A child born in Croatia to a U.S. citizen parent or parents may acquire U.S. citizenship at birth if certain statutory requirements are met. The child’s parents should contact the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb to apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America (CRBA) to document that the child is a U.S. citizen. According to U.S. law, a CRBA is proof of U.S. citizenship and may be used to obtain a U.S. passport and register for school, among other purposes.
The child’s parents may choose to apply for a U.S. passport for the child at the same time that they apply for a CRBA. Parents may also choose to apply only for a U.S. passport for the child. Like a CRBA, a full validity, unexpired U.S. passport is proof of U.S. citizenship.
Parents of a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen or citizens should apply for a CRBA and/or a U.S. passport for the child as soon as possible. Failure to promptly document a child who meets the statutory requirements for acquiring U.S. citizenship at birth may cause problems for the parents and the child when attempting to establish the child’s U.S. citizenship and eligibility for the rights and benefits of U.S. citizenship, including entry into the United States. By law, U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States.
Please visit the State Department’s website for additional information on the Birth of U.S. Citizens Abroad.
Am I Eligible to Transmit U.S. Citizenship to my Child?
Birth Abroad to Two U.S. Citizen Parents in Wedlock
A child born abroad to two U.S. citizen parents acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under section 301(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provided that one of the parents had a residence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions prior to the child’s birth. The child is considered to be born in wedlock for the purposes of citizenship acquisition when the genetic and/or gestational parents are legally married to each other at the time of the child’s birth and both parents are the legal parents of the child under local law at the time and place of birth.
Birth Abroad to One Citizen and One Alien Parent in Wedlock
A child born abroad to one U.S. citizen parent and one alien parent acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under Section 301(g) of the INA provided the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for the time period required by the law applicable at the time of the child’s birth. (For birth on or after November 14, 1986, a period of five years physical presence, two after the age of fourteen, is required. For birth between December 24, 1952 and November 13, 1986, a period of ten years, five after the age of fourteen, is required for physical presence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions to transmit U.S. citizenship to the child.) The U.S. citizen parent must be the genetic or the gestational parent and the legal parent of the child under local law at the time and place of the child’s birth to transmit U.S. citizenship.
Birth Abroad Out-of-Wedlock to a U.S. Citizen Father – “New” Section 309(a)
A person born abroad out-of-wedlock to a U.S. citizen father may acquire U.S. citizenship under Section 301(g) of the INA, as made applicable by the “new” Section 309(a) of the INA provided:
- A blood relationship between the person and the father is established by clear and convincing evidence;
- The father had the nationality of the United States at the time of the person’s birth;
- The father was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions prior to the child’s birth for five years, at least two of which were after reaching the age of 14.
- The father (unless deceased) has agreed in writing to provide financial support for the person until the person reaches the age of 18 years, and
- While the person is under the age of 18 years — the person is legitimated under the law of his/her residence or domicile, the father acknowledges paternity of the person in writing under oath, or the paternity of the person is established by adjudication of a competent court. Birth Abroad Out-of-Wedlock to a U.S. Citizen Father – “Old” Section 309(a) of the INA- A child born out-of-wedlock to a U.S. citizen father may acquire U.S. citizenship under the former Section 301(a)(7) of the INA as made applicable by the “old” Section 309(a) of the INA if the U.S. citizen father, prior to the child’s birth, had been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for ten years, five of which were after the age of 14, and if the paternity of the child had been established by legitimation prior to the child reaching the age of 21. The “old” Section 309(a) of the INA is applicable to individuals who were 18 on November 14, 1986 and to individuals whose paternity had been established by legitimation prior to that date. Individuals who were at least 15 on November 14, 1986, but under the age of 18, could opt to have their claim determined in accordance with the provisions of either the “old” or the “new” Section 309(a).
Birth Abroad Out-of-Wedlock to a U.S. Citizen Mother
A person born abroad out-of-wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother 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. The U.S. citizen mother must be the genetic or the gestational mother and the legal parent of the child under local law at the time and place of the child’s birth to transmit U.S. citizenship.
What is a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA)?
A Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) is a U.S. citizenship document issued to a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents who meet the requirements for transmitting citizenship under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
CRBA applications must be made before the child’s 18th birthday, and we recommend that the parents apply for the CRBA as soon as possible after the child’s birth. For applicants older than age 18 who have never been issued a CRBA, please refer to Possible Derivative Claim to U.S. Citizenship. Anyone who has a claim to U.S. citizenship must be in possession of a valid U.S passport to enter and exit the United States, even if they have citizenship of another country, as well.
How Can I Apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) for my Child?
Applying for a CRBA is a simple process, but does require you to collect and submit some documentation. The U.S. Embassy in Zagreb offers this service by appointment only. Generally speaking, both parents should appear along with their child, to apply. For your convenience, these instructions will also prepare you to apply for your child’s U.S. Passport and Social Security Number at the same appointment.
Please email scanned color copies of all supporting evidence and all necessary forms properly filled out to ZagrebCitizenship@state.gov at least one week prior to your appointment. Each document/form should be sent as a separate .pdf file. On the day of your appointment, please bring the original and one black and white copy of each document and all forms.
Having all the necessary forms filled out appropriately before your appointment will reduce your waiting time at the Embassy. If you do not bring the required documentation, we will suspend processing of your application and you will need to schedule another appointment.
- Application for Consular Report of Birth, Form DS-2029, available by clicking here (PDF 62 KB)
- Please do not sign the application, you will be asked to do it in front of a consular officer.
- Application for Passport, Form DS-11, available online at: http://www.travel.state.gov/passport/forms/ds11/ds11_842.html.
- Please do not sign the application for your child, you will be asked to do so in front of a consular officer.
- If one parent/guardian is absent we will require original, notarized consent. You can use Statement of Consent or Special Circumstances – Issuance of a Passport to a Minor Under Age 16, Form DS-3053, which is available online at: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/forms.html
- Application for a Social Security Number, Form SS-5-FS, which is available online at: http://www.ssa.gov/online/ss-5fs.pdf (PDF 122 KB)
Note: If your documents are in a language other than English, a certified English translation must be provided. International documents are acceptable as well (International Birth, Marriage or Death Certificate).
- Child’s Croatian Birth Certificate – “Izvadak iz matice rođenih” or “Rodni list”
- Original Croatian birth certificate, issued by local authorities. This document must show the biological parents’ names. Short form birth certificates, which do not indicate parentage, are not acceptable. If your birth certificate is in a language other than English, a certified translation must be provided. The original certificate must be presented along with any translation.
- Parents’ Marriage Certificate
- Original certificate issued by local, state, or national government authorities. If your marriage certificate is in a language other than English, a certified translation must be provided. The original certificate must be presented along with any translation.
- Divorce Decrees/Death Certificates (if applicable)
- It will be necessary to show termination of all prior marriages for both parents. Please bring certified translations, if appropriate.
- Evidence of Parent’s US citizenship
- The U.S. citizen parent(s) must present his/her (their) U.S. passport(s). If the U.S. citizen parent(s) was (were) naturalized he/she (they) must bring the original Certificate of Naturalization in addition to the passport.
- Passport / Identification Document for Non-U.S. Citizen Parent (if applicable)
- A non-U.S. citizen parent must bring his/her passport or other photo identification document.
- Evidence of Physical Presence
- The U.S. citizen parent must bring proof of living in the United States. Primary evidence documents that may establish your physical presence in the U.S. before the child’s birth include: transcripts from high school and/or college, wage statements, DD214 separation statement (military members only). Secondary evidence may include: credit card bills, utility bills, tax forms, airline ticket stubs, former/current passport with stamps.
- Application Fee
- The fee for a Consular Report of Birth is $100. The fee for a child’s passport under 16 is $105 or $135 for children over 16. Payment may be made in U.S. Dollars, Croatian Kuna or by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, or Diners Club). Personal checks are not accepted.
- One color photo taken within the past 6 months, 2” x 2” (5 cm x 5 cm) size with white or off-white background. Digital photos are generally not acceptable. There is a photo machine in the waiting room of the consular section which can take photos for a fee of 40 Kuna (payable in Kuna only).
