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  • Writer's pictureKristin

Canadian & U.S. Infants Passports & U.S. CRBA Application

As all travelers know, passports are essential for international travel. With our newest family member joining our travel clan, it was important she had what she needed as well. After the different application processes, we now have a dual citizen in the house! Our little baby girl has gotten her two passports – one from Canada and one from the United States.

Since she was born in Canada Clara was automatically entitled to Canadian citizenship and passport. Since I as her mother am a U.S. citizen she was also entitled to U.S. citizen through the Consular Report of Birth Abroad program in the U.S. Throughout my relationship with Alex I have pretty much become a pro at government paperwork for permanent residencies, etc. but this was by far the easiest government paperwork that I have done.


Passport Photos

First we had to get the passport photos for both the Canadian & U.S passports. We actually found out that certain places, like AAA don’t do infant passport photos – at least in Alberta, but we were told that Superstore and Wal-Mart would do them. When we went to Superstore to get the photos done, we just had to prop her up in a seated position (as seated as possible) and then we ducked down underneath the platform to support her and so that it would just be her in the photo. The infant passport photos have to follow the same rules and guidelines of adult passport photos – so they must have their eyes open, not smile (for Canada) and have their hands away from their face. This sounded a little daunting at first; some people had even suggested swaddling the baby to prevent her from touching her face. However, her passport photos went extremely well! We went to get the photos taken right after she had eaten, had a clean diaper and a nap and she was extremely well-behaved! In fact, we didn’t even have to swaddle her. She propped up in the seated position and took magnificent photos. Luckily, we could get the same photo cut into both the Canadian and the U.S. passport sizes (they’re different) so we didn’t have to get 2 separate photos taken.


Canadian Passport

Applying for a Canadian passport was very straight forward. The only part that took a while was getting the birth certificate from the Alberta Vital Statistics. However, it would have also been faster if Alex had remembered the instructions given at the hospital. ;-) We were waiting around for a couple of weeks thinking that the birth certificate would be arriving in the mail, but rather once Vital Statistics registers her birth you have to go to your Registry Office and apply for the physical birth certificate document there. We had a trip to the U.S. scheduled for a couple of weeks from when we got the birth certificate, so we had to apply for the passport in person at the Calgary Passport office to get it back quicker.


The main components of the Canadian passport application included:

  • Both pages of the application form completed and signed and certified by the guarantor (basically a Canadian citizen who has known the parent who is applying on behalf of the child for at least 2 years).

  • Two identical passport photos of the child (one has to be certified (signed) by the guarantor)

  • Proof of Canadian citizenship (Birth Certificate)

  • Proof of parentage (Long form birth certificate with parent names)

  • Required fees – for a child under 15, whose passport is valid for 5 years, the fee is $57. Then if you want to pick it up in person, like we needed to, it’s an additional $20.

  • Proof of legal guardianship (if applicable) or documents that refer to custody, etc.

Processing time was very quick as well. Standard processing time is 10 business days, but there are other more options of expedited service to get your passport.


When I came to pick up the passport in person, I just had to show the application receipt they had given me previously and then I was off!


Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA)

A Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) is a document that shows that an individual is a citizen of the U.S. at birth, even if they were not born in the U.S. This and the passport have to be applied for at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. A CRBA is proof of U.S. citizenship and therefore can be used to obtain a U.S. passport or register for school. We wanted to get our daughter the CRBA in case we/she ever wanted to move back to the U.S. (this process is much easier now than later), as well as it gives her the advantage of being able to go to school or eventually work in the U.S. as she pleases. The only bad part is that if she would decide to stay in Canada for the rest of her life, she always has to submit taxes as a U.S. citizen; eventually she could decide she wants to renounce her U.S. citizenship, but she can do that as an adult.


