If you are a US citizen and you have a child that was born abroad you should know that the child has every right as a US citizen to hold a passport, just like every other child born in the US. The US passport for a child born abroad is easy to obtain if you meet the requirements laid out by the authorities.
According to US law, any child born by an American citizen at home or abroad is eligible for citizenship; it doesn’t matter if both parents or only one of the parent is an American. The fact that the parent is a citizen confers citizenship right to the child as well.
However, to travel, the child has to have a US passport; to obtain one, the parent has to meet certain requirements on their behalf.
Consular Report of Birth Abroad
Before you apply for a US passport for your child born abroad you need to obtain a document called a Consular Report of Birth Abroad as stipulated in the Nationality Act. This application must be submitted before the child clocks 18, but the sooner you apply, the better.
This document is not a travel document but a document of identification that allows the child to apply for other documents, including a US passport. As the parent, you must submit all the documents required to obtain the child’s Social Security Number and passport. This is also the case if the child holds citizenship of another nation. Once the child has the CRBA, you can then proceed to apply for a passport for them.
General passport Requirements
The passport requirements for children born abroad are the same for children born in the US; the difference is that the authorities may demand a CRBA report of birth aborad. Here are the documents required.
Citizenship: You must provide evidence of U.S citizen for you and the child. The CRBA for the child and your passport, birth certificate, or naturalization certificate. These documents are used to prove that you and your child are US citizens.
Relationship: Evidence that you and your child are blood relatives. This may be a birth certificate, CRBA, a Court order granting you legal custody, or a valid government-issued ID card.
Two-Parent Consent: The law requires both parents listed on the child’s birth certificate to authorize the passport issuance. If one parent is unavailable, they must sign a notarized consent form granting authorization for the passport to be issued. In the case of the death of a parent, the surviving parent must provide a death Certificate of proof that the child’s other parent is no more.
The consulate may request that you provide additional documents to support the passport application for your child if you are an adoptive parent or the child was born out of wedlock, but these are the major documents that will be demanded.
How To Apply For a Child’s Passport Abroad?
You will have to visit the nearest US consulate in your host country or region to apply for a passport for your child. Note that applications cannot be done by proxy, meaning the child has to be physically present during the entire process. The consulate officer handling the process will demand secondary documents like hospital records, birth certificates, verification records, hospital bills, and other documents for the child.
Most US embassies don’t allow for walk-ins, so you must book an appointment. On the set day, present yourself and the child for verification alongside the required documents.
US Passport Processing For Children
Note that the US passport processing time for children born abroad may take up to two months or more.
So endeavor to apply for the passport as quickly as possible if you plan to travel with your child in the nearest future. In case of an emergency, you may apply for expedited service.
Expedited passport services are available for those who need to make an emergency trip. There are two types of services under expedited passport services.
The first is for those with life-or-death situations. If you and your child need to travel for such an emergency, you can get the passport within a few days, but you must prove to the embassy officials why the trip must be done soon.
The second option is for urgent travel in the next 28 days.
Under both conditions, the applicant has to prove why they must make the trip so soon. For urgent travel, the passport will be released within 2 weeks. The service fee for an expedited service for a US passport for a child born abroad is $60. Note that this fee is different from the normal passport application fee for passport booklets or passport cards for child birth abroad. The application fee for booklets is $130, while the fee for cards is $30.