8 FAM 100
Introduction to 8 FAM U.S. Passport and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad

8 FAM 101
Overview of 8 FAM

8 FAM 101.1

Introduction to U.S. Passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad

(CT:CITZ-74;   06-28-2022)
(Office of Origin:  CA/PPT/S/A)

8 FAM 101.1-1  Introduction to U.S. Passports

(CT:CITZ-74;   06-28-2022)

a. This chapter defines what a U.S. passport is, provides a general overview of the document, and introduces policies and procedures discussed in greater detail in the other subchapters of 8 FAM, “U.S. Passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad.”

b. A U.S. passport is a travel document issued under the authority of the U.S. Secretary of State attesting to the identity and nationality of the bearer.  8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(30) defines a passport as “any travel document issued by competent authority showing the bearer’s origin, identity, and nationality, if any, which is valid for the admission of the bearer into a foreign country.”

c.  The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) sets standards for the format of machine-readable travel documents.  Conformity with ICAO standards does not convey any legal status on a travel document.  It simply means that the document is readable by machines that conform to the ICAO standard.  ICAO does not have the authority to rule on whether a particular travel document will be acceptable in the United States or in other countries.  (See also 8 FAM 401.4, "Fantasy and Camouflage Passports," regarding documents issued by private persons or organizations that do not constitute a valid passport under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(30).)

NOTE:  The Department first issued:

·        Machine readable passports on January 1, 1983.

·        Photo-digitized passports in 2001.

·        Electronic passports (e-passports) on August 14, 2006.

·        Passport cards in July 2008.

d. The U.S. passport:

(1)  Establishes the identity of the bearer;

(2)  Identifies the bearer as a U.S. citizen or non-citizen U.S. national;

(3)  Is valid for travel to foreign countries and return to the United States;

(4)  Requests a foreign government to permit the bearer “to pass without delay or hindrance” and “in case of need to give all lawful local aid and protection”; and

(5)  Is evidence of the bearer’s eligibility to receive the protection and assistance of U.S. diplomatic and consular offices while overseas.

e. The U.S. Secretary of State is granted the authority to issue U.S. passports by 22 U.S.C. 211a.  The Secretary delegates this function to the Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA).

f.  The determination of U.S. citizenship/non-citizen U.S. nationality and the issuance of passports to U.S. citizens/non-citizen U.S. nationals are among the most visible and important public services carried out by the Department.  The passport adjudication and issuance processes fulfill three important Department goals:

(1)  To serve the interests of U.S. citizens/non-citizen U.S. nationals traveling internationally and facilitate their right to consular protection when they present the passport in a foreign country for entry;

(2)  To protect the integrity of the U.S. passport as proof of U.S. citizenship/non-citizen U.S. nationality and identity at home and abroad; and

(3)  To enhance U.S. border security.

g. A U.S. passport is one of the most valuable travel and identity documents in the world because it identifies the bearer as a U.S. citizen/non-citizen U.S. national, and thereby may facilitate the bearer receiving the benefits associated with U.S. citizenship/non-citizen U.S. nationality, identity, and entitlement to a U.S. passport.  It is a highly secure document because of the security features embedded in the passport.  An intact, full validity, unexpired passport is acceptable as proof of United States citizenship/non-citizen U.S. nationality when issued to a U.S. citizen/non-citizen U.S. national (see 22 U.S.C. 2705).

h. The Department issues millions of passports annually at its passport agencies and processing centers located throughout the United States.  (See travel.state.gov for the addresses of each agency and processing center.)  Passport applications are also accepted and adjudicated and passports issued at U.S. embassies and consulates (hereinafter referred to as "posts").

i.  The passport agencies and centers are assisted by thousands of domestic passport application acceptance facilities as well as Department of Defense passport application acceptance facilities (see 8 FAM 604.1, "Department of Defense Acceptance of Special Issuance Passports") and consular agents.  These authorized facilities accept passport applications, but do not adjudicate citizenship, identity, or entitlement claims or issue passports.

j.  All full-validity passports issued to overseas applicants (overseas photo-digitized passports, or OPDPs) are printed at passport centers.  The data for overseas applications is transmitted to passport centers electronically, and the centers then return the printed passports to the adjudicating posts.  When necessary, consular officers at post issue emergency passports for urgent travel, but emergency passports are usually valid for no more than one year (see 8 FAM 706.2, "Special Adjudication Procedures for Overseas Photo-Digitized Passports and Emergency Passports").  Emergency passports may be replaced with full validity passports if requested within one year from the date of issuance and all the requirements for issuance are met (see 8 FAM 1001.5, "Replacing a U.S. Passport").

k. This chapter of the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) focuses on the decisions and issuance processes that Department personnel use in relation to passport work.  The objective is to provide all passport issuing officers with the information and standard guidance necessary to adjudicate a possible claim to U.S. citizenship/non-citizen U.S. nationality, identity, and entitlement to a U.S. passport.

