Additional information about my article: US Citizenship for Children Born Overseas.
Here’s an update of a notice I received for the US Embassy, Manila. I’m reposting it particularly because it includes more info on the subject of US Citizenship for Children Born Overseas and particularly on the advantages of being prompt in taking care of the paperwork which insures your children’s birthright. Read the comments.
I just received this notice from the US Embassy Manila, and I always put them out on the Net, as requested, in order to help get the information out to US citizens and their relatives living abroad. I might as well take advantage of this time and web space to talk a little about overseas citizenship and children born overseas, living as a US citizen overseas and general items of interest regarding being a “US expat”.
By necessity, this info almost always refers strictly to US citizens, so my esteemed and valued readers from other countries may leave now and start planning how to better enjoy their Christmas holiday … because I won’t be back before 25 December so far as I can imagine. Happy Holidays to all and the best wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous 2011.
First the official stuff.
U.S. Embassy Manila
December 22, 2010
THE EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES IS TRANSMITTING THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION THROUGH THE EMBASSY WARDEN SYSTEM AS A PUBLIC SERVICE TO AMERICAN CITIZENS IN THE PHILIPPINES. PLEASE DISSEMINATE THIS MESSAGE TO ALL U.S. CITIZENS IN YOUR ORGANIZATION OR NEIGHBORHOOD. THANK YOU.
The Department of State is pleased to announce the introduction of a redesigned Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA, or Form FS-240). The redesigned CRBA, which is an official record confirming that a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents acquired U.S. citizenship at birth and serves as proof of citizenship, has been updated with a variety of state-of-the-art security features to help prevent fraud and identity theft.
Beginning January 18, 2011, overseas posts will still document the citizenship of children born overseas to U.S.-citizen parents, but the CRBAs will be printed at our passport agencies in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and New Orleans, Louisiana, using the information provided by overseas posts. By centralizing production and eliminating the distribution of controlled blank stock throughout the world, we will help ensure uniform quality and lessen the possibility of fraud. Additionally, the Department will no longer issue the DS-1350 Certification of Report of Birth Abroad. Instead, the Department will simply provide new FS-240s in response to requests for additional, replacement, or amended CRBAs.
In order to upgrade our systems for this change, the Embassy Manila is suspending CRBA adjudication from January 1 through January 18, 2011. CRBA applications submitted during that time will be adjudicated after January 18.
This email is UNCLASSIFIED.
OK, so that took even more words than I would say to explain two important changes to the way US citizens born abroad are treated and tracked.
It always surprised me that US citizens often are not aware of the fact that one does not have to be born in the USA (or its possessions) to be a US Citizen by Birth.
Being born “on US soil” make most people born under those circumstances US Citizens. (not everyone, though … you might want to check out the birthplace of Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand, as just one notable example. Literally thousand upon thousands of people over the span of the current US Immigration laws have been born upon US soil, but are not US Citizens by birth. This provision goes back even before the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution which forms the basis for all modern citizenship law.
Those born upon US soil but whose parents are not subject to the laws of the US … such as diplomatic personnel … are typically not granted US citizenship.
Another interesting factoid for many readers here, since I have a large US veteran readership base is, US bases and diplomatic facilities overseas are not “US Soil”. (see the US State Department Foreign Affairs Manual) which states in part):
“Despite widespread popular belief, U.S. military installations abroad and U.S. diplomatic or consular facilities are not part of the United States within the meaning of the 14th Amendment. A child born on the premises of such a facility is not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and does not acquire U.S. citizenship by reason of birth.”
A lot more could be written about the general legal principles of citizenship by ‘jus soli (literally “of the soil”), the principle many US citizens seem to think is all that applies to US citizenship. However, there’s another broad principle of citizenship law known as ‘jus sanguinis (literally “of the blood”), which is actually the more common sort of citizenship law, world-wide and applies here to children born of one or two US citizen parents. Congress back in 1790 felt it could confer natural-born citizenship on those born abroad to American parents, and that principle has endured ever since … with plenty of “lawyer fodder” along the way to keep things interesting.
Remembering that I am a private individual, not a lawyer, State Department official or even a very astute constitutional scholar, the law of the US today appears to hold that:
Birth abroad to two United States citizens:
A child is automatically granted citizenship in the following cases:
- Both parents were U.S. citizens at the time of the child’s birth
- At least one parent lived in the United States prior to the child’s birth. INA 301(c) and INA 301(a)(3) state, “and one of whom has had a residence.”
The FAM (Foreign Affairs Manual) states “no amount of time specified.”
A person’s record of birth abroad, if registered with a U.S. consulate or embassy, is proof of citizenship. They may also apply for a passport or a Certificate of Citizenship to have their citizenship recognized.
Birth abroad to one United States citizen:
A person born on or after November 14, 1986, is a U.S. citizen if all of the following are true:
- One of the person’s parents was a U.S. citizen when the person in question was born
- The citizen parent lived at least five years in the United States before the child’s birth
- A minimum of two of these five years in the United States were after the citizen parent’s 14th birthday.
A person’s record of birth abroad, if registered with a U.S. consulate or embassy, is proof of citizenship. Such a person may also apply for a passport or a Certificate of Citizenship to have a record of citizenship. Such documentation is often useful to prove citizenship in lieu of the availability of an American birth certificate.
So what the announcement is saying is that the former procedure of issuing a DS-1350 Certification of Report of Birth Abroad which certified the existence of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA, or Form FS-240) will no longer happen. Births abroad will only be documented on the revised Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA, or Form FS-240). and that document won’t be issued at foreign service locations any longer, but only through the State Department passport agencies in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and New Orleans, Louisiana,
I guess you could call this both a simplification and a complication to the overseas citizenship procedures.
It’s kind of obvious that distribution blank FS1350’s around the world is both a hassle and a security risk (I’m old enough to remember when embassys overseas used to be able to issue passports themselves … you can imagine the record keeping and administrative risk of shipping blank, genuine passports around the world …so this is only a normalization of security in that respect.
But anyway, if you were unclear on your offsprings rights and privileges. If you are a US citizen and are blessed with a child born abroad, she or he becomes a citizen also … so that’s kind of a happy thought for Christmas and the coming New year.
And let me know what information you need about of US Citizenship for Children Born Overseas.