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Child born overseas: US father, Russian mother - implication for passport for child?

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  • Child born overseas: US father, Russian mother - implication for passport for child?

    Hi, I have 8 year old son in Moscow. The mother is Russian. He was born in Moscow while I was in the military, stationed overseas. After I decided to not marry the mother, she has made things difficult in terms of me spending time with him, etc. I am actually in court now, to get my name added to the birth certificate, and I think the court rules on that in about two weeks.

    One of the reasons the mother is against changing the birth cert is because then she will require my permission to take him outside Russia. My lawyer suggested that my son be given a US passport so that he wouldn't have the same travel restrictions as the mother. But I am pretty sure that would amount to denouncing his Russian citizenship, and that is not going to happen. Or maybe I am missing something.

    Anyone know of some of the finer points of passports regarding this sort of situation?

    thanks!

  • #2
    You can establish your son's US citizenship and get him a CRBA if you want (although they might require DNA tests if they are doubtful about the relationship, and that might be difficult to get done without the mother's cooperation), but to get a US passport for him would require the mother's consent since you do not have sole custody. To get a US passport for a child under 16 always requires both parents' consent unless one has sole custody or a court has ordered that the child can travel abroad with that parent. On the other hand, to establish the child's US citizenship, you don't need the other parent's consent. Citizenship and passport are separate things.

    Note that since the child is born out of wedlock to an American father, in order for the child to get US citizenship from you, in addition to proving your physical presence in the US before the child's birth (must be at least 5 years, including 2 years after you turned 14), these two additional things must happen before the child turns 18: 1) the child is legitimated, you acknowledge the child, or the child's paternity is established by a competent court, and 2) you agree in writing to support the child until he turns 18. These requirements will be met in the forms you will fill out when you apply for the child's CRBA.

    As to whether the mother has permission to take him outside Russia without your consent, and whether that has anything to do with whether you are on the birth certificate, that is a question of family and custody law and (since the child is in Russia) would probably be for a Russian family court to decide. I don't see how the child's citizenship and/or passports have to do with it, but I don't know Russian law.

    This is my personal opinion and is not to be construed as legal advice.

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    • #3
      It seems that the mother is not contesting paternity, and so I expect a court order for change of birth cert. Also, I have been sending money to support my son since his birth. I did that via PayPal and saved all transaction records. One outcome of the court case will be formalization of my future payments til he is 18, so maybe my prior payment history, plus my oath in court to continue payments til my son is 18 suffices for the financial support requirement? I have extensive email trail of the entire relationship with the mother, including all details of pregnancy, birth, photos, videos. Plus my son looks like me. Would that likely be enough to establish the relationship so as to not require DNA test? Not sure I can convince mother to go to embassy with me to fill out the CRBA - my understanding is she would have to be with me?

      My son was born in 2012. I lived in US from birth til 2002, then overseas 2002-2004, back in US 2004-2010, then overseas 2010 - present.

      I am trying to get permission in the court order for travel abroad, but that is going to be tricky. My lawyer said it is rare that it is part of the court order, that it is usually up to agreement between the parents. I think that is because of some situations a couple years ago about American parents keeping their Russian born kids in the US, and in general out of fear in Russia of foreign parents leaving with the kid and not returning.

      On the Moscow consular site I read this:

      "If one parent is a Russian national, parents can add child’s bio data to his/her Russian international travel passport (zagranichnuy) or they can apply for a child’s Russian international travel passport (zagranichnuy) at the Federal Migration Service."

      Curious what that means about adding bio data. Maybe that is a means to have US citizenship data added to the Russian passport?

      thanks for all the insight!
      Last edited by overseas1234; 09-13-2020, 06:40 AM.

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      • #4
        Been reading more about CRBA. The trickiest part is

        Divorce Decrees/Death Certificates (if applicable) (original and a copy): you will need to demonstrate the termination of all prior marriages for both parents. A professional translation must be provided if the document is in a language other than English.

        My son's mother had a prior marriage. And I know she is not going to provide me such documentation just so I can establish my son's US citizenship.

