American born in Taiwan: consular report of birth abroad at AIT

As we prepare to visit family in the US after the COVID-19 situation calms down in Taiwan, we want to register Ruby’s birth with the US and get a passport for her. As a Taiwanese citizen, she can already travel to the US with a Taiwanese passport but we thought it’s easier to report her birth as soon as possible. In this post, I shared some notes from our preparation and visit to the AIT in Taipei.

Pros & cons of reporting birth abroad early

If a child is eligible for US citizenship, the legal requirement to report birth abroad is until 18 years old. It’s up to the parents when they want to report the child’s birth abroad or not at all.


  • Eligible taxpayers get a tax deduction and subsidy
  • When reporting birth for the child at an older age, more photos of the child growing up might be required to verify the identity
  • In very unlikely scenarios, the US might not allow non-US citizens to enter the US at any time. Any visa or passport applications could also be delayed


  • Tax reporting and implications for the child. If the child is most likely not going to live in the US in the future, it might not make sense for the child to have to pay tax to the US when they are grownups. This is probably the most common reason for parents to defer the birth report
  • Both the parents and the child have to be present at the appointment – this could be a hassle if the parents don’t live near an AIT office in Taipei or Kaohsiung


Make an appointment online

When I first checked the appointment slots, there were none for the next month and the current month is all booked. AIT sometimes announces on their Facebook page when slots are open. I started checking almost every day, and finally saw open slots around the first day of the new month.

Prepare all the documents

There are a lot of documents to prepare, and they provide a checklist to double-check. The Preview app on Mac is super helpful for filling or editing the forms. The DS11 (passport application) online form filler does not take a foreign address for emergency contact, so I had to put in a US one and edit it in Preview. For proof of 5-year residency in the US, we attached 4-year transcripts at grad school/college in the US plus one or two years of W2.

The name on the US passport has to match the name on the English birth certificate. If the child is also Taiwanese and has a name in Mandarin, make sure the English birth certificate does not show the translated name.

Take a photo of the child

We took photos for Ruby ourselves when she was awake and in a good mood. The photo requirements for young children are more lenient, just the length of the head has to be of a certain range and with an off-white background. The website has a few examples for children, some are quite funny. For Ruby, we put a white blanket under her in the playpen and took a bunch of photos from the top.

Attend the appointment

It was our first visit to AIT in Neihu, Taipei. The building was very new, they just moved from Daan to Neihu in 2019 (less convenient with public transit). We live in Tianmu area and booked a 寶貝車 at 7:10 am for our 8:15 am appointment. We were afraid of missing the appointment and accounted for the max traffic as shown on Google Maps. Upon arrival, the high walls of the AIT complex are hard to miss. We were half an hour earlier (no traffic due to COVID-19), and just walked around the block with Ruby in a carrier. The building is huge and like a fortress on a slight hill. There is a 7-11 within five minutes if there is a need to print or photocopy documents.


When entering AIT, I forgot to print out the appointment page but the staff has a check-in sheet and I just showed them the passports. It’d be easier to enter with the printout of the appointment webpage. The official website recommends arriving 10 minutes before the appointment time for security check and some wait time.

Security check

At the security check, we had to turn off our phones and handed them in. I also prepared my handbags with minimally necessary objects, so the security check went smoothly.


The citizen and visa services are both located on the third floor with two elevators. There is a bathroom before going into the citizen services, but there are also bathrooms inside. I asked if they had a breastfeeding room but they just pointed me to the bathrooms with only a diaper changing table. The rest of the process went like the following:

  • Wait in line to check-in
  • At the check-in desk, they tell us which window to submit our documents
  • All of us go to the assigned window and submit the required documents. The staff verifies that all documents are correct. They noticed a misplacement of the period with “Jr” in my husband’s name on the birth certificate, and we corrected it in a paper form with signature. (For a second, I thought we might have to go back to the hospital for a corrected birth certificate!) They give us a number for an interview at the end and instruct us to pay at the front desk
  • Pay at the front desk. Credit cards and cash are accepted, charged in USD
  • Wait for the number for the interview. It takes place at a different window, and we are called about 10 minutes after payment. The staff asks us to take an oath that all documents are true, and takes a look at the baby’s face in the carrier. Then they ask some questions: where we met, and the date we got married (I happened to remember this from preparing the documents 😅). After the questions, we are all set and just have to drop off the mailing slip at the courier service on the first floor
  • After leaving the main building and retrieving our phones, we filled the mailing slip at the courier service desk outside of the building. They mail the passport and Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) in about 4 weeks, with 190 NTD payment on delivery

Apply for SSN for the child

AIT no longer provides SSN services since 2017. We have to first get a notarized copy of the CRBA at AIT, then mail it to the social security office in the Philippines.

After receiving the passport and CRBA, one of the parents can bring them and the parents’ passports to get a notarized CRBA copy at AIT. The child does not have to be present, which is quite a relief. If already making an appointment for other purposes (like renewing a passport), the notarization can be done at the same appointment. Otherwise, the parent can make an appointment under “Request notarial and other services not listed above.”


We’re happy to be done with the birth report after all the work to prepare the documents and make trips. Ruby was so well-behaved at the visit, curious about the surroundings and falling asleep at times. The thought of traveling long-distance with a baby feels tiring already, but I look forward to accompanying her to experience both cultures from her parents.