8 FAM 101.1-2  Introduction to Consular Reports of Birth Abroad

(CT:CITZ-40;   10-20-2020)

a. Form FS-240, Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America, is a formal document certifying the acquisition of U.S. citizenship at birth by a person born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent(s).  Under U.S. law (22 U.S.C. 2705) it is proof of U.S. citizenship—in legal terms, it establishes a “prima facie case” of U.S. citizenship.  Records of the issuance of form FS-240 are maintained in the Passport Information Electronic Records System (PIERS) feature.  Vital Records in PIERS are proof of U.S. citizenship and may be accessed by consular officers and passport specialists for emergency verification of citizenship.  (See 7 FAM 1300 Appendix I.)

b. U.S. non-citizen nationals are also eligible for a Consular Report of Birth.  When processing applications for these individuals, the consular officer must select the non-citizen national option in the automated system to ensure that the FS-240 is printed using the non-citizen national option.  The non-citizen national status should also be reflected in the notes portion of the application.

c.  Effective January 17, 2011, the Bureau of Consular Affairs began issuing a completely redesigned form FS-240, Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA).  The new CRBA has been updated with a variety of security features.  From the time of introduction of the original form FS-240 in 1919, CRBAs were printed at our embassies and consulates around the world.  Overseas posts continue to adjudicate the citizenship of children born overseas, but the CRBAs are now printed at our Tucson and Arkansas Passport Centers, using the information provided by the overseas posts.  By centralizing production and eliminating the distribution of controlled blank stock throughout the world, we will help ensure uniform quality and lessen the possibility of fraud and misuse.

d. In January 2011, the form DS-2029, Application for Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America, was modified to include gender-neutral parent designation "Parent" In addition to the Mother/Father designations.

e. The form FS-240 is not a birth certificate, such as is issued by a government-authorized bureau or office of vital statistics, because consular officers are not authorized to assume a foreign local or state vital statistics function.  The form FS-240 is a consular declaration of the fact of acquisition of U.S. citizenship at birth based upon:

(1)  The certification of, or attestation to, the facts of birth by a legally authorized local official in the place where the birth occurred;

(2)  The affidavit executed by the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) or other evidence regarding the physical presence of the U.S. citizen/national parent(s), or in the case of two citizen parents, residence, necessary to transmit U.S. citizenship/noncitizen nationality to the child;

(3)  Evidence of the physical relationship between the U.S. citizen and the child;

(4)  Evidence of the legal relationship between the U.S. citizen and the child, such as proof of the U.S. citizen/national parent(s)’s citizenship and marriage or for births out of wedlock, legitimation in accordance with Section 309 INA (8 U.S.C. 1409) or predecessor statute, and an affidavit of parentage and financial support if the child is born out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen father;

(5)  Evidence of citizenship/nationality of the U.S. citizen/national parent(s); and

(6)  Consular adjudication of the child’s claim to U.S. citizenship.

f.  The purpose of issuing a form FS-240 is to provide a record of the acquisition of U.S. citizenship at birth by a child born in a foreign state that can be used by that citizen throughout life.

g. Current forms related to the form FS-240 procedure include:

(1)  Form DS-2029; and

(2)  Form FS-240.

h. Previous forms related to the form FS-240 procedure include:

(1)  Form DS-1350, Certification of Birth, issued by Passport Services’ Vital Records Section;

(2)  Previous form FS-545, Certification of Birth (prior to 1990, consular officers abroad issued the certification of birth); and

(3)  Previous form FS-579, Application for Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America.

i.  The previous version of form FS-240 resembles the application form DS-2029 more than it does the current form FS-240.  Either version of form FS-240 may still be accepted as evidence of acquisition of citizenship.

NOTE:  Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America and certifications of birth issued before November 1990 are still valid, absent any evidence of expatriation by the registrant, or other information that calls into question the U.S. citizenship claim, if the bearer’s identity is satisfactorily established.  The reports remain valid until revoked (see 8 FAM 804.1, "U.S. Passport and CRBA Revocation").  Consular officers cannot simply “void” or “cancel” previously issued forms FS-240 or forms DS-1350.