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Birth
19 MINUTE READ
March 14, 2022

Children Born in Spain and Andorra to U.S. Parents

Children born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent may have a claim to U.S. citizenship.  To see whether your child qualifies for U.S. citizenship, please see our “Transmission Requirements” section.

Parents of children who may have a claim to U.S. citizenship can apply for the child’s Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) and U.S. passport, at the U.S. Embassy, U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona, or any of the five U.S. Consular Agencies in Spain.  We strongly recommend that you report the birth of your child be to the Department of State as soon as possible after the child’s birth.  It is not possible to obtain a CRBA for a child over the age of 18.  Even if your child holds nationality of a country other than the U.S., if your child has a claim to U.S. citizenship, he or she must use a valid U.S. passport to enter and exit the United States.

The following information will assist you in determining whether your child is a U.S. citizen and will list the steps you are required to take to obtain your child’s CRBA and passport.  Please make sure that you also follow the instructions on our Documenting American Citizens page for instructions on how to apply for your child’s passport.

You must make an online appointment for your child’s CRBA and passport.

Scheduling an appointment for a Consular Report of Birth at Embassy Madrid

Scheduling an appointment for a Consular Report of Birth at Consulate General Barcelona

Eligibility for a CRBA / Consular Report of Birth Abroad

There are various circumstances under which a child born abroad acquires American citizenship at birth:

Child born to two U.S. citizens: The child acquires citizenship provided that at least one of the parents had, prior to the birth of the child, been a resident in the United States or one of its outlying possessions. (No specific period of residence is required.)

Child born in wedlock to a U.S. citizen parent (after November 14, 1986) and an noncitizen parent  The child acquires citizenship provided that the U.S. citizen parent had been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for five years, of which at least two years were after the age of fourteen.

Child born in wedlock to a U.S. citizen parent (before November 14, 1986) and an noncitizen parent : The child acquires citizenship provided that the U.S. citizen parent had been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for ten years, of which at least five years were after the age of fourteen.

A person born abroad out-of-wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother and noncitizen father on or before June 11, 2017, may acquire U.S. citizenship under Section 309(c) of the INA if the mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of the person’s birth and if the mother was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year prior to the person’s birth.

In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Sessions v. Morales-Santana, 582 U.S. ___, 137 S.Ct. 1678 (2017), a person born abroad out-of-wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother and noncitizen father on or after June 12, 2017, may acquire U.S. citizenship at birth if the mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of the person’s birth and was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a period of five years, two after the age of fourteen under Section 301(g) of the INA.

Child born out of wedlock to a U.S. Citizen father: The child acquires citizenship provided that the American citizen father had been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for five years, of which at least two years were after the age of fourteen (or ten if born before 1986) and:

  • A blood relationship between the child and the father is established by clear and convincing evidence;
  • 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 child is under the age of 18,
  • The father provides a written statement acknowledging paternity;
  • The child is legitimated under local law; or
  • Paternity is established by a competent court before the child attains the age of 18 years.

Guide to Completing the Application

Guide to Completing Form DS-2029 Application for Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) of a Citizen of the United States of America

Enter the name of the child as it is recorded on the local birth record. The name of the applicant on the CRBA and first-time passport should always match their birth document(s).

Marriage status of parents:  List all marriages prior to the birth of the child or prior to the marriage of the child’s parents, whichever is appropriate.

Precise Periods of Physical Presence: The U.S. citizen parent must write actual physical presence in the United States prior to child’s birth in exact detail.  Documentary evidence of the claimed physical presence is required (see Transmission Requirements section). The non U.S. citizen parent may leave it blank.  This section needs to be completed accurately by writing the month/day/year.

Section B – To be completed when the U.S. citizen father is not married to the child’s mother. Complete section but do not sign until you are in front of the Consular Officer.

Section B Continued – Do not complete. We will prepare this section for the Consular Officer’s signature.

