What qualifies as “Physical Presence” for Parents Transmitting Citizenship to their Children?

The Child Citizenship Act stipulates that for your child to be eligible for a Consular Record of Birth Abroad or CRBA (a document demonstrating that he or she was born a United States Citizen overseas) that the parent who transmits citizenship must prove residency in the U.S. for a set time period.  CRBA FAQs and general information on registration of a birth abroad and transmission of citizenship can be found on our website.  Below is a further explanation of how much physical presence is required for parents to transmit U.S. citizenship and some of the ways physical presence can be demonstrated.

A child born under at least one US parent is eligible to apply for a Consular Report of Birth/US passport until she/he reaches the age 18. Regarding registration, if the child is not a Korean citizen (born under two US parents), you have up to 90 days to report the birth to the Korean Immigration Office for visa purposes.   If at least one parent is a Korean national, the child is automatically a Korean citizen; therefore you have up to 30 days to report the child’s birth to your local district ward office.

For a time period to qualify as part of the five years (2 of which must be after age 18) of physical residence within United States required for mothers who give birth in wedlock to a Non-United States citizen or for USC fathers when the child’s mother is a Non-United States citizen the time period must meet one of the following scenarios.

  • The USC parent was performing active duty military service or was the dependent of someone doing active duty military service.
  • The USC parent was serving as or was the dependent of a U.S. Government Civilian Employees serving on U.S. Government Orders.  Please note that not all civilians and their dependents qualify for this.  To qualify as a civilian you must be named within official government orders which are not the same thing as a contract with USFK, the Department of Defense, or other government affiliated positions.
  • The USC parent was living in the United States

Please note that if a child is born out of wedlock to a United States Citizen mother she can transmit citizenship if she meets any of the above qualifications for 365 days straight at any point during her lifetime.  There must be no interruptions in this 365 day period, either while living  in country or serving on military active duty or as a qualifying civilian or dependent.

HOT TIPS for Proving Physical Presence

  • A DD-214 or Leave and Earning Statement is a great way to demonstrate a parent’s active duty service record.  If you have one provide us with a copy during your interview!
  • Tax documents alone do not prove physical presence, these are only valid as proof when tax documents (both a W-2 and a form 1040) are accompanied by a letter from an employer.  Even then, tax documents are one of the weakest types of evidence.
  • Transcripts are one of the best types of evidence.  Don’t worry, the officer does not care what grades you earned as long as you can prove you attended classes J.  We don’t need to see originals, a copy is fine.
  • We can’t access old CRBAs for other children due to privacy laws.  Parents need to bring fresh copies of their documents for each child.

The burden of proof in these cases is with the individual or family applying for the CRBA.  Unfortunately, if you cannot provide proof that the above mentioned situation applies to you, your family member will not be considered qualified to receive a CRBA but may file a petition to immigrate to the US.  You may contact the Citizenship and Immigration Services section for more information. CIS.Seoul@uscis.dhs.gov

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