CRBA, Passport, and Social Security: A Guide to U.S. Citizenship for Children Born in Colombia

Outside of the US Consular Agency building entrance in Barranquilla.
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Congratulations on your growing family! If your child was born in Colombia, you’ll first need to get their registro civil de nacimiento (birth certificate) in order to apply for their U.S. citizenship. If you haven’t done so already, I wrote a blog post on how I acquired my daughter’s Colombian birth certificate and passport here.

If you have have their registro civil de nacimiento and one or both parents are U.S. citizens, follow these steps to secure their U.S. citizenship.

  1. Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA)
    • Requirement: This must be done first – apply for the CRBA.
    • Location: This process can be completed at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota or the U.S. Consular Agency in Barranquilla.
  2. United States Passport
    • Requirement: Necessary to travel into the U.S.A. from Colombia. This can be done simultaneously with the CRBA application.
    • Location: Also processed at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota or the U.S. Consular Agency in Barranquilla.
  3. United States Social Security Number
    • Requirement: Necessary to claim your child as a dependent for tax purposes.
    • Note: This cannot be processed at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota or the U.S. Consular Agency in Barranquilla.
This process can be overwhelming, especially for new parents. Here’s a detailed guide to help ease stress and clarify what to expect.* 

For context, both my partner and I are U.S. citizens attending the in-person interview together. Note that if you are divorced, have partial or full custody, or if one parent cannot attend the interview, you’ll need additional documentation not covered here. We needed both the CRBA and a U.S. passport, requiring an appointment for the CRBA, which can include the passport application.

Regarding planning logistics, I booked our airfare and hotel immediately after receiving confirmation of the appointment via email from the Consular office after submitting my application. It was just going to be my daughter, her dad, and myself, focusing solely on the interview rather than making a family trip with our other two kids. Our nanny and my mother-in-law helping at home with them made this possible. Booking directly with the airline was cheaper, and we saved $30 using American Express rewards points for the hotel. Both times we’ve visited the U.S. Consular Agency in Barranquilla, we’ve stayed at the ESTELAR en Alto Prado Hotel, just a three-minute walk away.

If you’re also planning a quick trip, I recommend arriving the night before and booking your return flight departing from Barranquilla at or after 3pm. Our appointment was at 8:30am, we were done by 10:15am, and our flight took off at 4:15pm. It was perfect timing to rest at the hotel after the appointment, pack, get to the airport and enjoy lunch at  the Macondo Lounge which won an honorable mention in ‘Lounge of the Year’ category. For packing, we brought one personal item, one carry-on suitcase, and our Uppababy Vista with the bassinet for the baby to sleep in overnight.

This post also includes:

*Note: This guide is accurate as of the posting date. For updates, refer to the U.S. Embassy in Colombia’s website.

Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA)

To apply for a CRBA online, you must answer “YES” to all the following:

  1. Was the child born in Colombia or Venezuela?
  2. Is the child under 18?
  3. Was at least one parent a U.S. citizen or U.S. non-citizen national at the time of the child’s birth?
  4. Can you pay online using an internationally accepted credit/debit card or ACH from a U.S. dollar-denominated bank account?

CRBA Application Process

  1. Complete the CRBA application online.
  2. Upload required documents
  3. Make the $100 payment.
  4. Schedule an in-person interview appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota or Barranquilla through the prompted form once you submit your application. The office you selected will email you with the earliest available appointment. In Bogota, appointments are being scheduled for Thursdays in the mornings only. In Barranquilla, appointments are scheduled for the mornings only.

Head over to the Consular Report of Birth Abroad on the U.S. Embassy’s website to find the information you need including the link to start your application. It highlights eligibility requirements, what required documents are needed, and other FAQs like if only one parent can attend. It’s quite common to apply for the CRBA and passport at the same time so that information is also available.

United States Passport

Passport Application Process

When applying alongside your CRBA:

  • Bring a filled, but unsigned, DS-11 form.
  • One 2×2 passport photo. Check photo requirements here.
  • Use the Passport Wizard to complete and print the form. You can verify your photo with the U.S. Department of State’s photo checker before printing it at a copy center. Baby’s under 1 year do not have to have their eyes open. I’d recommended laying a white bed sheet down flat on the floor if you’re taking the photo at home. 
  • Optional: As of April 15, 2024, online payment for DS-11 Adult and Minor Passport Applications can be made through You can pay in-person on the day of your appointment as well.

Here’s how I took my daughter’s photo. After capturing a few shots, I checked the best two against the U.S. Department of State’s photo checker. I saved them and also removed the background using free websites like Remove BG or Canva. I recommend removing the background because, of the four photos I brought (the best two with and without the background), the one with the background removed was selected. I sent the photos via WhatsApp with printing instructions (2″x2″, color photos) to Auros located near the cash registers at Éxito Viva Envigado. They also have another location next to Parque Poblado.  I paid via Bancolombia transferencia and picked them up later that afternoon.

CRBA + Passport Interview

After our hotel breakfast, we walked to the Centro Empresarial Las Américas for our 8:30am appointment. The front desk confirmed our appointment before letting us into the elevator to the 5th floor. Once outside the office, another guard let us into the waiting room.

