Child and Family Matters

The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa and our U.S. consulates can help with the following child and family matters:

This section provides an overview of the intercountry adoption process. The process varies greatly, as it is governed by the laws of the countries where the adoptive parents and the child reside (which in the case of the United States means both federal and state law), and also in which of these locations the legal adoption is finalized. Additionally, if the child’s home country is a party to the Hague Adoption Convention, the Hague processes of both countries must be followed. Prospective adoptive parents should consider all of these factors when evaluating what to expect.

A Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) is official evidence of United States citizenship, 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 strongly recommend that parents apply for the CRBA as soon as possible after the child’s birth.

Upon review of the information provided in the this link, if you believe that your child has a claim to U.S. citizenship, you should prepare the appropriate documentation and schedule an appointment for the child to appear in person at the nearest embassy or consulate to submit the application.

As a CRBA is not a travel document, it is strongly recommended that you submit an application for the child’s U.S. passport at the same time.  Both applications may be submitted together at your scheduled appointment.  Please note that you must apply for your child’s social security number at a U.S. Social Security Administration office which can be found at SSA’s website for Canada.  General information on SSA services for people living outside the United States can be found at this website.

(Note: It is not necessary to obtain a CRBA. If it is more convenient, you may apply for a passport in lieu of a CRBA. In Canada, please consult the Apply for a Passport section of this website. In the United States, you may apply at any passport acceptance agency. Consult the State Department website to find the passport acceptance agency closest to you.)

The steps required to apply for a CRBA are in the following section.

Parents will need to complete the following forms. After completion, the forms must be printed. We recommend that they are completed on a desktop computer, with a printer. DO NOT sign the forms.

Completed Application for Consular Report of Birth: Form DS-2029 (PDF – 345 KB).

Completed Application for a Passport (if also applying for a passport): Form DS-11.

In addition to the previously mentioned forms DS-2029, DS-11, and SS-5 (if appropriate), each applicant will require:

Child’s official long-form provincial birth record Long-form birth certificate or record of birth, which lists not only the child’s information but also that of the parents, as well as the date the document was officially filed. A short certificate missing this information will not be accepted.

Please note that for children under the age of 5, if the parent/legal guardian claims the name on the local birth certificate is wrong and the name on the DS-2029 is correct, then the parent/legal guardian must provide an amended birth certificate reflecting the correct/given name. In the event obtaining an amended birth certificate would result in unusual hardship, the parent/legal guardian must provide all three of the following:

  1. An explanatory affidavit concerning the name change;
  2. Supporting evidence reflecting use of the correct name; and
  3. Verification that the vital records office cannot or will not amend the original birth certificate.

For children 5 or older, or for any other discrepancies between the birth certificate name and the name provided on the DS-2029, the parent/legal guardian must submit evidence of a name change pursuant to the Proof of Name Change tab..

Original marriage certificate If the parents are married, they must present an original or court-certified, sealed copy of the Marriage Certificate issued by the appropriate authorities in the country in which the marriage took place. Church/Religious certificates are not acceptable. Marriage certificates in languages other than English must be translated by an authorized translator. The original certificate must be presented along with any translation. If the parents are not married, this is not required.
Divorce or death certificate If either parent has been married previously, they should present the original or court certified, sealed copy of divorce decrees or death certificates for all previous marriages. Documents in languages other than English must be translated by an authorized translator. The original decree(s) or death certificate must be presented along with any translation. If neither parent has been married previously, this does not apply.
Evidence of parent’s U.S. citizenship The U.S. citizen parent must present his/her US passport. If the U.S. citizen parent was naturalized he/she must bring the original Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship in addition to their passport.
Proof of physical presence The U.S. citizen parent(s) will be asked to present proof of his/her/their physical presence in the U.S. The best examples include, but are not limited to, current/previous passports (showing entry/exit stamps), high school transcripts, college transcripts, military records, employment records.
Passport/identification document for non-U.S. Citizen parent The non-U.S. citizen parent must bring his/her foreign passport or other government issued photo identification document.
Passport photograph One passport sized (2×2 inch) photograph — see photo requirements for specific information. Photos which do not meet the requirements will be rejected.
Application fee(s) Fees for State Department services occasionally change. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the State Department website for information on fees for passports and all other consular services.

We advise that both parents should be present at the appointment. However, we recognize that it may not be possible in all cases.

If one custodial parent is not able to attend, they must submit a notarized Form DS-3053 Statement of Consent. The form can be downloaded here (PDF – 42 KB).

At the time the DS-3053 form is presented, a copy of the same identity document used to notarize the form must also be provided.

Alternatively, the applying parent may furnish one of the following documents:

  • Child’s birth certificate listing only applying parent
  • Adoption decree (if applying parent is sole adopting parent)
  • Court Order granting sole custody to the applying parent (i.e the absent parent has no access to the child). Child’s travel must not be restricted by that order.
  • Judicial declaration of incompetence of non-applying parent, or death certificate of non-applying parent

If the parents were not married at the time of the child’s birth and the U.S. Citizen father is not able to attend the appointment, Form DS-5507 Affidavit of Parentage, Physical Presence and Support is required. The form can be downloaded here (PDF – 281 KB). The form must be completed, signed and notarized, and should be presented along with a copy of the same identity document used to notarize the form.

Please do not schedule an appointment until you have reviewed the checklist for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad and have completed the required application forms and obtained the relevant supporting documentation. Please note that you are required to schedule separate appointments for each child to be registered.

Once you have compiled the necessary documents, please schedule your appointment with the Consular section closest to you at the American Citizen Services scheduling system.

The United States is a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the “Hague Convention”), a treaty aimed at discouraging international parental child abduction and to ensuring that children who are abducted or wrongfully retained, are returned to their country of habitual residence. To learn more about your rights in a case of international parental child abduction, please visit the State Department website.

More information on how the Hague Convention applies to children abducted to or from Canada and how to get help is also available at the State Department website.