Notes
  • The presence of the child and the US citizen parent/parents  is required at the time of the application. Both parents and the child are required if you want to apply for the US passport in the same appointment.
  • Complete forms DS-2029 (PDF 65K) accurately but do not sign and DS-11 if you want to apply for the US passport at the same time.
  • Child’s Spanish Birth Certificate (literal long-form). Submit original plus two copies. Please provide an informal translation if the document is not in English.
  • Marriage certificate, if applicable, submit original plus one copy. Please provide an informal translation if the document is not in English.
  • Divorce Decree, if applicable, submit original plus one copy. Please provide an informal translation if the document is not in English.
  • Evidence U.S. citizen parent’s physical presence*. Submit original documents.
  • Return of CRBA. Options for the Madrid Consular District.

Commonly submitted documents include school and university transcripts, medical records, military records, employment records, and tax returns.  Please note that we cannot determine whether you have met the physical presence requirement prior to your interview with the consular officer.  Every person’s case will be obviously be different, so please bring whatever documents or evidence necessary to clearly establish that the transmitting U.S. citizen parent meets the required time of physical presence.

Dual Nationality

Dual nationality is the simultaneous possession of two citizenships.  The Supreme Court of the United States has stated that dual nationality is “long recognized in the law” and that “a person may have and exercise rights of nationality in two countries and be subject to the responsibilities of both…”

Dual nationality results from the fact that there is no uniform rule of international law relating to the acquisition of nationality.  Each country has its own laws on the subject, and its nationality is conferred upon individuals on the basis of its own independent domestic policy.  Individuals may have dual nationality not by choice but by automatic operation of these different and sometimes conflicting laws.  For example, a child born abroad to U.S. citizens may acquire at birth not only American citizenship but also the nationality of the country in which he was born.  Similarly, a child born in the United States to foreigners may acquire at birth both U.S. citizenship and a foreign nationality.

The automatic acquisition or retention of a foreign nationality does not affect U.S. citizenship; however, the acquisition of a foreign nationality upon one’s own application or the application of a duly authorized agent may cause loss of U.S. citizenship.  United States law does not contain any provisions requiring U.S. citizens who are born with dual nationality to choose one nationality or the other when they become adults.  While recognizing the existence of dual nationality and permitting Americans to have other nationalities, the U.S. Government does not endorse dual nationality as a matter of policy because of the problems it may cause.  Claims of other countries upon dual-national U.S. citizens often place them in situations where their obligations to one country are in conflict with the laws of the other.  In addition, their dual nationality may hamper efforts to provide diplomatic and consular protection to them when they are abroad.  It generally is considered that while dual nationals are in the other country of which they are citizens that country has a predominant claim on them.

Like Americans who possess only U.S. citizenship, dual national U.S. citizens owe allegiance to the United States and are obliged to obey its laws and regulations.  In cases where dual nationals encounter difficulty in a foreign country of which they are citizens, the ability of U.S. Foreign Service posts to provide assistance may be quite limited since many foreign countries may not recognize a dual national’s claim to U.S. citizenship.

Except in certain circumstances, U.S. citizens must use U.S. passports when entering or leaving the United States.  Dual nationals may be required by their other country of citizenship to enter and leave that country using its passport.  Complying with this requirement does not endanger the dual national’s U.S. citizenship.

Generally, persons who do not wish to maintain dual nationality may renounce the citizenship they do not want.  Information on renouncing a foreign nationality may be obtained from the foreign country’s Embassies and Consulates or from the appropriate governmental agency in that country.  Information on renouncing U.S. citizenship may be obtained from U.S. Embassies and Consulates and the Office of Citizens Consular Services, Department of State, Washington, DC 20520.

Request Copies of Previous Reports

Obtaining a copy of a previously issued Consular Report of Birth Abroad

Consular Reports of Birth Abroad are sent to the National Archives in the United States, and not kept at the Embassy/Consulate General.  To request additional copies, or a replacement copy, you must contact the Department of State in Washington, DC.

U.S. Department of State
Passport Vital Records Section
44132 Mercure Circle
Sterling, VA 20166-1213

For more information on how to request copies please see Documentation of U.S. Citizens Born Abroad on the State Department website.