Apologies if this has been asked before, but I couldn't find anything that fits exactly.

I am a British citizen and my wife is a US citizen, we live in the UK and she has indefinite leave to remain. Our 3 year old son has a British passport.

I guess our son is dual citizen even though he doesn't have a US passport? Does he require a ESTA the same as me to visit the US?


1 Answer 1


If he is registered with the US authorities as a US citizen, he Needs a US passport. Otherwise he'll Need an ESTA tied to his British passport

  • 3
    Registration has nothing to do with it. The child either is or isn't a US citizen. The only thing is that if the child hasn't yet had any contact with US authorities then they're more likely to get in with a minimum of fuss. (On the other hand, if the child had a US passport and the parents didn't bring it for some reason, there would likely be considerably more fuss.)
    – phoog
    Sep 13, 2016 at 19:22
  • 11
    I figured you know that, but since in the UK "registration" has a more definite meaning, I wanted to mention it to avoid confusion. If the family travel together, the border officers will (I suspect) be fairly likely to wonder whether the child is a US citizen, and, if he is, to figure that out. They can question the mother to determine whether she was eligible to pass on her citizenship when the child was born. They may admonish the parents that the child needs a US passport; I think that's the worst possible consequence. The safest course of action is to get the child a US passport.
    – phoog
    Sep 13, 2016 at 19:49
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    Indeed, it's as straightforward as applying for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad at the nearest US Embassy or Consulate where an officer approves the application, and the State Department issues a CRBA (Form FS-240) which is proof of US citizenship and is used to get a US passport.
    – Giorgio
    Sep 14, 2016 at 1:56
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    @Tom do you have any basis for that assertion? US citizenship law operates automatically. Registration is not required. See travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal-considerations/…. It would of course be possible for someone born abroad not to know that he is a USC, but if US authorities decide that he is, he'll be liable for taxes etc. The absence of a CRBA only changes the likelihood that the person's US citizenship comes to the attention of US authorities; it doesn't change the fact of the person's US citizenship.
    – phoog
    Sep 14, 2016 at 16:23
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    @roetnig "required"? No. After the US citizen's 18th birthday, it is no longer possible to get a CRBA, but the person is still a US citizen, and there is no penalty for failing to get a CRBA other than the additional bureaucratic burden of not having a CRBA. See ca.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/citizenship-claims.
    – phoog
    Jan 30, 2017 at 13:08

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