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        • #5
          You do not need the other parent to get a CRBA. One parent can apply for a CRBA unilaterally. See 8 FAM 506.1-1(f):
          Custody dispute: There is no two-parent signature requirement for a form FS-240 with respect to permission to issue. In the case of a child involved in a custody dispute, either parent may apply for the form FS-240 regardless of which parent has been awarded custody.
          Since you are claiming that the child is a citizen on the basis that the child was born out of wedlock, it should not be necessary to provide any documents about the other parent's marriages.
          Last edited by newacct; 09-13-2020, 02:47 PM.

          This is my personal opinion and is not to be construed as legal advice.

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          • #6
            Good to know! Thanks. This has got me thinking. My lawyer thinks the judge is going to order a change to the birth certificate, since mother is not contesting and since other evidence supports it. But maybe DNA test would still be required as part of this CRBA process. I am in court on 23 Sept, and am trying to decide if I should suggest that DNA test be done...

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            • #7
              Originally posted by overseas1234 View Post
              On the Moscow consular site I read this:

              "If one parent is a Russian national, parents can add child’s bio data to his/her Russian international travel passport (zagranichnuy) hey can apply for a child’s Russian international travel passport (zagranichnuy) at the Federal Migration Service."
              Curious what that means about adding bio data. Maybe that is a means to have US citizenship data added to the Russian passport?
              thanks for all the insight!
              Hi,

              Don't read too much into that. All it means is that in Russia for travel purposes child doesn't have to have their own travel passport but their information can be registered in the parent's passport. Its a strange system in Russia, as they have 1 passport that verifies identity and is for use inside of Russia only and second passport for traveling.

              Your child can have both Russian and US citizenships/passports no problem.

              Your ex claiming the reason not adding you as a father to be requirement of your permission for his travels - it used to be the case, but I am pretty sure its not anymore. I would definitely check on that. However the main reason I see and I can be completely wrong - her fear that once you are established as your son's father and for example you decide to bring him to US on vacation, you can apply to US court for full custody and it will be extremely hard for his mother to get custody back. Just google Azarenko custody battle, thats just one of recent examples.

              Where are you going to court? The only reason I am asking - if its outside Russia, do check that court's decision will have legal right in Russia. I am not from Russia myself but from Belarus. We have a lot of similarities in our legal systems. It is very bureaucratic and can be a real pain. If I was you - I would do everything in Russia: go to court there, get your name on the birth cert and etc. I know with covid and closed borders it is pretty much impossible right now My fear would be that you ll waste your money and time on something that legally won't be recognized in Russia ( I am not a solicitor, so please do not rely on my advise).
              Best of luck!

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              • #8
                Hi, yeah the court is in Moscow. I fly through Istambul tomorrow, from Montenegro (where I am living). Do you know if a court in Moscow could deny a request to add a foreign father to a birth certificate out of such fear?

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                • #9
                  But having the OP's name on the OP's son's birth certificate still does not mean the OP can bring the son out of Russia. So I don't see what difference it makes for the mother.

                  This is my personal opinion and is not to be construed as legal advice.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by newacct View Post
                    But having the OP's name on the OP's son's birth certificate still does not mean the OP can bring the son out of Russia. So I don't see what difference it makes for the mother.
                    Why couldn’t he? I just checked it - child does not need permission of other parent to travel abroad with another parent. And I just don’t see any other reason why mother will object her child getting US citizenship. I know many stories when Russian people travel to US on tourist visa to give birth just so their child will have US citizenship. Now, there are other means for mother to stop her child travelling outside of Russia with another parent. We don’t know her motives but the original one she told OP is no longer valid.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by overseas1234 View Post
                      Hi, yeah the court is in Moscow. I fly through Istambul tomorrow, from Montenegro (where I am living). Do you know if a court in Moscow could deny a request to add a foreign father to a birth certificate out of such fear?
                      That’s great that court is in Moscow! I hope you ll have no problem getting into Russia because of COVID but I guess attending court should be a valid reason. I really don’t know answer to your question. I don’t think they would deny a request just because you are foreign national, it really shouldn’t make any difference. I did hear courts requesting dna if there was any doubts. I hope your solicitor is a good one and can guide and help you through the whole process. It’s funny, I think for Russian courts it is more common to get request from mothers to insert fathers name on birth certificate so they can claim alimony officially rather than other way around. I feel like you have every right to be on your son’s birth cert and really not sure about motives against it your ex has. Best of luck again!

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