Getting U.S. citizenship for the baby

You will have to make an appointment with the U.S. consulate to get your baby's passport.  During this process, you'll complete the following documentation:

  • Passport Application
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) and
  • Affidavit of Presence in the U.S.
  • Social Security Number application (this can also be done after you get home)

The passport is required in order for the baby to get an exit Visa to leave the country and also to enter the U.S.

The CRBA is issued in lieu of a birth certificate to US citizens abroad. It is considered primary evidence of U.S. citizenship and can be used throughout the childs life for passport applications, school admissions, and other situations that require a U.S. birth certificate.

At present, it takes 7-10 days business after the U.S. consulate has approved the application to get the baby’s Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) and passport.  Approval can take additional time if the consulate requires more documentation than you bring to the appointment.

To understand the process, or to confirm any items that are unique to your situation, you can call or email the U.S. Consulate or Embassy before visiting India. Emails to the Mumbai consulate will get an automated response which, at the bottom, will include a note that says:

If these links do not help you find what you need, please resubmit your request using the phrase "Request for Specific Information" in the subject line of your e-mail. We will respond to your inquiry as quickly as possible.

This automated response email includes a link to information on how to obtain a "Consular Report of Birth Abroad" at http://mumbai.usconsulate.gov/birth_abroad.html. This information is a bit general and does not cover surrogacy.

That page lists additional information/requirements for babies born through Assisted Reproductive Technology - those requirements are http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_1337.html. This information is also a bit general.

After you send an email with a subject line of "Request for Specific Information", you'll actually get a human response.  The consulate is also developing specific information for surrogacy, and will include the most recent versions. The email address is: MUMBAIACS at state.gov. Remember to put "Request for Specific Information" in the subject line if you want to get a human response.

Alternatively, you can call the Mumbai Consulate at +91 22 2363 3611 x4306 and ask for the American Citizen Services Unit.

After your baby has been born, you'll need to call the consulate to schedule your appointment.  If you don't call ahead, the consulate *might* let you come at the end of the day after all other scheduled appointments have been completed.  It's not worth it - make an appointment.  Also be aware of the consulate's holiday schedule - you won't be able to get an appointment on holidays (U.S. and Indian).

Mike and Mike write about their visit to the consulate here (scroll down a bit).  

Main recommendation is to have all your paperwork filled out when you arrive. 

Much of the information covered in the Consultea/embassy responses is included in the following pages, but it pays to request the most current information.  The two attachments the Mumbai embassy will send you are included below.  It seems that procedures do vary from consulate to consulate (Mumbai very strongly recommends DNA testing, Delhi does not - although these policies could evolve), so if you're working with the embassy in Delhi, or another consulate office, contact them directly for their most recent policies. 

AttachmentSize
DNAforwebsite__doc.docx15.26 KB
Standard_letter_for_CRBA_August2009.docx22.36 KB

Affidavit of Presence in the U.S.

The following is from http://mumbai.usconsulate.gov/transmission_requirements_.html and lists the transmission requirements for U.S. citizenship. Review it carefully to ensure you are eligible to transmit U.S. citizenship to your baby. This primarily applies to the Affidavit of Presence in the U.S., one of the documents you'll have to complete at the consulate.

Reports of Birth: Transmission requirements for U.S. citizenship

Children born abroad to U.S. citizen parents may have a claim to U.S. citizenship. The following is a brief description of the various circumstances under which a child born abroad acquires U.S. citizenship.

Child born in wedlock to two U.S. citizens: A child born outside of the United States or its outlying possessions to two U.S. citizen parents is entitled to citizenship, provided one of the parents had, prior to the birth of the child, been resident in the United States or one of its outlying possessions. (No specific period of time is required to establish residence.)

Child born in wedlock to one U.S. citizen parent and one non-U.S. citizen parent on or after November 14, 1986: A child born outside of the United States to one U.S. citizen parent and one non-U.S. citizen parent may be entitled to citizenship provided the U.S. citizen parent had been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for five years, at least two years of which were after s/he reached the age of fourteen. This period of physical presence must have taken place prior to the birth of the child. Click here for Affidavit of Physical Presence form.

Child born in wedlock to one U.S. citizen parent and one non-U.S. citizen parent between December 24, 1952, and November 13, 1986: A child born outside of the United States to one U.S. citizen parent and one non-U.S. citizen parent may be entitled to citizenship provided the U.S. citizen parent had, prior to the birth of the child, been physically present in the United States for a period of ten years, at least five years of which were after s/he reached the age of fourteen.

Child born out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother: A child born outside of the United States and out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother is entitled to U.S. citizenship provided the U.S. citizen mother had been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of at least one year at some time prior to the birth of her child. (NOTE: The U.S. citizen mother must have lived continuously for 1 year IN THE UNITED STATES OR ITS OUTLYING POSSESSIONS. Periods spent overseas with the U.S. government/military or as a government/military dependent, may NOT be computed as physical presence in the U.S.)

