Presumed Facts:

Child Name: Zod

Child Age: 2 years old

1) Zod was born to a US Citizen parent and non US Citizen Parent in a foreign country.

2) US Citizen parent meets all requirements to pass citizenship to child (US citizen parent lived in US for 10+ years after parent was 18, was married at time of child's birth, and child is under 18 years of age. All documents in order.

Visit to US Embassy

When Zod is 2 years old, the US Citizen parent takes the child to the US Embassy and fills out form DS-2029, (Application for Consular Report of Birth Abroad), since all requirements are met, the child would be considered a US Citizen. (At worst a DNA test would be asked for and passed).


What is the legal definition of the child's status prior to filing the Application for Consular Report of Birth Abroad, during the child's first two years of life in the eyes of the United States? (foreign national, US national, undocumented citizen... etc)?

  • Have a good question badge as I'm sure there are those who are not clear on how/when U.S. citizenship is acquired in these scenarios.
    – ouflak
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 19:44

1 Answer 1


The child is automatically (and involuntarily) a U.S. citizen at birth. The relevant law is INA 301 (also known as 8 USC § 1401), specifically in this case INA 301(g) (one U.S. citizen parent and one non-U.S. national parent):

The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth:


(g) a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years: [...]

Applying for a CRBA does not change the child's citizenship or nationality status. The CRBA is simply a proof of citizenship, and verifies that the child acquired U.S. citizenship at birth; having U.S. citizenship from birth is a prerequisite for applying for a CRBA.

Even if a CRBA is never applied for the child (it can't be applied for after the child reaches age 18 anyway), that doesn't affect the fact that the child is a U.S. citizen. As a U.S. citizen, the child can apply for a U.S. passport at any time, at any age. He/she can also apply for a Certificate of Citizenship as another proof of U.S. citizenship, at any time.

  • 2
    Minor addition: the US residency (prior to the birth of the child) requirements for the American parent have been changed periodically. Be sure to use the ones in effect at the time of birth...
    – DJohnM
    Commented Jun 24, 2014 at 18:21
  • 2
    @User58220: Right. This answer refers to the current law (the things mentioned in the answer haven't changed for a few decades). The question said assume the parent meets the requirements, so I didn't go into how the requirements have varied.
    – user102008
    Commented Jun 24, 2014 at 19:13

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