I never in a million years thought that I would have to make an appointment with a US Embassy overseas, and in Malaysia no less, in order to get my daughter US citizenship. But yet, here we are….
We joyfully welcomed our first child, a daughter we named Ava Dawn, on July 16, 2013 at 3:50am at Pantai Hospital in Kuala Lumpur. Along with the immediate exhaustion of having survived a 26 hr labor, a myriad of emotions, & intense sleep deprivation of being first time parents, we also had the added responsibility of obtaining a Malaysian birth certificate for Ava, as well as a US CRBA (Consular Report of Birth Abroad), which will be her US birth certificate for the rest of her life, her passport, her social security card, and her Malaysian dependent visa (not discussed below). Geez, I’m tired all over again from just writing this!
The process of getting all of the above done was not rocket science in any way, just extremely time consuming, and in my opinion, could have been so much easier than it really was. Anyway, here are the 10 Steps to get your expat newborn baby citizenship to the great US of A (disclaimer: this is for babies born by existing US citizen(s). I do not know the process for others).:
Step 1: Deliver your baby in Malaysia (duh!)
Step 2: Upon being discharged from the hospital here in KL, the nursing staff will provide to you paperwork proving the successful delivery of your child(s), called a Birth Registration Application (all in Bahasa Malay- don’t worry, the nurses will explain to you!). You must take that paperwork and fill in the rest (per the nurses instructions, unless you speak Bahasa Malay) at home.
Step 3: Take said paperwork, filled out to the best of your ability, to the Malaysian National Registration Department or JPN (Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara), which is located in Sri Hartamas, within 14 days of his/her birth, otherwise they will fine you. If you go on a weekday in the morning (opens at 7:30am), its a quick 15-30 minute visit. Only 1 parent needs to be present, so send daddy!
- JPN address: Aras G, Kompleks KDN WP Kuala Lumpur Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Off Jalan Duta, WP Kuala Lumpur Tel#: 03-6205 7670
- Documents needed: Birth Registration Application (completed), Both parents’ passports and certified copy of marriage certificate for validation purposes, along with copies of everything (very important!).
Step 4: After obtaining the bright PINK (no matter if boy or girl) Malaysian birth certificate (such a fun memory for your child to have for the rest of their life!), scan it into your computer and email it to the US Embassy with a request for an appointment at the following email address: KLACS@state.gov. They will respond within 24 hrs (typically) and provide you will a “zip” file of documents & further instructions, BEFORE granting you an in-person appointment. The contents of the zip file are as follows:
- CRBA in PPT, DS-11, DS-2029, SS-5-SF, Passport Application contact information. (Some forms must be completed in PDF format and some in black ink so read all instructions carefully)
Step 5: Print out the documents sent, along with their instructions, and begin the long and tiring process of filling out the multiple forms as well as scour your own personal files at home for the pertinent documents required which are:
- Certified copy of marriage certificate, Copies of parents’ passports & visas, Proof of address in USA, Original divorce decrees (if previously married), and Child’s new PINK Malaysian birth certificate.
Step 6: Email above forms and supporting documents to US Embassy requesting an appointment at above email address.
Step 7: Take baby to photoshop & take passport pictures. This is a hilarious process! Must have white background, showing both ears, head pointed straight on, and eyes open. Such a debacle when your child is 2 weeks old- LOL :-)!
Step 8: Take in all paperwork (already emailed), & passport photos into US Embassy on appointment date & the most important: mom, dad, and baby must all be present together for this appointment. Allow 2-4 hours for this appointment!!
Step 9: Pay the fee: $100 for CRBA & $105 for passport & Swear to the embassy official that everything you have written down and said is truth (while they sift through all paperwork already emailed to them to verify authenticity) and sign all pertinent documents.
Step 10: Wait 7-10 days for passport & CRBA to arrive from the good ol’ US of A at the US Embassy in KL! (Note: you must bring in receipt showing payment, along with your passport & notecard indicating items to pick up that they give you, in order to pick up items). Only 1 parent must be present, OR you can send a representative in your place. Another note: the social security card will be mailed to your US postal address in 6 months.
…and thats it folks! Easy peasy right?! Hahaha,
Your child you just birthed abroad is now officially a US Citizen and can travel the world with you. Let the fun begin :):)
Until next time, happy parenting, happy travels, & happy expat babies~
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