Child born out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen father: A child born outside of the United States to a U.S. citizen father who is not married to the non-U.S. citizen mother is entitled to U.S. citizenship provided the U.S. citizen father had been physically present in the United States for the period of time as specified in previous paragraphs for children born in wedlock to one U.S. citizen and one non-U.S. citizen parent, either before or after November 14, 1986; and

* a blood relationship between the applicant and the father is established by clear and convincing evidence; and
* the father signs a sworn statement agreeing to provide financial support for the child until s/he reaches the age of 18 years; and
* the father provides a written statement acknowledging paternity; or
* the child is legitimated under local law; or
* paternity is established by a competent court before the child attains the age of 18 years.

I believe that my child has claim to U.S. citizenship. What next?

If you believe that your child has a claim to U.S. citizenship, it will be necessary for the U.S. citizen parent to appear in person at this office in order to execute an application for a "Consular Report of Birth Abroad" before a consular officer. At that time, a passport application may also be executed.

What if I do not meet the requirements for transmission of citizenship to my child?

It may be possible for your child to apply for expeditious naturalization or an immigrant visa.

I am over the age of 18 and I believe I have a claim to U.S. citizenship. What next?

If your parent(s) had the prerequisite physical presence in the United States required by U.S. citizenship law in effect at that time, you should e-mail us at [email protected], giving as many details of your situation as possible. We will then let you know if there are any grounds for you to pursue your citizenship claim further.

In an email correspondence, the consulate indicated:

For the Affidavit of presence in the U.S.  I'm 40, have lived outside the U.S. half my life, and have traveled quite a bit.  Do I need to state the precise dates I lived in the U.S., excluding dates I was traveling?  Yes. 

Or can I provide documentation showing physical presence in the U.S. for some period of time?  Yes, we will also want this, to document those precise dates you will already have listed. 

If so, what period of time is required (1 year)?  Yes, if both you and your wife are proven to be genetic parents of the child – otherwise, 5 years, 2 of which are after the age of 14.  Transcripts are great proofs for this sort of thing, so consider having those on-hand for any education you did in the U.S. (yes, even high school). 

If so, what evidence is sufficient?  Use your judgment, but things like transcripts, W-2 forms, military records, etc – basically anything that proves you were in the U.S. for a given span of time.

To prove physical presence in the U.S., reports indicate that people have used school transcripts, tax returns with W-2s that indicate full-time employment in the U.S., earnings statements issued by the Social Security Administration, military records, leases, utility bills, etc. 

If you have questions about your situation, contact the consulate prior to traveling to India.  Starting in 2009, the consulate has become stricter in following these rules and verifying actual presence.

Passport for the baby

Once you know the discharge date of your baby, you need to call the Consulates Fraud Prevention Unit at 022-2363-3611 ext 4426/4431 to make your appointment.  If you are certain you will have the birth certificate by a given date, you can state simply you will have everything on the date of the appointment.  The lead time for appointments can take up to two weeks, so it is important to make this appointment as early as possible.  It's best to make one trip to the consulate to get your passport and DNA Swab complete to limit the exposure of your newborn. 

Once they confirm your appointment, they will send you an email with all the required documents you need to fill out. These documents will include:
- The Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA),
- Passport Application and
- Affidavit of Presence in the US

The application for the baby’s social security card is at the embassy.

Please follow the link below if you desire to fill out the forms at home. The benefit is you will not need to do that in India at the last minute. http://mumbai.usconsulate.gov/reporting_birth_of_child_.html. The embassy can also provide you the forms when you arrive and you can fill them out then.  You will need to bring with you several documents.

1. Parents proof of U.S. citizenship.  Usually through your passport, but possibly through a naturalization certificate.
2. Baby's Birth Certificate that is issued by the Municipal office in Mumbai.
3.  Evidence of parents marriage: if applicable, this is usually via an original marriage certificate
4. Two identical 2x2 passport size photos with white background.  The Hospital can arrange for these photos to be taken. Please double check the size and background once you receive the photos.  There are certain requirements regarding the photo’s i.e. size and type. which can be found at: http://mumbai.usconsulate.gov/passportphoto.html
5. The discharge form from the Hospital. This is a report card outlining the babies birth and much unlike what you are used to in the states. We also recommend that you get copies of the babies medical records from the medical records department, the public relations department can help you with this process. The more information the Embassy has the better it is for your approval process. In addition it is good information for your pediatrician to have of what took place at the hospital.
6. A letter from your Fertility Clinic on official letterhead stating that they assisted you in becoming a parent. In the letter the details of the surrogate, the date of service and what has occurred will be spelled out in the letter
7. A letter from the hospital with their letterhead that outlines the birth of your child.
8. Your baby’s presence is required during these visits.

