Whether you are just traveling for fun or working abroad, when you or your partner is pregnant and a United States Citizen, the possibility exists that your baby will be born abroad. If you end up in this situation, prompt filing of paperwork is essential to avoid any long term issues with the baby’s citizenship.
While the well-being of the mother and the baby is obviously the most important thing, once they are out of the hospital, the parents should visit the nearest United States embassy to apply for a CRBA (Consular Report of a Birth Abroad). Parents are free to apply for a United States passport for their child at the same time as the CRBA.
After reviewing the parents’ identification, the embassy will issue a CRBA (also called a Form FS-240) to the child. In most cases, this process is very straightforward and takes at most a few days.
The CRBA is analogous to a United States birth certificate, and fulfills the same purpose when applying for a passport, registering to attend school, and for any other common uses.
If you are a U.S. Citizen in a foreign country for a short period of time and end up having your baby, you will effectively be forced to get documentation for your child in order to return with them to the United States. Usually, where people get in trouble with this is when they are spending long periods of time in a foreign country and do not have this need to register the child right away. If enough time goes by, it can become quite difficult to prove that the child is yours and should be a United States citizen, so if you find yourself in this situation, you should apply for the CRBA as soon as possible after the birth of the child.