The United States of America has a long history of welcoming immigrants from all parts of the world. The United States values the contributions of immigrants who continue to enrich this country and preserve its legacy as a land of freedom and opportunity.
Deciding to become a U.S. citizen is one of the most important decisions in an individual’s life. If you decide to apply to become a U.S. citizen, you will be showing your commitment to the United States and your loyalty to its Constitution. In return, you are rewarded with all the rights and privileges that are part of U.S. citizenship
- If your child was born abroad, please see following website for more information to apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad
What Service Do You Require?
Apply for Citizenship
If you have been issued any of the following documents, you may immediately begin your application for your first U.S. passport. If you are no longer in possession of any of these documents, you must obtain a certified copy from the issuing authority.
A U.S. Birth Certificate – for certified copies, please contact the state in which you were born. The National Center for Health Statistics maintains a list of states’ contact information for this purpose;
A Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) – for certified copies, please contact the Passport Services Office at the Department of State;
A Certification of Birth (Form FS-545 or DS-1350) – for certified copies, please contact the Passport Services Office at the Department of State;
A U.S. Certificate of Citizenship – for certified copies, please contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services;
A U.S. Naturalization Certificate – for certified copies, please contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services;
A passport of your U.S. citizen parent(s) in which you are included – for a copy of your parents’ passport records, please contact the Passport Services Office at the Department of State.
Once you are in possession of one of the listed documents, please email kenya_Acs@state.gov for instructions on applying for your first U.S. passport.
If you were born outside the United States, have not been previously documented as a U.S. citizen and are:
under the age of 18: please see our instructions for obtaining a Consular Report of Birth Abroad;
over the age of 18: Your U.S. citizen parent(s) must be listed on your birth certificate. You should review the information concerning transmission requirements to see if your parent(s) had the prerequisite physical presence in the United States required by U.S. citizenship law in effect at that time. If, based on this information, you believe you have a claim to U.S. citizenship, please follow the instructions provided below.
1. Passport Application Form DS-11
For your first U.S. passport fill out Passport Application Form DS-11. Print it on two sheets of paper leaving the reverse page blank. Print only the actual form (pages 5 and 6), not the instructions. Do NOT sign the form.
2. Social Security Number Requirement
You must provide an answer to question no. 5 of the DS-11 Form, even if you do not have a Social Security Number or do not remember it.
3. Passport Photo
Obtain one U.S. size passport photo
A photo for a U.S. passport must be 2″ x 2″ (5×5 centimeters) in size. Background must be white and the applicant must look straight into the camera as per our passport photo guidance. No eye glasses should be worn.
4. Gather Required Documents and Supporting Evidence
On the day of your appointment, you must present original records for each of the following items (photocopies or scanned or faxed copies will not be accepted):
- Your original birth certificate (hospital birth notifications are not acceptable).
- Original marriage certificate for the parents (if they were married at the time of your birth).
- Original divorce certificate or death certificate (if either parent was previously married).
- Passport photo (measuring 2” x 2” and meeting the requirements listed on the back of the passport application).
- Proof of your parent’s U.S. citizenship (original or certified copies of the U.S. citizen parent’s passport and Naturalization Certificate, if applicable).
- Proof of parent’s identity (originals of non-U.S. citizen parent’s passport or national identification card).
- Evidence of change of name, if applicable. If you and/or your parent(s) have changed names through marriage, court order, etc., obtain an original or certified copy of the relevant document(s).
On the day of your appointment, you must present sufficient evidence to demonstrate that you are the biological child of the U.S. citizen parent(s). Examples of the types of evidence that can demonstrate the blood relationship between you and the U.S. citizen parent(s) include:
- Pregnancy and birth records, such as dated ultrasounds containing the name of mother, laboratory test results, doctor/ultrasound/hospital receipts, pictures of the mother pregnant, pictures of you and the mother immediately following the birth and during the hospital stay, the mother’s hospital identification bracelets, crib card, discharge orders, or paid hospital bills.
- Proof of relationship between parents, such as time-stamped photos of the couple together before, during, and after the pregnancy, photos of the U.S. citizen parent with the newborn baby, money transfer receipts, birthday cards, email printouts, lease agreements, bank statements, home utility bills, or IRS tax declaration documents showing a shared address.
- Proof the couple was together at time of conception, such as original or certified copies of passport pages showing entry and exit stamps.
5. Gather Proof of Physical Presence
On the day of your appointment, you must present sufficient evidence to demonstrate that at least one U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the United States for a sufficient amount of time to transmit citizenship. In most cases where only one parent is a U.S. citizen, the U.S. citizen parent must show that he or she was physically present in the United States for a total of five (5) years before the birth of the child. If both parents are U.S. citizens and were married at the time of the child’s birth, then the applicants must show that one of the parents resided in the United States prior to the child’s birth. There are exceptions and additional standards; please visit the State Department’s website for more information about the physical presence requirement.
