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FS-240: What You Need to Know
How can a U.S. citizen obtain citizenship for a child born outside of America? If your child is less than 18 years of age, you can file Form FS-240 to obtain U.S. citizenship for them. We’ll learn more about it in this article.
What Is Form FS-240?
Form FS-240, or the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA), is a document that proves the U.S. citizenship of a child born outside of the U.S. to a citizen or resident of the U.S.
This document helps in providing citizenship to a child and in registering the child abroad. Even if the child does not have a U.S.-registered birth certificate, this document offers similar privileges and rights to the child, the same as a newborn in the U.S. These privileges would include:
- Getting a passport from the U.S. government and the right to other forms of ID
- Getting a Social Security number and other government benefits
- To be treated as a rightful resident of the U.S.
- Getting the right to work/employment in any of the states of the U.S.
Until 2011, instead of form FS-240, the forms used to provide U.S. citizenship to children born abroad included forms FS-545 and DS-1350. State governments issued these forms to those parents who have U.S. citizenship but have a child born in a foreign country.
It should also be noted that the child should be under 18 years of age at the time of application to be eligible.
How to Submit Form FS-240
Here are the steps involved in filling out and submitting form FS-240:
Gather Relevant Evidence
Before you fill out the application, make sure you have some of these essential documents:
- The child’s foreign birth certificate
- Two photographs of the child measuring 2 x 2 inches
- Document proving the U.S. citizenship of the parent(s), such as a U.S. passport, green card, birth certificate, IDs, etc.
- Document providing the physical presence of the parent(s), such as educational records, vaccination records, Social Security numbers, etc.
- Proof of identity of the parent(s) through valid ID cards
- Documents showing pregnancy and birth record
- Documents proving the link between the parents, such as a marriage certificate, affidavit proving rightful custody of the child in the case of the divorce, etc.
Visit Nearby U.S. Embassy or Consulate
Next, if you are a U.S. citizen or a resident non-citizen and have recently given birth to a child abroad, it is important to get a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA or form FS-240) to officially record a child’s birth and obtain U.S. citizenship for them. First, find the nearest U.S. embassy in the country the child is born.
Visit the U.S. embassy and ask about their process for obtaining a CRBA. The rules and guidelines can vary from embassy to embassy. You can also visit their website for more detailed information. Then, fill out the application as instructed.
Once your application is approved, you also choose to apply for a U.S. passport for the child at the same time.
One original copy of the CBRA will be sent by the U.S. embassy to your home. You have the option to replace, request multiple copies, and even amend the CBRA at any time.
How to Replace or Amend Form FS-240
Only eligible applicants are allowed to replace or amend their FS-240. Replacing form FS-240 means getting it replaced with a new one after being required to make amendments to it. The individuals eligible for replacing a form FS-240 include:
- Those listed on the birth record document, if you are 18 years or older
- Parents/legal guardian of the child (if the child is under 18 years of age)
- Any other person after obtaining written authorization from an individual listed on the birth record
- Authorized government agency
If you are one of the eligible individuals listed above, here are the steps to follow to get a replacement form FS-240:
Submit a Notarized Written Request
A notarized written request should contain important details and information like:
- Full name of the individual/child at birth
- Any other adoptive names of the child/individual
- Individual’s/child’s place and date of birth
- Passport information like date of passport issue, passport number, date of expiration, etc.
- Full names of legal guardian/parents
- Serial number of the previous FS-240
- Signature of person requesting the replacement
- Guardianship court order (if the caretaker is a legal guardian)
- More information about the requesting person, such as email address, contact number, mailing address
Requester’s Valid Photo ID Copy
The person requesting the replacement of form FS-240 has to submit a valid photo ID, which can be:
- Driver’s license
- Military ID
- A non-driver photo ID
- Veteran ID
Other forms of secondary ID can also be used in the absence of these IDs.
Finally, the replacement of form FS-240 requires a payment of $50 by check or money order sent to the U.S. Department of State. Replacement copies cost $50 each. One can also request multiple copies of a CBRA.
The request should be mailed to:
U.S. Department of State
Passport Vital Records Section
44132 Mercure Cir.
PO Box 1213
Sterling, VA 20166-1213
The time period within which the U.S. Department of State sends the replacement CBRA is typically four to eight weeks.
Obtaining Proof of U.S. Citizenship When Over 18
How do you obtain U.S. citizenship if you are a child born abroad and are over 18 years of age? Since you are over 18 years old, you are not eligible to apply for form FS-240. However, you can still get U.S. citizenship by applying for a Certificate of Citizenship using form N-600.
Also, individuals born in certain territories of the U.S., like the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, Swains Island, American Samoa, the Panama Canal Zone (born before Oct 1, 1979), the Philippines (born before July 4, 1946), The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (born after Jan 8, 1978), are already considered U.S. citizens and are not eligible for a CBRA.
Such individuals only need to provide certain evidence, like a birth certificate, to prove their case. In certain states, showing the application for naturalization is enough.
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It is the duty of the parents of a child born abroad to U.S. citizens to apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) or to apply for a U.S. passport of a child as soon as possible, at least before the child turns 18.
Any delay in documenting a child for U.S. citizenship at birth can later prove to be an issue when establishing U.S. citizenship, enjoying the rights and benefits of any U.S. citizen, entry into the U.S. from abroad, and leaving the U.S.