Internal Revenue Service United States Department of the Treasury
Level Basic Advanced Military International

Unique Filing Status and Exemption Situations

Dependency Exemptions

Dependency Exemption for a Child Born Overseas

Children are usually citizens or residents of the country of their parents. This often holds true even if both parents are not citizens of the same country.

A child born overseas to U.S. citizen parents is considered to be a U.S. citizen for tax purposes. A child can be claimed as a dependent as long as all the other rules for qualifying child or qualifying relative are met.

The birth of a child abroad should be reported as soon as possible for the purpose of establishing an official record of the child's claim to U.S. citizenship. Form FS-240, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, establishes official evidence that a child is a U.S. citizen.

More Information

Taxpayers do not have to attach proof of citizenship to their return. But if the item is questioned by the IRS, the parent will have to obtain the necessary documentation from the U.S. government.

Tip

While applying for the Consular Report of Birth Abroad, parents should also apply for a social security number and passport for their child. Without a social security number, the parents will not be able to claim the child as a dependent or take advantage of credits, such as the earned income credit or the child tax credit, even if all of the other prerequisites are met.

Interview tips, Table 1: Dependency Exemptions question, Was the person a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, or U.S. national, or a resident of Canada?