Ask the Consul
I am a U.S. citizen filing a Consular Report of Birth Abroad for my child born in the Dominican Republic. A section I must fill is called the “Affidavit of Physical Presence.” What does that section mean, and how do I complete it properly?
November 28, 2011
According to U.S. law, U.S. citizen parents must have resided in the U.S. a specific period of time in order to transmit citizenship to their child born abroad. The Affidavit of Physical Presence is a record of the time the U.S. citizen parent has spent in the U.S. to meet that requirement. It includes specific dates that the U.S. citizen parent was in the U.S. and specific dates that they were outside the U.S. If the parent is a naturalized citizen, they should include the time they spent in the U.S. prior to getting their U.S. citizenship, regardless of whether they were present legally or illegally. The parent should consult old passports or other international travel records in order to accurately complete the affidavit. If these are not available, the affidavit should be completed as fully as possible.
The U.S. citizen parent is also required to provide documentation in support of their affidavit. Examples of evidence of physical presence could include U.S. school records, reports of military service, tax returns or old passports. In most cases, the U.S. citizen parent is required to have spent five years in the U.S., at least two years of which are after the age of 14; however, this requirement varies depending on whether the mother or father is the U.S. citizen, their marital status at the time of the child’s birth, and when the child was born.
Please remember that the affidavit of physical presence should only be completed for dates up to the day of your child’s birth. If you have not been in the United States for the amount of time required by law before the child’s birth, you will not be able to transmit citizenship to your child.