Address of the U.S. Consulate is:

American Consulate General
Fraud Prevention Unit
Lincoln House
78, Bhulabhai Desai Road
Mumbai, India 400026

Once you arrive at the embassy with your baby, you will be required to leave your cell phone and other electonics with the guard. They will allow you to bring the babies supplies in although you'll probably have to taste test an liquid formula. The entrance you want is to the left of where the guards allow your car to be dropped off.

Once inside the embassy you will confirm your appointment with the receptionist. You will then go into the room and take a number. You can approach the counter for your forms this time. Usually you are asked to be there at 9:15am. Appointments are traditionally made for Thursday’s. This process can take up to three hours, so make sure you bring your babies formula and pertinent supplies. They have bottled water at the embassy for you to mix the formula. Once your name is called you will hand over all of the documentation to the agent. The agent will ask for payment in Rupees. Please refer to the State Department website for the required amount. These amounts change from time to time. You should get the name of the American Official that assisted you, and if possible an email address, so the lab can notify them when the DNA test is complete and DNA results are on their way back to the Embassy. This alerts them to the package and help facilitate it’s movement through the security in the mail room.

At present, it takes 7-10 days business after the consulate has approved the application to get the baby’s CRBA and passport. Please be aware that surrogate situations are complex and frequently require additional documentation so the application may not be approved on the day of the appointment. Go prepared!

Some people (tangobaby, friend of HammockGuy) have reported success requesting an emergency passport without DNA results.  An emergency passport can be ready the same day.   It's not clear what criteria is required to qualify for an emergency passport. 

DNA verification

On clarifying the requirement for DNA testing, the U.S. consulate in Mumbai has recently indicated:

DNA testing may be recommended to support an application for an immigrant visa or to transmit U.S. citizenship.

This means DNA testing is not always required.  It is wise to clarify your situation with consulate or embassy before visiting.

The United States Government requires that you use an American Academy of Blood Bank approved lab.  Labs are added and removed, so you'll need to go directly to their approved list. This list can be found at http://www.aabb.org/About_the_AABB/Stds_and_Accred/aboutptlabs.htm.  Some labs confuse the INS guidelines with the Dept. of State guidelines and request a case number or even refuse to send the kit to you.  Start preprations early.

You’ll have to coordinate the shipping arrangements (both ways) directly with the lab.  You must have the kit sent to the consulate or embassy.  If you are having the kit sent to the embassy, it is wise to notify them that you have done so, so they can look out for the package and confirm receipt.  At the time of testing, you will need to provide a prepaid envelope for shipping the samples from Mumbai back to the lab for processing; the lab may include this for you - check with them.  The consulate will be the ones to actually initiate the shipment, but requires a prepaid return envelope for this.

In Mumbai, The DNA test must be done at Bridge Candy Hospital next to the US embassy.  Either on the day of your embassy appointment or during a separately scheduled DNA appointment (it's best to discuss your case with the consulate officers, as their recommendation on whether to do both these appointments on the same day or on separte days seems to change over time) you will meet with an Indian Physician at Bridge Candy Hospital. You need to go to a building across from the embassy, which is just a stones throw away from the hospital across the parking lot to the right of the hospital entrance. Here you will be asked to produce your baby’s birth certificate. You will then pay for the swabbing (350 Rupees per person) and they will hand you a slip for the test. When that process is complete you will be directed to the appropriate place in the hospital where the swab will be performed.

In an email, the consulate indicated:

Our current procedure is that the parent(s) and child appear together (at the same time) for a single appointment at a hospital near the consulate, where a cheek swab is taken for each person to be tested.  That way, there is no doubt as to from whom the contributions were collected.

A US embassy official will also be present. They will require a few items from you at that time.

1. The Original Birth Certificate and one additional copy.
2. A Copy of your passport
3. A 2x2 Photo of self
4. The DNA Kit (keep the kit in the Fedex envelope if you were the recipient of the kit)
5. DNA testing fee

Once the DNA Swab is done, the embassy official will seal it and place it in the return prepaid Fed Ex envelope provided by your lab. They will be responsible for shipment and will arrange for Fed Ex to pick up the package. Do get the tracking number so you can track the package. Once the DNA results are on their way back to the Embassy you can call them to let them know. They will notify the mailroom to expect your results.

Since this is often the most time consuming step, once the embassy receives the DNA test results, they'll contact you to come to the embassy to pick up the passport.

These procedures are all subject to change, so do contact the embassy or consulate to get an update on the most current procedures.

AttachmentSize
DNAforwebsite__doc.docx15.26 KB
Standard_letter_for_CRBA_August2009.docx22.36 KB