According to the U.S. government site parents are supposed to apply for the CRBA as soon as possible after the birth, so there are less issues, but it can be applied for up until the child's 18th birthday. An individual can either apply for just the CRBA document, or they can apply for the CRBA and the U.S. passport at the same time. However, according to U.S. Customs & Border Control, U.S. citizens should always use their U.S. passport upon entry and exit of the U.S.; even if they are dual nationals.


The form to fill out for the CRBA is located on the specific Consulate Office’s website that you’re applying for it at. (When applying through the Calgary Consulate Office, it automatically redirected us to the Ottawa Consulate website). It is also best to book an appointment as soon as you’re able. It took us approximately 2 weeks to be able to get an appointment at the Calgary U.S. Consulate (you book the appointment on the Calgary Consulate Webpage for appointment scheduling).


The main form to apply is the DS-2029 and the main components/documents needed for this application are:

  • Child’s birth record – i.e. a birth certificate with the parents’ information

  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship of parent(s) – i.e. Original U.S. Birth certificate, U.S. passport, CRBA or Certificate of Citizenship

  • Photo ID of Parent’s identity

  • Both parents of the child should be in person when filing for the application. However, if one parent is not able to attend then you have to fill out an additional form (when applying simultaneously for passport); or if the parent with U.S. citizenship is not present an additional form must be filled out. See other forms below.

  • Original marriage certificate of parents (plus, if valid, any documents showing the termination of any previous marriages)

  • If born in Canada, Canadian Immigration Record of Parent(s), which shows original entry date into Canada (i.e. permanent resident card or passport with visa, etc.)

  • Evidence of physical presence of parent(s) in the U.S. for a minimum of 5 years prior to the child’s birth (i.e. accredited school and university transcripts, employment records, utility bills, etc.)

  • Payment for Fee – It is $100 US Dollars for the Report of Birth and then if you apply for a passport it is $105 for a 5-year passport for individuals under age 16; so for both it is $205 USD (Note: Passport fees have increased since original posting)

  • A pre-paid self-addressed Canada Post regional Xpresspost envelope – this is to return your passport to you.

Other Forms:

  • Application for Social Security Number – Form SS-5-FS

  • Passport Application – DS-11

  • For when both parents cannot not be present – A notarized DS-3053

  • If the U.S. citizen parent transmitting citizenship to the child is not present, then the DS 5507 must be submitted.

Other Notes:

For the most part, the forms are pretty straight forward. The most time-consuming parts are getting the documents together to show physical presence in the U.S., as well as determining all the addresses and dates that you lived in certain places while in the U.S. Although I had lived in the U.S. for my entire life, up until 3 years ago, I found it a little daunting to find the information that proved I had lived there for five years of my life – mostly because most of my childhood documentation was at my parents’ house. However, after digging out my university transcripts from undergrad and graduate school that covered the 5-year timeframe required, I felt a little more assured. However, I also brought along tax returns and an employment letter that I had as well, but none of that was necessary. The officer was happy with the university transcripts I had provided.


The other confusing part is that you have to combine information from several websites for the whole process. I didn’t really find everything I needed all on one website. For instance, I missed the part about purchasing a Canada Xpresspost envelope because that wasn’t on the check lists with the other information. Luckily, there was a convenience store that you could buy one from at the bottom of the building before heading upstairs to the Calgary U.S. Consulate.


One concern I had was since we were traveling to the U.S. a couple days after our appointment with the Consulate was whether it would be okay if she used her Canadian Passport instead upon entering and exiting the U.S., since it said that U.S. dual citizens are to use their U.S. passport. However, upon talking to the U.S. Customs & Border office at our port of entry and the Consulate Officer, they said it would be fine if she used her Canadian passport this time. The Consulate Officer suggested that I take my receipt with me to prove that I have already applied; however, upon entry at the border, nobody asked for that information.


Processing Time was relatively quick. We received her passport and her certificate of her Report of Birth Abroad in the mail approximately 2 ½ weeks after our in-person appointment at the Consulate.

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