TN 31 (08-05)

GN 00307.414 Sources of Evidence of Age or Relationship for Person Born in the PRC

A. Introduction

Domestic evidence is usually the best evidence of age for a person who has been in the U.S. However, it is often difficult to get evidence for other people.

B. Kinds of Evidence

The following are some, but not all, possible sources of evidence of age and/or relationship. General information is given to help in evaluating the evidence.

1. U.S. Immigration Records

(See GN 00302.900 through GN 00302.970 for information on U.S. immigration records.) The arrival record is usually the oldest evidence of a person’s age. A person’s arrival record does not show information about his/her family (except to note “married” or “single” in some cases) unless they entered the U.S. with him/her. However, interviews conducted at the time of later entries may show the name and ages of his/her dependents.

2. Passports

Self-explanatory.

3. Hong Kong Identity Cards

All residents of Hong Kong, age 11 or older, are required to have identity cards.

4. Three-Generation Papers

These papers are prepared by the families of the bride and groom 10-15 days before the marriage and show their ancestors. The bride and groom are usually identified as, for example, second son or third daughter, rather than by name.

Many of these papers were burned during the Cultural Revolution. Many which are available now were made fraudulently years ago for immigration purposes or made recently and artificially aged.

5. PRC Exit Cards

These cards may not always be available since they are supposed to be surrendered when the individual leaves the PRC.

6. Marriage Records

Marriages have been recorded in the PRC since 1953 at the Marriage Registrar's Office (part of the Central Affairs Department). Certificates from these records are issued by the marriage registrar or the county/municipal Notarial Office.

Most couples have their marriages recorded. There is no time limit for registration. Since 1980, the PRC has issued two souvenir-type certificates to couples. These contain a photograph of the couple and their names and ages/DBs. Older certificates may not contain photographs.

7. Household Registration Books

These books are supposed to (but do not always) list all permanent and temporary household members. They are the basis for food and other allocations. It is easy, but illegal, to add persons or change the ages of those listed. Changes in ages can be made officially without much difficulty.

New books are issued every 5 years and the old ones are stored by the Public Security Bureau. The issue date is shown on the first page.

In rural areas, household books can be combined to include several families. The head of the “household” keeps the book but claimants can take them or pages from them into FSPs. In some cases, the brigade will issue an extract from the book for the claimant to take to an FSP.

8. Ration Books

Separate books are issued in the cities for allotments of rice and cooking oil. Clothing books are issued in rural areas. They are issued yearly and show the individual's age or DB.

9. Identification Cards

These are issued in cities but not rural areas. They show such items as: name, sex, nationality, personal class (status), education, DB, home village, spouse's name, occupation and place of work, home address, date and office of issuance.

10. Birth Records

Births have been recorded since 1953 in the Notarial Offices. They can be registered by either a parent or the hospital in which a child was born. Both parents' names are shown on these records unless the father is unknown.

Birth registration is required; but, the degree of compliance is unknown, especially for births in rural areas. There is no time limit for registration; but most children seem to be registered shortly after birth since this is the only way to get additional supplies of rice and cloth.

If the child was born in a hospital, it issues a birth certificate to use to enter the child in the household register.

11. Notarial Certificates

The procedure for issuing these certificates varies greatly depending on whether the individual lives in an urban or rural area and, thus, so does the time required to secure them.

In rural areas, applications must be made for permission to apply for a certificate and for an application for the certificate. The application is reviewed by a series of officials who sign and forward it only if they agree the information is correct. Each has the authority to do additional checking or reject the application. However, in actual practice, this varies from office to office.

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