TN 14 (07-17)

PR 02805.016 Illinois

A. PR 17-081 Revised Date of Birth Based on Illinois Adoption

Date: May 4, 2017

1. Syllabus

The Illinois State issued court order and resulting U.S. foreign birth certificate changing the date of birth of foreign born adopted male child (Z~) are acceptable evidence to establish a “new” date of birth for the child. Illinois law provides that a state court issuing an adoption decree concerning a person born in a foreign country must also make findings of fact as to that person’s place and date of birth based upon reliable evidence. The medical evidence regarding the child’s chronological age met the evidence requirements for changing the date of birth under Illinois State law.”

2. Opinion

BACKGROUND

On July XX, 2010, the People’s Republic of China issued a Certificate of Adoption Registration, certifying that C~ and M~ were the adoptive parents of Z~.1 effective as of the date of the certificate. The certificate listed Z~’s birthdate as September XX, 2002. The certificate was translated into English and notarized.

On July XX, 2010, the United States issued Z~ an Immigrant Visa. On August XX, 2010, the United States admitted Z~ and issued him a Certificate of Citizenship on August XX, 2010. The Immigrant Visa, Certificate of Citizenship, and Z~’s Chinese and U.S. passports list his birthdate as September XX, 2002.

On July XX, 2016, the Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County issued a Judgment Order for Adoption with respect to C~’s and M~’s petition to adopt Z~. The Court ordered that Z~ shall be the child of the Petitioners for all legal intents and purposes, from the date of the order. The order found that Z~ was placed into the custody of the Petitioners on July XX, 2010; thereafter, an order resulted in a Chinese Adoption Registration Certificate, and Z~ received a United States Certificate of Citizenship on August XX, 2010.

Also on July XX, 2016, the Illinois Circuit Court issued an Order to Change Minor’s Date of Birth, granting the Petitioners’ motion to change Z~’s date of birth from September XX, 2002 to March XX, 2003. In support of their motion, the Petitioners submitted evidence that Z~ was born on March XX, 2003. Such evidence included an email documenting the celebration of Z~’s birthday in China on March XX, 2010. Such evidence also included a letter from a pediatric dentist, N~, DDS, stating that, based on a dental examination, Z~’s chronological age was likely more consistent with a birthdate of March XX, 2003 than September XX, 2002.

On July XX, 2016, the State of Illinois’s Division of Vital Records issued Z~ a Record of Foreign Birth, listing his birthdate as March XX, 2003.

ANALYSIS

On January 16, 2014, the President signed Public Law 113-074, the Accuracy for Adoptees Act. According to that law, federal agencies, including the Social Security Administration (SSA or agency), are required to accept State issued documents as evidence of the name and date of birth of foreign-born adoptees who are adopted by a U.S. citizen parent. See Accuracy for Adoptees Act, Pub. L. No. 113-74, § 2, 127 Stat. 1212 (2014) (codified at 8 U.S.C. § 1431(c)). Specifically, federal documents shall reflect a child’s name and date of birth as indicated on a State court order, birth certificate, certificate of birth abroad, or similar State vital records document issued by the child’s State of residence after the child has been adopted or readopted in the State. Id.

SSA has issued instructions for processing SSN applications affected by the Accuracy for Adoptees Act. See EM 14023 – Enumeration: Processing Name and Date of Birth Determinations for Foreign-Born Adopted Children under the Accuracy for Adoptees Act – One Time Only Instructions. These instructions provide that when an applicant presents a State-issued document as evidence to change the date of birth on the Numident, the agency must request a Regional Chief Counsel precedent opinion with the following determinations:

  • whether the State has the authority under State law to change a foreign-born individual’s date of birth through a court order;

  • the State legal requirements to change a date of birth;

  • whether the court order needs to list the supporting documentation of the change of date of birth on the State court order;

  • if the State has the authority to change a date of birth, the documents the State issues as proof of the change of date of birth; and

  • whether the State issues a Certificate of Foreign Birth, Certificate of Birth Abroad, or other Bureau of Vital Statistics (BVS) document as proof of change of date of birth. If the State issues the document under a different title, identify the name of the document.

Id.

Under section 4.1(e) of the Illinois Adoption Act, any time after a minor child has been adopted in a foreign country and has immigrated to the United States, the adoptive parent or parents of the child may petition the court for a judgment of adoption to re-adopt the child and confirm the foreign adoption decree. 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 50/4.1(e). In order to verify the foreign adoption, the petitioner must submit one or more of the following documents: (i) a United States issued immigrant visa, valid at the time of the child’s immigration; (ii) a decree, judgment, certificate of adoption, adoption registration, or equivalent court order, entered or issued by a court of competent jurisdiction or administrative body outside the United States, establishing the relationship of parent and child by adoption; or (iii) such other evidence deemed satisfactory to the court. 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 50/4.1(e)(2). The petition may include a request for a revised birthdate for the child if supported by evidence from a medical or dental professional attesting to the appropriate age of the child or other collateral evidence. 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 50/4.1(e)(5). Upon the court’s issuance of a judgment of adoption, the clerk of the court shall furnish the State Registrar of Vital Records a certificate of adoption on a prescribed form. 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 50/19; 410 Ill. Comp. Stat. 535/16. In the case of a child born outside the United States or its Territories, the State Registrar of Vital Records shall make and file a Record of Foreign Birth. 410 Ill. Comp. Stat. 535/16.1.

Accordingly, we make the following determinations for purposes of EM 14023. Illinois law confers authority on State courts to change a foreign-born individual’s date of birth. See 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 50/4.1(e)(5). The request for an amended date of birth is made in conjunction with a petition for a judgment of adoption to re-adopt a child who has been adopted in a foreign country. See id. Illinois law does not mandate that the court order list the documentation supporting the modified birthdate, but provides that “evidence from a medical or dental professional attesting to the appropriate age of the child or other collateral evidence” must be submitted with a petition that requests a change in birthdate. See id. Based on the judgment of adoption, the State issues a “Record of Foreign Birth.” See 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 50/19; 410 Ill. Comp. Stat. 535/16.1.

Consistent with Illinois law, the Petitioners sought a judgment of adoption from the Illinois Circuit court based on their adoption of Z~ in China on July XX, 2010. The Petitioners also sought a change in Z~’s date of birth, and presented evidence in support of the change. Such evidence included an email documenting the celebration of Z~’s birthday in China on March XX, 2010, as well as a dentist’s statement that Z~’s chronological age was likely more consistent with a birthdate of March XX, 2003 than September XX, 2002. Based on the foregoing evidence, the Illinois court issued a judgment of adoption and an order changing Z~’s date of birth. The Illinois State Division of Vital Records subsequently issued a Record of Foreign Birth reflecting Z~’s revised birthdate.

Accordingly, the Illinois court order changing Z~’s date of birth and the Illinois Record of Foreign Birth constitute acceptable evidence that Z~ was born in China on March XX, 2003, for purposes of revising his date of birth on the Numident.

CONCLUSION

An Illinois court order constitutes acceptable evidence of a revised birthdate. Illinois law authorizes a State court to make such an order. Here, specifically, the Illinois court order changing Z~’s date of birth and the Illinois Record of Foreign Birth are acceptable as evidence to revise his date of birth on the Numident.

Kathryn Caldwell

Regional Chief Counsel, Region V

By: Francesco P. Benavides

Assistant Regional Counsel


Footnotes:

[1]

. The child’s original name was Y~. He was renamed Z~ as part of the Chinese adoption.


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PR 02805.016 - Illinois - 07/21/2017
Batch run: 07/21/2017
Rev:07/21/2017