Category Archives: Consular Report of Birth Abroad

For babies born to U.S. citizens in Korea

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.

Meet ACS at USFK Installaions

We offer U.S. passport, birth registration (Consular Report of Birth Abroad), Social Security Card and Notarial services at USFK installations throughout Korea. Please note that off-site services are reserved for applicants who have or can secure base access. For the most up-to-date information, visit our U.S. Embassy Website.


no electronic

Electronic devices such as cameras, cell phones, laptops, and MP3 players may not be brought inside the Embassy.  Please leave these items at home or make arrangements for their storage before arriving at the Embassy.  Doing so will result in speedier processing into the Embassy.  The Embassy has no capacity to store your devices.


New US Citizenship Rules Help Birth Mothers

baby's name

Mothers who gave birth to a child overseas with help from an egg donor can transmit citizenship under a new policy from the U.S. State Department.

The change took effect on Jan. 31.  For the first time, birth mothers who are not genetically related to their child can pass on U.S. citizenship.  Birth mothers will be treated the same as genetic mothers for purposes of acquiring citizenship.

The good news for such mothers is that the policy is retroactive.  That means that birth mothers can apply for U.S. citizenship for their children even if their application would have been turned down in the past.

The new policy officially means that both the U.S. State Department and Department of Homeland Security will interpret the definition of “child” under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to mean the child of a genetic or a gestational parent.  The baby will be treated as born in wedlock as long as both genetic or gestational parents are married at the time of the child’s birth.

Of course, a few caveats apply. The mother must be the legal parent of the child. And a U.S. consular officer must approve the request for an official birth certificate, known as a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, making sure that all requirements for citizenship are fulfilled.

WE JUST HAD A BABY! Since we live overseas, how do I ensure my baby is recognized as a U.S. citizen?

new bornIf you or your spouse is a United States citizen, you should get a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) for your baby.  The CRBA is an official record of U.S. citizenship issued to a person under age 18 who was born abroad to U.S. citizen parent(s) and acquired citizenship at birth. This document is used in the United States like a certified copy of a birth certificate, and it is acceptable evidence of citizenship for obtaining a passport and entering school. The Embassy strongly encourages all U.S. citizens with children born in Korea to apply for a CRBA as soon as possible after the birth of the child.  For more information see:

What Good is Your Embassy?

This article first appeared in the October issue of Groove magazine, and is part of a series of articles exploring the foreign embassies located in Seoul.  Our American Citizen Services Chief highlights what your U.S. Embassy can do for you, and just as importantly, what we can’t do. Continue reading