.o. after 11/14/1986)
18

On or after 11/14/86
Method 1
18

A biological relationship with the child/applicant and the claimed U.S. citizen parent must be established.  The burden of proving the blood relationship is on the person making the claim to U.S. citizenship.  When no substantive form of credible evidence is available in conjunction with a CRBA application, a parent may find genetic testing to be a useful tool for confirming a stated biological relationship.

Note: Do not initiate a DNA test unless it is recommended by the Embassy for your pending CRBA application.  A DNA test that is done independently will not be accepted to support a CRBA or Passport application.  For more information, read the DNA Procedures.  Click here for the English version. (PDF 114 KB)  Click here for the Filipino version. (PDF 104 KB)