How Can I Obtain a U.S. Passport for my Child?
The U.S. Embassy in Zagreb offers passport services by appointment only. Full instructions for applying for a first time passport can be found here. If you are applying for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA), you can apply for a U.S. passport at the same time. If you are not applying for a CRBA and your child has not been issued a CRBA previously, please contact us at ZagrebCitizenship@state.gov.
How Can I Obtain a Social Security Number for my Child?
You can no longer apply for a Social Security Number for your child at the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb. This service is offered at the U.S. Embassy in Athens. For detailed instructions and contact information please click here.
Third Party Attendance at Passport and Consular Report of Birth Abroad Appointment Interviews
Generally, immediate family members may accompany passport or CRBA applicants to their appointment interviews at a U.S. embassy or consulate, and all minor children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Passport or CRBA applicants also have the option of being accompanied by an attorney at their appointment interview. Attendance by any third party, including an attorney, accompanying an applicant is subject to the following parameters designed to ensure an orderly appointment interview process and to maintain the integrity of the adjudication of the application(s):
- Given space limitations in the consular section, not more than one attendee at a time will be allowed to accompany an applicant (or the applicant’s parent or guardian if the applicant is a minor).
- Attendance by an attorney does not excuse the applicant and/or the minor applicant’s parent or guardian from attending the appointment interview in person.
- The manner in which a passport or CRBA appointment interview is conducted, and the scope and nature of the inquiry, shall at all times be at the discretion of the consular officer, following applicable Departmental guidance.
- It is expected that attorneys will provide their clients with relevant legal advice prior to, rather than at, the appointment interview, and will advise their clients prior to the appointment interview that the client will participate in the appointment interview with minimal assistance.
- Attorneys may not engage in any form of legal argumentation during the appointment interview and before the consular officer.
- Attendees other than a parent or guardian accompanying a minor child may not answer a consular officer’s question on behalf or in lieu of an applicant, nor may they summarize, correct, or attempt to clarify an applicant’s response, or interrupt or interfere with an applicant’s responses to a consular officer’s questions.
- To the extent that an applicant does not understand a question, s/he should seek clarification from the consular officer directly.
- The consular officer has sole discretion to determine the appropriate language(s) for communication with the applicant, based on the facility of both officer and applicant and the manner and form that best facilitate communication between the consular officer and the applicant. Attendees may not demand that communications take place in a particular language solely for the benefit of the attendee. Nor may attendees object to or insist on the participation of an interpreter in the appointment interview, to the qualifications of any interpreter, or to the manner or substance of any translation.
- No attendee may coach or instruct applicants as to how to answer a consular officer’s question.
- Attendees may not object to a consular officer’s question on any ground (including that the attendee regards the question to be inappropriate, irrelevant, or adversarial), or instruct the applicant not to answer a consular officer’s question. Attendees may not interfere in any manner with the consular officer’s ability to conduct all inquiries and fact-finding necessary to exercise his or her responsibilities to adjudicate the application.
- During a passport or CRBA appointment interview, attendees may not discuss or inquire about other applications.
- Attendees may take written notes, but may not otherwise record the appointment interviews.
- Attendees may not engage in any other conduct that materially disrupts the appointment interview. For example, they may not yell at or otherwise attempt to intimidate or abuse a consular officer or staff, and they may not engage in any conduct that threatens U.S. national security or the security of the embassy or its personnel. Attendees must follow all security policies of the Department of State and the U.S. embassy or consulate where the appointment interview takes place.
Attendees may not engage in any conduct that violates this policy and/or otherwise materially disrupts the appointment interview. Failure to observe these parameters will result in a warning to the attendee and, if ignored, the attendee may be asked to leave the appointment interview and/or the premises, as appropriate. It would then be the applicant’s choice whether to continue the appointment interview without the attendee present, subject to the consular officer’s discretion to terminate the appointment interview. The safety and privacy of all applicants awaiting consular services, as well as of consular and embassy personnel, is of paramount consideration.