This section provides an overview of the intercountry adoption process, two-parent consent requirements, and Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) information.
Report the Overseas Birth of a U.S. Citizen Child
A Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) is a formal document certifying the acquisition of United States citizenship at birth for a person born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents who meet the requirements for transmitting citizenship under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). United States non-citizen nationals are also eligible for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, using the non-citizen option.
CRBA applications must be made before the child’s 18th birthday. We recommend that parents apply for the CRBA as soon as possible after the child’s birth.
To apply, your child must have been born in Laos and you must travel to U.S. Embassy Vientiane for the in-person interview.
To be eligible to apply for a CRBA online, you MUST answer YES to all the following questions.
- Was the child born in Laos?
- Is the child under the age of 18?
- Was at least one parent a U.S. citizen when the child was born?
- Can you use an internationally accepted credit/debit card or a direct payment method from a U.S. dollar denominated bank account (also known as “ACH”) to pay online for your Consular Report of Birth Abroad application?
- Are you a biological parent of a child born abroad who is applying for that child?
If any of the above statements do not apply to you, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions on how to submit a paper application (DS-2029).
How to Apply
You can now apply for a CRBA electronically at U.S. Embassy Vientiane! This new online process allows U.S. citizen parents to complete a CRBA application online, upload all required documents, and submit payment prior to the in-person interview.
- To apply for a CRBA online, you need to create a MyTravelGov account. MyTravelGov is a secured, encrypted portal. Watch this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVgRyLQd3jA&t=4s) to learn more about creating your account.
- Once you have created a MyTravelGov account you can access eCRBA and submit your application online. The easy-to-use online process provides applicants with step-by-step instructions on how to complete the application. You may review the necessary documents for the CRBA application in advance by reviewing this checklist here
- Once you complete the online application and submit payment, you will then be directed to schedule your appointment at U.S. Embassy Vientiane. Please schedule your appointment at least 72 hours after payment submission. This provides time for your payment to be processed prior to your CRBA interview. Please Note: Do NOT make another payment for a CRBA ($100) at the Embassy.
- Attend your scheduled in-person interview with your original documents and their photocopies (single-sided). Original documents will be returned to you after reviewing your application. You must provide English translations for all foreign language documents. The child must be present at the time of application. If only one parent is able to attend the interview, the other parent must complete a signed, notarized DS-5507 form.
We are here to help!
- You can access eCRBA 2.0 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) here
- You can view an application how-to-guide here
- For questions or concerns please contact email@example.com
Other Important Information
Passport applications and Social Security Card applications must be completed and submitted separately.
Please note that an application for a Social Security Number can only be submitted after receiving the original Consular Report of Birth Abroad and Passport.
Social Security questions for U.S. citizens living in Laos are handled by the Federal Benefits Unit located at the U.S. Embassy in Manila. To obtain a Social Security Number for your child, please visit the U.S. Embassy Manila page here for further details. https://ph.usembassy.gov/services/social-security/
Marriage in Laos
Decree No. 198/PM governing marriage between foreigners and Lao citizens went into effect on December 19, 1994. Enforcement of the decree began in late May 1995. The decree applies to all foreign citizens who wish to marry a Lao citizen. Lao marriage regulations have no provision for marriages between two foreigners, and the Lao government will not issue a marriage certificate to two foreigners. Due to different procedures in provinces, please refer to the local Lao government for details about the marriage process.
The Lao government will not issue a marriage certificate if the correct procedures have not been followed. Any attempt to circumvent Lao law governing marriage between foreigners and Lao citizens may result in deportation of the foreigner and denial of permission to reenter Laos.
Lao authorities advise American citizens interested in marrying Lao citizens to begin the process by contacting the Lao Embassy in Washington D.C. The marriage application forms for Lao citizens who wish to marry foreigners are available in Provincial offices. Lao citizens residing in Vientiane Capital can obtain the forms in the Municipality Administration Office.
Affidavit that you are legally free to marry
Lao law requires all foreigners who marry Lao nationals in Laos, to first prepare a sworn Affidavit of Marriage: Marriage Affidavit . Then, the affidavit(s) must be notarized by their own country’s embassy, affirming that they are legally free to marry.
Fee: $50 for the affidavit of marriage; an additional $50 for the second affidavit. Please click here to make an appointment.
A Lao marriage certificate can be used to file an I-130 immigrant visa petition for a spouse. For more information on the petition process, please visit the website for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
This section provides an overview of the intercountry adoption process. The process varies greatly, as it is governed by the laws of the countries where the adoptive parents and the child reside (which in the case of the United States means both federal and state law), and also in which of these locations the legal adoption is finalized. Additionally, if the child’s home country is a party to the Hague Adoption Convention, the Hague processes of both countries must be followed. Prospective adoptive parents should consider all of these factors when evaluating what to expect.
“The child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding. … [I]ntercountry adoption may offer the advantage of a permanent family to a child for whom a suitable family cannot be found in his or her State of origin.”
-Hague Adoption Convention, Preamble
Every child benefits from a loving home in deeply profound ways. Intercountry adoption has made this permanently possible for hundreds of thousands of children worldwide. When children cannot remain with a relative, and new parents within their communities cannot be found, intercountry adoption opens another pathway to children to receive the care, security, and love that a permanent family can provide.
Some additional resources:
Child Welfare Information Gateway – A service of the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Medline Plus – A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health
A Healthy Beginning: Important Information for Parents of Internationally Adopted Children (PDF 167KB) – a brochure from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“My Administration remains committed to helping every child find a loving home.” – President Barack Obama, Presidential Proclamation of National Adoption Month 2012.
Who can adopt?
To adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States, you must first be found eligible to adopt under U.S. law. The federal agency that makes this determination is U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), part of the Department of Homeland Security. You may not bring an adopted child (or a child for which you have gained legal custody for the purpose of immigration and adoption) into the United States until USCIS determines that you are eligible to adopt from another country.
You must meet certain requirements to bring a foreign-born child whom you’ve adopted to the United States. Some of the basic requirements include the following:
1. You must be a U.S. Citizen.
2. If you are unmarried, you must be at least 25 years old.
3. If you are married, you must jointly adopt the child (even if you are separated but not divorced), and your spouse must also be either a U.S. citizen or in legal status in the United States.
4. You must meet certain requirements that will determine your suitability as a prospective adoptive parent, including criminal background checks, fingerprinting, and a home study.
In addition to qualifying to adopt under U.S. law, you must also meet your home state’s requirements for prospective adoptive parents. Learn more about individual state requirements on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website.
Foreign Country Requirements
Each country has its own requirements for adopting parents. These are explained in the Country Information section of this website.