I am American citizen. My daughter will be in America with me on the 90-day visa waiver program. During that time she will be receiving her Consular Report of Birth Abroad and her US passport in the mail to our Australian addresss/home.

Can she go into customs and show them her us passport and consular birth abroad and then be declared a US citizen, so she does not have to fly back to Australia just to come back through customs again and show them her US passport and consular birth abroad?

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    then be declared a US citizen She does not have to go anywhere to be declared, she is. The CRBA is proof of that. Jan 24, 2019 at 11:33
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    If she has/will have a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, she was a US citizen at birth. So she should review her taxes file late tax returns with the IRS as necessary. Jan 24, 2019 at 13:39
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    @GerardAshton I suspect that most people in the daughter's circumstances are too young to have to worry about that (i.e., born in 2018 or 2019), or haven't had enough income to be required to file, but your point is well taken for the few to whom it does apply.
    – phoog
    Jan 24, 2019 at 13:55
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    "Can she go into customs and show them her us passport" This makes no sense. You have said that the passport will only be mailed to Australia while you are gone and already in the US. How can she show her passport if she doesn't have it? Can you clarify the situtaion
    – Fattie
    Jan 24, 2019 at 16:19
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    "Customs" relates to eegs and taxes and stuff right? Surely you mean "immgration authorities" or "the local social security office" or something rght?
    – Fattie
    Jan 24, 2019 at 16:20

3 Answers 3


Since you're making a consular record of birth abroad, presumably your daughter was a US citizen at birth. She can stay in the US as long as she wants. While she will get a stamp admitting her for 90 days in her Australian passport, this doesn't apply to her, as she is a US citizen.

Technically speaking, as a US citizen, she must enter the US using a US passport. However, breaking this law has no real penalty. See this answer, for an explanation of what could happen at the border.

So no, she neither needs to fly back to Australia, nor return to customs after arriving.

  • A significant difference here is that in the other question "nobody knows" that the child is a US citizen. In this case, it may be necessary to establish the child's citizenship at passport control.
    – phoog
    Jan 24, 2019 at 14:26
  • @phoog That's true, and I suppose any documents they might have to establish citizenship would have been the ones they sent off to get the passport. Hopefully the CBP officer is reasonable.
    – MJeffryes
    Jan 24, 2019 at 15:08

The premise of the question is that a US citizen has been admitted to the US under the visa waiver program and subsequently receives a US passport. In that circumstance, the other answer is correct, because as a matter of law, a US citizen cannot have any immigration status other than that of a US citizen. In fact, a US citizen who has been admitted under the VWP doesn't even need to get a US passport to remain in the US; any evidence of US citizenship will do.

The premise, however, is somewhat questionable. In other words, this sentence could be incorrect:

My daughter will be in America with me on the 90-day visa waiver program.

In fact, she might not be admitted on that basis. If your daughter's citizenship becomes apparent to the passport officer, she should be admitted as a US citizen even without a US passport. The officer could discover that your daughter is a US citizen in one of at least two ways:

  1. You mention it when you approach the passport inspection desk, or
  2. The officer finds a record of your daughter's passport application or CRBA application after scanning her Australian passport.

The second possibility is particularly likely if either application included your daughter's Australian passport number, but even if it did not, it's possible to match the records based on other biographical details, such as name and date and place of birth.

If this happens, the officer could give you a lecture about your daughter needing a US passport (or maybe not, since you've already applied for one). Then the officer should waive the requirement of 8 USC 1185(b), admitting your daughter as a US citizen. In that case, of course, there will be even less reason to do anything with regard to any record of her admission as an Australian citizen, because there would be no such record.

To prepare for this possibility, you may want to bring copies of the evidence you submitted with the CRBA application, in case the application hasn't yet been approved by the time you arrive in the US and the officer wants to have an independent look into the question of your daughter's citizenship.

  • While this is all "technically correct", it is just inconceivable anything will happen at the border. So the answer is confusing. The guard will wave her through like the zillion other Aussie tourists arriving. You should add more caveats that it is just totally inconceivable any of this will happen. (I've actually been with someone arriving at the US, with no US papers, who would only get their US papers once there. The person chatted for small talk with the border guard about the issue. The guard in question couldn't care less.)
    – Fattie
    Jan 24, 2019 at 16:26
  • There's a problem on the site of folks adding answers based on theory and no experience. (Particularly since with many/most visa questions, the central reality is the border office has absolute, total, discretionary power so, of course, all answers can usually only be "in theory you may be stopped".)
    – Fattie
    Jan 24, 2019 at 16:29
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    @Fattie The guard will wave her through like the zillion other Aussie tourists arriving. Every time I've arrived at the US border, I've been politely but fairly intensively questioned by the CBP officer. It is inconceivable that they will be "waved through", unless the treatment of UK citizens is drastically different from Australians.
    – MJeffryes
    Jan 24, 2019 at 16:29
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    @Fattie "just inconceivable anything will happen at the border" I'm quite sure I've read stories of people describing exactly this, where the border officer pointed out that the child is a US citizen and should have a US passport, but I can't find an example to link to just now. When your travel companion was admitted to the US, was it as a US citizen or as an alien?
    – phoog
    Jan 24, 2019 at 17:14

If you are saying

1) the child will enter using an Aussie passport / visa and

2) while you are there the child will receive in the mail the birth record and also a US passport

Yes, it's all a non-issue. Do nothing.

Once the child receives the US passport, forget everything, she can stay in the US. (If she likes junk food :) )

Nothing to do or worry about there.

  • As a US citizen, she can stay in the US even if she never receives a US passport.
    – phoog
    Jan 24, 2019 at 16:24
  • So what? Stick to the facts of the question, instead of adding confusing theory.
    – Fattie
    Jan 24, 2019 at 16:27
  • "So what?": so someone in a similar situation shouldn't worry about getting a US passport unless they need it for some other reason.
    – phoog
    Jan 24, 2019 at 16:57
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    Thanks I just talked with airport customs/immigration they said as long as I have our birth certificates and the IDas proof that am her father they can akknowledge my daughter as a us citizen and I should bring copies of proof of as proof her pending consular birth abroad paperwork and they will let her in as us citizen or at least on her 90 day visa until the consular birth abroad is approved then if it is during 90 day visa she will not have to leave go back to Australia and come black through customs
    – Paulg
    Jan 24, 2019 at 22:00
  • fantastic info, @Paulg !
    – Fattie
    Jan 25, 2019 at 10:36

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