Ask the Consul – September 2019

Dear U.S. Consul,

Question: I am a U.S. citizen and I would like to travel to the U.S. with my child who was born in T&T. Should I apply for a visa for my child or are they eligible for a U.S. passport?

Answer: By law, U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States. A child born abroad may be eligible for U.S. citizenship and a U.S. passport if at least one parent is a U.S. citizen. Before submitting an application for a visa, the child’s parents should review the requirements for transmission of citizenship on travel.state.gov or contact the U.S. Embassy’s American Citizen Services section at ACSPOS@state.gov.

To transmit U.S. citizenship:

  • At least one parent must have U. S. citizenship at the time of the child’s birth, and there must be a blood relationship between the child and U.S. citizen parent(s).
  • There must be evidence demonstrating that the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the United States prior to the child’s birth. Detailed information on requirements regarding the length of time parents had to live in the United States before the child was born varies according to the year the child was born and the marital status of the U.S. citizen parent. More information is available at the travel.state.gov website.
  • At least one parent (preferably the U.S. citizen parent) and the applicant (child) must appear in person at the U.S. Embassy.

If the U.S. citizen parent is unable to meet the necessary requirements, the child may not be eligible for U.S. citizenship.

If the parents believe they meet the requirements for transmission of citizenship to their child, they should apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) at the Embassy to document the child is a U.S. citizen. The U.S. citizen parent is encouraged to reach out to the American Citizen Services section of the Embassy for assistance in this process.

CRBA applications can be made at any time before the child’s 18th birthday, but we recommend that parents apply as soon as possible after the child’s birth. The child’s parents may choose to apply for a U.S. passport for the child at the same time that they apply for a CRBA.

For more details on the specific requirements, go to the embassy website at tt.usembassy.gov or contact the American Citizen Services section at ACSPOS@state.gov. To request an appointment and to obtain a full listing of CRBA requirements, please email our American Citizens Unit at ACSPOS@state.gov.