Monday, September 3, 2012

How to register your US-born child as a Mexican citizen (in Mexico)

Did you know that the Mexican constitution states that any child born abroad to Mexican-born parents has the right to Mexican citizenship? It's not mandatory, nor is it necessary to live in Mexico, but it does make enrolling your child in school (in Mexico) much easier.

How to get dual citizenship in Mexico -

Required Documents for Obtaining Dual Citizenship in Mexico

It's really quite a simple process, you just need the right paperwork.

What you will need:

  • Certified copy of the child's US birth certificate
  • Apostille
  • Notarized translation of the birth certificate and Apostille
  • Mexican-born parent's birth certificate OR copy of Credencial de Elector (voter card)

Important things to know:
  • To obtain an Apostille, you MUST have a certified copy of the US birth certificate!
  • If the birth certificate you have is NOT certified, the Apostille request will be sent back to you. 

In some states, like California, obtaining a certified birth certificate requires the parents or grandparents of the child to pick up the birth certificate.  No one else!  Unless it's the spouse or a sibling over the age of 18.  No friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, or even great-uncles.  If the parents are unable to request a certified copy in person, perhaps due to the fact that they've lived in Mexico for the last 12 years, they can request one by mail, but the application form must be notarized.  If you are outside the US, you can get the application form notarized at the nearest US Consulate.  

With international express mail, the process can be done quickly, but at a cost.  It cost me $20.00 (US Dollars) to have a single piece of paper delivered to Mexico by international express mail and it took a week to get here.  Without express mail, it probably would've taken a few weeks shy of forever! 

If after all that, you still haven't obtained a certified birth certificate to request the Apostille that will allow your child to attend high school, freaketh not.  There is still hope.

If the only birth certificate you have is the copy you were given after your child was born, please know that it is not certified.  But like I said, that's not a problem.  You can send that birth certificate to your local registrar's office (in the US) to have it certified.  Again, you can use either international express or snail mail.  Or better yet, you can hire a lawyer, whose mother will be traveling to the US and will send all of the necessary requests by mail in the US.  US snail mail is still cheaper and faster than some international express mail services.  Once your lawyer's mother has all of the necessary paperwork, she will send it all down with a friend of the family, who is travelling to your small town to visit.  

Your lawyer will make sure everything is in order, then type up the translation, add a couple of signatures and seals, and you are good to go.

Bright and early the next morning, about 9am, take all of the necessary paperwork to the local Registro Civil office.  It shouldn't be too hard to find.  It's somewhere inside the Presidencia Municipal (City Hall).  The attending clerks will look over your paperwork to make sure everything is in order, then ask you to return tomorrow to pick up your child's new Mexican birth certificate and CURP (Mexican equivalent of Social Security card/number).  

Just make sure they understand that your child's name must appear as it does on their US birth certificate.  There is to be no tacking on whatsoever of an extra last name! 

Fast forward 24 hours and voila!  Just like that your child is now a Mexican citizen, with just one last name.  And not a moment too soon.  You still have 24 hours left until the deadline the school gave you to turn it all in.  Phew! 

Registro Civil charges a little less than 100 pesos, per child.  But knowing that your child will be allowed to attend high school for the next 3 years and that your other two US-born kiddies won't have this same problem in the future, is absolutely priceless.   

Any questions?



  1. I live and was born in the US and got my Mexican citizenship through my parents at the consulate here in LA. It was a easy process but the consulate made me add my mothers last name. I wish I would have known and fought harder to just have one last name on my Mexican birth certificate.

    1. Hi Maritza! Yes, Mexican citizenship can also be taken care of at the Mexican consulate in the U.S. Back when your parents probably registered you for Mexican citizenship, there wasn't any problems with them adding your mother's maiden name to your last names. It's only recently that the extra last name is causing trouble. I don't know how this new law will affect adults, but I did find out first hand how it is affecting school age kids.

  2. Great info Leslie, I am trying to get my citizenship papers as an adult living here in Mexico. I am finding that it is going to be easier and quicker to do it at a consulate back in the states. Mostly because of the rapid nature of business in the states vs. Mexico and because my mother resides in California. Thanks for the info!

  3. I am interested in knowing how to change it! As I see that I might face the same issue as you did.

  4. Hi Elizabeth! I would suggest going to your local Registro Civil and/or your child's school to see what they have to say about it. You should be able to correct your child's Mexican birth certificate, by resubmitting all of the above mentioned paperwork.

  5. Hi Leslie,
    My name is Heather and I am a US Citizen. I am married to a Mexican Citizen and we live in Arizona. we have 3 children. Our oldest son is actually my husbands step son. Would my husband be able to register him as a Mexican citizen since he is his step father?

  6. Hi Lesie, They tacked my maiden name on to my son's Mexican birth certificate. I am known by my married name. What kids of problems does the extra name cause?

  7. The benefits of children born in the United States, from parent or parents with Mexican back ground, having the double nationality is unlimited (living,owning a property, vote, invest, attend to school)
    . Not only they will be able to assist school in Mexico, they will be able to have all the benefits as a Mexican born. My older two sons have the double nationality and as same as you I did all the paper work and process myself. My dream for them was to do all their school here in the United States and for Collage in Mexico. Unfortunately none of my four boys are able to speak Spanish, for learning issues but they are able to understand it. What a privilege they have.

  8. Can I get a Apostille with Mexican birth certificate from Mexico in the USA?

  9. What do you mean by notarized translation of the birth certificate and apostille? Where can we get that done?