Once inside, the guard will give you an empty folder to place all the required documentation you brought, which they will then pass to the processing agent. After about 10 minutes, the agent will call you to ask a few questions, including where you would like the documents mailed once they’re ready. You will receive a slip to take to the DHL office next door to get your prepaid mailing labels— for this was one for my daughter’s passport book and card, and the other for her Consular Report of Birth Abroad. They’re mailed separately and at the time, I was told it would like about 6 weeks to process. The agent directed me to return in 45 minutes with the prepaid mailing labels and to be back in time for the actual interview.

The DHL office is right next door. The whole process took about 15 minutes, including the walk over, leaving us enough time to grab a snack and drink at Tostao next to the Consular building entrance before the interview. We gave the DHL representative the slip given to us by the agentt, and for 45,000 COP$, she processed and printed the labels.

We returned to the Consular office five minutes before we were due and gave the agent our prepaid shipping labels. After a 5-10 minute wait, both my partner and I were called for the interview. The agent asked questions to confirm the accuracy of our information, such as when we moved to Colombia, if we were raised in the United States, which Colombian visa my partner had, and whether we had other children. She verified my online passport payment, had us sign a few documents, and then returned our physical items (passports) and original copies (marriage certificate, registro civil de nacimiento). And that was it!

Social Security Number

Social Security Application Process

There are three ways to get a social security number for a child born in Colombia:

  1. In the United States: Apply online and visit a Social Security office in the U.S. within 45 days.
  2. In the Dominican Republic: Mail or visit the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic. They’re the Regional Federal Benefits Unit of the American Embassy and responsible for providing services to a few different countries in the Caribbean and South America including Colombia. The U.S. Embassy in Colombia does not manage any social security benefits.
  3. In Colombia: Sign up for Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) alerts to know when representatives from the Regional Federal Benefits Unit will be in Colombia. They come a few times a year and will make the announcement 2-3 weeks in advance with dates, times, and location. They have previously made stops in Cali, Medellín, Bogotá, and Barranquilla. Appointments are first-come, first-served. 

I preferred in-person options only because I did not feel comfortable mailing the required documents to the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic. Ultimately I went with the first option and went to the social security office in the United States. About a week before my trip I applied online. 

Social Security In-Person Interview

You don’t need an appointment – just visit your nearest Social Security office during business hours. Upon arrival, someone checked me in, and I waited about an hour for my child’s name to be called. I provided the necessary documents and received a confirmation paper. The social security card arrived to my address in the United States within two weeks.

For more details, refer to the Social Security Numbers for Children pamphlet.

Note: You cannot claim your child on your taxes until they have a social security number. There is no charge to issue the social security number and card.

Documents I Provided

Here’s a list of the documents I brought with me to my in-person appointments. I grouped documents by category into protective sheet covers to keep everything separate but organized and in the same folder. 


  • Printed checklist from the Embassy titled “Requirements to transmit citizenship to your child
  • Email confirmation of application submission and payment and case number
  • Completed (but not signed) Form DS-2029
  • Child’s birth certificate (registro civil de nacimiento; original and two notarized copies)
  • Proof of identity and citizenship (passport; physical copy and two copies) for both parents
  • Proof of physical presence in the USA that was entered in the online application (i.e. tax returns, W2s, passport stamps)
  • U.S. marriage certificate (original and copy)
  • Colombia Migration Reports, or Certificado de Movimientos Migratorios, for each parent (sometimes optional but recommended or specifically requested). That is done through Migración Colombia here.
  • Proof of relationship and child, such as family photos from social media posts or holiday cards that have timestamps when posted, and prenatal records.
  • Payment in cash (U.S. dollars or Colombian pesos) or credit card.

United States Passport

  • Completed (but not signed) DS-11 form
  • One 2×2 inch passport photo
  • Confirmation of payment from As of April 15, 2024, online payment for DS-11 Adult and Minor Passport Applications can be made through

Social Security Number

  • Original and copy of the Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • Parent’s ID (U.S. passport) and a copy. I brought my physical passport and a copy along with a copy of my partner’s passport. Both parents are not required to be present.
  • Child’s non-expired U.S. passport and a copy
  • Printed confirmation of the online SS-5 application

CRBA + Passport Cost breakdown:

Item Cost (USD)
CBRA Application Fee
Passport Book & Passport Card
Hotel ($93 Chase Points)
Transport to/from Airport in Medellin
Transport to/from Airport in Barranquilla
DHL Prepaid Shipping Labels


$695.00 USD

Helpful Links + Resources

These are the official links that have been mentioned throughout this post and shared here for ease of reference:

U.S. Embassy Information

You're travel ready!

If your child already has their Colombian passport, you’re well on your way to having everything you need to travel to the United States.

If you’re still needing to get their Colombian passport, I share how I applied and received my daughter’s in this post: Step-by-Step Guide: Registering Your Baby’s Birth and Citizenship in Colombia.

Happy Travels!

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Welcome! I’m Sarah. I started this blog to be a resource for others around a few of my favorite things: living in Colombia, DIY projects, places traveled, and day-to-day life. My hope is that it can a place of inspiration and encouragement to help you plan the next project or adventure of your own!

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