Evidence that may be presented includes, but is not limited to:
- School transcripts,
- Elementary and middle school report cards,
- W-2s from employment held while in the United States,
- Social Security statements
- Pay stubs,
- Employment records,
- Military discharge papers, and
- Rental or lease agreements.
Please note that bank records and tax documents are not sufficient to prove physical presence.
6. Identity Documents
This pertains to your current and expired foreign passports, if any. It may also be necessary for your mother or father to accompany you to the Embassy to identify you. If your parents are unable to attend, you should submit a progression of identifying documents of yourself from childhood to the present (e.g. medical records, school records, student I.D. cards, old passports, old driver’s license, etc.).
7. Evidence of Parentage, Legitimation, or Financial Support
Credible and substantial evidence of blood relationship between yourself and your U.S. parent(s) must be submitted with your application. If you were born out-of-wedlock, please consult the Table of Transmission Requirements for the legitimation laws and financial support requirements that may be applicable at the time of your birth.
8. Affidavit of Parentage
Form DS-5507 Affidavit of Parentage can be completed by your U.S. Citizen Parent(s)(PDF, 5 pages): Your U.S. citizen parent(s) should accompany you to the Embassy to sign the affidavit under oath. If your parent is in the United States, the affidavit must be signed before a notary public and must be accompanied by a notarized copy of your parent’s U.S. passport or driver’s license as presented to the notary.
9. Photo copies
Make clearly legible black and white photo copies of ALL documents, including the biographical information pages of your passport(s).
All copies will have to be scanned in due time to become part of your permanent citizenship file. When submitting photo copies or scans, make sure you provide flat scanned copies that are clearly legible. Prints of pictures made with phones or cameras are often of poor quality and are therefore not acceptable.
10. Assembly of your Application Package
Assemble but do NOT staple your documents in the following order, top to bottom:
- Original Form DS-11, filled out but unsigned, with passport photo attached
- Your original birth certificate
- Your original passport or other identity document, and name change documents if any
- Original or certified copies of evidence of U.S. citizenship of the parent(s)
- Original or certified copies of your parents’ marriage and/or divorce certificates
- Photo copies of proof of your parents’ physical presence or residence, in chronological order, as per item 9
- Original Form DS-5507, as per item 10 (Leave unsigned if parent is accompanying you.)
11.Scheduling the Appointment
Please click here to make an appointment at U.S. Embassy Nairobi. Be sure to schedule a separate appointment for each individual applying. To submit a request for an emergency service please email Kenya_acs@state.gov. Emergency services can include: a need for urgent travel; needing a new passport for foreign visa requirements; or other life-or-death situations. A travel itinerary will be required for emergency services.
12. Day of the Appointment
On the day of the initial appointment, the applicant should come to interview with all required forms and supporting documentation. Your parent(s) are welcome to come to the interview. All applicants must first pay the application fee of $100 per application. The fees are not refundable. Please note that if you arrive at your appointment and are unable to pay the fee, your appointment will be cancelled and you will need to schedule a new appointment. All fees are payable in U.S. dollars or the equivalent in Kenyan Shillings, or by a U.S. or international credit/debit card.
After paying the fee, the applicant will meet with an ACS intake specialist to review the application and supporting documentation.
Tips for your appointment:
- It is the responsibility of the parents, not the Embassy, to prove (1) the biological relationship between the applicant and the U.S. Citizen parent(s) and (2) that the U.S. Citizen parent(s) were physically present in the United States long enough to transmit citizenship to the applicant.
- Never assume that, because your parents successfully applied for another child’s U.S. citizenship, you do not need to bring any evidence to the interview. You must bring all supporting documents with you for your application.
- You must bring hard-copy printouts of all documents, photos, ultrasounds, etc. No digital media will be accepted. We are not able to access the internet on your behalf to view evidence and documents associated with your application, and you are prohibited from bringing computers, tablets, or smart phones to the interview.
- In some instances, it may not be possible for the adjudicating officer to conclusively determine from the available evidence that you are the biological offspring of a U.S. citizen. In these cases, the Consular Officer may recommend DNA evidence to establish parentage. The test will consist of saliva samples from you and the parents (taken under supervision) and the subsequent testing of the samples in an approved laboratory located in the United States.
- If the adjudicating officer recommends DNA, the applicants will be provided with instructions on how to have it performed. Please do not conduct independent DNA exams, as only results from Embassy ordered tests can be used to determine a genetic relationship for citizenship purposes. If you have any questions on DNA testing, please email: NairobiDNA@state.gov.
- The fee for a first-time U.S. passport is $145. All fees are payable in U.S. dollars or the equivalent in Kenyan Shillings, or by a U.S. or international credit/debit card.
- The Embassy has Kiswahili translators available. Although the Embassy tries to have Somali translators available, they may not be available for your interview. For all applicants who do not speak English or Kiswahili, it is the responsibility of the applicants – not the Embassy – to bring translators. All translators must have government issued identification cards and must pass through security screening in order to enter the Embassy.